Jerusalem (Nov. 8)
Followers of the exiled Mufti of Jerusalem, key figure in every anti-Jewish Arab uprising in Palestine during the last 20 years, are new organizing Arab “shook troop” units modelled on the lines of the Nazi storm troop formations, it was learned here today.
The organization of these units, aimed to restore the Mufti’s stranglehold on Palestine’s Arab population, is being undertaken by members of the Husseini faction on direct instructions from the Mufti, now technically a prisoner of the French, and living in luxury in a sumptuous villa outside Paris.
Arab circles here have disclosed during the last few days that they have been in frequent correspondence with the Mufti over a whole range of political matters. In his more recent correspondence the Mufti has urged the Arab parties in Palestine to unite in the formation of an Arab Higher Committee, such as the Mufti led until its dissolution in 1937 by the British authorities for having organized an Arap uprising. the Mufti signified, Arabs declare, that he would be ready to accept the presidency of much a body.
The role of the Arab “shock troop” formations in the past has been to suppress all Arab opposition to the Mufti’s domination of the Arab population. These units were held responsible for a number of political assassinations in the years preceding the war and during the first year of hostilities. Farki Bey El Nashashibi, strong-man in the opposition to the Mufti, was one of their victims, having been shot down in a Jerusalem street. It is recalled that in 1935 and 1936 some of these Arab young men’s groups, dressed in boy scout uniform, patrolled the shores near Jewish colonies and reported to the police the arrival of vessels carrying “illegal” Jewish immigrants.
EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT ASKS BRITAIN TO TRANSFER MUFTI TO EGYPT
Meanwhile, powerful forces are being brought into play to secure the abandonment of war crimes charges against the Mufti and his eventual return to Palestine. The speaker of the Egyptian Senate has announced that the Egyptian Government was proposing to the British authorities that the Mufti be permitted to take up residence in Egypt. The Government undertook to guarantee that the Mufti would not “escape” to Palestine.
(Informed sources in New York disclosed yesterday that the British had permitted three of the Mufti’s henchmen to return to the Middle East and take up residence in Syria where they are organizing anti-Jewish activities.)
Azzam Abdul Rahman Bey, secretary general of the Arab League, is reported by Arab sources here to be making similar efforts to secure the Mufti’s return. During his recent visit to London, where he conferred with Foreign Minister Bevin and other British officials on the Palestine question, Azzam Bey sent a special envey to the Mufti to report on his negotiations in London and to convey his assurances that he was doing his utmost to enable the Mufti to resume his leadership.
At a recent press conference in Cairo, Azzam Bey declared that the question of the Mufti was one that concerned the entire Arab world and that the Mufti must be restored to his former position.