JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
Israel moved today both here and at the United Nations in New York for action to ensure the complete evacuation of Syria from the demilitarized zone southeast of Lake Tiberias which was the scene of a four-day-long battle.
The Israel Foreign Ministry instructed Yosef Tekoah, acting permanent head of the Israel delegation at the United Nations, to submit a formal request for such action. A similar demand was conveyed here to Gen, Carl C. von Horn, chief of the UN Truce Supervision Organization in Jerusalem. The request included a demand that the UN should act also to assure no future Syrian incursions.
Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, met last night with Ogden Reid, United States Ambassador to Israel, who sought information on new developments in the Beit Katzir area where the fighting took place and on their background, as well as on Israel policy and plans for any future action. Israel sources described the Meir-Reid talks as an “information” meeting aimed at providing Mr. Reid with data for his report to the U. S. State Department.
(In Washington, the United States position on the current military flare-up on the Syrian-Israel frontier was described here today as one of careful observation and a desire that both sides exercise restraint. This was learned today from State Department sources.)
The request to the UN here was placed before Gen. Von Horn by Avraham Biran, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Armistice Division. According to a Foreign Ministry communique, Mr. Biran called in Gen. von Horn and asked him to adopt “all necessary measures to effect the removal of Syrian military units from the demilitarized zone.” The Israel representative on the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission submitted a similar demand to the Commission chairman.
U.N. INACTION MAY FORCE ISRAEL TO DESTROY MORE SYRIAN BASES
Observers here recalled Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s warning in the Kneenet, Israel’s Parliament, that unless the UN expelled the Syrian invaders from the Beit Kutz area, Israel would be compelled to use force again. The Ben-Gurion and Biran statements were followed by reports early today that the Syrians were returning to the positions in the village of Tawafik which Israel troops stormed and smashed Sunday night. When they observed there was no reaction from the Israelis, the Syrians opened intermittent firing again, an Israel Army spokesman said.
The current developments were seen as highlighting Israel’s basic dilemma which was whether Israel should accept for the time being the condition of the destruction of the Syrian fortifications and continue to oppose further incursions through what was considered ineffective UN action, or whether efforts to prevent further incursion should be made through direct application of military force.
It was noted that the latter course might require the destruction of additional Syrian positions and thus considerably broaden the extent and implication of the clashes. This dilemma was presumed to be under study by the Prime Minister and his advisers. However, Mr. Biran’s demand to the UN truce chief was considered an indication that Israel meant to warn Gen. Von Horn that the second course was a very real possibility.
Due notice was taken meanwhile of Cairo reports that Egyptian units have been ordered to the Israel border. The implied threat was not being taken seriously, however, on the premise that United Arab Republic President Nasser would not yet dare initiate a major military action.