JERUSALEM (Jul. 4)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban yesterday summoned the representatives of four members of the United Nations Security Council to relate Israel’s dismay at the Council’s June 26 resolution and to reiterate Israel’s position on a possible prisoner exchange. He met later with the French ambassador on the same matter. Observers saw Eban’s move as keyed to another Council meeting, which Syria is known to be pressing for. The June 26 resolution, which condemned Israel for retaliatory raids into Lebanon but not the terrorist raids from Lebanon that engendered them, said the Council would meet again unless the Syrian officers captured by Israel in the June 21 foray into Lebanon were not promptly repatriated.
Eban told the ambassadors of Argentina, Belgium and Japan and the British charge d’affaires that Israel insists on an exchange of all prisoners held by itself, Syria and Egypt and will not give the captured Syrians priority. In Israel’s view, he said, they are prisoners of war. Syria has claimed they were kidnaped.
Eban told the envoys of Israel’s dismay at the one-sidedness of the resolution, which passed by 13-0 with the United States and Panama abstaining. He complained that the Council has never sympathized with Israeli victims of Arab attacks.
The Foreign Minister told the Cabinet Sunday that the Syrians seemed to be hardening their position in ongoing negotiations with the International Red Cross on an exchange of prisoners with Israel. The Security Council resolution expressed hope for a speedy return of the officers.
The talks through the Red Cross reportedly were at a standstill, some sources said. They suggested that the Syrians may feel their officers have been in Israeli control long enough to have divulged whatever useful intelligence they had.