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Peace Seen Near in Palestine; Arabs, Bankers Slated to Meet

Although scattered Arab disorders continued, peace today appeared to be looming on the troubled Holy Land’s horizon after almost three months of unprecedented Arab violence that has cost the lives of more than 140 Jews, Arabs and Christians.

Basis for this optimistic view was seen in the report that a crucial meeting has been scheduled for an early date between some members of the Arab Supreme Committee, prominent Arab merchants and leading bank directors, including S. Hoofien of the Anglo-Palestine Bank.

The meeting, which is to take place on the premises of one of the banks, will reportedly consider the question of a moratorium for Arab merchants. Chief point to be discussed, it is understood, will be a method of avoiding bankruptcies and protests of bills by Arab merchants after they have in the near future reopened stores which have been closed for eleven weeks in the general strike against Jewish immigration.

Veteran observers see in this development, if the reports are accurate, the complete breakdown of the strike which has paralyzed Palestine commerce and has been accompanies by the most disastrous wave of violence in recent Holy Land history.

In their opinion, the Arabs have reached the end of their financial rope. Leaders of the strike, pressed by the rank and file of Arab merchants and laborers who have been suffering economic hardship as a result of the protracted struggle, are believed, with the exception of a few die-hard youths, ready to capitulate.

Today’s reports on this score bolster yesterday’s to the effect that Jaffa merchants had begun to take matters into their own hands by inviting Jews to return to the city from which they had fled after the first violent outbreak against them on April 19. The merchants are reportedly pledging to rent Jewish homes and shops and afford them protection against attacks.

JEWISH SHOPS REOPEN IN JAFFA

Added evidence to support the optimistic view that peace is just around the corner in the Holy Land was afforded today by the spectacle of many Jewish shops in the neighborhood of the Anglo-Palestine Bank’s branch in Jaffa reopening after having been closed for almost three months as a result of the disorders.

While these developments inspired a spirit of optimism in some quarters, reports of scattered violence continued to come into Jerusalem.

Most disturbing of these reports was one from Safed disclosing a hitherto unreported Arab attack on Jews, in which a Jewish shoemaker named Mizrach was killed and three others wounded.

As a result of this attack, the reports stated, the Jewish population of the predominantly Arab town and the hospital are suffering from an acute shortage of food that followed virtual stoppage of all communications with other places.

ARAB YOUTH LEADER KILLED MAKING BOMB

Farid ibn Sheikh, president of the Moslem Students’ Corporation and one of the most active youth leaders in the Arab revolt, died today of injuries suffered when a bomb he was manufacturing in his home at Emek Yoshafat exploded prematurely last night.

Government authorities meanwhile continued to distribute rifles among Jewish colonists, allotting 250 to village leaders in the vicinity of Rehoboth. It was announced yesterday that 170 rifles would be distributed during the week to Jewish colonies in the Sharon Plain for self-defense.

Marauders again damaged water pipes supplying Jerusalem, this time near Castelmount. There is no danger of a water shortage, however, official sources pointing out the reservoirs are full and repairs will not take long.

HEBRON FINED $10,000 FOR ATTACK ON SOLDIERS

The authorities imposed a collective fine of $10,000 on the city of Hebron, south of Jerusalem, as punishment for the wounding by Arabs of Captain Sorel and Lance Corporal Fraser of the Cameron Highlanders. The British officers sustained slight leg wounds when a patrol they were leading was fired on as it returned to camp from a tour of inspection.

A Jew named Kotin was seriously wounded when stones thrown by Arabs struck him in the head as he was riding a donkey to Tiberias.

A Jewish shop was burned down at Beisan. Police were fired on near Daharia, in the vicinity of Ramleh, but suffered no casualties. A bomb exploded in a house occupied by an Arab notable in Ein Dor.

Shots were fired during the night at Motza, Artuv, Afuleh, Ramat Hakovesh and Tulkarem.

The Arab Strike Committee claimed today to have spent approximately $540,000 to date in carrying out the general strike against Jewish immigration and sale of land to Jews.

The committee stated that about $1,500 of this sum was contributed by Arabs in neighboring countries, including $150 from India, $500 from Syria, $200 from Lebanon and $575 from Iraq.

To prevent damage to its radio transmitting system, the Government proclaimed curfew over an area of 500 meters around the Palestine Broadcasting Company’s premises at Ramallah.

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