Attlee Says British Trying to Deal Fairly with Jews, Arabs; Wants to Revise White Paper
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Attlee Says British Trying to Deal Fairly with Jews, Arabs; Wants to Revise White Paper

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When the debate on Palestine resumed in Commons tonight, Prime Minister Attlee, replying to a series of statements by pro-Zionist members, declared that “we are trying to deal fairly with both Jews and Arabs in Palestine. It is no good suggesting that we do not have obligations to the Arabs as well.”

He denied that the government had any intention of proscribing the Jewish Agency and said that the present operations are not aimed at the Jewish community as a whole, but only at that section responsible for the terror.

“We want to go ahead and deal with the Anglo-American inquiry commission’s report on this problem,” he continued, “We want to get away from the White Paper, and make a new start with the cooperation of the United States, but from what some members said one would think that the report of the inquiry commission had already been adopted.”

Michael Foot, Laborite, said that the Prime Minister had stated that the Agency was associated with the Haganah, but did not state that it was associated with so called terrorist organizations. If there is no evidence that the Agency is associated with the terrorists, it would be only fair to publicly acquit them of that charge, Foot declared.


Richard Crossman, Labor, a former member of the Palestine inquiry committee, said that the Haganah is not a private army, but includes all the manpower of the country’s Jews. The only realistic way to look at the Haganah is to regard it as a resistance movement which it is impossible to crush, he added. The only way of smashing it is to give the people that for which they are willing to die, he continued. Crossmen said that the government’s present line of action will not work; that it has not captured the ringleaders of the Haganah, but trade unionists and Socialists.

Samuel Silverman, Labor, who opened the debate, said that the international question involved in the present events is the fact that the Attlee Government is not only trying to disarm the Jewish resistance movement, but to put the Agency out of action. The Agency, he said, is not in Palestine by leave of the British Government, but by international law. Attlee is not able to accuse the Agency or its members of direct or indirect responsibility for the terrorism, Silverman said. He termed “an outrageous lie” an assertion by Daniel Lipson, Independent, that the Agency was protecting criminals.

“The Haganah is no unofficial or illegal thing.” he continued. “The Jewish Agency has had a share of responsibility for defence forces to everyone’s knowledge and consent for many years. The Haganah came into existence when the mandatory power was failing in its duty to secure law and order.” He said the Haganah, armed and equipped by the British during the war, had fought on every battlefield in the Middle East.

Col. Oliver Stanley, Conservative, said that the Agency would have to disclaim the actions of the Haganah, for which up to now it has had a large measure of responsibility. He urged Attlee to make public whatever evidence he has as soon as possible, “otherwise the ripples caused by the first stone may go to the ends of the world and prejudice the chances of good relations with America on Palestine.”

Barnett Janner, Laborite, vice-president of the British Zionist Federation, pleaded for “justice for the national home before it is too late.”

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