U.N. Official, 4 Israelis Killed on Mount Scopus “No man’s land” line between Israel in Jordan in Jerusalem, ca.1950s. Photo: Public Domain.

May 26, 1958

Four Israeli police officers and the chairman of the United Nations’ Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission are fatally shot by Jordanian fire in the demilitarized zone on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

Both Israel and Jordan report that the other side fires first in the latest of a series clashes, although previous incidents were not deadly. In this case, a five-man Israeli police patrol comes under attack from the Jordanian side, in the vicinity of the Arab village of Issawiya, around 2:30 p.m. Three of the Israelis, one of whom is wounded, make it back to safety. After consulting with the United Nations, which asks both sides to cease fire, Israel sends a rescue patrol to try to find the two missing men at 3:30, but that patrol also is attacked. One officer is killed. Two men are wounded, and a dozen others are pinned down.

The United Nations tries to get medical officers to the Israelis while also urging the Jordanians to hold their fire, but it appears that one sniper keeps shooting at anyone who moves. Canadian Lt. Col. George Flint, who heads the armistice commission for the United Nations, and a medical officer move into the demilitarized zone with a pair of white truce flags shortly after 4:30, but the sniper continues to fire. Another Israeli police officer is fatally shot near Flint at 4:50, and Flint himself is killed just before 5 p.m.

Flint, two officers in the rescue patrol and the two missing officers, whose bodies are found by another patrol during the night, are the day’s fatalities. Two other Israelis are wounded. No casualties are reported from the Jordanian side. 

Mount Scopus, the original location of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was cut off from Israel at the start of the War of Independence, but the demilitarized zone between Israeli and Jordanian forces was established later in 1948.