JERUSALEM (Dec. 1)
The Israel Cabinet held a special meeting today in preparation for the arrival here Tuesday of United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold whom the Israel Government expects to take urgent action on Jordan’s refusal to allow gasoline to be convoyed through the Arab lines to the Jewish police and maintenance party on Mt. Scopis.
Meanwhile, it was reliably learned that electricity, produced by gasoline-powered generators is severely rationed on Mt. Scopus where Israeli guards occupy the old campus of the Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital grounds.
No agenda has been fixed for talks between Mr. Hammarskjold and Premier David Ben Gurion and Foreign Minister Golda Meir, but the Israelis expect him to tackle the convoy issue first. Then he is expected to deal with the other Jordanian border problems, the Syrian incidents and Egypt’s seizure of six Israeli fishermen aboard the trawler Doron.
According to information from Mt. Scopus, electricity is in use only in one large hall on the height and for lights around the perimeter of the University-hospital grounds. Other rooms are lighted by candle. Nearly two weeks have passed since a convoy should have made its way to the height and the authorities are becoming increasingly concerned over the heardships suffered by 85 policemen and 35 civilian maintenance workers.
(A report from Amman, capital of Jordan, said that Mr. Hammarskjold arrived there today and met with King Hussein and members of the Jordanian Cabinet. The report said that the Jordanians suggested he proceed to Mt. Scopus to establish whether the Israeli units there were erecting fortifications in violation of the armistice agreement.)
ISRAEL FIRM ON DEMAND FOR PASSAGE OF GASOLINE TO MT SCOPUS
Informed sources today indicated that Mr. Hammarskjold will find Israel strongly interested in avoiding any need for a forcible solution of the Scopus controversy but at the same time firmly insistent that the gasoline must be allowed passage. These sources said that fuel was specifically mentioned in the supplies listed in a supplementary Israel-Jordan agreement on provisioning for Mount Scopus watchmen at the Hebrew University and Hadassah hospital buildings. They said the agreement was reached under UN auspices in October, 1950.
It appeared likely that Mr. Hammarskjold would seek to try to work out a face saving agreement to enable Jordan to retreat from its refusal to permit passage of the fuel. It was also understood that Israel was willing to discuss the question of Scopus supplies only in the framework of Jordan willingness to revive Article Eight of the armistice agreement. This article calls for a special subcommittee to deal with all problems of divided Jerusalem, including access to Mount Scopus and Jewish Holy Places.
Israel officials were understood to feel that implementation of Article Eight was more important than the question of whether Israel would agree to resume participation in meetings of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission. The Israel argument was understood to be that revival of Article Eight would prove Jordan’s readiness to make the Mixed Armistice Commission generally effective. It was the absence of such willingness which prompted Israel to boycott armistice commission meetings.
Meanwhile, Syria has asked postponement of a meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission scheduled for today to discuss Israeli charges that Syrian troops have been firing at Israeli farmers. The postponement was requested on the grounds that the chief Syrian delegate was ill. However, observers here believe the “illness” is political, meant to give the Syrians a delay until after Mr. Hammarskjold has visited Damascus.