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Violent Truce, by Commander E. H. Hutchison

- Abstract

On the evening of June 30, 1954, firing broke out across the frontier dividing Jordanian from Israeli Jerusalem. By dawn one Jordanian and eleven Israelis had been wounded and one Israeli killed. Did this mean that the Jordanians had done most of the shooting? Or that they were the better marksmen? Not at all, we are advised by Commander Elmo H. Hutchison, U.S.N.R., in this account of his 1951-54 tour of duty as Military Observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization and Chairman of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission. “The heaviest firing,” Commander Hutchison affirms, “had come from Israel.” Then why the outsize Israeli losses? “What had held Arab casualties down,” the Commander reveals, “was the narrowness of the streets, the thickness of the walls, and the Arab social custom of staying closer to home after dark in contrast to the higher living Israelis across no-man’s land.” Curiously, neither the New City’s sinful promenading on modern avenues nor the Old City’s virtuous torpor in medieval alleyways occurs to the author as an explanation for the results of another instance of Jerusalem crossfire. This time there were ten Jordanian dead and fifteen wounded, against only six Israeli wounded. “On that occasion,” Hutchison tells us, “Jordan suffered the brunt of the attack.”

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