dated October 23, 1953: Israel and Jordan

From the Editorials: Mr. Anthony Eden was speaking the bare truth when he said in the Commons that the relations between Israel and the Arab States were causing grave concern. Disturbed as the entire Middle East is, nowhere is the situation more fraught with the danger of war than on the border between Israel and Jordan. The inveterate antipathy between the opponents is based on historical differences of race and religion. The creation of Israel as an independent country after Britain had surrendered its mandate introduced into the Middle East an element of disorder. The new State which realised an age-old aspiration of the Jews, has had a most disturbed career. It survived a war with the Arab States in 1948 with difficulty. The inefficiency and corruption of the Egyptian Army under King Farouk, which undertook to execute the mandate of the Arab League, had not a little to do with the Arabs' failure. The fighting has left bitter memories behind it and has made a reconciliation even more difficult. But its most momentous consequence has been the human problem of millions of Arab refugees. An undeclared war has been subsisting since 1949, and innumerable "incidents" have arisen. Israel's scheme to drain the Huleh swamps was opposed by the Arab States, but even more irritating have been the numerous raids across the border. The line of demarcation between Israel and Jordan is unsatisfactory, for it runs through villages and even residences, the house being assigned to one country and its garden to the other. An Israeli spokesman has mentioned that in the period between July 1952 and June 1953 no less than 184 incidents have taken place. The latest event, in which a Jordan village was bombarded by an Israeli Army unit has exacerbated the situation.

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