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Jewish Agency Executive Meets with Released Leaders; Shertok Says Struggle Continues

The Jewish Agency executive today held its first full meeting since June 29, when a number of its members were arrested and held in the Latrun detention camp until yesterday. Absent from the meeting were David Ben Gurion and Dr. Moshe Sneh who are now in the United States and who are free to return to Palestine, according to an official announcement made by a government spokesman here last night.

The released members of the executive received a tremendous ovation as they entered their offices in the Jewish Agency building. They were greeted by Isaac Ben Zvi, president of the Jewish National Council, in the name of the Jewish community.

Replying to the greeting, Moshe Shertok, the released head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, warned the gathering that although the situation had eased somewhat and the government has retreated slightly, “nobody should forget for a single minute that we are still in a bitter and perhaps prolonged struggle.” He added that “in view of the Yishuv’s stand during recent months, we will find a way to continue our struggle.”

Meanwhile, a large crowd had assembled in the courtyard of the Agency building and clamored for the appearance of the released leaders. Following a thunderous welcome, Shertok addressed the crowd from the balcony of the building and appealed for unity in the “hard struggle facing us and the entire Jewish people.” Pointing out that the British attempt to “dictate” to the Jewish Agency had failed, Shertok declared that “we cannot allow any dissensions or any acts besmirching our standard if we are to pilot our case to a successful conclusion.”

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Later, addressing his first press conference since his release, Shertok said that the detention of the members of the Jewish Agency was a part of the British policy to discredit the Agency and undermine its authority. This attempt miscarried, he declared, adding that it must be a matter of deep regret to all concerned that the British Government should have been so poorly advised on such a vital issue.

“The restoration of liberty and the resumption of the normal functioning of the Jewish Agency, welcome as they are, do not of themselves solve any of the great problems now confronting the Jewish people in relation to Palestine,” Shertok said. “The crux of the matter remains freedom of immigration and the establishment of Jews as a nation in their own country, free to work out their solution in collaboration with their neighbors on a footing of equality with the nations of the world.

“This,” he continued, “is the essence of Jewish statehood for which we are now more than ever striving. One of the outstanding results of the trials and tribula- tions experienced during the last four months is a further strengthening of our conviction of the indispensability of statehood for the Jewish people.”

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Shertok thanked the British and Arab personnel of the Latrun detention camp for their efforts to make his imprisonment as pleasant as possible. Replying to a question regarding the steps which the Jewish Agency may take against terrorism, Shertok said: “The stand of the Jewish Agency on the issue of bloodshed as a political weapon remains unchanged. This stand has also found renewed expression in a resolution to this effect taken by the Actions Committee at its last meeting.”

Asked whether the Jewish Agency expects to resume normal relations with the Palestine Government, Shertok replied: “This is a very important issue which is presently at stake. It depends on the spirit in which the Palestine Government tackles our problems and on the prospects of our getting real satisfaction which we feel is due us.”

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