Jerusalem (May. 12)
Twenty-four settlers from the Jewish colony of Birya, who were arrested on Feb. 28, have been on a hunger strike since Thursday in protest against police brutality, it was learned today.
The 24, who were detained following an attack by unknown persons upon an encampment of the Arab Legion near Birya, were beaten by British constables in the Acre police station on Thursday, when they refused to be finger-printed, asserting that they were political prisoners, not criminals.
After they were returned to prison, they sent a protest to High Commissioner Sir Alan G. Cunningham, stating that they would continue their hunger strike until given assurances that the police violence would not be repeated. Among the hunger strikers are several youths under eighteen.
The Birya incident precipitated a battle in mid-March between several thousand Jews and an equal number of British soldiers when the Jews attempted to establish a new settlement a few hundred yards from Birya in protest against the military’s refusal to allow settlers from nearby colonies to take over the work in Birya of the arrested men, who comprised the colony’s entire male population. It ended in the Jews being granted permission to work at Birya.
A clash between Arab special police and Jewish settlers was narrowly averted yesterday at the village of B’Nel Brak, a short distance from Tel Aviv, when the police shared Jewish houses with swastikas. When the villagers complained to police headquarters, the Arabs were brought back to Bnei Brak and compelled to remove the swastikas.
The government office at Tel Aviv which issues identity cards was set afire last night and the entire interior is believed to have been gutted. Meanwhile, the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on entertainment places in Tel Aviv and the roads surrounding it, following the killing of seven British soldiers by Jewish terrorists was lifted yesterday.