Jerusalem (Dec. 2)
The most serious and violent Arab riots to occur in this city since the pre-war disturbances took place today, the first day of the three-day general strike called to protest the U.N. partition decision. At least three Jews died of injuries received at the hands of Arab mobs elsewhere in Palestine and 31 Jews were reported injured. One Arab is known dead.
The British authorities clamped down a rigid curfew on the Arab quarter of the city. It will be effective from 5 p.m. tonight until noon tomorrow, and will be reimposed at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Before the day was over the Jewish Agency had served an ultimatum on the police to tighten their control of the city and keep the Arabs in order or allow the Haganh to take over the job of protecting Jewish lives, homes and property.
While Arab mobs roamed sections of the Old City, and a large crowd of Jews was sorrowly prevented by the Haganah from wreaking vengeance on the Arab quarters for the burning of some 30 to 50 Jewish stores, reports of sporadic attacks on Jews poured in from various parts of the country. The attacks on Jewish-owned and Jewish-chauffeured vehicles on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road became so numerous this morning that all traffic was suspended shortly after noon.
JEWISH SHOPS LOOTED; MANY SET AFIRE BY ARAB MOB
The major Arab demonstration of the day began with a march from the Jaffa Gate in the Old City in the direction of the Jewish section. One band of several hundred Arabs broke away from the crowd and forced its way into a shopping district. Stores were plundered and some were set afire. Witnesses reported some streets literally covered with bolts of cotton goods and articles of clothing.
A second group of rioters, cutting down Princess Mary Avenue, one of the busy thoroughfares in the Jewish district, stabbed two Jews who were apparently caught some distance away from a hastily-erected barricade manned by members of the Haganah. Asher Lazar, 32, a correspondent for the newspaper Haaretz, was seriously injured when he was stabbed in the stomach a number of times. The second wounded man, less badly injured, was Moshe Rosenberg, 31, who was stabbed in the face.
Following the stabbings, the police fired into the air and forced the Arabs back. The mob, however, did not disperse until after three Haganah squads armed with tommyguns arrived on the scone by truck. The appearance of the Haganah units, apparently in support of the police, kept the Jews under control in the area where the Arab invasion had caused the greatest damage. One or two Arabs were reportedly injured by club-swinging constables attempting to halt the pillaging of Jewish shops.
Although the Haganah kept the Jews fairly well under control, it was not possible to prevent all reprisals. In the Nachlath Shivah quarter an Arab-owned garage was set ablaze. The Rex movie theatre was also fired, but it is not clear who was responsible. Jewish sources insisted that the Arabs destroyed the building because it was jointly owned by Jews and Arabs, while other observers believe that the Jews attacked it because they thought it was Arab property.
PALL OF SMOKE FROM BURNING STRUCTURES HANGS OVER CITY; HELP SUMMONED
Meanwhile, a pall of black smoke from the various burning structures hung heavily over the city. Late in the day the fires continued and it was not certain whether the Jerusalem fire department would be able to cope with the situation. Army fire brigades were being summoned from outlying military installations. This evening additional Haganah units were assigned to fire duty and were sent to positions in Lion Square, the center of the Jewish section, to answer new fire calls.
Although the police did not act quickly enough to prevent the Arab attacks, ##r to disperse the mobs until after the Haganah’s appearance punctuated the Jews’ determination to resist violence, the British were active in hunting down Jewish truths assigned to guard the entrances of various Jewish streets. At least six youths were arrested in the vicinity of the ravaged business district with arms in their possession.
By the middle of the day many Jewish shopkeepers and residents of the area were evacuating their homes and stores and moving their possessions to safer districts. One report said that in an area where Jewish and non-Jewish owned shops were on the same street, the Moslem and Christian shops were marked with crescents and crosses in advance of the attacks and the Jewish shops were left unmarked.
At one time during the major two-hour-long demonstration, the Arabs threatened to overrun the King David Hotel, where the British civil and military headquarters are located. Troops were called out and a barricade of armored cars was formed in front of the hotel. However, the police managed to head off the rioters before they came in contact with the submachine gun-armed Tommies.
HAGANAH UNITS SEIZE ARAB RIOTERS AND TURN THEM OVER TO POLICE
The rioting this morning was preceded by an attack on a convoy of trucks owned by the Palestine Potash Corporation, which employs both Jews and Arabs. The fleet of vehicles was halted by a mob outside the Damascus Gate, another entrance to the Old City. Stones, a popular weapon of Arab rioters today, were hurled at the trucks. The driver of the first one was dragged out of his cab and beaten and stoned. He was rescued by a Haganah unit, which arrested several Arabs and turned them over to the police. The driver is in a serious condition in the Hadassah Hospital here.
Two of the Jews killed as a result of Arab viclence, died on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem main road when the truck in which they were riding was stoned and halted by Arabs. One of the dead men was identified as Max Pinn. The second was not immediately identified, but a third, who was seriously wounded, was identified as Frederick Ziperman.
On the Tel Aviv-Jaffa border two incidents were reported this afternoon, after a morning of relative quiet. In one incident, three Jews were wounded when fired on by Arabs, and in the second a number of Jews were hurt when set upon near the Abu Kebir police station, in a district where the fighting had been particularly heavy during the recent Arab-Jewish conflict several months ago.
Later, a new attack was reported in the Abu Kebir district. A Jewish truck driver, A. Berger, was dragged from his truck and stabbed. The vehicle was fired and the attackers escaped as British troops arrived and fired a volley. Berger died while on route to a hospital in Tel Aviv. One of his two passengers was seriously wounded. On the way to the hospital, the body of an Arab run down by another truck escaping attackers was picked up and taken to the hospital.
In Jaffa all was quiet and protest demonstrations were orderly. The Najada, Arab defense organization, and the Haganah established a 50-yard cordon in the border zone and prevented anyone from coming or going between the cities.
In Lydda a medical and a dental clinic, both operated by Jewish doctors, were destroyed. A Jew named Eliahu Darhin was shot and wounded. On the road to Rosh Pinah a truck carrying seven supernumerary policemen was halted by an Arab roadblock. The stone-throwing rioters were quickly dispersed by the policemen who opened fire.
HAGANAH BELIEVES MUFTI HAS NOT YET GIVEN SIGNAL FOR LARGE-SCALE VIOLENCE
Other scattered attacks included firing on a Jewish-owned taxi, some distance from Ramleh, and the wounding of its passonger. A bus was brought under a stone barrage near Rishon L’Zion and a 16-year-old girl was injured. At Givat Herzl a sand grenade was thrown at a Jewish house, but no casualties resulted. At Kfar Yonah a Jewish police barracks was attacked unsuccessfully. At Haifa some 300 Arabs rioted and threw missles at Jewish-driven vehicles.
A Haganah spokesman this evening declared that the Jewish militia was certain that the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem had not yet ordered the Arab underground groups to start organized disturbances because he is not prepared for a showdown, and that the Najada had been told to wait for a signal before attacking. The spokesman also reported that there was some danger of large, organized robber bands attacking isolated settlements in the Negev and that the Haganah had dispatched armed units to their defense.
Arab sources insisted that six Arabs were injured when several Jews in a taxi opened fire on persons looting Jewish stores. In addition to injuries from gunfire, several more were injured when the crowd stampeded in an attempt to get out of pistol range. It was also reported that the Irgun warned Arab leaders in the Old City that if the rioting continued and more stores were burned, the Irgun would burn out entire Arab quarters.
HUNDREDS OF JEWS BESIEGE AGENCY OFFICE DEMANDING ARMS
The Jewish Agency’s angry protest to the British authorities to halt the Arab attacks or give way to the Haganah, followed a visit of several hundred Jews to the Agency headquarters demanding that they be armed to defend themselves. Word had spread that the police had been instructed not to intervene in the disturbances.
The Agency leaders were particularly angry because yesterday they had been urged to restrain their people and leave possible Arab disorders to the police. As late as this morning the Haganah told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it did not intend to interfere in the maintenance of law and order, but to leave that problem entirely to the police, unless an extreme emergency arose. The inability or unwillingness of the British to control the situation brought the virtual ultimatum from the Jewish authorities.
Although Arab-owned industry and transportation is observing the three-day strike, Arabs employed in government offices or in harvesting the perishable citrus crop were limited to a half-hour’s token protest.