JERUSALEM (Aug. 26)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol told the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) here today that, if the United Nations Security Council fails this time to “expose” Syria as an aggressor, the Council will cause “bitter disappointment” to Israel. He was referring to the Security Council’s current consideration of Israel’s complaint against Syria as a result of the recent spate of Syrian attacks against Israel along this country’s northern frontier. Failure of the Council to brand Syria as the aggressor this time, Mr. Eshkol said, will undermine Israel’s faith in the UN’s ability to safeguard peace in this sector.
The Knesset convened this morning for a special session, interrupting its summer vacation. The session had been scheduled to debate urgent internal, economic affairs. But Mr. Eshkol took the occasion to address the Parliament on the latest Syrian Israeli developments and the role which, he hoped, the UN Security Council would play as a result of the current deliberations at UN Headquarters in New York.
Mr. Eshkol described the deterioration of the Syrian border situation which, he said, began last July 13, when six vacationers–three Belgians and three Israelis- were abducted by Syrians from a small, marooned boat on Lake Tiberias. The Belgians were released, but the three Israelis are still in a Syrian jail.
The Premier told the Knesset he hoped the Security Council would “do its duty by treating the subject with the seriousness it deserved,” and by adopting an unequivocal resolution condemning the murders of two 19 year-old Israeli farmhands a week ago at Almagor which, he said, was preceded by a chain of Syrian aggressions. He emphasized that any Security Council attempt to obscure the “obvious facts,” and to be content with a routine appeal for calm to “both sides” would be a bitter disappointment.
CITES ISRAEL’S POWER OF SELF-DEFENSE; RELIES ON U.N. CHARTER SAFEGUARDS
“Though we have the power to defend ourselves, and justice is on our side, it is right that we should exploit every possibility of ensuring border quiet and security by peaceful means,” Mr. Eshkol said. “If, despite all our efforts, peace is not established on the border, the Israel Government will be duty bound, and entitled like any other Government, to take steps to defend itself under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to safeguard its sovereign rights and to meet its responsibilities for the peace of the State and the security of its citizens.”
He said the Syrian acts of aggression since the July 13 abduction reached a climax on August 19, when Syrian soldiers ambushed and “cold-bloodedly murdered” the two young farmhands.
Declaring that UN agencies had not succeeded in halting Syrian provocations and ending the Syrian “open violations” of the 1949 Israeli-Syrian armistice agreement, he added that, while Israel exercised restraint in a desire to prevent bloodshed, and refrained from using its military strength to ensure security, the latest crime had subjected Israel’s patience to a severe test. Nevertheless, he added, Israel had turned to the Security Council, and was entitled to hope that the UN body would do its duty and clearly expose the aggressor.