JERUSALEM (May. 20)
The authorities today announced military occupation of 25 Arab villages to combat terrorists, as Britain’s Palestine Partition Commission held an in camera session and prepared to open formal hearings next week.
The villages were occupied, an official announcement said, “because of the persistence of insecurity in the Galilee and Samaria,” with the aim of combating recent terroristic tactics of attacking unprotected Arab villages.
The stages of occupation were, first, billeting of troops and commandeering of houses, second, the establishment of continuous patrol, and, thirdly, road-building, to make the villages accessible. Reports that martial law had been proclaimed were officially denied, and it was stated that civil government is continuing.
Pinchas Ruttenberg, power magnate and founder of the Jordan hydroelectric works, testified before the Partition commission, meeting in camera. The Jordan plant would be included in the arab State under the partition plan suggested by the peel Royal Commission, and Ruttenberg was believed to have suggested some modification of the plan that would keep the plant in the Jewish State.
Earlier the members of the Commission took lunch with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, at his home in Rehovoth. The visit was marked by an informal discussion lasting an hour.
Arab terrorist bands, meanwhile, continued depredations in northern Palestine. They destroyed large sections of the northern frontier road near Safed, forcing suspension of traffic.
Mohamed Rashid, Arab notable wounded in a terrorist raid on the village of Sif, died this morning. His brother was killed in the same attack. They were members of Haj Amin el Nashashibi family, opponents of the exiled former Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseini.
Nine Jews arrested in Petach Tikvah yesterday during a demonstration of unemployed in the local council offices were released on bail today.