JERUSALEM (May. 18)
A severely critical analysis of the British White Paper on Palestine was presented today by David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, in an article in the Hebrew laborite newspaper Davar. Charging the document was “intentionally unclear,” the Zionist leader outlined seven issues it raised:
1) How would Palestine’s independence be affected if an agreement cannot be reached between Palestine and Great Britain? 2) Suppose, after the ten-year transitional period, the Arab States and the Palestine populace demand, and Britain opposes independence, who is to decide the issue? 3) When will the representative institutions be inaugurated, in the event that peace cannot be established? 4) Who will judge that “circumstances permit” an increased number of Palestinian Government officers? 5) Since the department heads will not be elected, where is the self-government during the transitional period and what is the difference from the present regime? 6) The statement concerning a legislative council shows that the British Government is uncertain what the Palestine public favors; 7) If the absorptive capacity principle regulating immigration is applied to allow only an immigration of 10 to 20 thousand in the next five years, what about the remaining immigration certificates? (The White Paper provides for an immigration of 75,000 Jews in five years, if the economic absorptive capacity of the country permits it.)
Mr. Ben Gurion, commenting on provisions for the protection of Christian communities under an independent state, recalled Britain’s “splendid protection” of the Assyrians in Iraq. The authors of the White Paper, he declared, probably realized that the “permitted” immigration would be supplemented by “unpermitted” entry since Jewish needs were more compelling than “small-minded decrees.”
The Zionist leader further charged that the British Government, desiring to annul the Balfour Declaration, had intentionally omitted from the White Paper 1) mention of recognition of Hebrew as an official language; 2) the official status of the Jewish Agency, 3) the Jews’ historic connection with Palestine, and 4) international recognition of the reasons for reestablishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
Mr. Ben Gurion denied that the London conference last February was “free and frank.” He declared the Government had continually pressed the Jews to accede to the Arab demands, first offering parity, then a 40 percent minority, then 35 percent and finally one-third. The Government he said, stubbornly tried to compel the Jews to free it of its obligations and seemed certain that they would surrender under the threat of Arab violence.