JERUSALEM (Oct. 10)
The Israel Government mounted today a major diplomatic effort to impress on the major powers and the United Nations the gravity with which it viewed a new and death-dealing Syrian incursion.
Four members of an Israeli border patrol were killed Saturday night and two were wounded, when their jeep hit a mine believed planted by members of the El Fatah terrorist organization coming from Syria, in what was regarded as one of the worst border incidents in recent years. That incident was the second in 48 hours. About midnight, Saturday, infiltrators whose tracks were traced to the Jordanian border planted explosives in the Romema Elite suburb in Jerusalem. The blasts severely damaged two buildings and injured four persons.
Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, Chief of Staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization, came to the Israel Foreign Ministry today, at its urgent request, to discuss the border situation. Moshe Sasson, head of the Ministry’s admistice affairs division, reiterated to the U.N. truce chief Israel’s grave view of the situation developing from the latest Syrian “sabotage and murder.” Mr. Sasson presented Gen. Bull with a police report on the incident. They discussed the possibilities of United Nations action to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Gen. Bull presented his condolences on the deaths of the four border policemen.
ESHKOL CALLS IN SOVIET, U.S. ENVOYS; CABINET PINPOINTS IRE AT SYRIA
The United States and Soviet Ambassadors also were asked to meet with Israeli officials, at the request of Premier Levi Eshkol in his triple capacity of Premier, Defense Minister and acting Foreign Minister during Abba Eban’s visit to the United Nations. Political sources said that Mr. Eshkol plans to tell Soviet Ambassador Dimitri Chuvakhin that
At a meeting of the Cabinet yesterday, it was reiterated that Israel holds responsible those Arab states from which the marauders come, specifically, in the latest cases, Syria and Jordan, but that the principal responsibility for the raids rests on Syria.
Ambassadors of all other friendly countries which are currently members of the U.N. Security Council also were scheduled to be called for meetings with Premier Eshkol before the end of this week. They will all be fully briefed on the current border turmoil, and will be told that Israel cannot relieve of responsibility the states through which the Syrian raiders travel en route to Israel. Most of these diplomatic and political actions were decided on at the Cabinet meeting at which the Premier presented a comprehensive report on the situation.
PRESS CALLS FOR VIGOROUS RESPONSE; SCENE OF HAVOC DESCRIBED
The entire Israeli press called on the Government today to react energetically to impress on Syria that “wanton murder” could not be tolerated. The independent daily, Haaretz, asserted that the planned appeal to the U.N. decided on by the Cabinet would not be enough “to prevent further murder and sabotage.” Haaretz described “the goal to be pursued” by Israel was one of “breaking of Syria’s bellicose spirit.”
Other newspapers also placed responsibility squarely on Syria but added, in the words of Davar, the organ of the Pistadrut, Israel’s labor federation, that “foreign powers which support Damascus are not free of blame.”
A Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent who visited the site, a half mile from the Syrian border, found a scene of havoc. The jeep in which the border patrol rode was a mass of charred metal. Pieces of the vehicle, as well as personal belongings of the patrol members, hung from nearby trees. There is a long lane bordered by pine trees and orange groves, and it was on this lane that the jeep command car was riding when the patrol members heard explosions at a corner of the kibbutz Shaar Hagolan. Driving to investigate, the patrol sent the jeep over a huge mine. Observers said this was the first time that infiltrators had deliberately set an ambush for Israeli police officers.