UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Apr. 24)
Israel urged the UN yesterday to insist that Egypt observes the June, 7, 1967 cease-fire agreements along the Suez Canal which an Egyptian Government spokesman repudiated yesterday. The Israeli representations were made in letters from Ambassador Yosef Tekoah to Secretary-General U Thant and to Maj. Gen. Padma Bahadur Khatri, of Nepal, this month’s Security Council president.
Mr. Tekoah stated to Gen. Khatri that “the Government of Israel desires that the cease-fire be scrupulously observed on the basis of complete reciprocity and that tranquility prevail along the ceasefire lines.” He asked the Security Council president to use his influence to that effect with the Cairo Government. In his letter to the Secretary-General, Mr. Tekoah declared that it was Israel’s policy to adhere scrupulously to the cease-fire agreements and that Israel “considers that the UN should insist on the same policy being followed by the United Arab Republic.”
Mr. Tekoah charged Egypt with “deliberate assaults” by shelling positions on the Israeli side of the canal where over 90 UN military observers are installed to maintain the cease-fire. Mr. Thant has expressed concern for the safety of the UN forces, several of whose observation posts have been hit by Egyptian shell fire. A captain of the Irish Army was injured in the shelling Tuesday.
The UN observers were installed to maintain compliance with the cease-fire resolution unanimously adopted by the Security Council on June 7, 1967. The resolution, based on a draft submitted by the Soviet Union, “demands that the governments concerned as a first step cease-fire and all military activities on June 7, 1967 and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council promptly and currently informed on the situation.” Mr. Thant complied with that injunction in a special report to the Security Council on Tuesday in which he said that the cease-fire had broken down in the Suez Canal area and that a virtual state of war existed there. Egypt’s indirect reply to that report was a statement by the official Government spokesman in Cairo, Mohammed H. el-Zayyat, that Egypt will not accept the cease-fire so long as Israel continued to fortify its positions on the east bank of the canal.
(The Israeli reaction in Jerusalem to the Egyptian announcement was that it was nothing more than a restatement of earlier declarations. A Government spokesman said that Egypt’s position has long been that the cease-fire agreement was not regarded in Cairo as binding. He said that Egypt justifies this stance by arguing that Israel violates the agreement. The announcement that the cease-fire was void was seen as being aimed at impressing the Egyptian public that Cairo does not accept the line as firm and as another Arab step directed at increasing tensions in order to encourage a Big Four imposed settlement. Displeasure was voiced at Mr. Thant’s appraisal of the situation at the canal since it was seen as being the same as the Egyptian claim–considered here as propaganda–that tensions were escalating toward a new war.)