WASHINGTON (Jul. 14)
Further claims against Israel for damages done to the Liberty will take into consideration the newly published Congressional testimony that a communications foul-up prevented the vessel from receiving orders to move out of the war zone, Government sources said this weekend. However, the State Department’s official stand still holds Israel entirely responsible for the accidental attack.
The Defense Department has referred the whole issue to the State Department in light of the testimony. State Department legal officers are studying the testimony and it was conceded that a complicated legal issue of contributory negligence now exists. According to the State Department, Israel’s payment of $3,323,500 to the families of the sailors who were killed represented an acknowledgement of its responsibility. Israel now faces additional claims for compensation of the wounded men and for repair of the damages. But officials hinted that the new disclosures, which indicated that the U.S. considered the Liberty’s position off Sinai to have been hazardous, would be taken into account in preparing the final bill.