British Government Will Make No Statement on Palestine, Prime Minister Announces
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British Government Will Make No Statement on Palestine, Prime Minister Announces

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Prime Minister Attlee today told the new Commons that the British Government does not intend to make any statement at present with regard to Palestine.

The Labor Premier made his announcement following the first debate on Palestine in the House of Commons, yesterday, during which two labor members split sharply on the issue, while an Independent demanded the immediate creation of a Jewish state and a Conservative supported Arab claims, but urged that the conflicting interests be reconciled. Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin who reported on the foreign policy of the new government did not refer to the Palestine issue.

During the debate yesterday, Barnett Janner, vice-president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, and a Labor member of Parliament, said that the Jewish population of Palestine had fulfilled the tasks placed before it by the Balfour Declaration and should be granted statehood. He urged that the scattered Jews of Europe be sent to Palestine and appealed to the Commons to “do something to restore the dignity and self-respect of the survivors.”


R. R. Stokes, also a Laborite, said, however, that any serious attempt to deviate from the White Paper would arouse serious opposition among the Palestine Arabs. He declared that the Balfour Declaration did not envision the handing over of all of Palestine to the Jews and suggested that a national home for the Jews be established elsewhere in the British Empire.

Leading the attack on the present British policy in Palestine was Eleanor Rathbone, Independent, who stated that she was a wholehearted supporter of Zionist claims and pleaded with the government to open Palestine to the remnants of European Jewry. She said that a Jewish state could be established in Palestine with full justice and equal rights for the Arabs who would benefit from Jewish development of the country.

Sir George Jeffreys, Conservative, advocated strong measures to crush terrorism in Palestine and steps to bring Arab and Jewish leaders together. He added, however, that there was not room in the country for unlimited immigration and “moreover, politically and historically the prodominance of the Arab claims is uncontestable. We should not allow sympathy for the injustice done the Jews to cause us to do less than justice to the Arabs,” he concluded.

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