JERUSALEM (Jun. 16)
Not a single Red Cross food convoy has entered Jerusalem in the first six days of the cease-fire and Jewish inhabitants of the city have not received an additional ounce of broad or other food above the basic ration instituted during the Arab Legion siege of the city, it was revealed here today.
The Truce Commission today authorized the Israelis to repair the main road from Babe1 Wad to Jerusalem and the first food trucks under U.N. supervision are expected to roll into the city tomorrows. Although the actual amount of food to be allotted to the Jewish civilian population of the city has not yet been decided, each truck will be inspected individually and its tonnage will be recorded and charged against the final total amount allotted the Jews.
Since Passover no meat has been distributed publicly and the only kind available has been meat which may have been stored by individual families. The bread ration is less than a half-pound per person daily, while cheese is distributed at the rate of two ounces per person per day and a family is issued about a quarter of a pound of coffee per week. This diet has caused the average Jerusalemite to lose some 22pounds in the last six weeks.
Up to now the Red Cross has not been prepared to organize and escort food convoys through Arab territory–as provided in U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte’s interpretation of the Security Council cease-fire resolution. In addition the recent dispute between the mediator’s staff and the Israeli Government on the right of the Jews to bring unlimited food supplies to Jerusalem via the new by-pass of the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway has further delayed the arrival of supplies.
INCREASED FOOD SUPPLIES EXPECTED BY THE END OF THIS WEEK
Beside the general anxiety over the food situation, the Jewish housewife in Jerusalem asks a practical question–will the six days of increased rations which have been missed so far be made up? However, nobody has yet been able to tell the housewife whether she has irreparably lost six of the precious 28 truce days during which her family was to receive adequate food supplies.
The best that can be done, apparently, was last night’s announcement by an Israeli representative that if the present negotiations between the Jews and the Truce Commission continue as they have been going, all major problems may be cleared up within 48 hours and increased food supplies should be available by the week-end. Within the past 24 hours Israeli representatives met with members of the Commission five times.
Among the other problems facing the householder in Jerusalem is the shortage of fuel oil and disrupted power lines. No one has been able to say when fuel oil will be available or whether the power lines can be repaired. Meanwhile, the average Jerusalemite pays ten carts a pound for wet olive wood for cooking fuel and lives in a smoke-filled home.
It was learned here that at tomorrow’s initial meeting between Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok and mediator Count Folke Bernadotte the problem of whether to permit unrestricted convoy movements over the Jewish-controlled newly-cut bypass on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road will be discussed. Shertok will restate the Israel Government’s position that because the road is completely under Jewish domination it becomes part of the statue quo and is not subject to control wader the mediator’s terms.
The American consulate today advised all Americans in Jerusalem that they must register inundatal they desire to return to the United States. It was emphasized that no one will be forced to return if be does not choose. Safe passage will be arranged for all those who desire to leave.