UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jan. 16)
Israel is ready to meet with Syria face-to-face in a special, extraordinary meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission to negotiate over problems of the demilitarized zones on the Israeli-Syrian border. Syria, according to Damascus broadcasts today, holds Israel guilty of “aggressive intentions,” will continue its present policies, and will “crush any aggression from Israel.”
These were the reactions today to an urgent appeal from Secretary-General U Thant of the United Nations, addressed directly to both countries with the request for “a prompt and cooperative response.” Mr. Thant said he considered the situation so urgent that he had taken the “unusual step” of informing the Security Council members individually of his action. The Secretary-General acted on receipt of reports of a build-up of heavy arms, armor and troops on both’ sides of the line. He said that “it is clear that the situation threatens to erupt at any moment into a large-scale clash of military forces in overt violation of Security Council resolutions and of the Israel-Syria general armistice agreement.”
But even as the Secretary-General was taking these measures, further acts of sabotage and violence were being reported from Israel and on Sunday, Joel Barromi, acting head of the Israel delegation, submitted the fifth note this month to the president of the Security Council protesting against two new weekend outrages: the mine-laying incident at Dishon, which resulted in the death of a soccer game spectator, and a series of shootings on Lake Tiberias, Mr. Barromi met with the president of the Security Council, Jose Maria Ruda, of Argentina, at the Argentine Embassy last night.
INTENSE DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY IN MANY CAPITALS
In Jerusalem, Lieut. Gen. Odd Bull, head of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization, called at the Israeli Foreign Ministry this morning to deliver a copy of U Thant’s appeal and to discuss its contents.
Later, Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban summoned a press conference to affirm Israel’s readiness to meet the Syrians and to warn that Israel would not tolerate further Syrian aggression.
At the United Nations, Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, speaking for the United States Government, announced support of U Thant’s peace initiative.
Tonight, Michael S. Comay, permanent representative of Israel, conferred with Mr. Thant after a hurried flight from Jerusalem.
In Washington, Minister Ephraim Evron called on Acting Assistant Secretary of State William Handley and expressed Israel’s concern over the continuing pattern of Arab attacks. He voiced hope that the United States and all other governments would use all possible influence with Syria to bring about a cessation of provocations.
Earlier in Washington, a delegation representing the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations was received by Under-Secretary of State Nicholas De B. Katzenbach who, a delegation spokesman reported, indicated a “sympathetic understanding” of the problem imposed on Israel by Syrian provocations.