JERUSALEM (Jul. 31)
In a decision that may have far-reaching effects in the current turbulent state of the Holy Land, the Supreme Court today ordered the Palestine Government to remit to the Arab city of Gaza a fine of $5,000 imposed on the grounds that railway telephones near the city had been cut.
The decision is interpreted as personal reproof to the High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, and a distinct blow to the system of collective punishment instituted early in the disorders.
In handing down his verdict, Chief Justice Sir Michael Francis Joseph McDonnell, emphasized that the High Commissioner had exceeded his authority in enacting the collective punishment measure.
Significance of the decision lies in the fact that it may encourage Arab communities similarly fined to take court action and thus indirectly inspire further acts of violence.
The verdict indicates a further widening in the rift between the judiciary and administrative branches of the Palestine Government. Complaints have been frequently heard in official circles that the bench was not fully cooperating with the administration in enforcing emergency measures to stem the Arab campaign of guerilla warfare against Jews and Government.