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Palestine Watches French-lebanese Fight over Annulment of Mandate

Both Jews and Arabs in Palestine were watching the developments in neighboring Lebanon today with great interest, as the border between the two countries was closed following the disorders which broke out yesterday between the Lebanese Government and the French administration over the question of Lebanon’s independence.

It is felt here that the events in Lebanon may eventually influence the situation in Palestine. Should Lebanon succeed in having the League of Nations’ mandate rescinded and in establishing complete sovereignty against the will of the French administration, then the Palestine mandate may similarly be challenged before its fate is decided by the League of Nations or any other international body which may replace the League. The mandate over Lebanon was entrusted by the League to the French Government in 1920.

The Jewish press in Palestine has so far abstained from commenting on the developments in Lebanon. The Yedioth Achronoth, a Hebrew evening paper, is the only newspaper which has taken an editorial stand concerning these developments. “The events in Beirut, “the editorial says,” prove the erroneousness of the conception that Arab unity clashes with Zionist aspirations only, whereas actually similar problems exist also in other countries where there are no such issues as the Balfour Declaration, Jewish immigration, or the British White Paper. They also prove that the Western powers are unable to withdraw from the Middle-East and grant independence to every state which demands it.”

FRENCH COMMISSIONER SAYS ONLY LEAGUE CAN RESCIND MANDATE

Situated just north of Palestine, the Republic of Lebanon was today the center of attention not only among Jews and Arabs in Palestine, but also in Syria, Egypt, and other Arab countries. Reports from Beirut, capital of Lebanon, stated that clashes between Lebanese and the French troops continued today both in Beirut and in Tripoli as a result of the mounting resentment on the part of the population over the arrest by the French administration yesterday of the President of Lebanon, the Premier, and all but one member of the Cabinet. Demonstrations of sympathy for Lebanon were reported also from Damascus, capital of Syria.

The French Commissioner in Lebanon today announced over the Beirut radio that the mandate of the League of Nations over Lebanon, which is entrusted to France, can be rescinded by order of the League only and in no other way. He termed “a unilateral modification of a two-party agreement” the law passed on Monday by the Lebanese parliament which resulted in the arrest of the heads of the Republic of Lebanon. This law, amending the Lebanese constitution so as to make Lebanon practically a sovereign state was passed unanimously. It provided that the French should have no say in the affairs of the Lebanese parliament, that the Lebanese would have their own flag and that Arabic would be the only recognized state language. All of the 48 members of the Lebanese parliament who voted for the constitutional amendment were reported today to have been arrested.

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