JERUSALEM (Jul. 31)
Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, today accused Syria, publicly, of “irresponsible conduct” and of violating the 1949 Israeli-Syrian armistice agreement by holding three Israelis whom Syrians abducted on Lake Tiberias on July 13.
Addressing the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, where a motion had been made this morning for a full-scale debate on that issue, Mrs. Meir demanded that Syria release the three kidnaped Israelis immediately. At her request, the Knesset referred the matter to the Parliament’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee.
The three Israelis were captured on the lake, which is entirely within Israeli territory, when a small motor boat in which they were riding encountered trouble near the Israeli shore bordering on the Syrian position. Three Belgian citizens were also in the boat and likewise taken by the Syrians. The Belgians have since been released, but the Israelis are still being held in Syria.
Mrs. Meir told the Knesset that, while it is known that Syria lacks “perfect order these days,” nevertheless, the Damascus Government cannot hold innocent people in prison. She charged that Syria is discriminating between Belgian nationals and Israelis.
She told the Parliament that there has been constant contact, since the incident occurred, with the United Nations authorities, both at the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization here and at U.N. Headquarters in New York.
(Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Michael S. Comay, postponed a scheduled trip to Israel last week to continue efforts at U.N. Headquarters toward U.N. intervention for the release of the three Israelis. He finally departed last night for consultations with his Foreign Ministry. The consultations had been scheduled prior to the development of this specific issue.)
The situation of the Israel-Syrian front, where Syrians have been annoying Israel from their military positions on the hills, has been comparatively quiet during the last weeks. The abduction of the three Israelis indicates that Syria is still bent on anti-Israel provocations.