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Israel Presents 356 Complaints of Truce Violation by Jordanians

Israel presented 356 complaints of truce and border violation by Jordan troops or infiltrees to Lt. Col. Charles E. Brewster, new chairman of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Committee, as Israel this weekend re-entered the MAC after a seven-month boycott of the unit. The 356 complaints concerned violations which had occurred during the period of the boycott from last March.

Meanwhile, an agreement between Israel and Jordan for maintaining peace and order in the Jerusalem area, which was to have been signed this week-end, was held up, probably for another week, by Jordan insistence on having Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns, UN-truce supervisor, witness the signing of the agreement. The Israeli representative to the pact signing, whose instructions had not covered Gen. Burns’ involvement in the document, refused to sign pending consultations with his superiors.

The arrangement calls for direct telephonic communication between the local commanders on both sides in the Jerusalem area, or their senior aides, and is intended to keep minor disturbances and disorders from spreading and developing into extensive exchanges of fire, which occurred several times earlier this year. Such an agreement had been in effect for several years and lapsed when Jordan put obstacles in the path of renewal and then the situation between the two states deteriorated.

The arrangement also calls for experienced troops to be placed in the front lines by both sides and instructs troops of both nations to hold their fire until they receive orders from experienced non-commissioned officers, except when they are directly attacked. This provision is in response to criticism by the UN truce supervisor that in recent disturbances in Jerusalem troops on both sides demonstrated a lack of discipline.

DELAY IN SIGNING ISRAEL-JORDAN ARRANGEMENT EXPLAINED

During the negotiations for the pact Gen. Burns had suggested that the telephone line between the two sides go through UN truce headquarters and include a UN observer on the line. While Israel thanked the UN chief for his interest in the matter it noted that it preferred such a local arrangement to be handled directly between the parties concerned.

It was for this reason, basically, that the slip-up in the signing occurred. Israel had been informed that Jordan was prepared to sign the pact as previously drafted and the Israeli local commander in Jerusalem had been instructed to attend the meeting and sign that agreement. However, when he arrived at the meeting he found that the Jordanians insisted on Gen. Burns’ signature as a witness, which had not been stipulated in the original draft. Faced with a new situation, the Israeli representative withheld his signature pending further instructions.

It was learned, however, that Israel will sign the agreement with Gen. Burns’ participation since his countersignature in no way changes the aims of the arrangement nor any of its operative sections. Israel has proposed that if effective, this type of agreement also be extended to other Israel-Jordan bordering areas and to the Israel-Egyptian border near Gaza.

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