UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (Sep. 4)
Israel accused Egypt today before the United Nations Security Council of a “deliberate and planned military attack” on the night of Aug. 26 when an Israeli patrol was ambushed on the east bank of the Suez Canal resulting in the death of two Israeli soldiers and the abduction of a third. Israel formally charged that the attack had been carried out by “an Egyptian military force consisting of approximately 30 men.” The Council heard the Tekoah Egyptian statements and adjourned until Thursday.
In a terse, straightforward presentation of the Israeli charges, Ambassador Yosef Tekoah told the Security Council that “the nature of the ambush, the professional manner in which it was conducted, the size of the Egyptian force employed, established on the basis of the army boot footprints found in the area and the number of shelters dug by the attackers, the fact that the weapons used are standard equipment of the UAR Army, the coordination of the attack with Egyptian military positions on the west bank leave no room for any doubt whatsoever that this was a deliberate and planned military attack by the UAR against Israel, and that the responsibility for it lies with the UAR.”
He pointed out that “the entire area on the UAR side is a military zone in which there is a heavy concentration of troops. The Egyptian military positions are located along the canal at a close distance from one another in some places the distance between these positions is less than 100 meters. These positions control all movements along the west bank of the canal and on the canal itself on which, under arrangements reached between the parties on July 27, 1967, and renewed on Aug. 27, 1967, all movements of boats and all military activities are prohibited.” Mr. Tekoah said that “by all indications, the Egyptian forces crossed the canal which is only 150 meters wide in boats with a clear objective of taking up positions on the east bank, ambushing the patrol known to survey the area and killing or capturing its men.”
The Israeli representative noted that this was the first time Egyptian units had crossed the canal and attacked Israeli forces on the east bank. He warned that “this development is fraught with the gravest dangers for the maintenance of the cease-fire.” He asked whether Egypt was ready to take measures to prevent such attacks in future and was prepared to return the kidnapped Israeli soldier, noting that the answers to these questions “are vital for the future maintenance of the cease-fire in the area.”
SAYS ISRAEL DISCOURAGED BY PAST EFFORTS ON PEACE ISSUES
In bringing the action before the Council, Mr. Tekoah said, Israel hoped to arrest further deterioration of the situation, to have the military attack condemned, to impress on Egypt the need to carry out its obligations and to secure the return of the kidnapped soldier. He said that “general difficulties” and “obstacles placed in its way” had prevented the Security Council in the past from fairly and equitably discharging its responsibilities in the Middle East. He observed that the people of Israel were “greatly discouraged by the inability of the Council to rise above its arithmetic of votes and vetoes and contribute to the termination of Arab violations of the cease-fire.” He said that the Israel Government hoped that “this time, it will find support in the Council for its efforts to ensure the faithful observance of the cease-fire and avert a serious aggravation of the situation.”
In his reply to the Israeli charges, Ambassador Mohamed Awad El-Kony of Egypt denied that Egypt had taken part in the action and suggested that Israel had planted physical evidence to back up his charges. He told the Council that the Israeli charges were not supported by the report to the United Nations by Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, head of the UN cease-fire observer force.
The Egyptian envoy launched into a tirade against Israel accusing it of defiance of the United Nations and of continuing “large-scale military operations” in Arab territories. He asserted again that Israel had failed to declare its acceptance of the Security Council’s resolution of Nov. 22, 1967, calling on all parties to cooperate to establish peace in the Middle East.
Mr. El-Kony characterized Israel’s attitude toward the UN as one of defiance and charged that Israel continued to carry out “large-scale military operations” in Arab territories. In a brief reply, Mr. Tekoah denounced the Egyptian statement as “disappointing, irresponsible and negative.”