Black-listing of Ships Carrying Israeli Cargo Through Canal Seen As Negation of Vital Pact Element

Israeli circles said today that the Arab League’s announcement that it was black-listing ships that carried Israeli cargoes through the Suez Canal was an attempt to negate a vital provision of the Israeli-Egyptian interim accord and that if complied with by Egypt would constitute a clear breach of the interim agreement.

The announcement, made in Damascus yesterday by Mohammed Mahjour, commissioner of the Arab League’s Boycott Office, called on all member nations to refuse vessels carrying Israeli cargoes anchorage at their ports and to deny them the necessary services.

Dr. Meir Rosenne, legal advisor to the Foreign Ministry, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that this referred to such services as pilotage and in some cases fueling without which transit of the canal is not possible. He said that if Egypt were to deny these services to any ships it would be comparable to granting the aircraft of another nation landing rights but denying them use of Egyptian airspace.

Other officials here noted that Mahjour’s announcement had not been endorsed by the central boycott office and that even if it were, Egypt was not obliged to comply. The officials said that if Egypt black-lists ships that have already carried Israeli cargoes through the canal by refusing them future access to the waterway or berthing facilities at Egyptian ports such as Alexandria, that, too, would be a clear violation of the letter and spirit of the interim accord.

GREEK FREIGHTER BLACK-LISTED

The Damascus announcement said the Greek freighter, Olympos, which was the first vessel to carry an Israel cargo through the Sues Canal with a consignment of Rumanian cement bound for Eilat, has already been placed on the black-list by the regional boycott office in Egypt. There was no mention of other vessels bound to or from Israel ports that have since used the waterway.

Last weekend, the Liberian flag freighter Sea Bird passed through the canal enroute from Eilat to Ashdod and was reportedly scheduled to carry an Israeli cargo from Ashdod to an Iranian port via Suez. The French yacht St. Anne also passed through the canal over the weekend bound for Eilat although her destination was given as Djibouti, Ethiopia when she entered the canal. The St. Anne is owned by Club Mediterranean, a French firm that maintains vacation resorts in countries all over the world, including Israel and several Arab countries.

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