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Arms Smuggling into Palestine Unabated Despite Precautions

The confiscation of 100 military rifles in the village of Hauran, in French-Syrian territory, today has again directed attention to the existence of great stores of unused arms and ammunition in practically all the villages of Palestine and Syria. Some arsenals date back to the days of the World War when the retreating Turks abandoned huge dumps, but the traffic in arms between Syria and Palestine and Palestine and Transjordania has continued since the War and many villages arc constantly supplementing their stocks.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns on good authority that the smuggling of arms across the Jordan is unabated despite police vigilance. The smugglers wade across the river at its shallow spots and are thus enabled to enter Palestine from a number of places. It is estimated that 5,000 rifles were brought into Palestine illegally in the past year from Transjordania, depleting the supply of that country where the carrying of arms is permitted, and helping to arm the Palestine Arabs who are not allowed to carry weapons. The police have just caught red-handed a group of Arabs who have been using an abandoned Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives as a base for arms-running and selling.

From time to time, the abandoned ammunition dumps in the various towns explode with fatal results while the armed smugglers are occasionally caught in trying to cross the Syrian or Transjordanian frontiers. That the situation is a menace to the peace and order of Palestine was recognized by the Mandates Commission at its last session on Palestine when a number of the Commissioners made pertinent inquiries as to what measures had been taken or were contemplated to put an end to the smuggling of arms.

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