Jerusalem (Oct. 1)
The testimony of two internationally famous non-Jewish Europeans who are investigating Palestine conditions unqualifiedly condemns the unscrupulous agitation of certain Moslem leaders and their criminal attempts to plunge the Holy Land into bloodshed.
The first is Justin Godart, famous international jurist and senator of France, who declared that only the injection of the religious question and distorted, shameless falsehoods enabled the Moslem leaders to rouse the Arab peasantry to fanaticism and to attack the Jewish colonies. Cupidity did the rest when the peasants were assured by the effendis that the local government approved looting and Jewish slaughter.
Professor Balla, head of Leipzig University theological faculty, the greatest authority on the Hebrew and Arabic languages and culture, after an exhaustive investigation which took him to Transjordania and Mesopotamia where he was welcomed by sheiks and mullahs as a Koranic sage, amplified M. Godart’s statement, saying that the effendis attempted to halt the march of progress and nearly succeeded in producing a national disaster by a systematic campaign of lies and slander. They realize their influence is fast waning. The standard of life is improving, the Arab peasants are no longer their helpless slaves. The Arab proletariat, although primitive and childish, is bound to realize before long that under the Jewish program in Palestine they are the largest benefactors. When that moment arrives when the Arab masses will realize that the Jews are their friends, it will be an evil day for the effendis. The only hold they have on the masses is by appeal to religious prejudice.
Palestine Arabs are bound to follow the example of Syrian Arabs who are unconcerned with Palestine politics, merely demanding that trade go on and the Holy Places be secured. The duty facing Jewry, continued Professor Balla, and he is certain this will be carried out, is to go on doing good to the Arabs, cure their diseases, render even larger numbers prosperous and educate them. He is certain, he said, that more can be accomplished by spiritual weapons than the sword or reprisals.
Israel’s traditional regard for peace is manifest and attempts are being made to bring about a rapprochement between Jew and Arab, with the initiative always on the Jewish side. Jews were called upon to boycott Arabs or take measures to counter the Arab boycott. Meetings were arranged and round table conferences held. Lack of leadership on both sides is preventing hitherto the arrival at a modus vivendi.
Arabs continue to beleaguer Jewish offices with offer to sell land. A delegation of Jaffa Arabs expressed sorrow to Mayor Dizengoff of Tel Aviv that commercial conditions were disturbed. Prior to his departure recently the same delegation visited him on board ship and expressed the hope that he would be able to enlist Jewish capital from Europe and America for Palestine development. Now upon the return of the Jewish Mayor to Tel Aviv, they ruefully hung their heads.
The government’s attention was drawn today to large shipments of contraband armament daily arriving at Haifa, mostly Italian rifles, revolvers and munitions. Ships are unloading the cargo on a desert-like stretch of coast between Haifa and Tyrus. The town engineer of Haifa supplied the military with figures showing that thousands of firearms have been distributed in the last few days. Wealthy Syrian Arabs are rumored to be behind the arms smuggling.
Coupled with Transjordania’s constant threat, where every jackman is still fully armed from the stores left behind by Jemal Pasha on his retreat in 1917, the situation of the Jewish colonies remains precarious. As a result, all sections of the Jewish population are demanding legitimization of the self-defense under responsible chiefs.
Winston Churchill’s utterances in America, clarifying Great Britain’s aims in Palestine, were received by the Palestine community as the first glad moral light in the dark situation.
His affirmation of the Jewish historic and moral rights to the country, furthermore, the postwar settlement giving the Arabs three independent countries, furthermore, the cutting of Palestine in two, giving Transjordania, which is the best part of Palestine, outright to the Arabs, furthermore that Mesopotamia is capable of holding thirty millions, were received in sullen anger in Moslem circles. The Mufti’s spokesman, Jamel Husseini, declared this morning that if Churchill is accurately reported, it is the greatest blow to the Palestine Arab national aspirations. Nevertheless, they are sending a delegation to London to combat the thesis. “We insist that Great Britain made a promise to the Palestine Arabs prior to the Balfour Declaration,” he said.
Severe punishments were meted out to rioters in Haifa, restoring the confidence of Palestine Jews, who believe that London is largely influencing the Palestine situation.