New York (Aug. 26)
The postponed joint British-American statement on Palestine about which there has already been much discussion, although there has been no official word on its issuance, is essentially an “appeal to reason” addressed both to Zionists and Arabs, it was reliably learned here today.
The appeal, however, in informed circles is widely interpreted as a setback to Zionist aspirations and pressure has been brought against its issuance, leading to a postponement but not final disposition.
Tenor of the proposed statement, which hangs like a sword of Damocles over the Zionist movement, is a “request” addressed both to Zionist and Arabic extremists for an end to agitation. It calls on both camps not to insist on raising post-war issues relative to Palestine at this time, emphasizes the need of a new effort to reconcile Arab and Jewish interests and assures both parties that an equitable solution of the problem will be achieved after the war.
On the face of it, of course, this would seem a reasonable request. But Zionists and liberals, viewing the statement against the background of recent and not-so-recent developments, see it as something quite different.
Zionist leadership, for example, feels that such an appeal would be an undeserved and unwarranted attempt to interfere with their rights as citizens and would represent a continuation of the appeasement policy towards the Arabs.
They point to the 1939 White Paper, which will “freeze” the Jewish population of Palestine as of March, 1944, which was a concession to Arab agitation and violence. Further, they point to the recent relaxation of the censorship restrictions on the Arab press not only in Palestine but in neighboring countries and charge the British administration with responsibility for whatever increased agitation and unrest exist in the Near East today. They point, too, to the Arab conferences in Cairo on creation of a Pan-Arab Federation, and ask whether it is fair to request silence on their part at such a time.
Another disturbing and hitherto unpublicized factor, in the Zionist view, is the role being played in the entire affair by a former State Department official, who more recently has been associated with another government agency.
He is Harold B. Hoskins, who after an extended stay in the Middle East submitted a lengthy report on the situation there. Hoskins, who was born in Beirut, has always been close to the Arabs, and after his return to Washington he aroused Zionist resentment by lobbying influential Senators and Congressmen against Zionism.
Hoskins, it is learned, has been sent back to the Middle East with the mission of effecting an Arab-Jewish reconciliation, but in the light of his record and known leanings Zionist circles feel that the choice does not augur success.