JERUSALEM (Jul. 15)
The Israel Foreign Ministry decided today to return to the United Nations Syrian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission a report on recent Syrian border incidents which sought to “balance” the picture by saying that “both sides” fired without stating which opened the attacks. Initially, United Nations truce investigators had established that the Syrians opened fire.
The Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission, meanwhile, condemned Jordan for a “grave violation” of the armistice agreement in an incident last week at Shaar Hagolan, in which an Israeli border police sergeant was killed. The report, in line with customary procedures, also condemned Israel for returning the fire, but noted that Israeli forces did not appear on the scene in an aggressive manner.
(In Amman, King Hussein said in an interview yesterday with The New York Times that the recent border incidents had been initiated by Israel to provoke the Arabs to military retaliation, to divert world attention from Israel’s tap of the Jordan River for its Negev irrigation project. He claimed that 50, 000 to 60, 000 Jordanian farmers would be deprived by the Israeli water project of fresh water, but added that “still, we do not intend to go to war over this.”)