Jerusalem (Nov. 1)
Starting out on its tour of inspection of the areas affected in the recent Arab attack, the members of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry investigating the causes of the outbreak, proceeded to Safed, the scene of one of the brutal massacres. The Commission will visit Motza, Hulda, Beer Tuvia, Jaffa. Tel Aviv and Haifa. Hebron, Talpioth and Mekor Haim will be visited at a later date.
The party of ten includes, besides the members of the Commission, Sir Boyd Merriman, counsel for the Jewish Agency, and his assistant, Mr. Davis; William Henry Stoker, Arab counsel, and his assistant, Mr. Silley, and a photographer, a Jew. An escort of three British soldiers is accompanying the Commission.
In order to make its tour of inspection the Commission adjourned its sessions yesterday afternoon, until Monday, after hearing five witnesses. Captain Kingsley Heath, Major Monroe. Sergeant Siegrist. Mr. Harrington of the British police force and Sergeant Subhi, a member of the Arab Secret Service and the outlining of their cases by counsel for the Jews and the Arabs. Mr. Preedy, counsel for the Government, made no statement.
LUKE AND PALESTINE OFFICIALS MUST SHARE RESPONSIBILITY WITH ARABS
The Palestine administration under Civil Secretary H. C. Luke, who was Acting High Commissioner during July and August, must share with the Arabs responsibility for the outbreaks, declared Sir Boyd Merriman, man, counsel for the Jewish Agency, in outlining his case before the Commission yesterday.
The Arab counsel, William Henry Stoker, presented as the Arab stand that the Jews’ conduct and Zionist propaganda were the immediate causes of the outbreak. Among their provocative acts, he dclared, were various Zionist demonstrations and processions. These demonstrations aroused Arab feeling and a sense of injustice. The Arabs conceive that they have suffered under the application of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate. The promises made to the Arabs have not been fulfilled. The Arabs have long felt injustice in connection with the political and economic benefits confer- (Continued on Page 3)
red on the Jews by the Palestine administration, Mr. Stoker contended.
Civil Secretary Luke, while he was administering the government, gave way to any Arab demands which were made with sufficient insistence and the impression of his weakness affected a number of his sub ordinances. At the demand of the Arab Executive, Luke disarmed respectable Jewish citizens. In such an atmosphere trouble was inevitable, Sir Boyd Merriman declared.
In spite of official declarations to the contrary, the Grand Mufti spread the news to the Moslem world that the Jews had threatened the Holy Places and that the Moslem faith had been endangered, Sir Boyd continued. Rumors were current in all parts of the country that the Jews had bombarded the Mosque of Omar and slaughtered Moslems.
The destruction in the country has clearly shown that the disturbances were premeditated. In Petach Tikvah where the Jews and Arabs had been living peacefully for three generations. Arab laborers on August 19 withdrew their women and children to their own villages, stating frankly that they thought it unsafe to remain in the colony. The Police Commandant said he did not know this, but if the secretariat did not know it, their secret service is amazingly inefficient. Sir Boyd declared, and if they knew it, they took no radical steps. It would have been easy to bring a battalion from Egypt within twenty-four hours in order to make it plain that no disturbances would be allowed. The defective measures taken to protect the population make it clear that Mr. Luke, together with the government, must share with the Arabs the responsibility for the outbreaks.
It was the government’s duty to keep peace. The main government office was the secretariat administered by Luke, whose weakness paralyzed the whole country, the counsel for the Jewish Agency declared.
FIXING OF TIME FIRST JEW KILLED IMPORTANT POINT
The fixing of the time of the murder of the first Jew in Jerusalem, on August 23rd, the day of the beginning of the outbreak, was an important point of yesterday’s proceedings. Major Monroe, head of a section of the British police, asserted that the first Jew was killed outside of Barclay’s Bank at twelve thirty on Friday. Arab counsel made a persistent attempt to fix the killing of the first Arab at an earlier time, perhaps as a means of showing provocation for the anti-Jewish attack.
Viscount Erleigh, associate counsel with Sir Boyd Merriman for the Jewish Agency, cross-examined Major Monroe, causing Monroe to disclose many extraordinary features of the Arab influx on Friday, August 23rd. The Arabs, he said, were armed with sticks, clubs and daggers. This was confirmed by Sergeant Siegrist, who also revealed the significant fact that he had asked the British police to be armed, a request refused by the authorities.
Describing the scene at the Wailing Wall, where he was on duty on August 23rd. Mr. Harrington, member of the British police force, declared that the Moslems pouring into the city were sullen, did not greet the police as was their usual custom, and answered all questions evasively. Every man, he continued, was armed, Arab carpenters were busy turning out clus for men who neglected to bring arms.
He gave unshakeable evidence that he heard revolver shots from the Mosque area, just as the muezzin had sounded his call to the Arabs for prayer. He asked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to send a responsible sheik to pacify the crowd. Sheik Hassan was sent, whom he distrusted, Harrington testified.
The efforts of William Henry Stoker. Arab counsel, to make Harrington say that he heard fire crackers, not revolver shots fired from the Mosque, were unsuccessful. Nor could the Arab counsel establish the insinuation that others than Moslems fired the shots heard by Harrington.
Harrington testified that the Jewish procession to the Wailing Wall on August 15th, was highly provocative, and that the Moslem procession which followed was “much more highly provocative.” His description of the Jewish procession conflicted with the testimony of Captain Kingsley-Heath, who (Continued on Page 4)
was with the Jewish procession, during the whole line of its march, and who insisted on the witness stand that it was an orderly procession of peaceable citizens.
Sir Boyd Merriman established that most of the fellaheen who came into Jerusalem on August 23rd did not go to the Mosque for prayer. He stressed the point that the leaving of the women in the villages was indication of an unusual condition.
WITNESS SAYS MUFTI TRIED TO PACIFY CROWD
The most surprising statement read into the record yesterday was the testimony of an Arab Secret Service man, Sergeant Subhi, to the effect that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on August 23rd, tried to pacify the crowds, telling them not to make any movement of attack.
When told by the spokesman of Lifta, an Arab village just outside of Jerusalem, that the Jews had interfered with the villagers and that the police had arrested one Mufti, the Grand Mufti is alleged to have said, after promising the release of the man: “Beware of making any movement which we do not wish.” When told of the attack on the Jewish quarter near the Damascus gate, the Mufti, according to the witness, said: “The government will protect our rights.”
Sergeant Subhi’s testimony followed the presentation of the original letter, allegedly signed by the Grand Mufti, calling upon the Arabs of Nablus to come to Jerusalem to aid in the attack on the Jews.
The Arab demonstration at the Wailing Wall on August 16th, following the Jewish youth demonstration was described by Sergeant Subhi. Reading from a notebook, he reported a speech made at the Wailing Wall by Sheik Hassan to the assembled Moslems. The gist of the speech was: “The Jews are attempting to gain access to El Burak (the top of the Wailing Wall, declared to be the burial place of the horse of Mahomer). We shall defend your rights if nobody else stops their trespassing.” The response of the multitude was “Down with Jews. Down with the Balfour Declaration.”
On August 23rd, the same Sheik addressed the Moslem crowd outside of the Mosque of Omar, according to Sergeant Subhi, exhorting them: “We are rising against the government. Do not take action with regard to El Burak. There is one who will protect our rights.” Unconvinced, the crowd, Subhi reported, shouted back at him: “We cannot accept this. We wish to wage a Holy War. Why have your forgotten your previous preaching?”
Another speaker, following Hassan, Subhi continued, appealed to the crowd: “Don’t listen to the words of Sheik Hassan. He tells you lies. Our leaders are traitors. A Holy War is inevitable. We will kill all the Jews who take El Burak from us. Once they take El Burak, they will possess the Mosque of Omar.”
A man from Kolonia, the village which sacked Motza, incited the crowd: “We must rise against the Jews and every man who meddles with us. We cannot accept bondage.” An Arab from Lifta urged: “We must kill the Jews this day, and scatter any one opposing us,” Sergeant Subhi stated.
The Arab witness asserted that Communist circulars in Arabic and Hebrew, signed by the Palestine Communist Party, were smuggled into the Mosque area, during the excitement.
The testimony of the junior Arab officer to the effect that the Sheiks made conciliatory speeches, was characterized as untrustworthy by Sir Boyd Merriman.
Captain Kingsley-Heath testified that he saw a Moslem killed after the attack on Mea Shearim, eliciting the question from Sir Walter Shaw: “Can you enlighten us whether Jews attacked the Arabs or the Arabs the Jews in Mea Shearim?” “Of course the Arabs attacked the Jews,” said Kingsley-Heath. “They came from the Damascus Gate.”