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Security Council Meets Today on Israel’s and Jordan’s Complaints

October 19, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold virtually asked the Security Council today to censure Israel for a “dangerous negation” of the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement by refusing to allow United Nations observers to operate freely inside Israeli territory in connection with the Israel army’s recent reprisal raid against a Jordanian police fortress at Qualqilya.

At the same time, Mr. Hammarskjold told the Council that its own previous decisions indicated “clear and firm lines” leading to “condemnation of all acts of violence.”

The Council is meeting tomorrow morning to consider Jordanian and Israeli complaints and counter-complaints dealing with recent reprisal raids by Israel and with Israel’s contention that Jordan is guilty of “persistent violations” of the armistice agreement. Israel charges further that Jordan has broken the cease-fire pledge it gave Mr. Hammarskjold last April.

Mr. Hammarskjold’s letter to the Council was a preface to a new report received here today from Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns, chief of staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization. That report brought the UN’s final count of casualties-resulting from the Qualqilya action, showing that the Jordanians suffered 48 dead while the Israelis lost 18 lives.


However, the report could be construed also as placing all of the Israel-Arab attacks and counter-attacks of the last 21 months into perspective, thus applying Mr. Hammarskjold’s requested condemnation of “all acts of violence” against the Arab states as well as against Israel.

Gen. Burns informed the Council that in the 21 months ending September 31, 1956, Israel-Arab fighting along the various borders resulted in a total of 617 dead and 915 wounded. Of that total, Israel suffered 121 dead and 632 wounded; while the Arab casualties totaled 751, including 496 dead. Of the Qualqilya raid, he said, “The casualties resulting from this incident are the highest since the Gaza incident in April, 1956.”

While Gen. Burns’ report dealt in detail with the Qualqilya attack and included overall Israel-Arab casualty figures for the year of 1955 and the first nine months of this year, it made only indirect reference to Israel’s latest policy of boycotting the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission and refusing to allow United Nations military observers to investigate matters affecting the Qualqilya raid on Israel’s side of the border. Gen. Burns mentioned only that the UN probe of the Qualqilya incident was “carried out on the Jordanian side with the cooperation of the Jordanian delegation.”

In his preface, Mr. Hammarskjold pointed out that in the document General Burns stated that “one of the parties”–meaning Israel–“makes its own investigations which are not and cannot be made subject to check or confirmation by the United Nations observers, publishes the results of such investigations, draws its own conclusions from them and undertakes actions by its military forces on that basis.”

“I endorse the view of the chief of staff,” Mr. Hammarskjold told the Council, “that this is a dangerous negation of vital elements of the armistice agreement.”

It is expected that tomorrow’s Security Council meeting will hear statements on the Jordan and Israel complaints by Abdul Monem Rifai, head of the Jordan delegation, and Mordecai R. Kidron, acting chairman of Israel’s delegation. It was seen as likely that the Council might adjourn until next week when Israel’s delegation chief, Abba Eban, will have returned from consultations in Jerusalem.

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