REPORT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNING THE INCIDENT
WHICH TOOK PLACE ON 13 NOVEMBER 1966 IN JORDAN
In accordance with the request made by the Security Council at its 1323rd meeting on 18 November 1966, the Secretary-General has the honor to circulate the attached report to the Secretary General by Lieutenant-General Odd Bull, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine (UNTSO)
REPORT BY THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE UNITED NATIONS TRUCE SUPERVISION ORGANIZATION
IN PALESTINE TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNING THE INCIDENT WHICH TOOK PLACE
ON 13 NOVEMBER 1966 IN JORDAN
1. I have The honor to submit the following report on the incident which occurred on 13 November 1966 in the southern Hebron area (Jordan). The report is based on investigations made by United Nations Military Observers following the complaint lodged by the Jordanian delegation to the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice
A. Sequence of events
2. On 13 November 1966 at 0646 hours local time (0446 GMT), the Jordanian delegation submitted the following complaint to the HJK-I-MAC (No. M-446).
3. The HJK-I-MAC Chairman immediately endeavored to arrange for a cease-fire but was unable at that tine to establish contact with the Israel delegation to the HJK-I-MAC. He reported the situation to the Chief of Staff of UNTSO, whose assistance for the securing of a cease-fire was also requested by the Jordanian delegation. The Chief of Staff, after repeated attempts to contact the Israel Director of Armistice Affairs, had a telephone communication with his deputy at 0825 hours LT (0625 GMT) and requested a cease-fire to take place as soon as possible and not later than 0855 hours IT (0655 GMT). That request, which had been agreed upon by Jordan did not bring any response from Israel.
4. At 0910 hours LT (0710 GMT), the HJK-I-MAC Chairman, who was then in contact with officers of both delegations, called for a cease-fire for 0945 hours LT (0745 GMT). This cease-fire was accepted by both parties.
5. The UNTSO station in Hebron, situated at approximately 15 kilometers north of the scene of the incident, had been reporting to the HJK-I-MAC that a number of over-flights by Israel aircraft, most of them at low, altitude, were taking place in the Hebron area.
6. At 1010 hours LT (0810 GMT) Jordan informed the HJK-I-MAC that Israel forces had withdrawn from the area and that firing had stopped.
7. Following the request for a one-sided investigation contained in Jordanian verbal complaint No. M-446, United Nations Military Observers proceeded toward the scene of the incident, where they arrived at 1035 hours LT (0835 GMT).
B. One-sided investigation in Jordan of Jordanian complaint No. M-446
8. The scene of the incident is located about 60 kilometers south-west of Jerusalem. The area is a hilly, rocky area cut by some wadis. The Rujm El Madfa’a area is dominated by a police post (approximate MR 1558-0860). The Armistice Demarcation Line (ADL) runs generally east to west approximately one kilometer south of the police post. Four kilometers north of this post is the village of As Samu, which is located on twin hills with a wadi varying from shallow to deep between them. According to information provided by the Jordanian authorities, the most recent cadastral survey reported As Samu as a village of 1,200 houses with a population of 5,000 inhabitants. The highest points in the village area dominate the countryside for some distance around the village. Three roads lead to As Samu-Dasi, a paved road from the north-east, a paved road from the north-west and a gravel road from the south. The area between the ADL, Rujm El Madfa'a and As Samu provides fair access for wheeled vehicles and good access for tanks. The villages of Kh El Markaz and Kh Jimba are located at approximately 7 kilometers east of Rujm El Madfa’a on the side of a steep hill and are separated by a deep wadi. Approximately 50O meters separate the villages from the ADL with no obstacles to vehicle travel between.
9. On arriving in the area the investigating United Nations Military Observers found fragments apparently of aircraft wing tanks, quantities of burned ammunition and equipment and many craters on the roads and in the ground.
10. In the village and the vicinity of the village of As Samu (approximate MR 1563-0899) the investigating United Nations Military Observers saw that 125 houses) the village medical clinic, a 6-classroom school and a workshop had been completely demolished. In addition, one mosque and 28 houses had been damaged. Twenty Jordanian army trucks, 2 Jordanian army jeeps and one civilian, bus were totally demolished. One Jordanian army truck had been damaged by machine-gun fire. In a flour mill, 2 explosive charges were found which had failed to detonate.
11. Many tracks of tanks and armored personnel carriers were seen in the area by the investigating United Nations Military Observers. They also noted several positions where tanks had apparently been deployed to cover the roads leading to the village and especially the As Samu-Adh Dhahiriya road where the demolished Jordanian army trucks were observed.
12. In the area (at approximate MR 1959-0900) the United Nations Military Observers saw the dead body of a woman. A large area of blood shed the ground in front of the house where the woman was found dead. The house adjacent to it was marked by 20 bullet-impact points.
13. The United Nations Military Observers also observed in the area, one bedouin dwelling tent and 3 Jordanian army tents completely destroyed. They counted 20 domestic animals which had been killed either by explosions or by small arms fire.
14. In the area of Kh Al Markaz (approximate MR 1642-0859) a damaged stone hut stood among tracks of tanks and armored personnel carriers, some of them between the ADL and the village.
15. In the area of Kh Jimba (approximate MR 1635-0856) 15 stone huts had been totally destroyed, 7 damaged and one water well had been destroyed by demolition. Numerous tracks of tanks and half-track vehicles were seen crossing the ADL to or from the village. Many shell craters were seen in the ground, caused apparently by high explosive shells or mortar bombs. Shell fragments of undetermined calibre and one sack of high explosives were found on the ground.
16. The police post of Rujm El Madfa’a (approximate MR 1558-0860) was almost totally destroyed. Many craters were observed in the area.
17. A Jordanian corporal who was on duty in charge of Rujm El Madfa’a police post stated that at 0545 hours LT (0345 GMT) on 13 November 1966 he saw a large number of Israel tanks, in the area of approximate MR 1554-0845, advancing at full speed across the ADL into Jordan. Seventeen tanks took position approximately at MR 1562-0853 and opened fire against the police post, using explosive charges. The shelling lasted 10 minutes, demolishing the police post. The witness was wounded in the leg. The Israel tanks supported by armored personnel carriers they proceeded into Jordan and advanced in an easterly direction. They formed two columns, each column consisting of more than 40 open-top half tracks each carrying 8 to 10 soldiers, in addition to tanks and support vehicles. The first column, he said, proceeded in the direction of As Samu and the second column toward Kh El Madfa’a (approximate MR 164-086). He heard shooting and explosions in the As Samu area and at 0945 hours LT (0745 GMT) he observed the Israel force retreating from As Samu to Israel across the ADL along the same tracks over which it had entered. He further stated that he had observed 12 Mirage aircraft during the attack.
18. A Jordanian captain, the local commander stationed at As Samu stated that when, at approximately 0545 hours LT (0345 GMT), he was informed that a large number of Israel tanks were shelling the Rujm El Madfa’a police post, he proceeded in that direction but, on the way, his car was blown up. Though he was slightly injured, he said that he kept the Israel troops under observation. He stated that Israel forces occupied four hills surrounding As Samu with 2 tanks and 4 armored personnel carriers on each hill. From there they shot in all directions at inhabitants, houses, vehicles and animals. He observed troops advancing into the village carrying sacks and demolition cord and blowing up houses. He said that a number of civilians as well as police and troops were killed and injured. He stated that Israel aircraft bombed the village and used rockets against vehicles on the road entering As Samu. He added that tanks had fired SS-11 missiles against trucks on the main road leading into As Samu and that the Israel force had continued shooting and demolishing until they withdrew at 0945 hours LT (0745 GMT).
19. The witness said that at approximately 1030 hours LT (0830 GMT) he took an ambulance to Rujm El Madfa’a to evacuate casualties and that Israel troops who were still on the ADL fired at the ambulance, wounding one of the injured persons who was being evacuated. He also said that 5 aircraft strikes were directed against the village of As Samu and 3 on the road.
20. A resident of Kh Al Tuweimin stated that at 0600 hours LT (0400 GMT) on 13 November 1966 he was standing on the slope of a hill at Kh Jimba when he saw a column of 60 to 70 vehicles, including armored cars, jeeps and tanks, come across the ADL towards the villages of Kh Jimba and Kh El Markaz. The tanks and armored cars shelled and opened automatic fire on both villages, while troops on foot preceded them, firing their personal weapons. The tanks and armored cars came near the 2 villages end took position while troops went into the village of Kh Jimba and set demolition charges at 14 houses. During the operation, he said, Israel covering troops were on the high ground surrounding both villages and Israeli fighter aircraft were overhead.
21. At Amman airport, a captain of the Jordanian Air Force showed the investigating United Nations Military Observers bits and pieces of metal and plexiglass which, he said, had been picked up from the battle area and allegedly were from aircraft.
22. Another witness, an Arab army private, stated that at about 0700 hours LT (0500 GMT) on 13 November 1966 he was taken prisoner by Israel troops. He was blindfolded and evacuated to an unknown place. On 15 November 1966 from 1700 hours LT until midnight he was interrogated by four people wearing civilian clothes about his battalion, the position of its companies, the location of the brigade headquarters, the names of officers and the number of field guns, tanks and armored cars. On 16 November 1966 he was handed over to Jordanian authorities at the HJK-I-MAC building.
23. At the Hebron Government Hospital and at the Military Hospital in Ramallah, the United Nations Military Observers saw 4 officers, 18 soldiers and 7 civilians who had been wounded in the incident. Among them was the Jordanian colonel who was the commander in the area attacked. He stated that the Israel attacking force included approximately 80 M-48 Patton tanks and a number of armored personnel carriers and that the attack was supported by medium 155 mm guns, 105 mm field guns and aircraft. Initially the aircraft were few in number but increased to about two squadrons from about 0700 hours LT (0500 GMT). The witness, who was wounded during the attack, said that his forces delayed the arrival of the Israel forces at the village of As Samu, thus giving the inhabitants time to flee from their homes.
24. Another patient, an elderly woman living in As Samu village, stated that at approximately 0700 LT (0500 GMT) Israel soldiers ordered her to leave her house which was then blown up. She had been injured by fragments.
25. The resident physician of Hebron hospital said that the casualties and injured from the scene of the incident had been evacuated to his hospital. The civilians with minor injuries had left the hospital after treatment. Other casualties, including 3 dead and 7 seriously injured people, had been admitted to the hospital. 26. The investigating United Nations Military Observers were provided with the death certificates of 14 Jordanian Arab army personnel (including the death certificate for an aircraft pilot) and of 5 civilians killed during the incident. The United Nations Military Observers were also given medical certificates of 37 military personnel and seven civilians who had been wounded and hospitalized in either Hebron or Ramallah.
27. Taking into account other casualties for whom no medical certificates were issued, and the death of the Jordanian major whose dead body was subsequently handed over by Israel authorities (see para. 31 below), the apparent total of casualties would be as follows:
(1) Killed: 3 civilians and 15 military personnel
(2) Wounded: 97 civilians and 37 military personnel.
28. The investigation commenced at 1035 hours LT ((0835 GMT) on 13 November 1966 and concluded at 1630 hours LT (1630 GMT) on 16 November 1966. Thirteen witnesses were interrogated.
C. One-sided investigation in Israel of Jordanian complaint No. M-446
29. On, 13 November 1966 at 1820 hours LT (1620 GMT) the Israel delegation requested of the HJK-I-MAC Chairman that a one-sided investigation of Jordanian complaint No. 0446 concerning the southern Hebron area be carried out in Israel. In the course of that investigation, which took place at the office of the Israel. delegation in Jerusalem, the Israel delegate was asked to produce Israel officers involved in the operation, including the pilot who bad allegedly shot down a Jordanian aircraft, and Israel casualties as witnesses. The investigating United Nations Military Observer also asked to be allowed to see captured Jordanian equipment, including, if any, Jordanian aircraft downed in Israel.
30. The Israel delegate replied that no Israel officer or soldier who had taken part In the operation would be called as a witness, and that there was no Jordanian aircraft in Israel territory. As for the question concerning Jordanian captured equipment, he declined to answer because no reference had been made to that subject in the Jordanian complaint.
D. Additional developments
31. During the 13 November attack, the Israel forces took 2 prisoners, Major Mohammed Dib Alla and private Mohammed Qassim Ahmed Hussein. On 13 November 1966, the Israel delegate to the HJK-I-MAC advised that Major Mohammed Dib Alla had died despite medical efforts to save him. The dead body was handed over to the Jordanian authorities at 0210 hours LT (0010 GMT) on 14 November 1966. Private Mohammed Qassim Ahmed Hussein was handed over by the Israel authorities at 1030 hours LT (0830 GMT) on 16 November 1966 at the office of the HJK-I-MAC. His testimony is reported in paragraph 22 above.
32. On 17 November 1966 at 1914 hours LT (1714 GMT), the Israel authorities proposed to the HJK-I-MAC the hand-over to Jordan of 2 landrovers taken on 13 November 1966. Jordan agreed to the proposal and the hand-over took place at Mandelbaum Square on 18 November 1966 at 090O hours LT (0700 GMT).
33. On 13 November 1966 at 0855 hours LT (0655 GMT), Jordan requested the convening of an emergency meeting of the HJK-I-MAC on Jordanian complaint No. M-446. The request was granted by the Chairman. The Mixed Armistice Commission met on 13 November 1966 at 2230 hours LT (2030 GMT). It was agreed that the meeting be adjourned until the investigation could be completed and the investigation report distributed to the parties.