TEL AVIV (Nov. 23)
Israel charged Egypt with provocative flights over the east bank of the Suez Canal and lodged today three cease-fire violation complaints with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). The complaints were the first to be filed by Israel since the Aug. 7 cease fire was extended for another 90-day period on Nov. 6. (Egypt protested an alleged truce violation to the United States yesterday. It charged, in a note handed to Donald C. Bergas, the senior American diplomatic representative In Cairo, that an American U-2 plane flew a reconnaissance mission over Egyptian positions on the west bank of the Suez Canal.) According to the Israeli complaints, two pairs of Egyptian Soukhoi fighter-bombers flew over the east bank of the canal from Ismailia to a point north of Ras el Aish yesterday. This morning, the Israelis charged, two pairs of Sukhoi-7s traversed Israeli positions while flying from Kantara to Ismailia and overflew the positions a second time on a northward flight from Ismailia to Ras el Aish. There was no immediate indication of the reasons for the overflights at this time.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman told newsmen today that the Egyptian overflights and Cairo’s complaint to the U.S. were intended to demonstrate that the post-Nasser regime is tough. According to Mrs. Yael Vered, head of the Ministry’s Middle East department, the incidents were symptomatic of internal troubles in Egypt. She said strong pressures were building up inside Egypt for the Sadat government to abandon Egypt’s role of leader of the Arab world and to concentrate on Egyptian interests. She said the Egyptian government has apparently not decided what it would do if the Jarring peace talks are not resumed by the time the cease-fire expires. It is clear, she said, that the Egyptians are unwilling to take any risks at present so they must put up a tough front. Mrs. Vered said the new Jordanian regime under the premiership of Wasfi el Tal, was applying a firm hand in its relations with terrorist organizations. She said the new firmness was a result of King Hussein’s military success in the September civil war which proved that his army was loyal and united. Mrs. Vered said the terrorist groups have been weakened by mass desertions and huge losses of arms and ammunition.