JERUSALEM (Feb. 16)
The Jewish National Council today called for a one-hour country-wide general strike tomorrow morning to protest the imminent deportation to Cyprus of 800 to 900 refugees aboard a captured immigrant vessel an route to Haifa harbor under the escort of two British destroyers. The strike is to start at 10 a.m.
The vessel, which is reported to be the Hamaapil Haalmoni (Unknown Immigrant) was captured last night. Preliminary reports said that passengers resisted a boarding party, but surrendered after four were vounded. Two of the refugees jumped into the sea, but were caught by naval launches. As soon as word of the ship’s capture reached Haifa, the port area was cordoned off and the military authorities took over. Troop reinforcements were also sent to the outskirts of Tel Aviv, where tension was said to be rising.
Jewish sources said that a writ of habeas corpus, calling on the Palestine Government and the British military and naval authorities to show cause why the refugees should not be allowed to land in Palestine will be filed tomorrow morning as soon as the courts open.
Meanwhile, the British merchant ships Ocean Vigor and Empire Rival, veterans of the Palestine-Cyprus shuttle run, were in Haifa harbor tonight awaiting the arrival of the visaless Jews.
764 REFUGEES RETURNED TO PALESTINE FROM CYPRUS CAMPS
Seven-hundred and sixty-four refugees, who arrived in Palestine aboard an immigrant ship about six months ago and were subsequently sent to Cyprus, disembarked here late yesterday. They will be released under a forthcoming immigration schedule.
The capture today of the immigrant vessel momentarily overshadowed the concern felt here as a result of the British decision to take the Palestine issue to the United Nations. While Jewish leaders refused to comment, pending the arrival of the full text of Foreign Minister Bevin’s statement, the man-in-the-street’s reaction was that the move was “the usual British trick to further defer a solution, while holding the sword of martial law over the Yishuv and prohibiting large-scale immigration.”
PALESTINE ARABS ASSURED STATUS QUO TO BE MAINTAINED UNTIL U.N. ACTS
A report from a usually reliable source said that the Palestine Government had promised the Arabs that the status quo as regards immigration and land settlement would be maintained here until the U.N. acts. The Arab leaders are believed to be generally pleased with the British decision, since there are six Arab states with voices in the U.N. General Assembly and one, Syria, on the Security Council.
The Husseini faction, lead by the Mufti, is understood to be particularly gratified, since it feared that partition would ultimately result in the Arab area being joined to Transjordan, which in ruled by King Abdullah, a bitter foe of the ##.