Jerusalem (Sep. 8)
The Palestine Arab Executive was publicly charged with having a hand in organizing the anti-Jewish massacres in Palestine and with now making obvious attempts to condone and to justify the murders and lootings, in a statement issued today by the Vaad Leumi, National Council of Palestine Jews.
The determination of Palestine Jews to continue their constructive work “through peace and labor” until the national homeland is erected was emphasized in the statement which was made under the caption “The Defenders of Murderers” in reply to the protests of the Arab Executive against the first proclaamtion of the High Commissioner, in which the savagery of the Arab attacks was condemned in unmistakeable terms.
The Vaad Leumi, in its proclamation, takes up point by point the allegations made by the Palestine Arab Executive and dwells in particular on the assertions that (1) the Jews were armed, (2) the government armed them.
“Had the Jews of Hebron and Safed been armed, they would not have been slaughtered like sheep without firing a single shot. It is unheard of that scores of persons be massacred without the assailants losing a single man if those attacked were armed. The truth is that thousands of Moslems came to Jerusalem Friday, allegedly to pray, but they were armed with knives which were distributed publicly on the streets of Jerusalem. In certain sections of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, the Jews used what arms they could lay hands on, but only in self-defense, not in attack. It was due to this self-defense that these places, like many others, were saved from certain destruction. The fact that the Arab Executive cannot point to one attack by Jews on an Arab village or a section of a settlement, nor to any violation of Arab women, nor to single case of arson, looting or robbery committed by Jews, speaks for itself.
“On the other hand, it is perfectly clear that such acts have been perpetrated in a wholesale manner on Jews and Jewish property, which is now being offered for sale in the towns and villages of the country. A large number of Arab looters were captured, arrested or killed while engaged in these depredations. There are cases on record of Arabs killing one another because of their quarrels over the booty.
“That the Palestine government originally armed the Jews is further proof that the defenseless Jews were in grave danger, but to our regret and to the disgrace of the government, the mobilization and arming of Jews was discontinued in deference to the Arab demands.
“Facts and evidence will establish what truth there is in the statement made by the Arab Executive that no mutilations or torture occurred during the Hebron massacre.
“The stream of blood, murder, violence, rape and arson which the Arab Executive is now endeavoring to cover up and to condone, show that the committee had a hand in organizing these acts, casting an eternal stain on the national movement which the committee has presumed to represent. The Arab Executive is fully aware that it is slanderous to accuse us of any designs on the Moslem Holy Places or of plans to infringe upon Arab property rights. We are sufficiently strong to live on our own labors.
“We wish on this occasion again to express our hope that the government at length begin to protect our lives and property and that it will know how to punish the vandals, the murderers and the robbers.
“As long as we breathe we shall not allow ourselves to be massacred, we will not permit our women and children to be murdered. We shall defend ourselves with all the means we are capable of mustering. The Jewish people will continue with greater creative and constructive work to bring greater sacrifices on the altar of our Homeland until the Jewish National Home is erected through peace and labor.”
PROTEST AGAINST ARAB OFFICERS INVESTIGATING MURDER AND PILLAGE CASES
Representatives of the National Council called on the High Commissioner on Saturday morning demanding a change in the system instituted by the government in the investigation of the crimes committed during the disorders. It was pointed out that in many places Arab police officers, in whom the Jewish population has no confidence, were placed in charge of the investigation. The delegation informed the High Commissioner that Palestine Jews will refuse to submit evidence in the investigation if Arab officers will be in charge and if Arabic, with which most Jews are unfamiliar, will be employed in the composition of the testimony. The High Commissioner, it is understood, promised to take into consideration this demand and to entrust the investigation, wherever possible, with British officers. This has already been done in Safed and Jaffa.
RESENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS JEWISH SELF-DEFENSE
While the British authorities readily admit that before the arrival of the troops, the Jewish self-defense saved Jerusalem and the Jerusalem district from the fate of Hebron and Safed and while many British officers and soldiers are full of praise for the bravery, cool-headedness and gallantry of the ill-armed and unarmed Jewish youths, some of the government officials tend to regard the Jewish self-defense as opposed to the troops. This attitude is resented greatly in leading Jewish circles here. The Jewish self-defense wishes to be considered as an auxiliary to the British forces when they are in the country.
The question of security was placed on the agenda of the Jewish National Council meeting which was opened on Sunday. Isaac Ben-Zvi and Chaim Solomon, the two leading members of the Council who carried the brunt of the crisis in the absence of nearly all other members, will report to the body on the events of the past two weeks.