All is Quiet in Negev; Armistice Commission Fails to Bring Israel, Jordan to Agreement

Quiet reigns in the Negev and normal traffic continues along the road to Elath where a two-and-one-half-hour battle between Israel and Jordan armored forces took place yesterday morning, it was officially reported here today.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the mixed Israel-Jordan armistice commission took place in the Negev no-man’s land this morning in response to an order by Col. Bennett de Ridder, U.N. acting truce chief in Palestine. However, the commission meeting was fruitless and Col. de Ridder adjourned it until he could hear from lake Success to which he had referred the problem along with a request for further instructions. Gen. William E. Riley, truce chief, is expected back in Palestine tomorrow.

(At lake Success, U.N. Security Council sources said today that there were no plans yet to take up here the conflict over a roadblock in the Negev between Israel and Jordan. Dr. T.F. Tsiang, Nationalist Chinese delegate who took over the Council presidency this month, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had no official word yet on whether a complaint on the matter was to be made before the Council.)

Israel’s delegates on the commission today gave a detailed account of the morning’s meeting to a press conference here. They also revealed that they expressed their government’s anxiety over the postponement of the meeting, pointing out that the U.N.’s continued postponements on the incident, which began last Wednesday, was responsible for the present situation.

ISRAEL REQUESTS COMMISSION TO CONDEMN JORDAN

The members of the Israel delegation also expressed concern over Jordan’s action at the roadblock after the matter had been referred to the mixed armistice commission. On this basis the Israelis demanded that the commission vote formally to condemn Jordan. Col. de Ridder, who is automatically chairman of the body, refused to bring the matter to a vote, and the Arabs said they had not come to the meeting to consider such matters.

De Ridder then asked whether the two sides had withdrawn their forces from the disputed area of the Elath road. The Arabs answered affirmatively and the Jews pointed out that they were continuing to use the road until the mixed armistice commission ruled otherwise. The U.N. chief then asked whether both sides were prepared to dispatch an inquiry commission to the scene of the clash. The Israelis said they were not prepared to do so until the commission voted on their proposal for condemnation of Jordan’s action. The Jordanians agreed to the inquiry. At this point the meeting broke down under mutual charges and recriminations.

The Israel Cabinet met again early today to hear a report by Brig. Yigal Yadin, Army Chief of Staff, on the situation in the Negev. The Ministers also decided on instructions to the Israel representatives on the mixed armistice commission.

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