Eshkol in New Warning to Algiers As No Progress is Made on Release of Hijacked Plane
Menu JTA Search

Eshkol in New Warning to Algiers As No Progress is Made on Release of Hijacked Plane

Download PDF for this date

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol has again warned Algeria to release the hijacked El Al airliner it has detained since last Tuesday and the 12 Israelis held captive there and called on all nations to take a firm stand against the “act of piracy” committed against the Israeli airline. He declared that no country could be excused from acting in this situation and pointed out that once air piracy started, “no one knows where it will stop.”

(According to information received in Washington today, the Algerian Government will defer any decision on the release of the Israeli plane and the 12 Israeli prisoners until the next Cabinet meeting, which is set for Thursday.

(The Christian Science Monitor reported from Beirut that the Algerian Government is in a dilemma over the question. The paper’s Middle East correspondent said that the Palestinian terrorists who had hijacked the $6 million Boeing 707 had added to inter-Arab tensions and had put Algeria in a position where refusal to release the Israeli plane “endangers Algeria’s own international position” and could result in the refusal of foreign airlines to continue service into Algiers. The correspondent said Arab airlines “are vulnerable to Israeli interception.”

(At the United Nations tonight, Ambassador Yosef Tekoah of Israel and Ambassador Tewfik Bouattoura of Algeria had separate meetings with Secretary-General U Thant but it was understood that there was no progress to report and that the Algerian envoy was able to give Mr. Thant no new information about his Government’s intentions. Mr. Tekoah conveyed his concern over the delay in having the crew, passengers and plane released and said that each day that passes without their release worsens the situation. Israel is known to be considering calling a Security Council meeting on the issue.)


(The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency to which both Israel and Algeria belong, said today that it had been in communication with all parties involved in the plane incident but had not had replies from all the parties. The ICAO was one of the first agencies to which Israel turned after the hijacking of the plane last Tuesday. It was assumed from the ICAO statement that the Algerian Government, which had failed to reply to the United Nations Secretary-General, had also failed to reply to the aviation agency.

(In Brussels, a Foreign Ministry communique reported that the Belgian Government had expressed concern over the violation of international principles in matters of air navigation but denied that it had intervened in Algiers. The ministry also denied reports published in a Brussels newspaper Monday that an air crew of Sabena, the Belgian airline, would be sent to Algiers to fly out the Israeli plane and the Israeli prisoners.)


Mr. Eshkol’s statements on the plane hijacking came in the course of a speech he made yesterday in Haifa to the association of wounded war veterans in which he analyzed the position of the Arab states. He told the veterans that the Arab states were bent on war and had not renounced a solution of their dispute with Israel by force. He said that the Arabs not only wanted to recover what they had lost in the June war but “want to wipe Israel right off the map.” What they want, he said, was not

Mr. Eshkol warned that by abetting hijacking as the latest phase in a terror campaign, the Arab states would have to bear responsibility and this, he said, “may be more far-reaching than they would like.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund