Israel Bars Lebanon’s Bid to Reactivate Mixed Armistice Commission

Israel has flatly rejected a Lebanese proposal for the reconstitution of the Lebanese-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission and advised Secretary-General U Thant today that if and when Lebanon is prepared to accept the proposal of August 16 for the stationing of UN cease-fire observers on the border, Israel will give him its “considered views” on the proposal.

Mr. Thant asked both countries to accept UN observers whose function would be “observing and maintaining the Security Council cease-fire.” Lebanon, in reply, insisted that the 1949 armistice agreement was still in effect and that, if necessary, additional staff for the mixed armistice commission could perform the function.

In his reply today, Ambassador Yosef Tekoah pointed out that “the armistice period is now behind us, and since June, 1967, the international policy is to move beyond the cease-fire to permanent peace. Since the Lebanese reaction does not represent a positive reply to your proposal, there is no point my government studying it further in detail.”

The envoy charged that difficulties on the Lebanese border were the result of activities of terrorist groups based on Lebanese soil. He said it was “the unquestioned duty” of the Lebanese Government to prevent all cease-fire violations from Lebanese territory. When Lebanon does this, he said, “the cease-fire will be properly maintained and the situation will cease to be disturbing.”

Meanwhile efforts to draft a resolution to settle the Lebanese and Israeli cross-complaints pending in the Security Council since Aug. 12 remained stalemated today. The Americans are pressing a draft resolution which condemns Israel for its airstrikes against the terrorist enclave on the slopes of Mount Hermon, in Lebanese territory, on Aug. 11 and rebukes other cease-fire violations.

In more than a week of consultations, the Americans have not been able to get the Lebanese to go along with the draft so that it can get the required nine votes in the Council. The Arabs want an out-and-out condemnation of Israel with no reference to the cease-fire violations which generated the Israeli reply and a threat of sanctions.

NEXT STORY