Sites - Israel: Mount Scopus
Ancient Israel Sites
Mount Scopus hebrew name means "mount of the spectators" as
it is one of the few places from which both the Dead Sea and
the Dome of the Rock can be seen. It has consequently always
been seen in terms of military importance; Titus, the First
Crusade and General Allenby all used the place to pitch
camp. Today about 3,000 of Allenbys troops continue to look
over the city from their impeccable cemetery.
The Hebrew University was founded here in 1925, and from
1948 to 1967 it was an Israeli enclave in Jordan. After 1967
the University and its hospital were re-founded and now
dominate the skyline. (Israel Minister of Tourism)
Mount Scopus in Wikipedia
Mount Scopus (Hebrew הַר הַצּוֹפִים (Har HaTsofim), Arabic جبل
المشارف Ǧabal al-Maārif, lit. "Mount Lookout"), جبل المشهد
Ǧabal al-Mahad, جبل الصوانة) is a mountain (elevation: 2710
feet or 826 meters above sea level) in northeast Jerusalem,
Israel. In the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Mount
Scopus became a UN protected Jewish exclave within
Jordanian-occupied territory until the Six-Day War in 1967.
Today, Mount Scopus lies within the municipal boundaries of
the city of Jerusalem.
Overlooking Jerusalem, Mount Scopus has been strategically
important as a base from which to attack the city since
antiquity. A Roman Legion camped there in 66 CE. Again in
70 CE Mount Scopus was used as a base to carry out a siege
of the city by the 12th, 15th and 5th Legions (the 10th
legions position being on the Mount of Olives). The
Crusaders used it as a base in 1099.
After the ceasefire agreement of November 30, 1948, which
established the division of East and West Jerusalem, Israel
controlled the western part of the city while Jordan
controlled the east. Several demilitarized "no man's land"
zones were established along the border, one of them Mount
Scopus. Fortnightly convoys carrying supplies to the
university and hospital located in the Israeli part of the
demilitarized zone on Mount Scopus were periodically held up
by Jordanian troops. Access to hospital and university
campus was through a narrow road, a mile and a half long,
passing through the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Arab sniper fire on vehicles moving along the access route
became a regular occurrence, and road mines were laid. When
food and supplies at the hospital begun to dwindle, a large
convoy carrying doctors and supplies set out for the
besieged hospital, leading to an attack that became known as
the Hadassah medical convoy massacre.
Article VIII of the 1949 Armistice Agreements signed by
Israel and Jordan in April 1949 called for a resumption
of "the normal functioning of the cultural and humanitarian
institutions on Mount Scopus and free access thereto; free
access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use
of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives; resumption of
operation of the Latrun pumping station; provision of
electricity for the Old City; and resumption of operation of
the railroad to Jerusalem." In January 1958, Francis
Urrutia, a representative of the UN Secretary-General, tried
to persuade Jordan to abide by Article VIII, but without
success. In May 1958, Jordanian soldiers fired on Israeli
patrols, killing a UN officer and four Israeli policemen.
Ralph Bunche, assistant to UN Secretary-General Dag
Hammarskjöld visited Jerusalem and Amman to find a solution,
followed by Hammarskjöld himself, again unsuccessfully.
The Mount Scopus Agreement signed on July 7, 1948 regulated
the demilitarised zone around Mount Scopus and authorized
the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization to settle
disputes between the Israelis and Jordanians.
Two Jewish-owned plots in al-Issawiya, known as Gan Shlomit
or Salomons Garden, were purchased by Mrs. V.F. Salomons in
1934 and sold to the Gan Shlomit Company, Ltd. in 1937.
This land was surrounded by a fence, but clashes erupted
when Arabs living on the other side of the fence sought to
cultivate land, pick olives and carry out repairs on homes
close to the fence. The Arabs were requested not to work
closer than fifty metres from the fence unless prior
permission was granted by the Israeli police. There were
two versions of the demilitarization agreement one was
initialled by Franklyn M. Begley, a UN official; the local
Jordanian commander and the Israeli local commander. The
other was not initialled by the Israeli local commander.
Having two versions of the map was the cause many incidents
within the Mount Scopus area....
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