LONDON (Jan. 22)
Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones today told the House of Commons that lack of cooperation on the part of the Jewish community of Palestine has blocked the conviction of any extremists for the murder of British soldiers and policemen during terrorist attacks.
The Colonial Secretary reported that 73 Britons were killed during 1946 in Palestine. They included 45 soldiers, 15 policemen, and 13 civilians. He added that exact information regarding “these most tragic incidents” was difficult to collect.
Asked by Brigadier Harold Mackeson, Conservative, about the possibility of tightening security measures in Palestine, Creech-Jones said he was satisfied that the authorities in Palestine had all the powers required to protect British lives during the past year. Military and civil authorities, he added, are cooperating throughout to ensure the safeguarding of lives and property in the country. He stated that responsibility for law and order in Palestine rested with the High Commissioner, as the head of the civil government, and that Sir Alan could call upon the military authorities for any assistance he required.
FLOGGING CRITICIZED AS “A HUMILIATING ACT OF PUNISHMENT”
The abandonment of Judicial flogging in Palestine as “a humiliating form of punishment” was demanded by John Paton, Laborite, who pointed out that some of the incidents in Palestine resulted directly from the flogging of a young Jew. On the other hand, Col. Andrew Duncan, Conservative, declared that it was “deplorable” that immediately after the flogging of a British officer and three soldiers a sentence of flogging imposed on another young Jew was remitted by the Palestine Government.
Asked whether the Irgun Zvai Leumi, Jewish extremist organization, accepted responsibility for the flogging of the British soldiers, the Colonial Secretary said: “They accepted responsibility in the sense that they assumed themselves to be liable for the action which they themselves organized.” He added that distinction must be drawn between the normal Zionist organizations and the terrorist groups in Palestine.
MEETING OF ZIONIST EXECUTIVE REACHES NO DECISION ON COURSE OF ACTION
No definite decisions were reached at the meeting of the World Zionist executive which took place here today under the chairmanship of David Ben Gurion, to consider a course of action preliminary to the informal talks between Zionist leaders and members of the British Cabinet.
One of the purposes of the talks is to determine the government’s view regarding the partitioning of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. No date for the opening of the talks has yet been fixed, but it is expected that Ben Gurion will meet with the Colonial Secretary soon and that their meeting will be devoted to defining the attitude of the government toward Jewish aspirations.