British Troops Fire on Jewish Demonstration in Haifa; Three Jews Killed, Ten Wounded
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British Troops Fire on Jewish Demonstration in Haifa; Three Jews Killed, Ten Wounded

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Three Jews, including one woman, died today from wounds received when British troops at Haifa opened fire on a Jewish demonstration early this morning protesting the deportation of more than 1,300 Jewish visaless immigrants to the island of Cyprus.

Ten other Jews were wounded and many arrested as a result of the demonstration, in which thousands of Jews participated defying the curfew which was imposed at midnight. The 1,300 Jewish refugees were shepherded from the small vessels “Yagur” and “Henrietta Szold,” which brought them to Palestine this week, into two British troopships–“Empire Roach” and “Empire Weywood”–and then commenced their journey to Cyprus under guarded hatches.

Protesting the action of the British authorities, the Jewish National Council called a general protest strike today from 5:00 p.m. to midnight. At the same time, the Jewish underground radio, “Voice of Israel,” urged the entire Jewish community to unite and fight the new British policy of intercepting Jewish immigrants and diverting them to Cyprus. Charging the British Government with “declaring war” not only against the Jews in Palestine but against all the Jews of the world, the broadcast warned that “the Jewish people will continue to struggle for its redemption.”


The Jewish National Council also issued a call for non-cooperation between the Jews and the British Government, to start as from Sunday, “in view of the arbitrary British deportation of Jewish refugees.” The Council decided that all Jewish members of government advisory bodies be asked to resign and that all relations between the government and Jewish municipalities and institutions be cut off.

The Tel Aviv municipal council issued a proclamation demanding that all refugees who have arrived in Palestine should be allowed to land. The proclamation appealed to the Government to reverse its deportation policy.

Gen. Sir Alan Cunningham, Palestine High Commissioner, issued a statement announcing that visaless Jewish immigrants who reached Palestine before Aug. 11 will not be deported to Cyprus. They will be kept at the Athlit camp until they are cleared for admission under the monthly quota.


Meanwhile, British naval authorities today intercepted two more refugee ships carrying 1,400 Jewish passengers. The vessels, “Kasriel Joffe” and “The Twenty-Three,”–the latter named for 23 Jewish members of the British armed forces who led the British Army into Syria–were escorted by British warships to Haifa.

British authorities today expressed the belief that five more ships carrying Jewish immigrants to Palestine are now on their way to Haifa. The British naval units are determined to intercept and divert them to Cyprus, they said.

The curfew in Haifa was lifted after thirteen hours, but thousands of heavily armed troops were still standing by in the Haifa port area where the Jewish protest demonstration took place earlier this morning.


Palestine authorities today blamed the Haganah for the demonstration which resulted in 13 Jewish casualties. They claimed that the demonstration was instigated by a Haganah broadcast calling upon the Jews in Haifa to defy the curfew regulations and to prevent the deportation of the Jewish immigrants.

The demonstration started, however, after the Jewish refugees had been transferred from their vessels to the British troopships. It was reported that the refugees displayed passive resistance during the transfer and that some of them had to be carried on stretchers from the “Yagur” and the “Henrietta Szold” since they refused to leave voluntarily.

An official spokesman of the Jewish Agency said here that the British Government’s attempt to stop the flow of refugees would remove the last chances of an agreed and peaceful solution of the Palestine issue.

He declared that Britain’s Government had done nothing in the last year to alleviate the sufferings of Europe’s Jews. The British assertion that “unscrupulous men” were organizing illegal immigration was an attempt at “face-saving,” he stated. The spokesman recalled that the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Palestine problem had found that the desire of European Jews to go to Palestine was “overwhelming and natural.”

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