UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Aug. 26)
Maj. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the United Nations Supervision Organization, who has completed a full probe and report on the Syrian-Israeli incidents of a week ago, today supported Israel’s grievances against Syria in every respect. On the other hand, the report was totally lacking in support of Syria’s counter-complaint against Israel.
Gen. Bull’s report was circulated here to the members of the Security Council by Secretary General U Thant late this afternoon. Due to the lateness of the hour, and the fact that members of the 11 nation Security Council would need time to study the bulky document, the resumed session of the Council on the Israeli and Syrian complaints, originally scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, was adjourned until Wednesday morning. The Council’s previous decision to meet Tuesday afternoon had been taken at its first meeting on the Syrian-Israel flare-up last Friday.
Noting that United Nations military observers from 12 countries participated in the probe that resulted in his report, Gen. Bull told the Council the investigations have shown that:
Two Israeli farmers had been murdered on August 19 after Syrians laid an ambush for the Israelis at Kibbutz Almagor, near the Syrian border but well inside Israeli territory.
In every instance where fighting took place between the Israelis and the Syrians on August 19 and on two subsequent days, the firing had been started by the Syrians.
U.N. OBSERVERS SAW TRACKS LEFT BY SYRIANS; BULL PROPOSES PRISONER EXCHANGE
At the spot where the two Israel’s were found murdered, the UN investigators saw “physical evidence” of the Syrian attack. This evidence included spent Syrian bullets and cartridges, part of a Syrian hand grenade and part of a Syrian automatic weapon.
“Tracks leading from the direction of the Jordan River to the ambush position… and tracks returning in the direction of the Jordan River.” These tracks were seen by experts here as conclusive proof that the infiltrators had come from and returned to Syrian territory.
Gen. Bull did not report a single instance to bolster the Syrian allegation, made in its counter complaint, that the Israelis had used armored cars in the demilitarized zone. Syria’s entire counter-grievance was based on such a claim.
Gen. Bull reported he had taken various steps “to alleviate tension and restore peace and tranquility in the area.” These steps include UN investigations of the border area to a depth of a little more than six miles to see what weapons each of the opposing military forces has. Certain heavy weapons are not permitted to either side in the demilitarized zone.
The UN official also reported he had proposed to both sides an exchange of prisoners held by each. He said that Syria is holding eight Israelis, while Israel is holding 10 prisoners. In addition, he noted Syria is also still holding the three Israelis, a man and two women taken by the Syrians when the motorboat in which the Israelis were riding, on Lake Tiberias, foundered. Israel charges these three Israelis were kidnaped. Gen. Bull’s report stated that, “according to the evidence at our disposal,” the disabled motorboat had “landed on the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias due to circumstances” beyond the control of the three Israelis.