JERUSALEM (Nov. 21)
Jordanian authorities for the second day today prevented the passage of the regular fortnightly Israel convoy to Mount Scopus despite United Nations intervention. Col, Byron V. Leary, Acting Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, flew to Amman to discuss the matter with Jordanian leaders.
Mount Scopus lies in demilitarized Israel territory northeast of Jerusalem behind the Jordanian lines. Since 1948 Israel police and maintenance crews have guarded the abandoned Hebrew University and Hadassah hospital buildings there. Every two weeks, the Israel guards are relieved by UN-protected convoys through Jordan-held territory.
The Israel Foreign Ministry announced this morning that when the regular convoy arrived yesterday at Mandelbaum Gate. “after all items of supply” in the convoy “were approved by United Nations observers, in accordance with accepted practice, the Jordanians suddenly demanded that a load of gasoline should not be taken up to Mt. Scopus.” The gasoline is used for generators in the abandoned buildings and the quantity sent this time was no more than usual.
“United Nations observers told the Jordanians the gasoline must be included in the convoy,” the Foreign Ministry said, but the Jordanians said they would not permit the gasoline to be carried through their territory. After a strong formal protest to the UN, Israel refused to send the convoy through without the fuel.
The Foreign Ministry has made it clear that it considers the situation a dispute between the UN organization, which passed the goods, and the Jordanian authorities, rather than involving Israel-which has followed all regulations faithfully.
When the convoy arrived at Mandelbaum Gate again today, Jordan officials again refused passage permission and Col. Leary called the Foreign Ministry in Amman to settle what a UN spokesman called “differences of opinion” Apparently, he received no satisfaction.
Meanwhile the 85 policemen and 35 civilians kept on Mt. Scopus by Israel are on the verge of running out of bread. They bake their bread in electric ovens powered by electricity produced in the generators rendered fuel-less by the Jordanian refusal to pass the gasoline.