Palestine Debate in Commons; Jewish Deaths Officially Put at 38
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Palestine Debate in Commons; Jewish Deaths Officially Put at 38

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Warning that if Great Britain withdrew from Palestine there would be bloodshed “from one end of the land to the other,” Colonial Secretary William Ormsby-Gore announced today the determination of the Government to restore order and keep its “dual obligation” to the Jews and Arabs.

Replying to speakers in a formal debate, he said the Government intends to enforce recently promulgated measures without fear or favor, including the death penalty for terrorism. He pledged there would be no concession to violence, intimidation, threats and, above all, to the attacks being made by lawless elements against British authority.

He announced that eighty-four persons have been killed–substantially more than the total reported from Palestine. Moslems 42 killed, 109 seriously injured, 275 slightly injured. Jews: 38 killed, 65 seriously injured, 84 slightly injured. Christiana: 4 killed, 24 seriously injured, 54 slightly injured.

Pointing out that violence and lawlessness have increased markedly, the Colonial Secretary reported a daily average of ten to fifteen gun attacks, eight highway attacks, five to ten bombings and as many forays against telephone and telegraph installations.

He said that after peace was restored, “and not before,” a Royal commission would be sent to Palestine, authorized to carry out “the fullest and most searching investigation into the causes of unrest and into grievances brought to their notice by either Arabs or Jews.” He added that the commission would be “an impartial and authoritative body.”

“I give assurances,” he stated, “that any grievance put forward to that commission will be investigated and that the sole aim of His Majesty’s Government is to obtain an objective, non-partisan report which will enable them to do justice to all sections of the Palestine population.”

He stated: “I am convinced that on that on the basis of recommendations by the commission a means will be found within the framework of the Mandate, with dual obligations both to Jews and non-Jews to secure that end.” He voiced the belief that the commission would be composed entirely of Christians resident in England and unconnected with Palestine in any way.


Mr. Ormsby-Gore denounced the Third International, declaring it had opposed by every means settlement of Jews in Palestine, adding that the Communist movement had added fuel to the flames and had become an anti-British force.

The British Government, he declared, will not surrender to violence and is determined to win the fight against lawlessness, even if harsh measures are required.

He replied to a plea by David Lloyd George that Jewish colonists be armed with the statement that to place arms in the hands of the Jews without control by police might lead to further racial troubles and vendettas.

In asking arms for the colonists in isolated settlements, Mr. Lloyd George had pointed out that Palestine was underpopulated and expressed the hope that the Government would fulfill its obligations.

“We have got to make the impression,” he said, “we mean to restore order and carry out the mandate.”

He expressed firm opposition to Arab demands against the Jews as nothing less than revocation of the mandate, which, he said, Britain could not agree to since it could only return the mandate to the League of Nations which had granted it.


Pointing out the Arabs were a subject race liberated by British arms, Mr. Lloyd George reminded the House the Balfour Declaration was made in the darkest period of the war. He recalled that “it was desirable to obtain the sympathy and cooperation of that most remarkable community, the Jews all over the world,” adding that the Jews responded to the appeal. He paid tribute to the “marvelous scientific brain of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who actually saved the British army in a most critical moment.”

Tom Williams said for the Laborites the Arab demands were contrary to the mandate. Other speakers were Lord Winterton, L.S. Amery, A.C. Jones, Clifton Brown, Oliver Locker-Lampson, W. Gallacher, Communist; James de Rothschild and Herbert Morrison.

In opening the debate, the Colonial Secretary said the Government “has not been and will not be moved by violence or outrage.” He analyzed the state of apprehension between Arabs and Jews, declaring half the trouble leading to the disorders were psychological.


The Arabs, he said, feared, the Jews would completely dominate the country and the Jews feared equally for the future of “their great, constructive work in Palestine” and that the Arabs were trying to drive them from the country or reduce them to the status of barely tolerated aliens.

“I honestly believe that both of these fears are baseless,” he declared, adding:

“It is the desire of the Government to find a solution consistent with the fundamental dual obligation. The Government regards this obligation equally as an obligation of honor. It is my confident belief that we can, despite these fears, do justice to both parties and it is my intention, when a solution is found, to apply that solution with firmness and consistency.”

Mr. Ormsby-Gore expressed the view that intimidation is only partly responsible for continuation of the Arab general strike, now in its ninth week. He said the strike has the full sympathy of a large part of the Arab population and emphasized that the disorders are-now beyond the control of the Arab Supreme Committee.

The Colonial Secretary paid tribute to the Palestine Jews for their “most commendable restraint” in the face of the provocations.

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