Jews and Arabs Agree to Demilitarization of Jerusalem; Red Cross to Control City
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Jews and Arabs Agree to Demilitarization of Jerusalem; Red Cross to Control City

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Both the Jews and the Arabs have agreed in principle to a plan for demilitarizing Jerusalem and placing the city under the administration of the International Red Cross, it was announced at a press conference today by Jacques de Reynier, Red Cross representative here.

De Reynier said that in a few days he expects to receive requests from the Red Mogen David and the Red Crescent organizations to put the demilitarization plan into effect. He revealed that Bed Cross flags would be raised over all gates to the city and the military commanders of both sides would be responsible for demilitarization in their zones, after demilitarization no arms or armed men would be permitted in the city. Pointing out that this would be the first time in history that an entire city came under Red Cross administration, de Keynier said that if the truce were violated the Red Cross flags would immediately be hauled down and the security zones liquidated.

Meanwhile, it was reported here tonight that the Haganah has finally cleared the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem supply route of Arab guerrillas. In a two-day battle, which is still continuing in the hills surrounding the road in the Bab el Wad area, some 4,000 Jews, spearheaded by 500 commandos, broke through numerous roadblocks, barricades and fortress villages. Late this evening the road was reported clear, although an occasional bullet whistled overhead as the Haganah attempted to gain control of the last two hills in Arab hands which could interfere with traffic on the road.

For a period a Haganah unit was isolated by the Arabs in the village of Beit Mahsir, two miles southeast of Bab el Wad, but reinforcements were rushed to their aid and the Arab forces were pushed back, During the night the Jews managed to gain control of most of the mountain heights overlooking Bab el Wad and during the day further consolidated their position in the hills.

In Jaffa the Jews today turned down a British offer to mediate between the Arabs and Jews for control of the almost deserted Arab port. The Jews said that the Arabs must deal directly with Haganah. Only 3,000 Arabs are said to be left in the town and even the Mayor, Yusuf Haikel, is believed to have fled to Amman.

Arab medical sources reported in Jerusalem today that a number of cases of cholera have been discovered in the Arab area of the city. They were apparently brought in by visitors from Acre, Arab stronghold near Haifa, where a full-fledged epidemic is in progress. The last government service in the city collapsed today when. 250 Palestine policemen evacuated their headquarters.

(The New York Times reported from Baghdad that one of three Jews beaten by an Arab mob in the Iraq capital last Thursday died yesterday of his wounds. The same dispatch said that the Arab press continues its intense anti-Jewish campaign and the local Jewish community fears trouble.)

In Tel Aviv, where Moshe Shertok arrived by plane last night to report to the Jewish Agency executive on the latest developments at the United Nations, David Ben Gurion, Agency chairman, declared at a mass meeting that next week-end “our generation will see the realization of the centuries-old dream of independence.” He told the audience, which had gathered to inaugurate the first Jewish national loan campaign for $20,000,000, that he “believed” that a Jewish state will be established on May 16 and that the very establishment of that state rested on the military achievements of the Jewish youth.

Asserting that “we must overcome political intrigues from abroad,” the Agency leader warmed of the danger of an invasion and called upon the Jewish community to make a supreme effort at this time. He also revealed that the military budget for this month alone was in excess of $12.000.000.

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