Jerusalem (Nov. 26)
One visaless Jewish immigrant was killed and two were seriously wounded and removed to a hospital following a clash with British soldiers who today attempted to board the refugee ship “Knesseth Israel” which was intercepted by British destroyers and brought into the Haifa harbor. At least ten soldiers were injured, four of them seriously, in the riot.
The approximately 4,000 visaless Jewish immigrants aboard the vessel met the troops with a bombardment of tin cans and sticks. The soldiers fired four tommy gun bursts over the refugees’ heads. However, this did not discourage the immigrants from offering violent resistance, and the troops had to use tear gas.
As the clouds of the gas billowed over the tightly packed ship, more than fifty passengers, including a number of women, leaped overboard. Some of the women, who dived fully clothed into the water, were picked up by police patrol launches.
The fight between the immigrants and the troops lasted for about two hours, after which the refugees, their eyes streaming, disembarked for trans-shipment, while British navy divers carried out underwater searches for magnetic mines under the three ships used to transport the visaless immigrants to Cyprus internment camps.
NINETY-MINUTE PROTEST STRIKE HELD BY JEWS IN HAIFA; TROOPS ON ALERT
More than 100 pregnant women, 300 aged Jews and over 500 children were among those aboard. The “Knesseth Israel” carried a banner reading: “For every Jew killed aboard this ship, you will pay with British blood. You have been warned.”
A ninety-minute Jewish strike was held tonight in Haifa in protest against the Palestine Government’s refusal to allow the “Knesseth Israel” immigrants to land. Leaflets distributed by Jewish extremists threatened “extreme violent reprisals” if the immigrants were deported. Although the strike passed quietly, troops were alerted and military units took up positions at strategic road junctions to isolate the Hadar Hacarmel Jewish quarter of Haifa, in the event of trouble.
The immediate fate of the “Knesseth Israel” immigrants depends on the outcome of tomorrow’s hearing in Jerusalem high court of a writ served on the British Commander General and other high officials to show cause why the immigrants should be deported.
H.L. Gurney, Palestine Chief Secretary, today submitted a written brief to the court declaring that the habeas corpus writ which ordered him not to deport the immigrants was not valid because it was issued on Nov. 25, before the visaless immigrants and their vessel were brought into Palestine territorial waters. He also requested that J. Funt, attorney for the refugees, be summoned before the court for cross examination.
Military police who searched the “Knesseth Israel” tonight reported they found no trace of the ship’s crew or captain. It is believed that the ship was manned by specially trained personnel from among the immigrants.