LONDON (May. 18)
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain informed the House of Commons today that the Government’s new Palestine policy will be debated next Monday and Tuesday until 7:30 p.m., when Commons will be asked to vote on a motion declaring: “This House approves of the policy of His Majesty’s Government relating to Palestine as set out in the Command Paper.”
All efforts of the Zionist forces were being directed towards the Commons debate. Chief hope for defeat of the policy is based on opposition in Parliament. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency, tonight addressed the Parliamentary Palestine Committee, while a number of delegations from the provinces called on committee members during the day to appeal against acceptance of the policy.
Dr. Weizmann delivered a slashing attack on the British policy to a throng which crowded Kingsway Hall for a special session of the British Zionist Federation’s annual convention. Assailing the British statement as ambiguous and lacking frankness, the Zionist chieftain warned Britain of the “inevitable effects” of a policy denying to the Jews “the fundamental rights” of returning to Palestine, settling freely and developing their national life. Such policy, he said, would bring the administration “in conflict with the forces of economic progress.”
Declaring that the restrictions were purely political and a concession to extreme Arab nationalism, Dr. Weizmann warned that “you cannot dispel prejudice by giving way to it; you only give it further encouragement.”
A summary of developments in Palestine following publication of the White Paper was given to Commons by Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald in response to a request by Major Clement R. Attlee, Laborite leader. Mr. MacDonald stated:
“It is generally quiet. There is a Jewish general strike in all towns and no Jewish traffic is running. In Jerusalem this morning there was an orderly demonstration in Zion Square. Small fires were started by time bombs in suitcases in four rooms of the Government Immigration Department in Jerusalem last night. In three rooms the fire did no damage beyond charring furniture; in the fourth room records were destroyed the loss of which may cause inconvenience. A suitcase containing gelignite was found exploded. The department is normally at work this morning. At Tel Aviv after the broadcast of the White Paper last night a crowd collected outside the District Office, forced entrance to the building and set fire to the furniture of the Land Registry Department and also burnt documents of no great value. Some doors and windows were damaged. Curfew was imposed at midnight but it was lifted at four p.m. today.”
Mr. MacDonald also revealed that the Government had rejected the demand of the Jewish Agency that the current Palestine immigration restrictions be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague for a ruling on their legality under the Palestine mandate.