Question of Palestine home
29 May 1958
LETTER DATED 29 MAY 1958 FROM THE REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL
ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
I have the honour to attach herewith, for the information of the Security Council, the translated text of the reply of the Prime Minister of Israel to a question put to him in the Knesset on 28 May 1958 concerning the incidents on Mount Scopus on 26 May, and would request you to circulate it to the Members of the United Nations in accordance with the usual practice.
Please accept, Sir, etc.
) M.R. KIDRON
For Permanent Representative of
Israel to the United Nations
Statement by the Prime Minister of Israel in the Knesset
on 28 May 1958
“Two days ago, on Monday 26 May, a patrol of five of our policemen, under the command of a Sergeant, set out at 1310 hours to Shlomit Garden on Mount Scopus as they had done on many occasions before. This garden is part of the botanical gardens of the Hebrew University and is in the middle of the Israel sector of the Demilitarised Zone, which was established according to the agreement of 7 July 1948. The Map attached to this agreement shows that the garden is in our area, and about a month ago we submitted to the United Nations representative copies of land registration entries (tabu) proving that the garden belongs to the Hebrew University.
“Our police patrols have been patrolling all parts of the Israel sector on Mount Scopus, including Shlomit Garden, for years. Until two days ago our patrols in this garden met with no armed interference from the other side.
“However, two days ago, after our patrol had been in the Garden for about ten minutes, fire was opened on it from a grove in the Jordanian area outside the Demilitarised Zone and from the village of Issawiya, which is inside the Demilitarized Zone. One of the policemen was severely wounded by this fire and the Sergeant ordered his men to return to the University buildings while he remained behind with the wounded man to cover him and attend to his wounds. The officer in charge of our police on Mount Scopus, who had seen the firing from the grove and the wounding of the man, immediately opened automatic fire on the grove and sent ten policemen, commanded by a police officer, to extricate and two who had remained in the Garden. This force went out at 1355 hours. Although fire against our men also came from the village of Issawiya which is in the Demilitarised Zone, the officer in charge did not open fire against the village so as to avoid injuring civilians.
“The force which was sent to extricate the wounded man and the Sergeant who had remained with him had to pass a slope exposed to fire from Jordanian posts. The Jordanians immediately opened fire on them and the Israel police officer was gravely wounded. A medical orderly at his side said that he could be moved on a stretcher only, but this was impossible because of Jordanian fire. Two other policemen from the extricating force were wounded while attempting to reach the officer.
“Our representative to the Mixed Armistice Commission at the Mandelbaum Gate informed the United Nations of the firing and of the casualties.
“At 1450 hours United Nations Observers reached Mount Scopus. Some of them entered the University area while others went to Issawiya. The United Nations Observers who came to the University told our men that a cease-fire order had been given with effect at 1510 hours. Our forces complied and at 1510 hours stopped shooting. The Jordanians did not cease fire.
“At 1515 hours the United Nations Observers in the University said that the United Nations Observers who had approached the place of the incident from the direction of Issawiya had seen a number of Israeli wounded but could not reach them demanded a cease-fire on the part of the Jordanians at 1530 hour but that Jordanian fire from the grove had not ceased.
At 1545 hours United Nations Observers on the spot stated they could not begin to evacuate the wounded because the Jordanians had not announced their agreement to cease fire. At 1548 hours shooting from the Jordanian side stopped, but at 1600 hours medium machine gun fire was opened from Augusta Victoria Hospice and fire from the grove was also renewed.
“At 1610 hours United Nations Observers who had reached Shlomit Garden stated that they could see that an Israel officer had been killed and that in addition three were wounded. The officer in command on Mount Scopus sent several stretchers to Shlomit Garden to speed up the evacuation of casualties; United Nations headquarters in the former Government House informed us that they would do all in their power to evacuate the casualties and asked us to take no action. When the movement of the Observers began, however, Jordanian fire was renewed and another of our policemen was hit. At 1700 hours, our representative was told by the United Nations that Colonel Flint had been severely wounded while approaching the wounded Israeli policemen and had fallen close to one of them. He was shot by a Jordanian sniper either from the grove or from Issawiya. A number of United Nations Observers who were about 20 paces from him did not succeed in reaching and extricating him because of continuing fire from the Jordanian side.
“Close to 1730 hours the Chief of Staff, UNTSO, informed our representative, Mr. Joseph Tekoah, that Jordanian fire was coming from one place and that the Jordan Army was sending a unit to stop this fire. The Jordanian fire, however, did not stop.
“Only at nightfall, at 1845 hours, did the fire cease and an Israel force went out from the University to evacuate the casualties. They found Colonel Flint and two Israeli policemen dead and two Israeli policemen wounded.
“The search for the Sergeant and the first wounded man continued until 2140 hours when they were both found dead. As a result of this Jordanian outrage the following have lost their lives: Colonel Flint, who attempted to extricate our wounded; Mordechai Tikochinsky, an officer of the Israeli police on Mount Scopus, Sergeant Joseph Yochinek and two policemen Eliav Eloshri and Moshe Ginsburg.
“We bow our heads in silent respect to the memory of these victims, our police and Colonel Flint, who fell at their posts doing their duty with devotion and courage. To the relatives of the victims, to the family of Colonel Flint of the Canadian Army and to the United Nations Secretariat, I wish to express the sympathy of the entire people of Israel in their grievous loss.
“Yesterday morning at 1000 hours, representatives of Israel and Jordan met with Colonel Nordstrom, deputy to the late Colonel Flint, to discuss arrangements for the investigation of the incident. We demanded a joint investigation, but the Jordanians objected and insisted on separate investigations on each side. It was decided, therefore, to carry out separate investigations. The investigation was to begin yesterday at 1400 hours. At about 1630 hours Colonel Nordstrom informed our representative on the Mixed Armistice Commission that the Jordanians had stated they could not accept responsibility for the safety of the investigators if the latter entered Shlomit Garden and for this reason the investigation did not begin yesterday.
“Our patrols yesterday and this morning in Shlomit Garden met with no interference.
“Finally I wish to tell our brave policemen on Mount Scopur that the nation stands behind them in this difficult and dangerous duty that has been imposed on them. We are determined to protect all our rights on Mount Scopus according to the Agreement of 7 July 1948 and the Armistice Agreement that followed it.”