Palestine Jews Call Country-wide General Strike to Protest New Deportations to Cyprus
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Palestine Jews Call Country-wide General Strike to Protest New Deportations to Cyprus

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A country-wide general strike to begin at noon Sunday was proclaimed today by the Jewish National Council to protest the deportation to Cyprus of 1,279 visaless Jews who were forcibly removed this afternoon from the sinking blockade runner San Dimitrics, which was escorted into Haifa harbor this morning lashed to a British mine sweeper.

The transfer of the refugees, among whom were 481 women and several children, was marked by violence and shrieks of protest. Six of them were beaten unconscious by steel-helmeted troops and one girl was dragged down the gangplank screaming “Let me go, let me go.” The deportees shouted anti-British slogans and many of them sang Hatikvah.

The port area was sealed off from the rest of the city by thousands of troops to prevent a demonstration of several thousand Jews from reaching the dock where the Dimitrics–renamed the Latrun–was moored. Headed by a man carrying a black flag the Jews marched toward the docks after a protest meeting in the Hadar Hacarmel quarter. Confronted by soldiers carrying placards reading: “Disperse or We Will Open Fire,” they dispersed without incident.

The Latrun had been off the Palestine coast for almost a week, searching for a hole in the British blockade. According to reports here, the passengers and the crew had been virtually without food or water for the past three days. The refugees were in difficulty several days ago when the ship passed Cyprus and sent out an SOS for food and water, but their appeal was ignored.


The Ocean Vigor and the Empire Heywood to which the deportees were transferred were expected to arrive in Cyprus during the night and the visaless Jews will be disembarked tomorrow, the 29th anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, promising the Jews a national home in Palestine.

Meanwhile, a Jewish lawyer named David Gotein, acting on behalf of Walter Frankenstein, a passenger aboard the latrun, secured a habeas corpus order this morning from the Palestine High Court, directing the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, the British commander in Palestine and the officer in charge of the Haifa port to show cause why the deportation of Frankenstein should not be halted. Gotein was engaged by the refugee’s brother who resides in Rishon Le-Zion.

The attorney told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he expects to file similar writs as soon as he ascertains the names of other passengers who were on the Latrun. His move has aroused great interest here, since this is the first time that the legality of the deportations has been challenged. If successful, it might furnish an effect- ive legal bar to future deportations. Gotein said that he did not expect to halt the deportation of Frankenstein, since the authorities could claim that they did not receive the writ in time or did not know that he was aboard the Cyprus-bound vessels.


Two soldiers were killed last night when their jeep struck a land mine near Kfar Sirkin and two were wounded, according to a press release by the Palestine Government. This contradicts earlier reports that the two were killed in an alleged attack by Irgun members on the Ras el Ain airfield near Kfar Sirkin.

At dawn today a land mine exploded under the rail bridge between Benyamina and Hadera, midway between Haifa and Tel Aviv, derailing a freight train about the same time a military truck was wrecked without casualties when it passed over a land mine in the vicinity of Petach Tikvah.

The Haganah radio “Voice of Israel” tonight again condemned terrorism, stating that its slogan was not “Death to the British” but “Rescue the Jews.” It said that the results of the Congress elections showed that the majority of Palestine’s Jews were opposed to the extremist organizations.

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