Jerusalem (Jun. 17)
Three Arabs, two from Hebron and one from Safed, were executed today at the Acre prison for the murder of Jews during last August’s riots. The first of the condemned men was pronounced dead at 8.10 A. M. Jerusalem time and the last one two hours later. Great crowds of Arabs, including relatives of the condemned men, gathered before the Acre prison to learn the news while other crowds were informed of the executions in hourly announcements by the muezzins from the minarets of the mosques in Haifa and Acre.
Police Superintendent F. M. Scott of Tel Aviv, on duty in Jaffa, was slightly injured in a clash with Arabs following the announcement of the executions which were carried out on scheduled time. In Haifa the police forcibly broke up a demonstration while in Jerusalem schoolboys attempted to stage a demonstration at the Damascus Gate but were everywhere dispersed by the police who deprived Arab pedestrians of clubs and sticks.
The police commandants at Acre, Haifa and elsewhere are prepared to cope with any disorders when the relatives of the hanged men claim the bodies and the news of the executions spreads through the country. In Jerusalem large crowds of Arabs idled in the vicinity of the public buildings awaiting the news from Acre while British military reinforcements were everywhere.
The general strike called by the Arab Executive has been renewed and is being more generally observed than strikes called hitherto by the Arabs owing to the active picketing of shops in the Old City which are practically all shut. Jewish shops in the neighborhood of Arab places of business are also closed. A number of black flags are flying from various Arab buildings.
In Hebron, Nablus, Acre and other Arab centers photographs of the three executed Arabs are being offered for sale. Work has been discontinued at the match factory in Acre and in Haifa and Acre Jewish families are hastily withdrawing from their quarters adjoining the Arab districts. A partial protest strike is on in Amman, capital of Transjordania, where Emir Abdullah has been memorialized.
The Arab papers today appeared in black borders. The “El Carmel” has suggested that the Arab Executive proclaim a forty-day period of mourning and that on the anniversary of the executions all Arabs wear black bands and that in the future the execution day be observed as a national day of mourning.
The “Meraat Al Shark” announces “the sacrifice of the martyrs” and says that “the gallows is the first tree of independence.” The same paper, claiming that “the executions are one of the results of the Balfour Declaration,” prints a message that the government has refused to turn over the bodies of the executed men to their families. It was learned later that the Government finally acceded to the request of the Arab Executive and planned to turn over the bodies to the Executive after the latter had guaranteed that the burial, which will be at Acre, would be accompanied by no demonstrations.
The Arab Executive moved heaven and earth to prevent the execution of the three Arabs who were the only ones not reprieved on the occasion of King George’s birthday. The three who were executed are Ahmed Elzeer, a porter from Hebron, found guilty of the murder of Rabbi Kastel and his family; Mohammed Jamjum, a driver from Hebron, convicted of the murder of the Aboushdids, and Fuad Hedjazi of Safed, a government health official, convicted of the murder of A. Mizrachi, Afriat, the former’s French pupil, and members of the family of Afriat. Hedjazi was identified by a surviving daughter of Afriat.