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Hammarskjoud’s “softness” on Inge Toft Issue Embarrasses Israel Govt.

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Political observers expressed the view today that the Egyptian seizure of mail consigned to Israel, following on United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s failure to secure the reopening of the Suez Canal to Israeli cargoes, or even to secure the release of the Danish freighter Inge Toft, was forcing Premier David Ben Gurion’s Mapai Party and its allies into an untenable position.

They said today that the opposition parties were bound to make an issue of the Government’s failure to take action in connection with the Suez Canal situation, or even to take a firm decision to raise it at the United Nations with the Security Council or in the General Assembly. The cabinet has discussed the situation at a round score of meetings and has been dealing with the Inge Toft since last May when it was seized at Port Said with a cargo from Israel consigned to Far Eastern ports.

Sharp criticism of the government has already been voiced in sections of the Israeli press and in some election meetings for its reliance on United Nations actions, particularly the Cairo interventions by Secretary General Hammarskjold, for a solution of the problem.

The fact that Mr. Hammarskjold left New York on a South American tour without conveying to the Israelis any results of his renewed efforts to secure the release of the Inge Toft was interpreted by the Israeli press today to mean that he had failed to make any progress in this direction or even to obtain an answer from Cairo.

Israelis and their press held the view today that the seizure of mail addressed to Israel, in violation of international postal agreements, could be taken as a clear sign that the United Arab Republic intended to take every possible measure to tighten the blockade of Israel.

The failure of the United Nations to take firm action to implement its decisions that the Suez Canal was to remain open to all shipping, and Mr. Hammarskjold’s “soft” attitude toward Egyptian interference with shipping using the international waterway, were said here to have encouraged Cairo to go to further extremes.

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