JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
Israel’s Parliamentary Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs met in an extraordinary session today to hear reports from Premier Levi Eshkol and Mrs, Golda Meir, the Foreign Minister, on the latest developments in the tense Syrian border situation.
The Premier, who asked that the committee meet, reported on the decision of the Cabinet yesterday to ask for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council, and on measures to restore quiet on the northern border. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, deputy chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces, and Mrs, Meir reported on Israel’s diplomatic and security measures.
Prior to the Knesset Committee meeting, Mrs. Meir completed a series of meetings with envoys of countries represented on the Security Council. She conveyed to each diplomat the gravity of the situation which led the Cabinet yesterday to approve a request for a Security Council meeting. She told the envoys that Israel had listed 70 complaints of Syrian violations of the 1949 armistice agreement since the beginning of the year.
The diplomats she saw are from the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union, all of whose governments are permanent members of the Security Council, as well as the ranking diplomats representing five other Council members–Venezuela, Norway, Brazil, Ghana and the Philippine Islands, That accounted for nine of the Councils 11 members. The others are Nationalist China and Morocco. The latter, being a Moslem state, has no representation in Israel.
U.N. PROPOSES BORDER INSPECTIONS; ISRAEL ACCEPTS, SYRIA SILENT
The United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization proposed today, as a step to restore peace to the troubled Israel-Syrian frontier, that the UN inspect the entire frontier to a depth of six-and-a-half miles on both sides. The proposal was made to Israel by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, Chief of Staff of UNTSO. The goal of the inspection would be to determine whether there had been any military concentrations in violation of the armistice agreement. Syria had charged such concentrations by Israel, a charge described by Israel as propaganda.
Israel accepted Gen. Bull’s proposal on condition that Syria would also accept it. The Syrian reply had not been received at the time Israel accepted.
SYRIANS WARY OF REPRISALS; DETAILS OF AIR BATTLE REVEALED
In the north, Israeli field workers resumed normal activities today in the Ashmura area, near the border, after a tense night in which the Syrians, obviously fearing reprisals for the recent border attacks, focussed huge searchlights to illuminate the area.
Israeli officials continued their investigation of the border shootings and the air battle yesterday. They reported that parts of a Soviet made Syrian, MIG-17 were found scattered in Israeli fields south of Lake Tiberias, confirming reports yesterday that Israeli pilots, flying French-made Mirage jets, had shot down one of a group of invading Syrian MIGS.
They also reported that a fire was started at the Massadah kibbutz from burning splinters falling from the downed plane. Two fuel tanks jettisoned by one of the fleeing Syrian Jets fell in the Menahemia fields, well within Israeli territory. These findings were cited in support of Israel’s charge that the Syrian planes had penetrated Israeli airspace before they were attacked by Israeli interceptors.
It was disclosed that the French Air Attache in Israel has asked Israeli Air Force headquarters for details of the air clash, indicating that it was the first time the Mirage had been involved in a battle, France has made the speedy Mirage its first-line interceptor, but no opportunity has yet developed for a test of the jet under actual battle conditions. This was the case also with the French-made Mystery Jet, which had its first “baptism under fire” during the 1956 Sinai campaign.
Discussing the air battle, Air Force Commander Ezer Weizmann told a press conference that “we will not tell you how it was done but we did manage to get them at a tactical advantage somewhere up around 32, 000 feet. ” He said there were between six and eight Syrian MIGS against two Israeli Mirages.