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U.N. Truce Chief Links Israel’s Air Raid with Syrian Sabotage

July 29, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, today definitely linked Israel’s July 14th air raid against Syria water diversion installations to previous terrorist mining attacks in Israeli settlements which cost Israel two dead and two wounded.

The Israel air raid, according to Gen. Bull, caused damage to Syrian earth moving machinery intended for use for diversion of Jordan River headwaters. He reported that nine Syrians were wounded, one of the casualties — a woman — dying later.

The significance of Gen. Bull’s linkage of the Israel air raids with the terrorist attacks lay in the fact that Syria, supported by Jordan and the Soviet Union, has been insisting before the Security Council, currently in session, that the Israel air raid and the terrorist attacks against Israel must not be considered as parts of one single issue.

Earlier this week the Council, which has been considering Syrian and Israeli charges and counter-charges, requested Gen. Bull to file two separate reports, each devoted distinctly to the Syrian and the Israeli accusations, respectively. Today, the Council received the Bull reports, but the UNTSO chief added a third document. The linkage between the Israeli and the Syrian charges was provided by the third document.

In the third document Gen. Bull reported to the Security Council that he had written identical letters to Syria and Israel, telling the two governments: “It is my duty to express my deepest concern for the situation which has developed. Four mining incidents which occurred in Israel close to the armistice demarcation line, the first on the night of July 12-13, two on July 13th and the fourth on the morning of July 14th have resulted in the death of two Israelis and two others were wounded. On July 14 the Government of Israel responded with air attacks on Syrian territory.”

Gen. Bull reported that, in June, weeks before the July 13th and 14th events, he noted grave increase of Israeli-Syrian tensions, and appealed to both governments to agree to an unconditional cease-fire. Both did agree to his demands early in June, he stated. “Despite the deplorable events,” he told the Council, “I intend to continue conversations with both sides and try to settle the problems which have been the origin of too many serious incidents.”

One of the most serious of the recent problems, he said, concerned Israeli and Syrian disagreements about cultivating certain fields in the demilitarized zone between their borders. “Efforts to reduce tension through negotiations,” the UNTSO chief declared, “must be pursued as long as there is a will to succeed.”

The two other Bull reports merely recited separately the same set of facts brought together in the third document, one dealing with the Israeli air raid, the other with the Syrian terrorist attacks. The two issues are to be debated further at the current session of the Security Council.

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