Question of Palestine home
5 June 1967
Supplemental Information Received by the Secretary-General
1. In view of the apparent uncertainty about the time when the Council meeting which adjourned on the morning of 5 June will reconvene, I have decided to circulate to the Members the information I have received since I gave my oral statement to the Council this morning. This written statement is supplemental therefore to this morning's oral statement.
2. Direct communication with General Bull continues to be suspended for the reasons which I mentioned in my previous statement. We understand, however, that heavy firing is taking place in and around the Government House compound in Jerusalem. A cease-fire in the area was called for at 1500 hours LT but was not respected, although both delegates to the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission agreed to the arrangement.
3. The Chairman of the Israel-Syria Mixed Armistice Commission has reported from Damascus that Damascus airport has been intermittently under air attack since 1110 hours GMT and that other locations in Syria have also been under air attack. The Mixed Armistice Commission has also received complaints from Israel that Megiddio, Ailabum and a locality south of Akko have been attacked from the air.
4. Contact has been re-established with the Commander of UNEF who reports artillery firing at 1430 hours LT on the Indian Battalion main camp, with whom communications have now broken down. Snipers' fire is reported at the same time from Rafah Camp. At 1520 hours LT, artillery firing was reported near Swedish Battalion main camp and at the same time artillery and mortar fire were reported near Rafah Camp. In Rafah Camp one Brazilian soldier and two local civilians are reported lightly wounded.
5. A later report from the Commander of UNEF states that during the artillery firing on the Indian main camp referred to above, one Indian officer and one soldier were killed and one officer and nine soldiers wounded.
6. The Commander of the Force has pointed out that a contributing factor to the casualties suffered from artillery fire was the proximity of UAR military positions to the camps concerned.
7. The Commander of UNEF reports that only sporadic firing has been heard since 1600 hours LT, but that at 1630 hours LT two Israel aircraft attacked the Wadi Gaza bridge and are reported to have destroyed it. This is the bridge on the main road south from Gaza.
8. At 1748 hours LT the United Nations radio station in Amman, Jordan, reported that it was under air attack.
9. In my statement to the Security Council this morning I read out to the Council an urgent appeal which I had sent to His Majesty the King of Jordan relating to the occupation by Jordanian troops of the Headquarters of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Government House, Jerusalem. I now wish to read to the Council the text of a message which I have addressed to the Government of Israel through the Permanent Representative of Israel concerning the incident which I mentioned in my statement this morning in which a strafing attack by Israel aircraft led to the deaths of three Indian soldiers of UNEF, and the later casualties caused by Israel artillery fire on UNEF camps.
10. I regard both of these incidents as being in their different ways so serious that I have taken the unusual step of informing the Council of these two messages before the confirmed receipt of the messages themselves by those to whom they are addressed.
11. The message to Israel is as follows:
"The Secretary-General of the United Nations presents his compliments to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations and has the honour to refer to tragic incidents involving personnel of the Indian Contingent of UNEF which occurred during 5 June.
"In a strafing attack by Israel aircraft on a UNEF convoy immediately south of Khan Yunis on the road between Gaza and Rafah three Indian soldiers were killed and an unknown number were wounded. All vehicles in the convoy were painted white, as are all UNEF vehicles. Prior to this incident the Commander of UNEF, as a result of Israel artillery fire on two camps occupied by the Indian Contingent of UNEF, had, through the Chief of Staff UNTSO, requested the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces to give instructions that a strict cease-fire would be observed in the vicinity of UNEF installations and camps. This appeal was acceded to and General Rikhye was notified that instructions had been given to the Israel forces to observe strictly the cease-fire in the vicinity of all UNEF installations and camps. After the incident, the Commander of UNEF again urged the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces to order Israel forces and especially Israel aircraft to take special care to avoid firing on UNEF personnel and installations.
"At 1230 hours GMT on 5 June, the main camp of the UNEF Indian Battalion came under Israel artillery fire which killed one officer and one soldier and wounded one officer and nine soldiers.
"The Secretary-General requests the Permanent Representative of Israel to convey to the Government of Israel his strong protest against the above-mentioned acts by the Israel Armed Forces, which have led to tragic and unnecessary loss of life among UNEF personnel, and to request them to take urgent measures to ensure that there is no recurrence of such incidents."
5 June 1967
12. A later report received through a non-United Nations channel, sent by the Chief of Staff UNTSO indicates that heavy firing broke out in the Government House area in Jerusalem at about 1130 hours GMT on 5 June and all communications were cut shortly thereafter. Jordanian soldiers in the compound were attacked and later driven out by Israel troops. The Israel troops then forced their way into Government House at about 1230 hours GMT. When the firing subsided temporarily at about 1400 hours GMT, the Chief of Staff UNTSO and his staff were ordered out of the Government House by the Israel troops and escorted into Israel. Government House itself was heavily damaged but there were no casualties among UNTSO personnel. General Bull reported that firing was still going on in Jerusalem at 1410 hours GMT. The Chairman of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission and his staff are continuing to function, and General Bull is attempting to establish a temporary Headquarters.
13. In view of these developments, I have sent the following cable to the Prime Minister of Israel:
Mr. Levi Eshkol
Prime Minister of Israel
Jerusalem ( Israel)
"I understand that Israel forces have now displaced the forces of Jordan in the Government House Compound in Jerusalem. Whatever the circumstances leading to the Israel occupation of Government House and its grounds, its continued occupation by Israel troops is a most serious breach of the undertaking to respect its inviolability.
"I therefore request the Government of Israel to restore the grounds and buildings of the Government House Compound urgently to exclusive United Nations control. When this has been done I propose to seek a formal undertaking from both sides to respect UNTSO's occupation of Government House in the future.
14. The Commander of UNEF has reported that two Israel tanks entered the barbed wire around Rafah camp at about 1500 hours GMT and that fire from these tanks had caused a number of casualties among the local staff of the Rafah camp. It has been the scene throughout the day of sporadic exchanges of mortar and artillery fire. In view of the continued danger to UNEF personnel, the Commander of UNEF has decided to move units in exposed places to bivouac areas on the beach as soon as it is possible to do so.
15. I received word late this afternoon from the Chief of Staff UNTSO, again by a non-United Nations channel, that heavy firing was continuing in and around the city of Jerusalem with consequent great risk of damage to the holy places. I strongly support the idea that has been advanced that Jerusalem should be declared an open city in order to protect for all mankind its irreplaceable historical religious places which are of inestimable spiritual significance.