Cairo (Aug. 31)
The government of Palestine and the Jewish leaders in the country are at loggerheads over the question of responsibility for the massacre perpetrated by the Moslem Arabs on the Jewish population of the ancient city of Safed Thursday night, where 22 Jews were killed and scores were wounded, with no casualty among the Moslem assailants. The government asserts that the blame rests with the Safed Jews because, it alleges, the riots originated when a Jew fired into an Arab crowd. The Jewish leaders indignantly repudiated this assertion as a malicious fabrication. The British troops arrived in Safed several hours after the massacre was perpetrated, although government officials assured the Jewish leaders that “Safed was adequately protected.”
This development, which places the events in Palestine and the attitude of the present government under Sir John Chancellor and H. C. Luke, in whose hands the government reins were when the riots first started, in a new light, became apparent following an interview at the government house granted to Eliezar R. Hoofien, manager of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, and Mr. Horowitz in behalf of the Zionist Executive. Sir John Chancellor, the High Commissioner, and Harry C. Luke, Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, received the Zionist representatives.
GRAVE APPREHENSIONS AS TO GOVERNMENT’S ATTITUDE
In an uncensored report which reached here, it is declared that the Zionist spokesmen stated after leaving the government house that the results of the interview were very disappointing to the Jews of Palestine and engenders the gravest apprehensions as to the government’s attitude.
The heads of the Palestine government betrayed complete misconception of their duties in the present situation. The following account was given of the interview:
Mr. Horowitz protested against the order issued by H. C. Luke when he was Acting High Commissioner, to disarm the Jewish constables and even British Jews. He stated that this order was an official manifestation of mistrust of Palestine Jews.
Sir John Chancellor justified the action of Mr. Luke. The Moslem leaders had threatened that they wouldn’t be able to control the fury of the Arab masses unless the Jews were disarmed.
This signifies yielding to terror, retorted Mr. Hoofien. The government apparently does not realize that the Jews are being attacked and that the Arabs are the attackers. Instead, it seems to believe and act as if there were two warring camps, singling out the Jews for disarming.
Sir John Chancellor then indicated that he has a report from Safed that “the riots originated when a Jew fired into the Arab crowd.”
Mr. Hoofien repudiated indignantly this report as a malicious fabrication and recalled to the High Commissioner’s mind the fact that wholesale slaughters were committed against Jews at Hebron and at Motza, while not a single Arab village in Palestine was molested. “But we do not intend to be killed like sheep as in Safed,” the Zionist spokesman said.
SIR JOHN SILENT ON DISARMING OF JEWS
When Sir John remarked that “Safed is now under control,” Mr. Hoofien replied, “You could not state this last night regarding Safed, nor can say it tonight (Friday night) regarding Tiberias, which is now similarly threatened. We prefer to face death arms in hand, while you prefer to offer us protection, prohibiting our self-defense, searching for arms among Jews who fight for their lives and leaving the assailants untouched. In Godera the Jews defended themselves with rifles which fortunately they had in their possession. The police which appeared after the attack was repulsed confiscated the arms which had saved the colony from destruction.”
Silence prevailed for a few minutes, no reply being given.
REPARATION TO JEWISH VICTIMS “NEEDS CONSIDERATION”
When one of the Zionist spokesmen asked the High Commissioner what action is being proposed by the government regarding the Hebron authorities who misled the Jews by giving them false assurances and failing to give them protection, no reply was given. When the Zionist spokesmen expressed a request that the High Commissioner state as to whether the sufferers will receive reparation, Sir John stated that the matter “needs consideration.”
Mr. Luke remarked that he “understands that the Jews are raising big funds.”
The general feeling in Jerusalem today is that the Jewish settlement of Palestine is on the brink of despair. Unless immediate and drastic measures are taken the Jews of Palestine are heading towards complete destruction.
The Zionist Executive here despatched an alarming call to the Zionist headquarters in London to make every effort with the British government to avoid a catastrophe.