Menu JTA Search

Israel Pondering Fate of Terrorists Seeking Refuge

Israeli officials are considering what to do with Palestinian terrorists who have been surrendering en-masse to Israeli forces to escape death or capture at the hands of the Jordanian Army. Fourteen more weary, frightened fedayeen sought refuge in Israeli territory today and eight crossed over from Jordan yesterday bringing the total of voluntary captives to 91 since the mass surrenders began last Saturday. Israeli authorities do not regard them as prisoners of war nor are they placed in the same category as terrorists captured in battle or on sabotage missions. The Defense Ministry reportedly intends to treat them differently. They will not be placed on trial, it was learned although they could be charged with membership in an illegal organization.

Most of the fleeing terrorists were originally residents of the West Bank. Rumors were current today that Israeli authorities planned to set them free and return them to their former homes because they are considered “harmless.” Early this morning a group of five terrorists surrendered to Israeli border guards and nine more turned themselves in later, two of them suffering from wounds. Five surrendered yesterday in the Jordan Valley and three at El Hamma after crossing into the Golan Heights from northern Jordan. One of the latter was injured. According to eye-witness accounts, the terrorists approach the Israeli lines timidly. Their usual procedure is to hide in the brush along the banks of the Jordan River until an Israeli patrol passes by when they wave a white flag, usually a strip of underwear on a stick. Only when the Israelis notice them and wave back do they come out of hiding and approach the river bank. They are able to wade across as the river is shallow at this time of year.

Two Arab terrorists were killed in a clash with an Israeli patrol in the Golan Heights yesterday and a third escaped into Syria. No Israeli casualties were reported. Israel lodged another complaint with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) yesterday against new Egyptian over-flights in the Suez Canal zone. Israel claimed the cease-fire was violated by a pair of Sukhoi-7 fighter bombers that flew over Israeli positions followed by a pair of MIG-21s.

NEXT STORY