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Jerusalem (Disturbances)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about the situation in Jerusalem.

From the conflicting reports which we received it was not clear who fired the first shot in the fighting which broke out in Jerusalem on 30th June. In view of the danger of this outbreak leading to even more serious trouble between Israel and Jordan, and because of the likelihood of damage to the Holy Places in Jerusalem, Her Majesty's Government and the United States and French Governments urged both sides to exercise restraint and assist the efforts of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation to arrange a cease-fire. The shooting eventually ceased at about noon on 2nd July. The Mixed Armistice Commission met in Jerusalem on 11th July, and, after statements by General Bennike, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, and the Israeli delegate, adjourned till today.General Bennike said that the incident had cost the lives of nine people and that 52 others had been wounded. He stated that the Truce Supervision Organisation had obtained no evidence that either side had planned an offensive, and that it was not clear who fired the first shot. Lack of control over border guards by both sides may have been the basic cause of the outbreak. He appealed to the Jordanian and Israeli delegations not to cloud the air with mutual recriminations, but rather to try to agree on measures designed to make a recurrence of such incidents impossible. To this end General Bennike made some specific suggestions which, I hope, will receive the serious attention of the delegations of the two sides.General Bennike concluded his statement by saying that Israel and Jordan are in the eyes of all the world the trustees of Jerusalem, and it is only through their own most earnest efforts that this important centre of population with its Holy Places and its religious and cultural institutions can be preserved in the interests of the two States themselves and of all the nations of the world. Her Majesty's Government wish to associate themselves most sincerely with these words.