JERUSALEM (Feb. 26)
News from London that the British Government plans to establish an independent state in Palestine struck the Holy Land like a thunderbolt today, stirring the Arab populace to nation-wide jubilation and calling forth warning from the Jews of resistance to any effort to create a “Jewish ghetto.” Although the Jews had been apprehensive for the past month about the results of the London discussions, the reports of the British plan made a deep impression. Comments of Jewish leaders and the “man in the street” discussing the news in cafes and buses indicated that the Jews could hardly believe the news.
The Jewish National Council of Palestine declared in a statement: “The proposal to terminate the mandate, based on the Balfour Declaration, and replace it with an independent state controlled by an Arab majority is calculated to undermine the Jewish national Borne. The scheme will be defeated by the united opposition of the Yishub (Jewish community) and the Jewish people. The Yishub will stand united against any attempt to impose on it a minority status. There will not be a Jewish ghetto in the Land of Israel.” The council called a nation-wide Jewish conference for Tuesday.
Some Hebrew newspapers urged the Jews not to despair. Davar (laborite) said the London conferences were not the last stage of the struggle and called for discipline. This principal Hebrew daily declared that “such intrigue will be met by the united and categorical resistance of the Jewish people the world over and the Yishub.” Hazofeh expressed the hope that the Colonial Secretary would be influenced “to sweeten to a certain degree” the final decision. Haboker (center Zionist) declared that while optimism was impossible, there was no need for depressing pessimism.
Most pessimistic was the Holy Land’s only English-language daily, the Palestine Post (independent) which saw “a psychological preparation for the liquidation of Jewish national effort in Palestine.” It declared that Britain’s decisions “will not bring peace,” warning that “terrorism is infectious, especially if successful” and Arab nationalist revolts would break out in other sections of the British Empire.
Hamashkif (Zionist-Revisionist) quoted Validimir Jabotinsky, president of the New Zionist Organization, as stating: “To reach actual power over the Yishub, the Arabs must conquer with blood every lane of every colony and every Jewish street of every city. There will be war and 140,000 Jewish youths are ready.”
All night long the Jerusalem bureau of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was deluged with telephone inquiries from every part of Palestine regarding developments in London.
Representative Jewish comments, made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, were: Eliahu Berligne, member of the Jewish National Council: “He who sold out Czechoslovakia and Spain is now selling out the Jews. But we will not consent. We will seek justice in Geneva and The Hague.” Heim Solomon, president of the Jerusalem Jewish Community: “Its hard for a Palestine-born Jew, accustomed to look on Palestine as a home, suddenly to be robbed of it.” Israel Rokach, mayor of Tel Aviv: “I do not believe in this. I believe only in a Jewish state.”
The Haifa Jewish Community cabled Dr. Chaim Weizmann, head of the Jewish delegation at London, that the whole Yishub was shocked to the depths of its soul, and proclaiming the Jews’ readiness to unite around their representatives for a struggle against the Government’s proposals.
The Arabs, meanwhile, were jubilant. All over the country mosques were be flagged, Numerous demonstrations were held in Jaffa and Haifa. In the Old City quarter of Tiberias, children demonstrated, shouting, “The Arabs have won!” Arab passengers traveling on a train from Jaffa to Lydda decorated the train with foliage and Arab nationalist flags. Arab newspapers carried large-type headlines such as “Great Arab Victory!” and declared that the British Government was yielding to Arab demands because of the “magic letter” of Emir Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia assuring Britain of the Arabs’ support in event of war and terming the Jews’ support worthless.
Meanwhile, three Jews were killed as Arab violence continued. A bomb thrown at a truck near Haifa’s Eastern Railway Station took the lives of Joseph Sabbato and Reuben Kaplan. An Arab shot and killed Pinchas Mizrahi, 28, on the border of Hadar Hacarmel, adjacent to Haifa’s Arab quarter. Curfew was imposed until morning. Five Jewish pedestrians were slightly injured by a bomb explosion on King George Avenue in Jerusalem. One of the injured, Rachel Kaufmann, 44, was wounded three weeks ago in a bombing on the same spot.