UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (Sep. 10)
The Security Council resumed this morning its debate on Israel’s complaint of a violation of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal zone by Egypt on Aug. 26. The Israeli complaint referred to the ambush killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of a third. The Egyptian representative, supported by speakers from the Arab and Soviet blocs, tried again to cast doubt on the authenticity of the incident. But other delegates, notably those of Canada and Brazil, said the report of Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of the United Nations observers, made it clear that the ambush had indeed taken place.
Israel’s chief representative, Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, urged the Council not to delay condemning the Egyptian attack and to call on Egypt to prevent such action in the future. He also asked the Council to ascertain the fate of the kidnapped Israeli soldier. Mr. Tekoah introduced as further evidence of Egyptian responsibility for the assault, the statement by an Egyptian soldier who deserted last Saturday. The soldier told his Israeli interrogators that all Egyptian units knew of the raid and that two Israeli soldiers had been killed and one kidnapped. The deserter said further that he had heard that the kidnapped soldier died in a hospital. Yaakov Malik, the chief Soviet representative, denounced the soldier’s report as “evidence from a traitor.” Mr. Tekoah said in reply that it was not the source of the evidence that mattered but its truth and applicability.
The Egyptian representative, Mohamed Awad el-Kony, contended again that the Israeli complaint was “groundless” and “fabricated” in light of Sunday’s artillery duel across the Suez Canal which, he charged, had been started by Israel. He called it an “ominous” sign of “Israel’s future designs in the area.” Mr. el-Kony was supported by Jozsef Tardos, of Hungary, who said that the events of Sunday justified the misgivings about Israel’s reasons for bringing the “spurious” complaint before the Council. But Joao Augusto de Aranjo, of Brazil, said the report of Gen. Bull made it plain that an Israeli patrol had been ambushed on Aug. 26 and urged the Council not to “let such an incident pass unnoticed.”
Ambassador George Ignatieff, of Canada, this month’s president of the Security Council, agreed that there was no doubt that the ambush had taken place and urged new ways to strengthen the cease-fire machinery in the Suez Canal area. He noted that, as early as October, 1967, the use of UN patrol craft on the canal and UN helicopters in the area had been suggested by Secretary General U Thant.
Mr. Malik complained that so far the only mention had been of Israeli casualties. He said that according to press reports, huge casualties and damage to property had been suffered by Egypt in Sunday’s barrage. The Council adjourned until 10:30 tomorrow morning when the first item on its agenda will be the application of Swaziland for membership in the UN. After that, Mr. Ignatieff said, the Council would resume its consideration of the Israeli complaint.