British Officials Agitating Secretly to Remain in Palestine, Ben Gurion Charges
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British Officials Agitating Secretly to Remain in Palestine, Ben Gurion Charges

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High British officials recently contacted Jewish circles and suggested that they persuade leaders of the Jewish community to ask the British to remain in the country, asserting that independent Arab and Jewish states will never be established, David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, charged here last night.

Addressing the fifth annual meeting of the Palestine Foundation Fund, Ben Gurion asked whether the Foreign and Colenial Offices had authorized the officials to appreach the Jews. He attacked the Labor Government for failing to keep its promises to the Jews and accused the British of being both anti-Jewish and anti-Arab, adding that they aimed at converting Palestine into a crown colony to serve as a base for British forces.

The Agency chairman revealed that he had suggested to High Commissioner Sir Alan Cunningham that some preliminary arrangements be made to facilitate the taking over of administrative functions by the Jewish state prior to the British withdrawal, but was told that his proposal was “premature.” He reiterated, however, that the Jewish people were on the verge of statehood and warned that “we must immediately prepare constitutionally, administratively and economically to take over the Jewish state.”

Discussing the question of boundaries of the new state, Ben Gurion said that the United Nations must take into account the fact that the Jewish state must absorb large numbers of immigrants. He promised full equality for all citizens and called on Arabs inside and outside of Palestine for peace and cooperation. At the same time, he again rejected bi-nationalism, declaring that the announcement of the impending British evacuation and the military moves by the Arab states had in effect begun the transition period.

Eliezer Kaplan, Agency treasurer, reporting to the meeting, disclosed that the Agency had spent about $50,000,000 in the past Jewish year, during which its income was only about $36,000,000, of which $10,000,000 was in loans. He said that over the past five years, the Agency has spent $100,000,000, incurring in the process a deficit of more than $30,000,000.

Kaplan predicted that $80,000,000 will be needed during the current year for security and defense and that $260,000,000 will be required to finance the immigration of 150,000 refugees during the contemplated transition period. He estimated that the absorption of 1,200,000 immigrants in the next ten years will require $3,000,000,000.

Among the other figures disclosed by the Agency treasurer were that 20,000 immigrants were received during the past year and 29 new settlements founded. The Agency’s property is valued at about $50,000,000, he reported.

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