Eban Confers on Syrian Situation with U.s., British, French Envoys
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Eban Confers on Syrian Situation with U.s., British, French Envoys

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Abba Eban, Israel’s Foreign Minister, held a round of talks today with ambassadors of five countries, including the United States, Britain and France, in a review of the Security Council’s hearing on Israel’s complaint that Syria is responsible for the current wave of El Fatah guerrilla incursions into Israel.

The other envoys with whom he met, in the first of a series of such talks this week, were those of Belgium and Holland. The Foreign Minister also discussed with the five diplomats Israel’s need for closer ties with the European Economic Community. Israel’s current limited pact expires next June 30, and Israel has formally applied for associate membership in the E. E. C.

In related developments, Syrian authorities refused permission to United Nations observers yesterday to continue an investigation of a mine-laying incident involving detonation of a mine last Sunday by an Israeli command car, and — according to reports from the Syrian press — Jordanian troops killed three E1 Fatah commandos in the last few days. Well-informed Israeli sources meanwhile were quoted as believing that the continued Syrian-based and Syrian-backed sabotage actions presented both an immediate threat to Israel’s security and the danger of stimulating similar actions by other Arab states. The sources felt that reason alone required speedy Israeli action to halt the incursions by all available means.


The Syrian bar to the U. N. observer occurred after the observer, accompanied by an Israeli officer and tracker, followed footprints of marauders in the demilitarized zone from the scene of the planted mine toward the Syrian position at Tel Azzaziat. The group halted its investigation when darkness fell. This morning when the officials sought to resume the tracking, they were notified of Syrian opposition to the investigation. It was assumed that, when the Syrians learned that the footprints led to Tel Azzaziat, they did not want the U. N. to obtain clear proof implicating the Syrians. The U. N. Truce Supervision Organization then called off the tracking because of rains later this morning.

The reports on the clash between members of the Jordanian Legion and the El Fatah commandoes did not indicate where the incident occurred. According to the reports, the guerrillas did not want to take any hostile action, but the Jordanian troops opened fire without hesitation. It was recalled that Jordan authorities had said repeatedly they would take strict measures against infiltration’s into Israel from Jordanian bases. King Hussein took that position during a visit to London last July.

The Israeli sources warned that, if the Syrians were not checked in their El Fatah efforts, they could inspire other Arab states to emulate such tactics as the “only possible answer” to dealing with Israel. The sources stressed that it was virtually impossible to effectively check all infiltrations at night without recourse to massive and financially prohibitive expenditures.

The current Syrian regime, a loose coalition of some army circles plus ethnic and minor political groupings, appears to have adopted anti-Israel sabotage as one of its basic ideological tenets, the sources said. They added that the fact that Israel has restrained its response to political action in the United Nations, both two years ago after the Almagor incidents, and this year, again will still further encourage the Syrian regime to believe it can continue its present anti-Israel actions with impunity from reprisal.

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