London (Aug. 29)
The London “Times” broke its editorial silence on the Palestine events to ask, in an editorial on Wednesday, how it is that the Palestine authorities seem neither to have foreseen nor been prepared for the outbreaks.
“The rioters’ or plotters’ armed insurrection could hardly have chosen a better moment for the uprising, while most of the heads of the administration were absent. How comes it that insufficient forces were in Palestine to keep peace when it was notorious that troubles might break out at any time?
“It need hardly be said that our policy in Palestine stands. That it will be unaffected by any attempt of either race to oust or dominate. Another repetition of civil war must be rendered impossible. That is necessary for our honor and for the continuous execution of our policy. Firmness and decision are indispensable for the sake of our Oriental policy, because in the Oriental mind concessions are attributed to weakness. We fear the Moslems in Palestine are already appealing to the Moslems of India.
“Palestine is a test case. If we hesitate or change our accepted policy there, we will soon have a great danger to confront elsewhere. Our plain duty and plain interest point the same way.
“Special grief and indignation is felt at the massacre of the young American students at Hebron. The people of the United States may feel confident that everything in our power will be done to investigate the circumstances of the lamentable crime and bring the perpetrators and authors to justice. We shall act in all respects as though these young men were our own fellow-subjects. Hebron stands out as the most horrible feature in the whole wretched story,” the “Times” states.
“A painful thing, sacrilege of the Wailing Wall, took place under the British government, whose principal injunction, besides administering the Mandate, is to make a national home for the Jews in Palestine,” the “Sunday Times” declared in an editorial.
“The government foolishly allowed the Jewish youth demonstration of protest at the Wall against the disturbance last Yom Kippur, followed by another mistake in permitting the Arab demonstration the next day. The Arabs had the vast square of the Mosque where they could demonstrate and should not have been allowed to enter the alley of the Wailing Wall, where their sole motive must have been insult.
“The miserable excuse which the Arabs offered, showed the official in charge possessed a disabling lack of imagination. Surely it was partly his duty to protect the freedom of worship from interference. The Jewish grievance will be heard the world over. The grievance is not Jewish exclusively, but also offends Christian feelings and tarnishes the honor of our trusteeship in Palestine.
“For seven hundred years the Jews had the right to worship and pray at the Wailing Wall. They were never disturbed until last year, when the police broke in on the most solemn Jewish festival, removing a small screen which was placed to separate men and women worshippers, as is customary for Jewish religious services,” states the “Sunday Times.”
“Public opinion in England resents the feeling that the Palestine administration let it down,” states the “Evening Standard” in its third editorial on the Palestine events.
“Every indication proves that the events were foreseen and could have been prevented. We must know why they were not. The Palestine administration was not unaware that trouble was likely to occur. No one could possibly ignore the facts. Yet, when the trouble broke out, punctually on the day when it was expected, no preparation was made. The High Commissioner was vacationing in England.
“The result was due to the evident failure of the administration. A prompt and stringent inquiry into the whole episode is essential. Appropriate action must follow immediately on the report. Nothing else will satisfy public feeling in England. Lord Passfield sees how advisable, it is to comply with the public wish.”
Under the title “Our Responsibilities,” the “Evening Standard” declared in a previous editorial: “What theologians of three continents have for centuries strived to produce cannot reasonably be asked that the Palestine administration achieve. We cannot ask the Arab lion and the Jewish lamb to live in friendship, but it is the duty of the British administration to preserve peace between the rival religions which it has undertaken to rule. Another aspect is necessary to consider, namely, as Mandatory Power, Great Britain has undertaken obligations which it is our duty to carry out.”
The “Standard” in another editorial stated: “A new warning was addressed by the Zionist Congress to the Colonial Office, sending a special emissary for the purpose. The Colonial Office cannot be acquitted of its share of responsibility, although the chief blame rests with the Palestine administration.”
Lt. Com. Kenworthy, M. P., in an interview in the “Daily Herald,” labor daily, declared that “incidents at the Wailing Wall occurred all along. The Arab police exceeded their duty, but were let off scot free. Our government did not make clear that we intend to preserve the Jewish rights. Our policy in Jerusalem was weak and vacillating. We have given way to agitators and the Arabs have taken advantage of that. We have been far too timid until the present government came into office.”
The “Daily Mail,” in an editorial, stated: “The disturbances assumed shape formidable enough to suggest the suspicion that some external influence has been at work, not inspired by religious but strictly mundate calculation. We cannot allow political anarchy to prevail or social disorganization to extend itself unchecked.”
The “Evening News” which yesterday published violent anti-Zionist editorial, tonight publishes a lengthy cable from its own correspondent describing the Arabs as the aggressors.
“Early Friday morning, I noticed many Arabs armed with heavy sticks,” the correspondent writes. “I was told that the Arabs bought all the sticks in order to attack the Jews. The outbreak actually occurred after prayers had been said in Harem El Sherif. My servant who attended the services at the Mosque stated that the crowd dispersed by various routes, vowing vengeance on the Jews. All Jewish shops in the Old City were shut, but the Jews in the streets were immediately stabbed. From my house on the hill, commanding a panoramic view of Jerusalem. I saw excited crowds of Arabs pouring out from Herod’s Gate. Harold Wiener, a Jewish philanthropist, went in his own car to take a Jewish friend home. At Herod’s Gate the car was stopped and Wiener and Frienkl were shot, while the British driver was unmolested.
“Crowds then rushed past my garden towards the Meah Shevrim quarter, shouting ‘kill Jews.’ The worst outbreak occurred at the Damascus Gate, where fierce fighting with much blood shed took place under the windows of the government offices. Arabs entered Jewish homes and killed five inhabitants. An English woman, describing the scenes from a balcony overlooking Jaffa Roads, said so little disturbance was expected in that locality, that Jewish shops were still open when the Moslem crowds advanced peacefully, directed by police, until they were opposite the Municipal Gardens. Suddenly a leader raised his hand and uttered a cry. At once the mob turned on the passing Jews, and stabbed them in cold blood. Shops were hurriedly closed and the Jews in the streets left to their fate. All observers agree that the worst outbreak was when Hebron Arabs entered the town systematically and butchered Jewish inhabitants. The bodies of women and children were cut to pieces,” the correspondent of the “Evening News” declared.
“The whole affair is humiliating,” states a “Daily Telegraph” editorial “Palestine is governed under a Mandate to make a National Home for the Jews. Encouragement has been given to Jewish immigration and the
establishment of agricultural colonies in various parts of the country, but in the Holy City itself, with considerable population of native Jewish families, the local authorities have been half-hearted in their efforts to preserve the existing Jewish rights in the extreme. The present stage of terror and excitement reflects very seriously upon those charged with the Palestine administration.”
Referring to the new opening the government permitted, the editorial describes it as a piece of “culpable weakness.”
The editorial in the “Daily News” says: “Under the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, Great Britain is honor bound to afford necessary protection, in spite of certain angry criticism leveled against this country by foreign Jewish communities as a result of sacrilegious disturbances at the Wailing Wall.
“We do not think there is any reason to believe that the British government will fail in its duty. Britain, however, while doing all possible not to offend the Arabs’ susceptibilities, must discharge her Mandate with firmness and courage. The local authorities did not foresee the present situation or it would have dealt very efficiently with the incipient signs of disturbances.”
The “Times,” in an editorial, indicates that the purpose of considerable forces being sent to Jerusalem was to convince the actual potential rioters that there is an overwhelming force available in order to keep peace.” The newspaper further states that “the Palestine government undertook investigation, with due intentions to prosecution, but nothing yet has been heard of as to the result. Prayers of old Jews are said at the Wall. It was into this atmosphere of noble sorrow, that certain young Zionists, with bad tastes and irreverence, thrust the firebrand of racial politics. The Wall is holy to the Jews, as well as to the Moslems, and when young Zionist arrogance and Moslem fanaticism clashed on the same narrow ground that is holy to both, the danger demanded precautions from the government, which is responsible to keep peace between them. Since the Jews and Arabs cannot reach an agreement which is the most suitable solution,” the article suggests, “under the circumstances an agreement must be imposed. In the meantime a prompt impartial investigation is essential, which is the plain duty of the Mandatory and the Palestine government, whose whole raison d’etre is to keep peace between conflicting races and creeds in the Holy Land.”
The “Morning Post,” in an editorial, also demands an immediate solution to this problem.