Tuesday, November 02, 2010

When Jordan murdered a UN peacekeeper

Tri City Herald, May 27, 1958:

Lt.-Colonel Flint was trying to help an Israeli soldier who was shot. He went out to him, waving a white flag, when he was fatally wounded.

The UN launched an investigation to determine which side was at fault. Its ballistics tests concluded:

1. In paragraph 57 of my report of 7 June 1958 on the firing incident of 26 May 1958 on Mount Scopus, I indicated that I had ordered a ballistic examination with regard to the circumstances of the death of Lt. Colonel Flint, my representative for Mount Scopus. This examination has been performed by the State Criminalistics Institute in Stockholm Sweden, and I am herewith reporting on its results.

2. The examination has revealed that the bullet which killed Lt. Colonel Flint was a direct shot. It is thus to be considered as established that Lt Colonel Flint was shot by a bullet fired from Jordanian-controlled territory.

3. It has not been possible to establish from what distance the bullet was fired.

4. It has been established that the bullet was fired by a Lee-Enfield .303 calibre rifle.

5. It has been established that one at least of the Israeli policemen killed during the incident was shot by a bullet fired by another rifle of the same type.
Another UN report detailed the series of events:

11. At approximately 1615 LT, Lt.-Colonel Flint and an UNMO, carrying two white flags, proceeded from Issawiya towards the area where the Israelis and one UNMO were pinned down. As they reached the party at approximately 1630 LT - when they realized that approximately fifteen men were pinned down - firing, which had been reported sporadically up to that time, stopped almost entirely. Lt.-Colonel Flint, however, repeatedly reported that any movement by anyone in the party brought firing by apparently one individual from Jordanian territory to the east. This information was passed on to the Jordanian Delegation with a request for immediate action in order to bring all firing under control.

12. At 1632 LT the Israeli police commander in the Jewish Sector indicated that if the Israeli patrol had not been recovered from its pinned down position within half an hour, he would take matters in his own hands. Being apprized of this message, Lt.-Colonel Flint asked by radio that the police commander be informed that measures had been taken to ensure a complete cease-fire on the Jordan side, that the situation was generally well in hand and that the party was working on the problem of its evacuation.

13. Following a discussion between Lt.-Colonel Flint, the UNMOs and the Israeli patrol leader on the question of evacuation of the wounded and dead men and withdrawal of the party, the members of the Israeli patrol began to move at 1650 LT, with Lt.-Colonel Flint and the UNMOs standing nearby with white flags. A single loud shot was then fired, apparently not from a long distance, and an Israeli fell wounded in the chest.

14. Meanwhile, one of the two UNMOs in the Jewish Sector had proceeded towards the pinned down party, accompanied by an armed Israeli policeman. He was just reaching the party, carrying a white flag, when he heard a bullet whistle over his head and dropped to the ground.

15. At 1654 LT.-Colonel Flint apparently decided to make a personal appraisal of the situation in the vicinity of the newly wounded Israeli, who was lying close to the place where the body of the previously killed Israeli officer was situated, at approximately MR 17388 13355. After Lt.-Colonel Flint had proceeded 40 to 50 metres towards that place, carrying a white flag, there was a single shot and he was hit by a bullet of apparently the same origin, judging by the intensity of the shot, as the one which had hit the Israeli policeman a few minutes earlier. An unwounded Israeli lying only two metres from Lt.-Colonel Flint shouted that the letter was not moving and that he could see the entrance hole of the bullet. An UNMO who was at a short distance saw the impact of the bullet and, as Lt.-Colonel Flint had fallen immediately, concluded that he must have been killed instantly.

16. Realizing that the party was apparently being pinned down by a marksman, whose firing had in a very small area resulted in four casualties, the two last of them in less than five minutes, the Senior UNMO in the party decided that no further attempts at evacuation of the killed and wounded should be made by daylight, i.e. for about two more hours, unless the sniper had been found and brought under control. The Israeli patrol leader concurred in this decision.Another UN document (that I could not find online) concluded starkly:
One thing is certain: LCol Flint was not killed accidentally or even amid an exchange of fire between the parties... he was killed deliberately by a single bullet coming from the territory controlled by Jordan after a mutual cease-fire agreement.

Even worse, even though the UN tried for years to get Jordan to pay reparations for the death, Jordan refused, claiming against all evidence that Israel was at fault.

Even though Israel apparently had some differences with Flint, he died trying to save an Israeli soldier's life. He was a hero.

Today, there are no websites demanding justice from Jordan for this deliberate act of murder.