JERUSALEM (Jul. 22)
Foreign Minister Golda Meir demanded last night that the United Nations effect the immediate release by Syria of six persons abducted by Syria on Israel’s Lake Tiberias, a week ago. She made the request in a conference in her office with Maj. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the U.N. body. She warned that Israel would have no alternative but to react forcefully — as Israel has done in the past — if Syrian armed forces entered the current dispute.
The kidnaping occurred a week ago. Today, it developed that United Nations military observers, occupying an observation post in the Syrian hills overlooking Lake Tiberias, had witnessed the abduction. Six persons–three Belgians and three Israelis — were on the lake in a motor boat which had, apparently, been disabled. Syrian army men and civilians waded into the water and forcibly dragged the small craft with its occupants to the shore.
Mrs. Meir emphasized to Gen. Bull that the lake is entirely in Israeli territory. She stressed the fact that there is an Israeli fringe of about 30 feet of land on the lake’s eastern shoreline, so that there be no doubt that the entire lake is within Israel’s sovereignty. Noting that Israel has permitted Syrian fishermen to cast their nets on the lake, Mrs. Meir pointed out that such fishing was tolerated by Israel so as not to endanger the livelihood of the Syrian fishermen, or punish them for their country’s leaders’ engagement in power politics.