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Eban Sounds Warning to Syria; Speaks in Knesset on Syrian Violations

Israel sternly warned Syria today “not to delude herself” into thinking it has found a “formula for one-sided war.” He said that Israel will continue to maintain her security “by all means at her disposal.”

The warning was voiced in the Knesset (Parliament) by Foreign Minister Abba Eban in reply to a motion by one of the opposition groups, Gahal, the fusion of the Herut and Liberal parties, which demanded an open debate on the suspension of meetings by the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission. That Commission’s sessions have been in abeyance since February 2, due to Syria’s insistence on broadening the agreed-upon agenda which should deal only with land cultivation in the demilitarized zones on the Israeli-Syrian frontiers.

Parliament supported the Foreign Minister, who insisted that the ISMAC agenda should be discussed only in the Commission, not in the Knesset. Gahal charged that “Israel’s restraint and waiting for Syria to resume the ISMAC session has put Israel in an impossible situation.” Gahal noted that Syria had resumed its violations of Israeli territory at the rate of more than 13 violations a day, that 270 violations had occurred in the last two months, and that acts of sabotage inside Israel are continuing.

On behalf of the Government, Mr. Eban accepted those figures. But, while requesting that the ISMAC item be left for debate inside that U.N. body, he told the Knesset:

“Israel’s right to self defense is unimpaired. Her right to resist aggression and protect her citizens and her territory is the over-riding concern, and decisions on this point have been taken without reference to the ISMAC talks, which have been suspended since February 2. That suspension does not create an open season for saboteurs. Israel is always willing to work toward peace. But, in the absence of peace, she will continue to maintain her security by all means at her disposal.”

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