Jerusalem (Jul. 12)
The dissolution of the Jerusalem municipal council by the Palestine Government, which was announced yesterday, drew sharp protests today from Jewish members of the body.
The Jewish councillors asserted, in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that the government’s action penalizes the Jews – who comprise seventy percent of Jerusalem’s population and pay ninety percent of its taxes – for the intransigence of the Arabs.
The liquidation of the council, and the appointment of a five-man British commission to administer the city’s affairs, temporarily, came as the culmination to a months-long dispute over whether a Jew or an Arab should be mayor of Jerusalem. She acting mayor was Daniel Auster, a Jew, who succeeded to the office upon the death last year of Mustapha Bey Khalidi. The most recent step in the controversy had been the resignation of all Arab councillors on June 28.
The Jewish members of the council took issue with a statement by District commissioner James Pollock who said that the plan proposed by the Palestine Government – under which the mayoralty would have been rotated among Jews, Moslems and Christians, with each serving a one-year term – had not been “accepted by any party in the form that it was made.” They claimed that the Jews had accepted the proposal, with the proviso that the scheme not be extended to any other city in Palestine, and that the Jew be named the first mayor. They also charged that the government never negotiated with them on the proposal.
Chief Justice Sir William Fitzgerald, who was appointed, yesterday, a oneman commission to examine the administrative machinery of Jerusalem and make recommendations to the government on its revision, was expected to begin his investigation soon