London (Nov. 13)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
A White Paper dealing in detail with the insidents which occurred at the Western Wall of the Temple and the claims and counter-claims raised by Moslens and Jews of Palestine in connection with this matter will be presenten to the House of Commons by the British Government, Col Leopold H. Amery, Colonial Secretary, stated in reply to a number of questions raised at the Monday afternoon session of Parliament.
In reply to the question submitted by Lieut. Commander Kenworthy as to whether the British Government is aware that the Moslems in Jerusalem have crected masonry constructions on top of the Wailing Wall and whether it can explain why this was permitted by the Palestine Government, the Colonial Secretary stated that the British Government proposes to take the highest legal advice before it will arrive at a definite decision. The government wishes to be sure whether there has occurred a violation of the status quo by the building operations over the Wall. Commander Kenworthy then drew to the attention of the government that the building on top of the Wall was an entirely new departure, which the Turkish Government never permitted.
Sir Frank Sanderson, Conservative, asked whether the government of Palestine will “in view of the action of certain Jews, take steps to protect the Wall from acts of aggression and so removing the cause of what may become dangerous agitation.”
T. D. Fenby, Liberal, asked what steps have been taken to enable the Jewish worshippers at their Holy Places to conduct services of devotion without molestation.
To both of these questions, Col. Amery replied by saying that the government intends to submit to the House a White Paper dealing with the matter, and that further steps have been taken to minimize the risk of a recurrence. The Government’s concern is strictly to maintain the status quo. The action of the police is directed to preserve the delicate equilibrium. At the same time the Government deplores the shock caused to the worshippers by the occurrence on September 24. Col. Amery said further that Sir Frank Sanderson was “unnecessarily apprehensive on behalf of the Moslems.” While it is not contested that the conductors of the Jewish service at the Wall introduced certain innovations, it is true that the Jews have never raised the question of the ownership of the Wall and do not intend to ask anything inconsistent with the inviolability of the Moslem Holy Places. He believes, Col. Amery continued, that a friendly settlement will be possible when the excitement subsides.
Sir Frank Sanderson further asked whether any rioting occurred in Jerusalem and how many arrests were made, to which the Secretary replied that none were made. The member then inquired as to whether the Government was aware of the widespread feeling among the Moslems concerning this matter. Col. Amery said that “there was considerable excitement in all sections of the population.”