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Israel Brands Arab Ambush of Jewish Convoy at Latrun “grave Truce Breach”

September 24, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Are ambush yesterday of a U.N.-escorted Jewish convoy near Latrun was today branded by Israeli authorities as an “extremely grave truce breach symptomatic of the Arab attitude since the beginning of the first truce.”

The statement pointed out that the Jews have repeatedly drawn the attention of the U.N. to the need for establishing its authority over Latrun, but that nothing was done even after the bombing of the Latrun pumping station by the Arabs. In response to questioning, an Israeli spokesman said that some sort of U.N. authority and protection was needed.

He praised the courage of the U.N. observer with the convoy, French Col. J. Dumoncel, who saved the life of the Jewish liaison officer in his car by speeding him to the Latrun monastery and hiding him until it was safe to leave. He added that if the Israeli Government had a decoration for bravery Col. Dumencel would have been the first to receive the award.

Acting mediator Ralph Bunche, who was in Jerusalem at the time of the Latrun attack, discussed the truce situation with the Consular Truce Commission for two hours. Although no details of the meeting were announced, it was learned that the question of the demilitarized Mt. Scopus area was not discussed. The Jewish guards, placed on duty on the height by the U.N., have not been relieved for seven weeks and are suffering from a severe shortage of supplies, including water. Although the guards have appealed to Dr. Bernard Joseph, Israeli military governor of Jerusalem, and he has referred their appeal to the U.N, for action, nothing apparently is being done to relieve them.


The enlistment of Irgun personnel into the Israeli Army, under the terms of the disbandment of the Irgun, continued all day yesterday and was scheduled to be completed tonight. The surrender of arms is already complete. Meanwhile, representatives of the Irgun-sponsored Freedom Movement have called on Dr. Joseph to explain that the party will in the future take its place in the political life of the community.

The Fatherland Front yesterday posted placards in Jerusalem explaining its reasons for the assassination of Count Bernadotte and calling for popular support of the Front. It also threatened the Israeli authorities, declaring that it “will cut off any hand raised against us.”

A conference of the Aliyah Hadasha concluded here after deciding establish a “Progressive Party” in conjunction with Haoeved Hatizoni and the “A” section of the General Zionists which recently broke with the General Zionist Party. The new party’s inaugural conference is scheduled to be held next month.

For the first time since the British relinquishment of the Palestine Man date, the Jerusalem consular corps met today and discussed the demands that they will forward tomorrow to Dr. Bernard Joseph. It was learned that these demands will include, first, protection and immunity, second, easier access to the present man’s land and to Arab-held territory and, third, special license plates for consular vehicles

The trial of Frederick Sylvester and George William Hawkins, Britons charged with spying on the Israeli forces for the Arabs and with illegal possession of a radio transmitter continued with the defense admitting that Sylvester had such a radio, but insisting that the Jewish authorities were aware of it and that he used it only to broadcast news of and for British residents in Palestine.

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