JERUSALEM (May. 11)
The 37-member Provisional Jewish Government council today called a meeting for May 16 to proclaim Jewish independence and establish a Jewish state.
It is taken for granted here that after May 15 the British naval blockade of Palestine will end. It is believed that the Arabs may attempt to frighten off Jewish immigrant shipping by bombing Tel Aviv, but observers here think that the Jews are prepared to retaliate with an air force probably better than that of the Arabs.
It is also considered certain that British forces will shortly leave most for all parts of Palestine for the Haifa enclave where they will embark for the journey to England or other British bases. It was learned today that the Jew and the British have reached an agreement on the use of the Haifa port under which the Jews will not use it for naval purposes until the British have completely withdrawn their forces–by August l.
There is reason to believe that King Abdullah of Transjordan is trying discreetly to establish contact with the Jewish Agency on a Palestine settlement, despite his bellicose statements of the past few weeks. Although his Arab Legion is the best Arab force in the Middle East, it is assumed that he does not wish to risk losing it in a battle with the Jews.
JAFFA WILL BE HELD BY JEWS AS BARGAINING POINT FOR PEACE WITH ABDULLAH
It is believed to be virtually certain that the Jews will not keep Jaffa, which must fall into their hands shortly. But they will hold the city as a bargaining point with Abdullah who, if he comes to terms with the Jews, will be given the sport, thus providing him with an opening on the Mediterranean Sea.
The virtual surrender of Jaffa was forecast today in an official communique describing an appeal by an emergency committee in the city to the United Nations to appoint a neutral observer acceptable to both the Jews and Arabs to supervise Jaffa’s status as an undefended open city.
The communique stated that of more than 50,000 Arab inhabitants of the port, only some 4,000 remained. There is no quorum of the municipal council in fact, only one councilor remains and he organized the emergency committee. In the committee’s appeal directed to the U.N. through the local district commissioner, a Briton, it is pledged that the city will not be defended nor used for any military Purpose.
A Haganah spokesman today said that the Haganah had not officially been approached on a truce for Jaffa by the British, who are scheduled to evacuate the City this week. Previously, the Jews had demanded that the Arabs negotiate with the Haganah directly. Another Haganah spokesman claimed the capture of the Arab village of Akbara, south of Safad today.
JEWISH AGENCY STIPULATES CONDITIONS FOR DEMILITARIZATION OF JERUSALEM
The Jewish Agency today denied a statement yesterday by International Red Cross representative Jacques de Reynier that the Jews have accepted in principle a plan for demilitarizing the city and turning it over to the Red Cross to administer. A spokesman said that the Jewish Agency has not yet commented on the plan, while other .sources assert that the Jews will demand as one condition for acceptance of the plan that the supply route from Tel Aviv remainsin their hands, now that they have finally won control of the entire stretch of highway–although the Arabs were reported to be counterattacking today.
Earlier, de Reynier revealed that he had given both the Jewish and Arab organizations in the city until May 14 to come forward with written acceptance of the terms of the Red Cross proposal. He was hopeful because, he said, he had the verbal assurance of all Jewish and Arab groups, He emphasized that other attempts at establishing a permanent truce had failed and said: “It will be us or war.”
Meanwhile it was learned here that A.S.P. Clark, manager of Barclays Bank in Jerusalem, has definitely rejected the post of United Nations Commissioner for Jerusalem. Both the Jews and the Arabs had previously agreed on him as an acceptable candidate.
Voice of Israel, the official broadcasting station of the Jewish state, will begin transmitting on May 16, it was announced today by Zvi Lurie, broadcasting director and head of the Public Information Office. The short wave transmission will be heard throughout the Middle East for six hours daily. It will include one-and-a-half hours in English and Arabic. Broadcasts in other languages are planned. The Information Office plans later to build a large transmitter for world broadcasts in Yiddish and other languages for Jews throughout the world.
A Haganah officer in Tel Aviv revealed that the Stern Group has kidnapped four Haganah men in retaliation for the militia group’s holding four Sternists prisoner since Friday. The spokesman said the Sternists ware prevented from attacking British troops in Haifa.