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Arab Holy Day Demonstration ‘false Alarm’

February 7, 1934
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Instead of tens of thousands which the Arab newspaper confidently boasted would flock to hear the stereotyped protests against the Mandatory Power and the Jews, a few hundreds trickled along in every city or town, most of them idlers and bystanders who were pushed along by the processsions. There were no more than 1,000 to 1,2000 each in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa, and a few hundreds in the other towns and Arab and Arab centers. It was obvious that those who attended did so half-heartedly.

Davar, the Hebrew Labor daily, has a pithy comment upon the Arab excursion. “As might have been foreseen, the peaceful Arab demonstrations were a prooof to the bloodshed on other occasions. The number of participants in this licensed affair was far less than those who took part in the last illegal assemblies,” it says. “This was a government victory as a piece of strategy. But the bitter political significance of these hostile demonstrations against the Mandate as licensed by the government itself cannot be dismissed as lightly as our gratification that nothing untoward happened. It has created a dangerous precedent; it has given impetus to the Arab cause of enmity to the Jewish cause and a new breath of victory has entered their ranks.”

THE GOVERNMENT’S DUTY

The paper points out that it is a right, which the Jews will never surrender, for the Jewish people to enter and settle in Palestine in the fullest accord with the absorption capacity of the country. It is equally a duty that the government has solemnly undertaken to words the British people and the Jewish people to sponsor to its utmost Jewish immigration to and settlement in Palestine. No violence, no brow-beating, and no amount of oppositing will make the Jews swerve from that purpose. It winds up with a demand that demonstrations such as these will not be taken as pretexts and weapons to wield against the Jewish rights.

The Palestine government issued a baid announcement of the peaceful passage of the demonstrations. “Arab meetings have been duly licensed by the respective District Commissioners, in accordance with the law, and took place in all the towns of Palestine this morning,” said the communique. “The route prescribed and the conditions laid down in the licenses granted for these meetings were faithfully observed, and the participants dispersed quietly to their homes without incident in every case.”

The temper of some of the participants at least may be gauged from the incident at Acre. where ex-convict, just released from prison sentence in connection#th the 1929 disturbances, furi# hecked Sheikh Assad Al#eirithe Mufti of Acre, who was reading the pattern-protest and declared that the leaders had simply beguiled poor unseuspecting people into doing their their fell desige and bearing the conseqences, whilst they got off scoffree.

Jamal Al-Husseini, who has come to the fore as the Arab youths’ leader, read the profest in Nebi Daud, near Zion Gete.the Mufti of Jersusalem, Sayed Mohammed Amin Al-Husseini, did not head the procession as anti-cipated but was present at Nebi Daud at the reading of the protest.

The outstanding measures adopted by the police were the prelimaryon arrest of Communits, nearly two score, prior to Id Al Futy, and the taking into custody of Communist who tried to raise a red flag during the procession in Haifa. Two men were stopped working towards Jerusalem in the earlier hours of the morning; with red flags concealed on their persons.

ARAB PRESS ADVICE

Arab Press Advice papers themselve had advocated motergation at the processions. Falastin, Arabic daily of Jaffa, usually a vehement extremist in matters of anti-Zionist policy, said a few days beforehand that since the government had licensed the demonstration, it would prove to the world that Arabs were a troublesome and riotous mob if they did not behave peacefully. This action by the government will make the Arabs responsible for everything which may happen and the demonstrations ought for this reason to be quiet, the paper declared. Meraat Al Sherk, Christian Arab daily published in Jerusalem, declared that the Arabs ought to protest against their own leaders who sell land to the Jews, and advocated moderation too.

It is perhaps significant that few Christians participated in the processions, and that the bulk of the demonstrators were Moslems.

JEWISH PRESS CRITICAL

Jewish press comments a day prior to the processions were almost unanimous in expressing disappointment in the government’s concession to the Arabs by granting the permit. A devious policy is perceived in these authorizations, indicating that while the Palestine government does not actually connive at anti-Jewish manifestations, it is not averse to them for reasons of political value. Davar felt that the protests should have been confined to the meeting-hall or press and no allowed to spread into the streets; Haaretz considered the permits “a fatal weakness,” a source of astonishment and anxiety to law-abiding citizens and declared it might be a new policy requiring the staging of a popular performance of Arab preliminary to further restrictions.

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