Lake Success (Sep. 29)
Welcoming the statement by Britain that it planned to abandon the Palestine Mandate, Jamal Husseini, chairman of the Palestine Arab delegation, today presented to the United Nations a four-point program which he described as “the only just, practical and democratic way to achieve independence of Palestine.”
Speaking at the Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine, Husseini indicated that Arab leaders are not certain that Britain will withdraw from Palestine as stated by Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech-Jones. The Arab delegation, he said, hopes that “this time the British Government will not reverse its decision under Zionist or any other pressure, as it has done on other occasions.” He then advanced the following program:
1. Establishment of an Arab state in the whole of Palestine on democratic lines.
2. The Arab state to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and equality of all persons before the law.
3. The Arab state to protect the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities.
4. Freedom of worship and access to the holy places to be guaranteed to all.
Emphasizing that the Arabs would not allow the future Palestine Government “to be imposed from without,” Eusseini suggested the implementation of his four-point program through the following steps:
(A) A constituent assembly should be elected at the earliest possible time. All “genuine and law-abiding” nationals of Palestine will be entitled to participate in the elections for the constituent assembly.
(B) The constituent assembly shall, within a fixed time, formulate and enact a constitution for the Arab state of Palestine, which should be of a democratic nature and should embody the above-mentioned four principles.
(C) A government should be formed within a fixed time, in accordance with the terms of the constitution, to take over the administration of Palestine from the mandatory power.
“This is the one and only course that the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to take, and this is the only item on your agenda that our delegation is prepared to associate itself with,” Husseini declared.
SAYS ARABS CANNOT TAKE UNSCOP REPORT AS BASIS FOR DISCUSSION
Bitterly attacking the Zionist movement and declaring that “for the Zionists the possession of Palestine is nothing but an invasion that aims, by force, at securing and dominating a country that is not theirs by birthright,” Eusseini said that the Palestine problem could be solved easily “if the Zionists would not insist on being treated in a special and preferential manner, and if the great powers of Britain and the United States cease treating them in the same manner as silly mothers treat their pampered children.” He added that if a Jewish state is established in Palestine, “a new Balkans” will be created in that part of the world.
Strongly opposing further Jewish immigration to Palestine, he said that the Arabs cannot take the UNSCOP report as a basis for discussion. “The Palestine Arabs,” he warned, “are determined to oppose with all the means at their disposal any scheme that provides for the dissection, segregation or partition of their tiny country or that gives it to a minority, on the ground of creed, special and preferential rights or status.
“We are alive to the fact that if they so desire, the big powers could crush, by brute force, such opposition. But this realization will not deter us from drenching the soil of our country with the last drop of blood in the defense of all and every inch of it.”
ARABS CHALLENGE RIGHT OF U.N. TO IMPOSE SOLUTION
The leader of the Palestine Arabs then challenged the United Nations’ right to impose any solution upon the Palestine population. The manner and form of Palestine’s independence, he said, is a matter for “the rightful owners” of the country, and the United Nations “has no legal right to dictate it.” He announced that the Palestine Arab delegation will participate only in the discussions regarding the independence of Palestine, which is the third item on the agenda, and will refuse to discuss any other items which include the UNSCOP report.
Continuing, Husseini launched a bitter attack against the United States Government, saying that it “forsakes democratic principles” by giving support to the Zionists and permitting activities and fund raising “designed to flout Palestine laws and subvert peace.” He stressed that while the Arabs are fighting “Zionist invasion,” they are not anti-Semitic. He drew a sharp distinction between Zionists and Jews, repeating the old Arab allegation that the Ashkenazi Jews, coming from western Europe, are descendants of the Khazars and therefore can have no claims to Palestine, even on historic grounds.
A Jewish Agency spokesman, commenting on Husseini’s address, said: “There is nothing new in his arguments and nothing true in the facts. It is a repetition of a case which the world has long known and which has been judged by time. The supporting material is a tissue of outworn arguments and falsifications of history and economics. The most recent and most effective refutation may be found in the UNSCOP report.” Agency leaders ridiculed Husseini’s argument that Britain favored the Jews by granting them large loans, giving them concessions on natural resources in Palestine and also giving them greater aid in education and housing.
At a press conference here, Eri Jabotinsky, speaking for the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, asked a U.N. committee to supervise the immediate evacuation of the British from Palestine, the disarming of troops now there, the recognition of the “Hebraw armed forces” in Palestine to maintain order, immediate resumption of Jewish immigration with U.N. sanction and, finally, after all “repatriation” of Jews has been completed, a U.N. -supervised general election to elect a constitutional convention to appoint a provisional government for the Hebrew republic of Palestine.
Sidney Silverman, Labor Member of Parliament and chairman of the British branch of the World Jewish Congress, told a press conference, also at Lake Success, that the U.S. must assume and discharge its share of responsibility for Palestine as determined by the U.N. He said a de facto Jewish nation already exists in Palestine and the only question now is its de jure recognition by the nations of the world. He sharply criticized the Labor Government’s policy on Palestine, including its handling or the Exodus refugees. Supporting the UNSCOP majority recommendation for partition, Silverman said that the Jews of Palestine are able to defend themselves. He expressed confidence that the British Government intends to carry out its program as stated by Creech-Jones.
(The White House today refused to comment on a report that President Truman had decided against partition, and was formulating an entirely new policy in Palestine. In a wire to the President today, Sen. Robert F. Wagner appealed to Mr. Truman to instruct the U.S. delegation at the U.N. to support the UNSCOP majority report. A similar appeal was sent the President by Dean Alfange, chairman of the American Christian Committee on Palestine.)