LONDON (Jun. 15)
The British Government is now considering “whether more reinforcements are required in Palestine if we are finally to obtain the objective of restoring law and order,” Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald revealed in the House of Commons yesterday.
The larger Arab terrorist bands have been broken up, Mr. MacDonald said, and police and troops are waging a campaign against the smaller bands. He admitted that acts of violence and destruction were still continuing.
“I think a good deal of the present activity (of the terrorists) was made possible by reinforcements, arms and men coming into Palestine across the northern border,” the Colonial Secretary declared. He said that a barbed-wire barricade on the frontier would be completed in a few weeks and would have a distinct effect in checking the smuggling.
Mr. MacDonald reported that 102 persons had been killed in Palestine and 249 wounded between Dec. 31, 1937, and May 31 of this year. An additional 67 terrorists are known to have been killed and approximately a hundred more are believed to have been slain.
The change of personnel of the Colonial Office does not involve any change in Government policy, said the Colonial Secretary. He asserted that the Palestine Partition Commission was working as rapidly as possible and promised that the Government would give immediate attention to its report when received.
The British Government is now considering a policy regarding Palestine immigration which it may be able to put forward at the international conference on assistance to refugees opening at Evian, France, on July 6, Mr. MacDonald said.
Speaking after a debate on the Palestine question, Mr. MacDonald promised that the position of the House of Commons would be safeguarded and no final decision on the proposed partition of Palestine would be taken until the House was able to express an opinion.
During the debate, Mr. Creech-Jones urged a more generous interpretation of the principle of absorptive capacity in Palestine immigration. John McGovern, independent Labor, assailed the Government for hampering the Jews, who, he said, brought civilization to the East. Morgan Jones (Laborite) insisted that Parliament was not committed to the plan to partition Palestine. He demanded enlargement of immigration. James de Rothschild (Liberal) asked whether the barbed-wire barricade would be really adequate. He pleaded for an increase in the “dependents” category of Palestine immigrants. Colonel Josiah Wedgwood (Laborite) urged the arming of Palestine Jews for self defence, declaring the continuance of disorders was ruining Britain’s prestige.