JERUSALEM (Mar. 11)
The danger of war against Israel “has greatly receded during the past five years, Premier David Ben-Gurion said today addressing a regional defense meeting of the Southern Command somewhere in the Negev.” He credited this to the “greater deterrent power of Israel’s defense forces and the development and settlement of the Negev.” He added that there was nevertheless “no guarantee that the present quiet will continue.”
(In London, the Sunday. Telegraph reported today that the Soviet Government is negotiating with the United Arab Republic and with Iraq for the supply of guided missiles, especially of the SA-2 type which is a defensive ground-to-air missile. The deliveries, the paper says, will be possible this year unless Soviet-Arab relations take another of their “periodic” sour turns.)
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry today informed the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization that it “views with seriousness” the Syrian attack on an Israeli police patrol boat in Lake Tiberias last Thursday when two members of the Israeli police crew were seriously wounded and hospitalized.
The report of the UN investigating team, which has not yet been received, is understood to have established that the gunfire was opened by Syrian forces and not by the Israeli boat as claimed by the Syrians. Official Israeli quarters here stress the fact that the incident was the first in a long time in which the Syrians employed recoilless guns.
A decree establishing a constitution for the Gaza Strip, the southern coastal portion of Palestine occupied by Egypt following the Israel War of Independence in 1948, and declaring the territory “an integral part of Palestine lands” has been issued by United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdel Nasser, this weekend. The decree said the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza would form a national union with “the aim of restoring the usurped lands of Palestine.” Most of the residents of the Strip are Palestine Arab refugees.