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Foreign News: Abating the Hate

2 minute read

The guns fell quiet around Gaza last week; it was now diplomacy’s turn to ease the Middle East’s hottest border fight.

Just one border shooting broke the silence and the Israelis hastened to apologize for that. In this atmosphere the U.N. Security Council, called into special session in Manhattan after an appeal from the UN truce chief. Major General Edson L.M. Burns of Canada, found itself in rare-unanimity. By vote of 11 to 0 (the U.S. and Russia both voting aye), the council called on Israel and Egypt to work out something with General Burns “forthwith,” and endorsed his idea of creating a border neutral zone and raising a barbed wire barricade along the Gaza line to keep the troops apart.

Both Israel and Egypt promised at once to cooperate, though each has an objection of its own. The Israelis think the fence is fine, because it would help stop unlawful border crossings, but they dislike a demilitarized zone because many f their new farm settlements run right up to the line. Egypt’s Premier Gamal Abdel Nasser likes the border buffer zone (he himself proposed it three months ago), but objects to building any border barriers because that might imply permanent acceptance of the frontier line drawn after the 1949 Palestine war. Technically, in Egypt’s eyes, Israel is not a state, and therefore can have no boundaries, either plain or barbed.

With the U.N.’s backing, and a willingness on the part of both Egypt and Israel not to go too far at this point, General Burns hopes to abate the hate at Gaza.

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