Israel Quits Armistice Commission; Opposes Decision on Jordan Pact

The Israel Government announced today its withdrawal from the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission, on the heels of the MAC acceptance of a Jordan explanation of the killing of four members of an archaeological party and the wounding of 15 others at Ramath Rachel. Jordan blamed the affair on an “insane” soldier.

United Nations truce supervisor Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns immediately announced his regret over the Israeli decision and called on the Israel Government to reconsider its position. Else, he said, the situation will-work to the detriment of both parties.

In explaining its opposition to the MAC decision on the Ramath Rachel incident, the Foreign Ministry stated: “In this situation Israel sees no useful purpose in continuing the examination of incidents in the commission.”

At the same time, the Ministry hit out at the inefficiency of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization which, it pointed out, had not deterred the Arab states from a policy of aggression. The UNTSO, a Ministry spokesman said, had even failed in its responsibility to draw a distinction between the attacked and the attacker.

Israel had agreed to the armistice pacts with its neighbors with the intent of implementing them fully, the spokesman noted, and had agreed that the UNTSO should assist the parties in implementing these pacts, the basis of which were a binding obligation to refrain from hostile acts and advance toward a final peaceful settlement.

Instead of fulfilling this obligation, he continued, the Arab states disregarded the armistice agreements and embarked on a policy of aggression against Israel and complete disregard for the essential provisions of the agreement. The decisions of the MAC and its appeals to end aggression have remained unheeded by the Arab governments, the spokesman said.

Israel has repeatedly emphasized that even in cases where the MAC censured Jordan, the Arab state’s attitude and policy toward the UNTSO had rendered the work of the commission ineffective. Israel remains ready to meet and discuss with representatives of Jordan a peaceful settlement of the outstanding problems, the Foreign Ministry spokesman concluded.

Gen. Burns explained that the MAC decisions are made on the basis of all available evidence rounded up by UN observers and then places responsibility for an attack unless such determination is rendered impossible by a lack of evidence. He asserted that in dealing with recent incidents Israel had described the circumstances, placed responsibility on Jordan without awaiting a MAC decision or even the completion of its investigation, and then had taken retaliatory action.

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