JERUSALEM (Jun. 7)
Four Jewish military convoys arrived in Jerusalem today, bringing in heavy artillery to back up an Israeli ultimatum to the Arab Legion warning that unless shelling from the Old City directed at the Jewish sections of Jerusalem ceases, the Jews will shell the Arab-populated Old City.
Arab reports this morning confirmed that, following the capture of EL Qubab village yesterday by Jewish fighters, the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is to Jerusalem is open again to Jewish military traffic. A Haganah broadcast spoke of “panic and the mass evacuation” of Arabs from the city, in the expectation of Jewish offensive.
“Following the shelling of the Jewish sections of Jerusalem from the Old City, and the subsequent warning by Haganah that the Jewish armed forces would return fife towards the Old City, Arab inhabitant are evacuating the Old City in large numbers, thereby disturbing Arab military traffic and operations,” the broadcast said. “The Arab military command was forced to impose a curfew to terminate, or at least reduce, the outgoing traffic.”
A mortar duel “between Israeli forces and the Aral) Legion began today following I the expiration of the Jewish ultimatum. Several Jewish families were killed: when a 25-pound shell crashed through the roof of an apartment house in the center of the city. Isaac Bendor, chief of the Jerusalem office of the daily newspaper, Davar, was among the seriously injured. The Arabs’ artillery fire ranges from the Yemin Moshe quarter to the Street of the Prophets.
JEWS IN JERUSALEM CONFIDENT THEY CAN DEFEAT THE ARABS IN BATTLE
Most of the Jews in Jerusalem are confident that if a cease-fire is not effected, they can defeat the Arabs in battle. They want to keep on fighting until the Palestine question is settled once and for all. This is particularly true of the military element here, from the top level echelons down to the ordinary Jewish soldier.
A Jewish Agency spokesman said today that the Agency’s policy is to abide by the U.N. decisions on a cease-fire, “but added that the Jews here feel they can get along just as well as without a cease-fire. Jewish military leaders claim that they have beaten off Arab troops–including the Arab Legion–in every encounter. The Arabs have prevented civilian convoys from entering Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, but they have not been able to capture this city, although the Legion has made repeated tank attack against it, they point out.
The Jews say that the essential difference between themselves and the Arabs is that the latter cannot take night fighting. This is the type of combat in which the tars have received special training. The Israeli troops have expressed astonishment at the comparative ease with which they have taken heavily-fortified houses in night attacks on the Katamon, German colony and other of Jerusalem.
A brief armistice broke the incessant shelling this afternoon. It was arranged by the International Red Cross committee here, to enable the return of seven Jewish civilians seized in the Old City fighting. Among those returned were Rabbi Mordecai Weingarten, mayor of the Jewish section of the Old City, his invalid wife and three daughters, and two other orphaned children, all of whom had been held in Amman.
Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, addressing a news conference today, said the Arabs would never drive the Jews out of Jerusalem. He revealed that an appeal he dispatched to the Pope and Christian leaders in Britain and the United States to intercede for the safety of Jerusalem’s Holy Places had gone unanswered.