Jordan-israel Tension Grows; U.N. Truce Chief Confers with Ben Gurion
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Jordan-israel Tension Grows; U.N. Truce Chief Confers with Ben Gurion

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The Acting Chief of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization Col. Byron V. Leary, today called on Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and Foreign Minister Golda Meir to discuss the grave situation created by a series of Jordanian provocations. One of the subjects discussed was Jordan s continued refusal to permit the passage of the weekly convoy of supplies to the Israelis entrenched atop Mt. Scopus where the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital are located

King Hussein of Jordan, it is seen here, has staked his personal prestige on this issue, and Jordan has formally called upon the United Nations to recall Col Leary for his alleged refusal to cooperate with the Amman Government. Israel insists that, in accordance with the 1949 Armistice agreement providing for the right to supply civilian needs to the personnel on Mt. Scopus, the convoy must go through with its full load including gasoline for fuel which Jordan wants to bar.

Now that Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold has rejected Amman’s demand that Leary be recalled, the UN itself is a party to this disagreement, transforming it into a three-ply crisis involving Jordan, Israel and the United Nations Thus far, none of the three is retreating from its position, and the deadlock is intensified

The situation has been aggravated still further by information reaching Israel from absolutely reliable sources to the effect that Jordan has announced it would pay premiums to Jordanians who bring in Israelis kidnapped across the border This prize policy explains the increase of acts of kidnapping in recent days. The latest Israeli missing is a young man who, it was thought at first, may have crossed the Jordanian border inadvertently; now it is feared he may have been deliberately Kidnapped.


Israel is making no secret of the seriousness with which it views the present situation. At first, it was thought that Israel only had to negotiate with Jordan about the nine barrels of gasoline barred from the latest convoy. Israel was willing to discuss the Mt Scopus arrangements afresh with Jordan in at effort to solve that problem of the gasoline. However, it is felt that Israel should discuss Mt. Scopus only in the context of the general situation, which involves Jordan’s continued refusal since 1949 to implenent the Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement.

Israel now feels that the latest series of Jordanian incidents represent a deliberate pattern of provocation, planned primarily to show Egypt and Syria that Jordan is still anti-Israel. Israelis feel that if the latest Jordanian moves are part of a planned process. at would be highly inadvisable to give in to any of the Jordanian demands.

Despite grave doubts, Israel had tried to move in a conciliatory direction, for instance, suspending its afforestation work in the area between the demarcation lines south of Jerusalem. Now, however, such mild conciliations will not satisfy King Hussein’s desire to show “toughness” toward Israel.

In the presence of United Nations observers, Jordan today turned over to Israel the bodies of two Israelis killed recently by Jordanians. The transfer of the coffins took place near Elath, whence they were flown to this city for identification.

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