JERUSALEM (Jun. 17)
The first week of the cease-fire was completed today without a single food convoy entering Jewish Jerusalem. The U.N. Truce Commissioners today learned at first hand that use of the main highway from Bab el Wad is impassable at present.
The Commissioners who, at the behest of the Arabs who insisted that only minor repairs were needed to get that section of the road into operating shape, temporarily limited Jewish convoys to the use of the main road, today attempted to reach Bab el wad from Jerusalem. The party never reached Bab el wad because the road was in bad condition and because they were warned by Arab Legion officers along the way that extensive Arab minefield lay in front of them. The angry Commissioners returned and immediately went into session with the Arabs. The results are not yet known.
The Jewish Emergency Committee announced that the already small daily water ration will be cut further in order to save gasoline. Most of the water used in the city in trucked in. Meanwhile, the Truce Commission’s request to the Arabs to open the Ras el Ein pimping station, which they control, so that Jewish Jerusalem may have sufficient water has not been answered.
New indications that the Arab Legion is fighting in Jerusalem only because of direct British pressure were given here today by Arab officers who approached Jewish officers after a formal conference called by the Truce Commission. The Legion does not see the point in continuing the Jerusalem war the officers told the Jews. Arab soldiers, they said, see bloodshed in the Holy City as a deliberate British plan. “The British told us the Jews would slaughter all- the Arabs in Jerusalem and that they would be finished with us if we did not aid them against the Jews.” One of the officers stated: “We know that is nonsense, but we do not know if we will be able to withstand British pressure to take Jewish Jerusalem at all costs.”
ARABS AGREE ON ESTABLISHMENT OF A NUMBER OF U.N. CHECKPOINTS
The Arabs also agreed in principle to the establishment of a number of checkpoints on the main roads supplying their positions in the Old City and in the environs of Jerusalem. One inspection station will be set up at the Allenby Bridge across the Jordan River almost directly east of the city, while a second will be at Bethany, on the outskirts of the city, while a third may be established on the road to Ramallah.
The U.N. Truce Commission will maintain strict control of all civilian traffic and only the sick and wounded will be evacuated from the city. However, the wholesale evacuation of women, children and the aged from the Jewish areas of Jerusalem will not be permitted. Men of military age and civilian specialists whose skills may be of value to the military forces will not be allowed to move about freely.
The French consul, who has been appointed to work out a system for civilian traffic control, is also attempting to arrange for groups of Jews to enter the old city daily to worship at the Wailing Wall. A third project, which he is discussing with the Arabs, is permission for Jewish representatives to enter the old city and see if they can recover any Scrolls, prayer books of sacred objects in the 22 synagogues destroyed during the battle for the Jewish quarter and to seal up any synagogues which remain against further destruction or looting.