Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Charges British Failure to Cooperate in Partition May Jeopardize U.N. Decision

December 18, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Charging Britain with failure to cooperate in ##ing out the United Nations partition decision, Moshe Shertok, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, said today that developments resulting to the British attitude “may seriously jeopardize the effective implementation” of the U.N. plan.

Mr. Shertok, addressing a press conference, also revealed that the Jewish agency is transmitting regularly to members of the Security Council authentic reports the security position in Palestine. This, he said, is being done pending the council’s decision on the Agency’s application for admission to sessions of the body which the problem of Palestine is discussed.

“The Jewish Agency must insist that the Jews of Palestine be given full facilities for self-defense and for the early organization of the militia destined to the over the protection of the Jewish State,” Shertok stated. “It is inconceivable with decisions solemnly adopted by the General Assembly after mature deliberation could be virtually disregarded by the British Government and that their implementation should be imperilled by the attitude of the Palestine Administration. We count international opinion to uphold and defend the international verdict.”


Emphasizing that the situation in Palestine “is aggravated” by the manner in which the British authorities there are handling it, Shertok charged the British with {SPAN}##ing{/SPAN} reprisals against the Hagansh while it was actually engaged in defending the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem and other places in Palestine against Arab attacks. This situation, he pointed out, is intolerable to the Haganah and to the entire Jewish community. “It serves as an excuse for the acts of blind revenge and criminal {SPAN}##lly{/SPAN} by dissident Jewish groups,” he declared.

“The position regarding Jewish road transport is particularly outrageous,” Shertok continued. “Despite assurances to the contrary, Jewish trucks and busses are continually searched for arms. The drivers have been denied licenses for pistols; which weapons as they now have to defend themselves against Arab snipers are liable ## confiscation.”

Terming the behavior of the Arab military units under British command “most voting,” Shertok said that “the retention of the Arab Legion in the Jewish area ## indefensible and constitutes a permanent menace.” For years, he emphasized, the ##ts of the Transjordan Frontier Force and of the Arab Legion of Transjordan had been ## constant irritant and source of danger.” All the requests of the Jewish Agency


“The seriousness of the present disorders should be neither exaggerated nor {SPAN}##zed,”{/SPAN} the Jewish Agency leader warned. “Outbreaks were to be expected, but {SPAN}##significant that they have been largely local in character, confined to two or ## turbulent areas in the mixed urban centres and to some of the main highways. Countryside has, for the most part, remained unaffected. On the positive side, ##us declarations of friendship and good neighborliness have been made by Arab ##es bordering on Jewish zones. Clearly, the populace as a whole is opposed to ## and only isolated groups, spurred by the Mufti and his henchmen, have so far ## to arms.{/SPAN}”On the other hand, unless countered by effective defense and punitive measures, {SPAN}##il{/SPAN} is likely to spread,” Shertok stressed. “In the past, lack of firmness has been interpreted as connivance. Once, rightly or wrongly, the impression is that the government does not mind, the appeal to violence gains ground and situation gets out of hand. The British Administration has declared itself possible for maintenance of law and order. Yet police and military protection {SPAN}##st{/SPAN} Arab attacks has been patently inadequate, while Jewish self-defense has been {SPAN}##ucted{/SPAN} and penalised.”

Reviewing Britain’s role in the Palestine issue since partition was voted by U.N., Shertok said that the present developments “may seriously jeopardize the effective implementation” of this decision.

“It was clear from the outset that the transition from mandatory rule to independence called for a certain measure of active good will by the British Administrative” he stated. “While the United Kingdom representatives at the United Nations ##ved their government’s position on cooperation in the carrying out of U.N. policy, they nevertheless gave repeated assurances that the Mandatory Power would in no oppose or obstruct that policy.

“They emphasized that the attitude of the British Government would be that of ##al member of the U.N. These statements gave rise to the hope that even though British Government would not give its active support to the decision of the United ##ns, it would accept the verdict of a two-thirds majority of the Assembly, and its ##rawal from Palestine would be in conformity with the procedure laid down by the ##bly.“This hope,” Shertok said, “now appears to have been unfounded. In the debate Palestine in the House of Commons on December 11 and 12, Colonial Secretary Creech-## and Foreign Secretary Bevin did indicate in general terms their acceptance of partition decision. But their specific proposals went far to frustrate the main commendations of the Assembly on the pace and manner of implementation,” the Jewish ##y leader said.

“Mr. Creech-Jones now states that it would be undesirable for the U.N. Implementation Commission to arrive in Palestine until a short period before the termination of the Mandate, which is scheduled for May 15. Under these circumstances, it ## obviously be impossible for the Commission to set up Provisional Councils of ## by April 1. Nor does it seem possible to install a new administrative ## even by May 15 to replace that of the mandatory if no adequate opportunity is ## in advance to make the necessary preparations.”

Recommended from JTA