Jerusalem (Nov. 13)
Arab agitators, led by Hamdi Husseini, leader of a small section of Arab Communists, and representative of the Anti-Imperialism League, were charged with responsibility for arousing the Arabs of Jaffa to fall upon the Jews of the municipality, spreading their bloody trail to Tel Aviv, by Police Officer Quigley, who was in charge of the Jaffa and Tel Aviv Districts, during the riots.
Testifying before the Commission of Inquiry yesterday, Quigley, under cross-examination by Viscount Erleigh, associate counsel for the Jewish Agency, stated the Arabs of Jaffa were not really alarmed, but were worked up into a restless state by agitators making full use of the Wailing Wall situation and alleging that the British and the Jews were oppressing the Arabs.
Hamdi, he emphasized, used every occasion to cause trouble on religious pretexts, which is the only way of causing trouble in this country. The Arab agitator, the witness declared, who traveled to Frankfurt to attend a meeting of the Anti-Imperialism League, had since his return used every religious pretext to foment trouble, inciting in particular the Moslem youth, who respond absolutely to his orders, despite the efforts of the moderates.
Quigley admitted that the police had indications that trouble was brewing as early as August 22nd, declaring that all the Moslems of Jaffa were urged to attend the Mosques on August 22, an order which the police regarded as a serious sing of trouble, and which was followed by the departure of both the Jews and the Arabs from the mixed quarter on the border line between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Quigley’s admission was made after Erleigh had read into the record excerpts from articles in the Hebrew publications “Davar” and “Ha’ Aretz,” as early as August 21, proving that there had been sufficient advance information of the imminence of the riots in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, fomented there, as elsewhere, by the Arab leaders’ report Jews were attacking Moslems and the Moslem Holy places.
Quigley denied, under cross-examination, as had been charged by the Arabs, that the Jews had been armed by the government, and that dressed as military, they fired upon the Arabs, one Jewish policeman even being committed to trial for such an offense. He declared as untrue that Jewish Communists were behind the Wailing Wall protest.
A characteristic example of Arab methods was offered at the sitting of the Inquiry Commission yesterday, when the Arab counsel attempted to palm off an illustrated booklet, describing the activity of the Jewish self-defense against the pogroms in the Ukraine, ten years ago, as a description of the activities of the Jewish self-defense in Palestine, during the riots, The duplicity was disclosed through the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
During Stoker’s examination of Quigley, on the subject of the self-defense measures taken by the Jews during the attacks on Jaffa and Tel Aviv, Maughanan, secretary of the Arab Executive, and assistant to Stoker, hand-
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ed him a book in Hebrew, purporting to be a description of the Jewish self-defense. Stoker showed the illustrations to Quigley, who remarked they looked like military. At this point the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent informed Sir Boyd Merriman, counsel for the Jewish Agency, that while the book had been printed in Tel Aviv, it was a description of the Jewish self-defense corps in the Ukraine, ten years ago. Merriman challenged the Arab counsel, and Stoker, shamefacedly, put the book down.
Quigley said that he knew nothing definite about the Jewish self-defense, except that he had heard of its existence, and that he believed it to be a part of the general labor organization. He declared that he had never heard of the self-defense making inflammatory speeches.
Stoker insisted upon making the most of the murder of an Arab family in Jaffa. At this Erleigh had declared he had no intention of defending the murder of the Arab family, except to say that it followed upon the killing of four Jews and the wounding of five, who had come to rescue the marooned Jews, among them Benjamin Goldberg, son of the well known Russian Zionist, Isaac Goldberg. He declared that the Acting Mayor of Tel Aviv, Rokeach, immediately after its occurrence, expressed Jewish abhorrence at the crime.
Quigley said that there had been other allegations against the Jews, including the looting of four Arab houses.
The attempt of Stoker to show that there was Jewish provocation, during the Arab demonstration at the Jaffa Mosque on August 25, was made light of by Quigley, who said that while some Jews were there, they did no harm, and although they did no good to themselves, they did nothing irritating or annoying.
To Stoker’s query, whether they used hand grenades, Quigley answered: “We captured four rifles and two revolvers at a Jewish house, near the borderline between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, otherwise the Jews were at no time armed, not even the Jewish police. On the other hand, we also captured one rifle and four revolvers from the Arabs.”
Quigley’s only reference to the historic defense of the colony of Hulda, where a small band of Jewish colonists beat off a horde of Arab attackers with but a single casualty, was that eighteen rifles had been found in the colony, which had defended itself, but later had been evacuated and burned. Quigley showed a surprising ignorance of what both Jewish and Arab leaders said and printed. He declared he never saw the two notices issued by the municipality of Tel Aviv on August 25, urging the inhabitants to remain quiet and observe national discipline. “They were very proper documents to issue, were the not?” asked Erleigh. “Yes,” was Quigley’s reply. He also told Stoker that he had never seen the manifesto of the Grand Mufti urging the Arabs to keep peace.
Referring to the rescue party led by Benjamin Goldberg, who was killed, Quigley asserted that the rescue attempt was unnecessary, because an armored car had orders to rescue the marooned Jews, which it subsequently did. Goldberg was told not to go, but the rescuing party, not knowing the way, rode straight into the Arab village to destruction.
He said that Jaffa is an excitable town, and the principal preoccupation of the police was to keep it from attacking Tel Aviv, which it adjoins.
He denied knowledge that an Arab protest demonstration had occurred in Ludd, which is in his district, or that there were ominous indications in Petach Tikvah, such as the departure of the Arabs and their women from the colony, after demanding pay.
Stoker’s attempt to mystify the Commission with the resolutions adopted by a big Jewish protest meeting in Tel Aviv, was countered by Sir Boyd Merriman with the offer to read the resolutions into the record. The resolutions adopted, protested to the gov-
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ernment against the attack at the Wailing Wall, demanded the resignation of the Palestine officials responsible for retarding the upbuilding of a Jewish state; proposed a commission to inquire into the rights of the Jews to their Holy places; and endorsed the activities of the Wailing Wall Committee headed by Dr. Klausner.
Merriman also read the by-laws of the B’rith Trumpeldor Association, which has been under attack by the Moslems, which revealed that it is a group numbering 250 members, devoted to physical, moral and mental upbuilding.
Vincent Sheean, Palestine correspondent of the North American Newspaper Alliance, testified before the Inquiry Commission that on Tish b’Ab he went to the Wailing Wall with a Jewess of his acquaintance, who told him that three-quarters of the chaluzim were arriving armed and that there would be trouble. He stayed at the Wailing Wall for a few hours and saw some Jewish worshippers and many chaluzim, none of whom carried sticks and only one a revolver. Although no trouble occurred, Sheean said that the chaluzim were in a fighting mood.
One Arab crossed the Wailing Wall area several times, until he was escorted away by the police, said Sheean, who was informed by his friend, the Jewess, that there would be trouble on the following day, but he did not return to the Wailing Wall the next day.
Mr. Sheean, who is also correspondent for the New York “World,” testified that he discontinued his cables to the North American Newspaper Alliance because there had been Jewish demonstrations outside of the World Building in New York. He explained this action by saying that he did not want to hurt the paper by cables unfriendly to Zionism. Mr. Sheean admitted that he arrived in Palestine with friendly feelings toward Zionism, but that such sentiments were now non-existent where he was concerned.