JERUSALEM (Dec. 10)
Relations between the governments of Israel and Jordan, strained during the last few days almost to the breaking point over armed plashes in the Negev area, appeared here today to have entered a new phase of mutual cooperation. The personal intervention of U.N. chief of truce, Gen. William Riley, was cited as one of the reasons for the new development.
United Nations sources here said that they attach the “greatest importance” to expressions of good will voiced by both the Israelis and Jordanians at a meeting yesterday of the mixed armisice commission. Gen. Riley taking advantage of the new atmosphere prevailing here, left late yesterday for Amman to consult with Premier Rifai on a possible settlement of all issues outstanding between the Israelis and the Jordanians, particularly the following questions:
1. Provision by the Jordanians of free access to the Israelis to Mount Scopus, site of the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, which is now in Arab Legion hands and for which the Jews have been pressing strongly for the last few months.
2. Resumption of the regular programs conducted by the University and the Hospital, both of which are presently operating under great difficulties in various sections of Jewish Jerusalem.
3. Unhampered access to the Mount of Olives and other Jewish holy sites.
4. Opening of the roads now blocked by the Arab Legion to Bethlehem and Latrun.
It is believed here that Gen. Riley, who flew to Jerusalem from Lake Success as a result of the growing tension here over the Israel-Jordan dispute over the road in the Negev leading to Elath–the Jewish state’s southernmost point–will attempt while in Amman to prepare the ground for full-scale peace talks between Jordan and Israel. These talks, it is pointed out here, could be held next month under the auspices of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, whose members are due to return to Jerusalem in January.
At yesterday’s mixed armistice commission meeting–which followed an Arab Legion ambush of an Israel military jeep in which one Jewish officer was killed and several soldiers were wounded–the Jordan Government’s blocking of the Negev road to Elath was roundly condemned as “unilateral” action. Although the Jordanians walked out of the meeting when the Israelis and U.N. members of the body voted together against them, they later returned. It. Shaul Ramati of Israel and Azmi Nashashibi, of Jordan, voiced the hope at the meeting’s end for “a new era of friendly cooperation” between their countries.