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Yosef Tekoah Tells Security Council That Syria’s Mounting Aggression is Ominous

Israel advised the Security Council yesterday that Syria was intensifying its aggression against Israel in violation of the cease-fire and termed these acts “particularly ominous as it occurs in the first month of Syrian membership in the Security Council.” Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, permanent representative of Israel to the UN, presented this view in a letter to Mr. Liu Chieh of the Republic of China, this month’s President of the Security Council.

In a second letter by Mr. Tekoah to Mr. Chieh, the Israeli ambassador refuted a Syrian charge made last Friday during a debate in the Security Council that Israel was receiving tanks from the Republic of South Africa. Mr. Tekoah characterized this charge by Syrian Ambassador George Tomeh as a “scurrilous anti-Israel tirade” which was totally false “and had already been denied in Israel.”

Referring to Syria’s mounting aggression, Mr. Tekoah stated that during January “more than sixty armed attacks have been perpetrated by Syrian forces.” He noted that Syrian authorities have “openly admitted these acts of aggression.” The Israeli ambassador observed that in addition to aggression by Syrian regular forces the Syrian government is “playing an active and central role in the warfare waged against Israel by terror organizations from Syria and from the territory of other Arab states.”

TEKOAH REFUTES SYRIAN CHARGE OF SOUTH AFRICAN-ISRAELI TANK DEAL

In his letter dealing with Mr. Tomeh’s statement, Mr. Tekoah noted that the charge of South African tank sales to Israel was based on a “propaganda report first published in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia.” During the course of the council debate, Mr. Tomeh quoted a Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatch as “proof” of his contention. He failed to mention that the JTA dispatch was quoting an allegation in Izvestia. The JTA story was datelined London, Jan. 19. Mr. Tomeh added that on Jan. 21, JTA reported that the Israeli government had no comment on the alleged tank deal. What JTA actually reported was that Jerusalem had no comment on Izvestia’s allegation.

In a third letter to Mr. Chieh, Israel’s ambassador denied Egyptian allegations that Israeli defense forces attacked the “civilian unarmed vessel Shadwan” on Jan. 25. Mr. Tekoah reiterated the statement made in Jerusalem that day that “the boat concerned was an auxiliary craft in the service of the Egyptian army and that the UAR allegations are unfounded.” The Jerusalem statement added that Israeli defense forces are under order not to strike at civilian vessels and these orders are scrupulously observed.”

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