TEL AVIV (Jan. 24)
Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban expressed hope here today that the special meeting to be opened tomorrow by the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission might lead to the settlement of the problems besetting Israeli-Syrian relations. He said such an aim could result if the extraordinary session of the ISMAC discussed not only practical problems of farm-land cultivation in the disputed zones between Israel and Syria, but also paid attention to a clause in the 1949 Israel-Syria armistice agreement which calls upon the governments to prevent border crossings for hostile activity in the neighboring land.
Speaking before a luncheon meeting of the Foreign Press Association, Mr. Eban said that, while Israel would adhere to agreements that might be reached by ISMAC regarding cultivation and the rights of cultivation, it will not tolerate “in the long run” incidents like the recent occurrence in the Galilean village of Dishon. There, during a football game, a mine attributed to saboteurs infiltrating from Syria, blew up, killing one spectator and wounding two of the players.
While Israel, said Mr. Eban, “is facing a long period of no peace, no war,” he voiced the hope that the spirit of Tashkent, which brought about a rapprochement in the India-Pakistan struggle over Kashmir, would be applicable to the Middle East as an aid toward settling disputes through direct negotiations. He declared that there still exists in the Arab world a trend toward accepting the existence of Israel as an accomplished fact, after is years of Israeli statehood. That trend, he declared, points toward possible Arab-Israeli coexistence or “reluctant reconciliation with an undesirable fact.”