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Israel Submits Complaints to U.S. Security Council Against Syria

Israel complained to the Security Council today that for the last two weeks “armed forces from Syria have been wantonly and repeatedly attacking peaceful Israel civilian activities within Israel territory with machine-guns, mortar and artillery fire.”

In a letter from Ambassador Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative, to Arsenne Usher of the Ivory Coast, the current president of the Security Council, Israel notified the United Nations that, in the last two weeks, a number of Syrian attacks had brought about a “tense and dangerous situation in the vicinity of the village of Almagor.” The Almagor area includes the settlement of Korazim, the target of much of the shooting. It lies north of the Sea of Galilee to the west of the Jordan River along Israel’s northern frontier.

The attacks from Syrian gun posts have been repeated day after day since March 2, Mr. Comay complained, sometimes occurring several times a day. In three separate incidents yesterday, he declared, one Israeli was killed and four wounded. In each case, he noted, the Israeli farmers were working in fields placed squarely on Israel’s side of the border by United Nations observers who also found that, in the earlier incidents of this month, thus far probed, the Syrians had started the fire. Furthermore, he stated, Syria’s own chief of staff at Damascus had personally promised the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization that the attacks would cease.

(In a late dispatch today, Israel reported that the Syrians opened two attacks today in another border area, firing at an Israeli frontier patrol near Dan Israel returned the fire. Meanwhile, in Haifa, funeral services were held this afternoon for Shmuel Levi, the Korazim tractor driver killed by the Syrians yesterday.)

“To sum up,” Mr. Comay stated, “it would appear to be established beyond any doubt that during these last two weeks, armed forced of Syria have been wantonly and repeatedly attacking peaceful Israel civilian activities within Israel territory. In doing so, the Syrian authorities are grossly violating the armistice agreement, disregarding the findings of United Nations investigations, and flouting the representations made to them by the chief of staff of UNTSO. This intolerable state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely, and the Syrian Government must accept full responsibility for the consequences of its actions.”

Mr. Comay’s letter did not ask for a meeting of the Council on this issue, requesting only that the letter be circulated to the members of the Council.

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