JERUSALEM (Jan. 24)
The death sentence imposed on Dov Gruner, Irgun member and a veteran of four years in the British forces, has been confirmed by Sir Evelyn Barker, British commander in chief in Palestine and his execution has been set for Tuesday, it was announced today.
The decision was unexpected, as it was reported earlier this week that in a move to ease tension, high civil authorities had decided to commute the sentence to life imprisonment. Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog and other leaders of the Jewish community are intervening with the High Commissioner to over-rule Barker.
Responsible observers here are fearful that if Gruner is executed the Irgun will launch wide-scale operations, including the killing of British officers and men. Such outbreaks would undoubtedly provoke counter-measures by the military authorities and heighten unrest throughout the country.
Shortly after Barker’s decision was announced, all troops were ordered to appear in the streets only in groups of four, instead of three as previously, and all Jerusalem movie houses were placed out of bounds.
Eight armed men, described by police as Jews, last night robbed the Mizrachi Bank in Jerusalem of $20,000 in cash and a quantity of diamonds and other gams. All of the robbers escaped after a brief exchange of gun fire with guards. The robbery was interpreted as an open defiance of the Jewish National Council’s declaration early this week that it will take steps to halt extortion by extremist groups.
A prominent Arab merchant, Hassan Bashiti, was murdered today, the sixth Arab landowner to fall victim to assassins’ bullets in the past two months. He was shot down in the heart of the Old City. A police announcement said that this was the fourth attempt on his life. It is believed that Bashiti was killed for dealings with Jews.
Edwin Samuel, director of the Palestine Broadcasting System, today admitted that some of the Arab broadcasts over the PBS had been “biased,” and promised Zionist representatives, who had complained, that a stricter control would be imposed on the broadcasters.