JERUSALEM (Jun. 14)
The United Nations Truce Commission met here today to a report to U.N. Mediator Count Folke Bernadotte informing him that the Jewish authorities have refused to permit U.N. observers to check food convoys entering Jerusalem under the secretly built bypass road which skirts Latrun and is completely controlled by the Israeli army. The Truce Commission yesterday asked the Jews for permission to check the convoys at Bab el Wad, halfway point west of Jerusalem
The Jewish authorities maintain that “Israeli’s Burma Road” was built and operated during the war and remained in Jewish hands at the time of the truce. Therefore, they argue this road is part of the overall Jewish military position. The point out that the mediator’s cease-fire guarantees maintenance of the status quo at the time of the cease-fire deadline.
The Jews offered to permit inspection of the convoys at the Jerusalem city limits, but the Arabs refused to agree to this proposal. Despite the Arabs’ objections the Jews brought a food convoy into the city this morning. A party of foreign correspondents arrived with the convoy and spent the day inspecting damage to Jewish building caused by Arab Legion artillery. They will return to Tel Aviv tonight after interviewing the Jerusalem commander of the Haganah forces.
While the convoys arrive via the new route, the empty trucks return over the main highway since they are not subject to Red Cross control under the terms of Bernadotte’s interpretation of the U.N. cease-fire resolution.
It was revealed today that Jewish authorities have turned over to the U.N. mediator’s staff a complaint concerning the Legion’s seizure of Deir Abutor, in the outskirts of the city, after he cease-fire deadline. The local Jewish area commander attempted to talk the Arabs into leaving, but when they refused he referred the matter to the observers. The only other violation of the cease-fire occurred when Arabs opened fire on Jewish positions at Bayit V’Gan, but a return burst convinced the Arabs to hold by the agreement.
A group of Jewish soldiers fraternized with Arab Legionnaires today for the first time near the Old City. “We would have stopped fighting a long time ago, but our British officers will not let us, ” the Arab soldiers are reported to have told the Jews.