Jerusalem (Mar. 27)
Many Arabs are undoubtedly willing to co-operate, but they are afraid of being howled down as traitors, Dr. Weizmann said to the J.T.A. here to-day, describing it as political terrorism which is preventing the Arabs from joining in a round table parley.
Some Jews have contributed to the Arab fears, Dr. Weizmann went on, and how we must prepare the Arabs to receive co-operation, which means making concessions on our side. Many Arabs believe that the British are anti-Zionist and would not support Arabs who seek peace with the Zionists.
Confirming the J.T.A. report that the authorities in London had desired the High Commissioner to arrange an Arab-Jewish meeting, Dr. Weizmann said that the local authority had proceeded naively in the matter, simply communicating the wish to the Arabs. Nevertheless, he added, he expected a considerable body of Arab opinion to be in favour of co-operation, although Mr. MacDonald’s letter which had only restored the status quo had deeply disappointed some of them. This was the result, Dr. Weizmann said, of a zig-zag policy.
The Palestine Arab Executive perhaps does not represent the people, Dr. Weizmann went on, but it represents everything vocal, whether influence, ability, money or British support, but the non-possums attitude betrays the nervousness of the leaders. The Egyptians are either entirely uninterested in the matter or they are anxious to have an Arab-Jewish understanding, but the Syrians who control public opinion are stirring up trouble in Egypt. Shaukat All’s visit to Palestine recently gave a fillip to Pan-Islamic propaganda, Dr. Weizmann admitted, although it was too ambitious, he said, especially the talk about a Moslem University in Palestine.
Without a tripartate agreement between Britain, the Jews and the Arabs, Dr. Weizmann explained, the House of Commons will not pass the Development Loan, which, will, anyhow, be difficult to repay unless the confidence of the Jews is restored and investment in Palestine can be recommenced.
A Palestine Legislature, Dr. Weizmann said, is impossible without an agreement with the Jews, who have no confidence that the British members of the Legislature would not join with the Arabs to obstruct the building of the Jewish National Home.
One of my tasks in America, Dr. Weizmann said, will be to re-establish confidence and to wipe out the accumulated bitterness. The White Paper would have been more harmful if it had been more skilfully drawn up, he remarked, but its most vicious feature was the attempt to lay down the thesis that what is good for the Jews is necessarily harmful for the Arabs and vice versa. Sir John Hope Simpson’s figure of the number of landless Arabs created a false impression, because of its supposed scientific exactitude, whereas actually he included the cultivator-tenants among the landless Arabs.
Dr. Weizmann has been invited to Government House for to-morrow (Saturday) night, together with the Earl of Athlone, who has just retired from the Governor-Generalship of South Africa, and his wife Princess Alice, who are now in Palestine as the guests of the High Commissioner.