JERUSALEM (Aug. 9)
The police in Palestine were engaged today in an intensive search for the gunmen who made an attempt yesterday to assassinate Sir Harold MacMichael, High Commissioner of Palestine, while the latter was motoring from Jerusalem to Jaffa to attend a farewell party given in his honor by the Jaffa municipality. Ten men, it is reported, participated in the ambush which occurred on a winding mountain highway four kilometres from Jerusalem.
The Jewish National Council of Palestine issued a statement saying that it “learned with horror of the dastardly attempt on the High Commissioner’s life and on the lives of the party which escorted him.” The statement of the Jewish National Council expresses “utter abomination of the crime” and emphasizes that “the Yishuv anxiously desires that the perpetrators of this detestable act are discovered and the evil will be outrooted.”
The gunmen, who attacked the automobile in which the High Commissioner and his party were passing, fired their tommy guns at the High Commissioner’s car, slightly wounding Sir Harold in the hand. His wife received no injury, but his aide de camp, Major K. I. Nicholl, and the police driver were seriously injured. Policemen following the High Commissioner in an armored car returned the fire on the assailants, who succeeded however in escaping.
Reflecting the sentiments of the Jews in Palestine, the Palestine Post, in an editorial today says, “Everybody heartily congratulates the High Commissioner on his good fortune. It is a challenge to the authorities upon whom the responsibility rests to preserve public peace. It is also a challenge to the public which harbors desperadoes. In the struggle between the police and the desperadoes, the public – particularly the Jewish public – demands not only the restoration of order, but also the restoration of human and political decency.
“It is intolerable,” the editorial continues, “that the constructive social effort made by the Jews in Palestine before the eyes of the entire world should be sullied by a series of malignant and senseless assaults upon every canon of moral and political behavior. It is doubly intolerable that the failure to disclose the perpetrators should expose a large peaceful and civilized community to political smear.”
Sir Harold MacMichael, the object of the assassination attempt is due to be replaced soon by the newly-appointed High Commissioner Field Marshal Viscount Gort who is now on his way from London to Jerusalem. Field Marshal Gort was reported today as having reached Rome where he was received in a twenty-minute audience by the Pope.