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Ben-gurion Says Israel Must Use Force Because of U. N. Inactivity

February 2, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion told the Knesset (Parliament) this morning that, as long as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization finds itself unable to “chase” the Syrians out of Israeli territory, Israel will have no choice but to use force.

Mr. Ben-Gurion made the statement after the Communist and Herut party members in the Knesset filed resolutions calling for a debate on the latest outbreaks of fighting along the Syrian border. “If we have no other choice for the safeguarding of the lives of our watchmen and workers,” said the Prime Minister, “we shall have to resort to the use of force–as long as the United Nations is unable to chase the Syrians off.”

The Prime Minister added that Israel will continue, in the future, to permit the rightful Arab owners of land in the demilitarized zone to cultivate such land. But, he affirmed, “under no conditions will we allow the Syrian police, officials or military to enter” that zone. Asserting the Syrian soldiers, disguised as farmers, were entering Israeli lands not belonging to Arab owners, the Prime Minister said:

“We are making every effort to preserve tranquility along the borders. We do not want to exacerbate relations with our neighbors. But since the United Nations did not ask them to cease their activities, and incursions continued, and one of our men was killed, we found it essential to do away with the Syrian military posts.”

Reviewing the situation concerning the disputed area in the demilitarized zone, Mr. Ben-Gurion stated that the irrigation canal near Beit Katzir was dug six years ago, and separates Arab lands from Jewish-owned lands. Israel, he said, recognized the right of the Arabs to work their own lands.

“After we had requested the United Nations to end the incursions by disguised Syrian soldiers, ” he went on, “and when nothing was done, Israel found it necessary to eliminate this so-called village which, actually, consisted of bunkers and fortified positions. “

Even as Mr. Ben-Gurion was making his explanation in the Knesset, observers here pointed out that, since the Israeli-Syrian Armistice Agreement was signed in 1949, Israel had filed with the United Nations a total of 750 complaints against Syrian military positions inside the demilitarized zone. The UN, however, has not succeeded in dislodging any of the Syrians from those illegally held positions.

Tonight, Israel submitted to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization still another complaint, the second grievance presented today. Earlier, Israel had voiced its complaint orally. In tonight’s written complaint, Israel alleged that, late in the afternoon, Syrians attempted again to cross the irrigation canal between Belt Katzir and Tewafik, but withdrew when challenged.

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