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Israel Cabinet Holds Extraordinary Meeting on Syrian Attack

August 17, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Levi Eshkol reported to an extraordinary meeting of Israel’s Cabinet today on developments of the clash yesterday at Lake Tiberias between Syria and Israel, and on his talks on the situation with Lt. Gen, Odd Bull, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.

The meeting was called to examine steps necessitated by the clash in which Syria used both ground and air weapons, and in which two Soviet-made Syrian MIGs were shot down by Israeli jets. It was reported that the Cabinet was also disturbed by a statement in the official Syrian communique on the clash, broadcast by Radio Damascus, asserting that Syria had “decided to pass from a defensive strategy to one of attack against Israel.”

The Premier told the Cabinet that he had invited Gen. Bull to meet with him “urgently” and that he had drawn Gen. Bull’s attention to “the gravity with which Israel views” the clash of Monday. During the 30-minute meeting, the Premier stressed that Syria had broken all past undertakings to respect U.N.-arranged cease-fire agreements, including a pledge growing out of a July clash.

The Premier also called to Gen. Bull’s attention the “bellicose” statements broadcast by Damascus Radio and similar statements in the Syrian press today which asserted that the attack yesterday was a “punitive operation undertaken for last month’s Israeli reprisal.”


The Premier meanwhile warned Syria that, in future air attacks on Israel, Syria could no longer count on its frontier as a “protective barrier” against Israeli pursuit. Speaking at a kibbutz near the site of the clash, the Premier called the Syrian action “unwarranted and shameless aggression.”

Salvage operations on the Israeli coast guard cutter, which was stranded on a sandbar in Lake Tiberias, thus drawing the initial Syrian attack, were resumed today. The operations, which began last night under U.N. supervision, were interrupted this morning because of Syrian opposition. They were later resumed, but the vessel remained stranded despite efforts by Israelis using four ships to free the vessel.

Calm continued in the area otherwise, although intense Syrian air activity was seen some distance from the border. The Syrians also built trenches on a hill near the spot where the Syrian MIG fell into the lake. Their apparent intention was to prevent the Israelis at all costs from salvaging the Soviet-made plane.

Israeli envoys abroad were cabled a full background report and an explanation of the incidents yesterday and were instructed to make the facts known to the governments to which they are accredited. They were asked, in such communications, to stress the “gravity of the situation.”

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