Hevin Warns Britain Will Not Remain “indifferent” if War is Resumed in Palestine
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Hevin Warns Britain Will Not Remain “indifferent” if War is Resumed in Palestine

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If the Palestine war is resumed it will be “impossible” for Britain to remain “indifferent and inactive,” Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin warned today during the course of a debate on Palestine in the House of Commons.

At the same time, he declared that British de facto recognition of the Israeli Government will not be announced until Britain receives replies from its Dominions and the Benelux nations with whom it has consulted on the problem. The answers, he said, are expected within a few days.

The Foreign Secretary stated that he understood that President Truman endorses the proposition that if the Jews keep all of Galilee, Jaffa and other areas assigned to the Arabs they must surrender territory elsewhere. He added that following the Israeli incursion into Egyptian territory the President made representations “as emphatic as the action which we took.”

Bevin also said that the British planes had the right to fly over Egypt “where the Jewish forces had no right to be.” He insisted that Britain has not tried nor tore anything to “undo” Israel, which he said is a “fact.” Simultaneously, he declared that the British Government will not be deterred “one inch” from its policy of supporting all resolutions of the U.N. Security Council on the Palestine situation.


Winston Churchill severely criticized Bevin’s Palestine policy. He charged Bevin with being prejudiced against the Jews of Palestine and described the emergence of the Jewish state as a significant event in world history. By refusing recognition to Israel, Britain finds herself regarded as the bitterest enemy of the Jewish state, he said.

“There has never been the slightest comprehension of the Palestine problem by the Foreign Secretary, nor will he take any advice, “Churchill stated. He recalled that British recognition of Israel was urged six weeks ago.

“The Foreign Secretary,” Churchill continued, “was wrong in facts, wrong in methods, and wrong in results. We have lost the friendship of the Palestine Jews for the time being.” Churchill emphasized that both the Jews and the Arabs must have access to the Gulf of Aqaba. Be urged that a British force remain Aqaba until the question is decided by the United Nations and the decision is accepted and obeyed by the Jews and the Arabs.

Referring to Bevin’s remarks that the Jews had invaded Egypt, Churchill asked Whether the Egyptians had not first invaded Palestine. The British policy in Palestine has made Britain “a mockery and a scapegoat,” and deprived Britain of the credit with she earned in relation to Palestine, the former Prime Minister charged.


In the course of his speech, Bevin asserted that the United Kingdom was-obligated to maintain security and stability in the Middle East. He declared that for a long time Britain and the United States have seen eye to eye on a policy for increasing the economic well-being of the Middle East. Everything will be done to prevent the “Balkanization” of the Middle East and to see that it does not become the scene of internal dissension and rivalry, he stated.

In an attempt to avoid responsibility for the Palestine situation, Bevin declared that “this government did not create the Palestine problem. I do not want to create controversy,” he insisted, “but ever since I have had anything to do with it I have been conscious that the Balfour Declaration promised the same thing to two peoples.” The Nazi persecution of the Jews created a new situation after the war, forcing the Palestine (Mandate) Government to take costly and unwelcome measures to control increased immigration. The Balfour Declaration promised a national home, but the demand for a state intensified the conflict with the Arabs.”

In a statement prior to the debate, Arthur Henderson, Air Minister, refused to give any guarantees that there would “be no further air reconnaissance flights such as the one in which five R.A.F. planes were shot down over Israeli territory January 7. He denied that on the flight the British plane were accompanied by Egyptian aircraft. Referring to acting mediator Ralph J. Bunche’s denial that the mediator’s office had been consulted by the British before the flights were made, Henderson said that the discussions took place with the late Count Folke Bernadette, who was assassinated on September 17, 1948.

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