JERUSALEM (May. 18)
More than 100 Jews were injured today in a pitched battle with police in the center of Jerusalem that featured nation-wide Jewish demonstrations and a general strike in protest against the British Government’s new Palestine policy.
The rioting in Zion Square converted the modern shopping and amusement center into a no-man’s-land between police and the Jewish crowds, which retreated without dispersing in the face of police baton charges and continued to stone the British forces. Barbed-wire barricades were erected in the square.
The disorders followed the stoning of the Government District Office on Jaffa Road by a crowd of at least 10,000 Jews. The mob smashed the entrance to the building, damaged and occupied the ground floor of a department store and also took possession of a German-Christian restaurant adjoining police general headquarters and public telephone kiosks.
Many of the injured Jews suffered serious wounds. Thirty-eight were removed to Hadassah Hospital. Several Jewish and British police were among the injured.
The Jerusalem rioting punctuated the generally peaceful, although fervent protest against Britain’s White Paper carried out during the day by Palestine’s 450,000 Jews through a general strike that paralyzed economic activity; mass meetings, street parades and demonstrations.
A crowd estimated by police at 40,000 participated in the parade in Jerusalem this morning. Sidewalks, balconies and rooftops were jammed. Only baton-armed Jewish supernumeraries were on hand to preserve order. The sole flag carried by the demonstrators was the blue-white Zionist emblem, the Jewish World War Legion marching without the customary Union Jack and the labor unionists without the usual red flag.
The marchers also carried banners with such slogans as the Biblical oath, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither,” and other biblical passages. Jewish Legionnaires carried the legend: “Jewish Legionnaires gave their lives for the Balfour Declaration; we will fight for its fulfillment.” Another slogan read: “We shall immigrate and win.”
The processions converged on the city stadium to hear representatives of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Jewish National Council proclaim defiance of the British policy. After the addresses, all adults between the ages of 18 and 35 began registration for service in the Jewish cause.
In Tel Aviv, 80,000 persons assembled in the municipal stadium after a three-hour parade which stretched over five miles. They heard the White Paper denounced as “a premium to murderers of mothers and children,” and adopted a rising oath to assist illegal immigration. Speakers included Mayor Israel Rokach, Dr. Ben-Zion Mossinsohn and Zalman Rubashow.
The Tel Aviv demonstrations were held under the watchful eyes of British troops placed on rooftops at strategic points. Emergency police posts were set up in various parts of the city, which is adjacent to Arab Jaffa. A heavy patrol was assigned to duty on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa border.
The general strike and registration of all able-bodied men were organized by a Jewish coordinating committee, formed after long negotiations, with the participation of one representative each of the Histadruth (Jewish labor federation), the centrist Zionists and the extremist Revisionists.
Palestine Jewry is girding its loins for a prolonged non-violent struggle to prevent application of the White Paper and maintain Jewish rights. Jewish leaders had been organizing the population ever since the March conference in London. The first steps in the campaign will probably include economic “sanctions” against the Palestine Government. The avowed policy is to undermine the British plan by demonstrating the impossibility of any settlement unacceptable to the Jews. The strategy of the campaign has not been disclosed, but Jewish leaders have discussed such steps as a Jewish embargo on imports to Palestine, thus attacking the principal source of the Government’s income — customs — 80 percent of which are paid by Jews.
Issuance of the White Paper last night was greeted by the damaging of Government buildings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Revisionists demonstrated in front of the District Offices in Tel Aviv, firing guns into the air and hoisting a Zionist flag in place of the Union Jack. Later, fire broke out in the offices which damaged the premises. In the ensuing riot, about a score of persons were injured by troops and police, including Mayor Rokach, who arrived on the scene with Captain Dubinsky of the Tel Aviv Civil Guard. In Jerusalem, explosion of five incendiary bombs damaged the interior of the Government Immigration Department offices.
The Haifa Jewish Community telegraphed High Commissioner Sir Harold A. MacMichael that the city’s 55,000 Jews, constituting a majority of the population of the shipping center, “scornfully reject the shameful, illegal British policy.” Last night, all Jewish youth organizations in Haifa assembled in the local amphitheater and watched the symbolic burning of the White Paper.