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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
8 December 1948
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Press Release PAL/399
8 December 1948


(The following has been received at UN Headquarters today from the UN Press Officer in Haifa.)

A two week cease-fire agreement between Iraqi and Israeli forces went into effect at 4 p.m. (GMT) Monday, 6 December, following direct negotiations between Iraqi and Israeli Staff Officers under United Nations auspices.

These negotiations, arranged by senior UN observers, took place about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv at Qalensuwa, a few hours before the agreement went into effect. Another is scheduled for 13 December.

The Qalensuwa agreement, which succeeded the Jerusalem cease-fire agreement by only one week, is a further step in the UN observers' attempt to end hostilities in the Holy Land. In Jerusalem itself the scope of the cease-fire agreement has been extended to the front northwest of Jerusalem, including the Latrun pocket. Agreement between Israeli and Trans-Jordan army leaders was also reached on several other questions, such as measures to control looting and repair work in the demilitarized Mount Scopus area.

Further meeting is planned in the near future to seek agreement on other vital questions, including the supply of water and electricity for the Holy City.

The importance of the Jerusalem cease-fire agreement is highlighted by the Chief of Staff decision number 38 released 7 December.

This decision lists 137 breaches of the truce committed by Israelis, Trans-Jordan forces and Egyptians in the Holy City during the period of 1 - 15 October. Incidents concerned machine gunning, sniping and mortar firing.

Israeli forces were found guilty in 48 cases, Trans-Jordan forces in 35 and Egyptians in 17, while both Arabs and Jews were found jointly guilty in 37 cases.

The shooting down of a Trans-Jordan civilian aircraft by an Israeli fighter plane on 23 September in the Lake Houle area has been termed a "flagrant violation of the truce" by Chief of Staff Brig. General William E. Riley in decision Number 31 released after 7 December. The Decision points out that the Israeli attack resulted in the deaths of three persons, burns and injuries to the three others and destruction of the attacked aircraft. It further declares that the attack clearly occurred over Trans-Jordan territory and this constituted and additional "serious breach of the truce."

However, the decision also states that prior to the attack the Trans-Jordan civilian aircraft had flown over Israeli-held territory without having obtained proper authorization and that this must be considered a "breach of the truce" by the Trans-Jordan government which is responsible for the conduct of civilian airlines under its control.

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