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Dayan, Army Chiefs Warn Jordan Against Escalation of Border Raids

March 19, 1968
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Jordan was warned today that it could not escape the consequences of its failure to prevent the escalation of terror raids and sabotage against Israel and Israel-occupied territories from Jordanian bases. The warning was sounded at a press conference held here this afternoon by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. He was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Chaim Bar Lev, Chief of Staff of Israel’s armed forces and Gen. Aharon Yariv, Chief of Intelligence. They said that the present situation “is no cease fire and Israel cannot accept it as such.”

They charged that Jordan’s total lack of action to check the marauders has in fact encouraged them and has led to a sharp increase of incidents in gross violation of the June cease-fire agreement. They predicted that with the onset of warmer weather a still further escalation can be expected and disclosed for the first time that Israel is using electronic and other technical devices to check infiltration in addition to traditional barbed wire and mined fences.

Gen. Bar Lev said that 90 saboteurs have been killed since last June’s Six Day War, 50 of them in “old conventional ambushes.” He said that security forces had so far jailed 1,000 of an estimated 2,000 members of El Fatah and the “Commune el Arab,” the principal organized terror gangs. However, he said, there are some 600 saboteurs and terrorists deployed along the Israel-Jordan demarcation line with the remainder stationed near Eilat and near the Sea of Galilee. “If we know about them, it is certain that the Jordanian authorities know about them,” he said. It is due to Jordan’s lack of action that they are able to move about freely in that country, wearing uniforms, bearing arms and securing supplies without hindrance, he said.

Gen. Yariv said that increased action by Arab marauders should not be attributed to any great success on their part. It stems in part, he said, from the fact that many Arabs are restless because no action has been taken to, as they say, “eliminating the consequences of Israel’s aggression.” Another reason for continued terrorist activities is the failure to bring about a popular uprising by Arabs in Israel-occupied territories. But Gen. Dayan and the military leaders placed the burden of responsibility squarely on the Government in Amman. It is Hussein’s and his Government’s obligation to maintain the cease-fire agreement, they said, but instead, “Jordan is the main base for activities against Israel which are carried out with the knowledge of its authorities, though it may be against their will.” They said that if King Hussein wanted to put an end to such activities “he has ample experience to do so and even the Iraqi units stationed in Jordan could not prevent him from carrying out his intentions.”

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