Jerusalem (Jul. 17)
A one-day general strike called to protest the continued detention of 2,000 Jews, including leaders of the Jewish Agency, today closed down Jewish-operated shops, industries and transport throughout Palestine. The strike began at 9 A.M. this morning.
The streets of Jerusalem were almost deserted, except for police patrols and occasional groups of soldiers. The only Jews abroad were government employees and civilians employed at military headquarters who were exempted from the strike call by the Jewish National Council. The Jewish Community Council in Jerusalem urged all Jews to remain in their homes between 3 P.M. and midnight.
The few people who were in the streets early today in Tel Aviv were greeted by thousands of posters put up during the night by the Irgun Zvai Leumi, calling for a Jewish state and declaring that the only possible unity is “combatant unity.” A mass meeting attended by thousands of persons was held this evening. Speakers, who included Mayor Israel Rokach, demanded the immediate release of the detained Jews and the admission of 100,000 displaced Jews from Europe.
In Haifa, an open-air mass meeting was held this morning and a self-imposed curfew was in force for several hours this afternoon. The meeting heard demands for non-cooperation with the government and non-payment of taxes, as well as release of all prisoners.
Meanwhile, the approximately 1,600 Jews in Raffa and 400 in Latrun called off their hunger strike at midnight today, after pleas by Jewish leaders, including Chief Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel and Isaac Ben Zvi, president of the Jewish National Council, both of whom went to Raffa this morning.
The Council today sent cabled appeals to the Jewish Agency office in London and the American Zionist Emergency Council asking them to take all possible steps to secure release of the persons interned at Raffa and Latrun, pointing out that as a result of the hunger strike several of the prisoners are ill.
WEIZMANN LEAVES FOR ENGLAND; REPORTED HE WILL SEE ATTLEE
Dr. Chaim Weizmann left here this morning by plane for England, where is expected to arrive late tonight or tomorrow morning. A Reuter dispatch from London said that Prime Minister Attlee would see Dr. Weizmann.
In a farewell message, the Zionist leader reiterated that no negotiations between the British Government and Jewish representatives are possible “until the leaders of the Zionist movement and the Yishuv are released. This is a primary condition to regaining our faith in the British Government’s intentions,” he added.
It is understood here that the Palestine Government is reluctant to release the arrested members of the Jewish Agency because they realize that their operations up to now have been considerably less successful than they anticipated.
Statements to the effect that the raids and arrests broke the backbone of the Haganah are, to put it mildly, exaggerated. None of the principal commanders of the Haganah, or its striking force, the Palmach, have been apprehended, nor have second or third string officers. The authorities delay in making public documents seized in the offices of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Council confirms the belief held here that nothing incriminating was found.
The failure of the Haganah to strike back is not a sign of weakness, according to sources close to the resistance movement, but is motivated by a desire to give Dr. Weizmann an opportunity to carry on any talks in which he may participate in London in a peaceful atmosphere. These sources report that when the Jewish Agency president saw High Commissioner Cunningham, he informed him of these facts. Should political discussions drag on interminably without Britain making any concessions acts of violence on a large scale are to be expected, the JTA informant said.