Jerusalem (Dec. 6)
An official police document, which this correspondent saw today, disproves the veracity of the persistent British attempts to whitewash the attacks last week by the Palestine police and British troops on Jewish settlements during which eight Jews were killed–one beaten to death–26 were seriously wounded and scores suffered minor injuries.
Three days ago, George Hall, the Colonial Secretary, said in the House of Commons that the “incident” of last week arose in the course of a search by police, not, as had been alleged, for illegal immigrants, but for those responsible for an attack by Jews armed with automatic weapons, rifles and grenades on the coastguard station at Givat Olga and Sidna Ali.
This statement is consistent with the official communique issued Nov. 26 in which it was reported that during the afternoon of Nov. 25, dogs had trailed the attackers from Sidna Ali to the settlement of Shefayim and Rishpon. The High Commissioner for Palestine also issued a special statement, on Nov. 28, stating that “the settlements searched were those to which police dogs had carried the scent from the scenes of the outrages.”
A police document, however, tells another story. It is numbered 188 and bears the initials “J. P.” after the number. It is dated Nov. 28, and it was prepared by the superintendent in charge of the Lydda district police headquarters in Jaffa, an official named K.P. Hadingman, and is addressed to the Inspector General of the Palestine Police at Jerusalem.
The subject of the document is the “Attack on Sidna Ali police post on the night of Nov. 24-25.” According to paragraph 11 of this report, “the dogs’ trails led eastwards to the main track between Shefayim and Rishopon, where the scent was lost and it was obvious that the attackers had boarded vehicles.” In other words, the police knew that the men who had attacked the coastguard stations had got away in automobiles. Nevertheless, feeling that some action must be taken, they simply selected the two Jewish settlements closest to the spot where the automobiles of the attackers had been waiting for a large-scale attack in retaliation.
In spite of the fact that the automobile tire-tracks led away from the nearby settlements, the police proceeded to put on a big show. They threw cordons around the settlements, they put in hurry-calls for troops and finally they forced their way into the settlements with tear-gas and bullets. For it was at Rishpon, according to the communique of Nov. 26, that “a Jew suffering from recently inflicted grenade wounds was discovered; he has since died.”
GOVERNMENT ALIBI SOUGHT TO JUSTIFY MILITARY ACTION IN COLONIES
The implications of this statement are important as it is the thread drawn through the whole carefully prepared police and government alibi. The impression the communique deliberately seeks to build up is that the Jew found in Rishpon “suffering from a grenade wound,” participated in the attack on the coastguard stations where, according to previous communiques, grenades had been used. Therefore it follows that the forced search of the small settlements was justified.
But the police report again tells another story. Paragraph 20 states that “the dead body of Eliahu Cohen Chimski was found in Rishpon, and from an Army medical officer’s first report it appeared that the wound was probably caused by a grenade about 16 hours previously and that the deceased had therefore taken part in the attack in Sidna Ali. Later information, however, pointed to the fact that he had been shot by the cordon of troops earlier in the morning. The postmortem report and the recorded statement of the doctor concerned, confirm this latter theory.
This correspondent happened to witness, together with a Palestine police officer, the autopsy performed on the dead man at Beilinson hospital. The only mark on his body was a small, clean bullet hole. Unquestionably he was shot by the troops which had thrown a cordon around the settlement. Police Superintendent Franklin reported the whole story to the Inspector General. The communique was not corrected, however, and a week later the Colonial Secretary, on the advice of the Palestine Government, continued to defend the actions of the police and the troops with the false argument that they had been searching for the men who had blown up the coastguard stations.