Menu JTA Search

British Government Does Not Plan Immediate Martial Law in Palestine, Minister Indicates

Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones today indicated in Commons that the British Government had no plans for the immediate imposition of martial law in Palestine in retaliation for the hanging of two British sergeants by the Irgun.

In response to a demand by Vice-Admiral Ernest A. Taylor, Conservative, that martial law be clamped down, Creech-Jones said that strong security measures had already been taken. Earlier, he told a shocked House that “in the long history of Palestine there is scarcely a more dastardly act” than the “executions.” He said he hoped that they would “stir the Jewish community of Palestine to root out the evil from its midst.”

Col. Oliver Stanley, former Colonial Minister, speaking for the Conservative opposition, demanded a full dress debate on measures taken to combat activities in Palestine. He was joined by former Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. Deputy Prime Minister Herbert Morrison promised to try to arrange such a debate next week.

Maurice Edelman, Laborite, urged the government to institute “unrelenting” measures to bring to justice the persons responsible for the deed. Laborites Barnett Janner and Samuel Silverman, speaking for themselves and in behalf of the Jewish Agency in London and the Zionist Federation of Britain, expressed “horror,” “shame” and “humiliation.”

Jewish organizations here were unanimous in their condemnation. The Agency published the text of a statement issued by its headquarters in Jerusalem and the Jewish National Council blasting the “executions.” The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Anglo-Jewish Association, the Anglo-Jewish Fellowship, the British Association of Jewish ex-Servicemen and Women and Acting Chief Rabbi Harris M. Lazarus all denounced the action publicly. The executive of the Agudas Israel organization called on the Palestine Chief Rabbinate to excommunicate “the murderers and their associates.”

NEXT STORY