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British High Commissioner Issues Proclamation to Palestine Population

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Sir John Chancellor. High Commissioner of Palestine, issued today the following proclamation to the population of the country. The text of the proclamation was distributed from aeroplanes flying over Jerusalem and other cities and villages. It read as follows:

“I have returned from the United Kingdom to find to my distress the country in a state of disorder and a prey to unlawful violence. I have learned with horror of atrocious acts committed by bodies of ruthless and blood-thirsty evil-doers, of savage murders perpetrated upon the defenseless members of the Jewish population regardless of age and sex. accompanied, as at Hebron, by unspeakable savagery, of the burning of farms and houses in town and country and of looting and destruction of property. These crimes have brought upon their authors the execration of all civilized people throughout the world.

“My first duties are to restore order in the country and inflict stern punishment upon those found guilty of the acts of violence. All necessary measures will be taken to achieve those ends and I charge all inhabitants of Palestine to assist me in discharging these duties.

“In accordance with the undertaking which I gave the Arab Executive before I left Palestine in June. I initiated discussions with the Secretary of State when in England on the subject of constitutional changes in Palestine, but in view of the recent events I shall suspend these discussions with His Majesty’s Government.

“In order to put a stop to the mendacious statements that have recently been circulated on the subject of the Wailing Wall. I hereby, with the concurrence of His Majesty’s Government, make it known that I intend to give effect to the principles laid down in the White Paper of the nineteenth of November, 1928, after methods of applying them have been determined.”

The White Paper issued by the British Colonial Office on November 19, 1928, referred to in the proclamation of Sir John Chancellor, acknowledges the Jewish right of access to the Western Wall of the Temple commonly known as the Wailing Wall for the purposes of devotion. The British government regards it as its duty and has the intention to maintain the established Jewish right of access to the pavement in front of the Wall. Jewish worshippers are entitled to bring appurtenances as permitted under the Turkish regime. They are not, however, entitled to put up a screen separating men and women worshippers, as was the case on the Day of Atonement, 1928, when British police officials tore down the screen and dispersed the worshippers. A ruling issued by the Turkish authorities in 1912 prohibited the Jews to erect a screen on the pavement before the Wall.

The purpose of the British authorities in Palestine is to maintain the status quo at the Wailing Wall. While the British government would cordially welcome a mutual arrangement between Jews and Moslems concerning this matter so that the recurrence of unfortunate incidents may be prevented, the Colonial office holds that it would not be consistent with the duties of the government in accordance with the terms of the Palestine Mandate to endeavor to compel the Moslem owners to accord to the Jews extended privileges at the Wailing Wall, the White Paper stated.

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