JERUSALEM (Mar. 31)
Determined to cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the country, Arabs today erected 15 strong roadblocks near Bab el Wad on the main road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The Palestine Government, under strong pressure from London to keep the reads open for traffic, is reported to be worried over this action.
It was reported, without confirmation, that British military authorities have begun negotiations with Arab leaders in the Bab el Wad area to remove the roadblocks and open the road to Jewish vehicles, on condition that the Jews do not proceed in armed convoys. Army headquarters refused to comment on this report.
Declaring that they are unaware of any move on the part of the authorities to negotiate a truce on traffic. Arab leaders today indicated that they will not accept such a pact unless the Jews are ready for “unconditional surrender.” Their statement was preceded by a comment made by a government spokesman who, discussing the security situation, said; “The Haganah is a menace to peace in the Old City. Without the Haganah, the government would be responsible for security.”
Meanwhile, Jewish institutions here were studying today a plan submitted by Richard Graves, head of the Municipal Commission, to establish separate Jewish and Arab municipal committees in Jerusalem to replace the present administration of the city. The plan calls for the setting up of the two committees as soon as possible, with Graves acting as liaison between the Arab and Jewish groups, or possibly as chairman of both.
The Official Gazette today published an announcement stating that from now on it will not be necessary for local municipal councils in Palestine to submit their budgets to the district commissioners for approval. This action was interpreted here as additional proof of Britain’s intention to surrender the Mandate on May 15.