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Haganah Routs Arab Invaders on Borders of Tel Aviv; Jewish Death Toll Reaches Eleven

December 4, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

As British troops in Jerusalem battled rioting Arabs ##pting to break out of the Old City, which has been placed under an indefinite ###, a crack Haganah unit tonight routed Arabs along the Tel Aviv Jaffa boundary, which had been the scene of almost continuous violence since last night. The border ## was under curfew tonight, enforced by large contingents of British troops.

The Haganah squad, composed of former commandos, crossed the boundary into Jaf##nd eliminated Arab snipers in house by house and street by street operations, after a day of Arab attacks of varying intensity which resulted in at least seven Jews ##ed and 40 wounded, and an unknown number of Arabs dead and injured. The death ## since the outbreaks began is estimated ateleven Jews and 13 Arabs.

One of the slain Jews was Moshe Neumann, a top Haganah officer who died leading a counter-attack against the Arabs, and another was an unidentified policeman. A Haganah official charged late today that many of the Jewish casualties were inflicted by British police and troops, who were accused of obstructing the Jewish defenders.

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa battle resembled full-scale combat operations. Both sides and autmoatic rifles and Bren guns. At one point Arab units penetrated 150 yards in## Tel Aviv under cover of machinegun fire, but were repulsed by Haganah troops. Many ##-combattants were wounded when they were caught in the battle zone, and Dr. Kopeka ##jamin, 50, a physician, was killed while making his rounds.Flames from burning shops and other buildings in both Tel Aviv and Jaffa lit up ## scene as dusk descended. Firemen battling the blazes were hampered by the steady ##oting from the Arab side. Brigade Commander Caspi of the Tel Aviv fire department ## seriously wounded while fighting a fire in several houses. Eventually, however, ## fires were brought under control.


The curfew in Jerusalem, which was to have been lifted at noon today, was extended until further notice when menacing crowds of several hundred Arabs gathered at the Committee of the Old City, ready to swoop down on the Jewish sections as soon as the curfew was lifted. Despite a cordon of British troops, a mob of rioters-broke out of the curfewed area brandishing daggers and shouting “Death to the Jews.”

A Jewish truck driver, Moshe Pinto, 27, was stabbed to death when the mob ##ught him as he was fleeing from his truck, which was halted by the rioters. Another ##, not identified, was stabbed and seriously wounded by another group of Arab rioters. Two Arab ringleaders were wounded when the mob they were leading refused police ##ders to halt. Two other Arabs were killed by two policemen who returned their fire when they were shot at while seated outside a cafe near Jaffa Gate.

Several new fires were set today in Jewish shops and some looting took place, although the city was generally peaceful. Many of the fires completely gutted the shops before the fire brigade arrived. Other shopkeepers hurriedly evacuated their goods to safer quarters.


In Haifa Arab bands twice attempted to break into the Jewish quarter, but {SPAN}##{/SPAN} repulsed by Haganah units. One group attacked a Jewish cafe in the Kinssway, {SPAN}##ern{/SPAN} business quarter, but was dispersed by a grenade thrown from a nearby {SPAN}##ftop.{/SPAN} A second Arab crowd converged on the old Jewish business center in Khirbed {SPAN}##are,{/SPAN} but scattered after an explosion believed caused by a grenade. The situation {SPAN}##{/SPAN} Haifa calmed down somewhat tonight after the Irgun had threatened to blow up Arab houses if the attacks did not stop immediately. Earlier, however, Abraham ?zengold, 20, was killed in the Vadi Rushmieh suburb of Haifa. Two other Jews were injured when Arabs stoned a bus.

The attack on Tel Aviv started on a small scale when Arab bands opened fire ## a small police post in one area, seriously injuring one Jewish constable and wounding two others.

The Arabs launched a heavier attack in the Geula quarter abutting Jaffa later in the morning, and a heavy exchange of fire took place as the Haganah swept into action and gradually repulsed the assailants.

The Mogen David, the Jewish Red Cross organization, was mobilized for action, and its ambulances were to be seen speeding to various areas of the city throughout the day to pick up wounded and administer first aid.


Traffic between Haifa and Jewish colonies in the south was resumed at noon today, but vehicles travelling to Jerusalem proceeded only under armed convoy. Similar convoys have been established to guard traffic between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and linking other Jewish cities. Traffic to the Negev is being maintained and no incidents have been reported, although last night there were unconfirmed reports that several Negev settlements had been attacked.

The Jewish Agency is scheduled to meet again with government officials to demand that the authorities keep the peace or entrust Jewish security forces with the tasks. Early today, a senior government official informed the Agency that police escort could not be given inter-urban convoys since that might be interpreted as British implementation of partition.

Scattered reports say that Arabs are massing in various parts of the country. A violent demonstration took place today in the Arab city of Hebron and a large concentration of armed Arabs was reported to have assembled in the town of Tulkarm, northeast of Tel Aviv. Settlers at Beth Halevi reported that they had also observed a large group of Arabs.

Dr. Hussein Khalidi, secretary of the Arab Higher Committee, revealed late today that Sir Henry L. Gurney, Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, had asked him to call off the Arab strike, which still has a day to run, since it was endangering the security of the country. Dr. Khalidi said that no decision has been reached by the Higher Committee. He alleged that the disturbances were caused by “irresponsible elements who had taken matters into their own hands” and that measures for easing the situation had been discussed with Sir Henry.


Mrs. Goldie Meirson, political secretary of the Agency office in Jerusalem, {SPAN}##{/SPAN} with Gurney tonight at his invitation. She was brought to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in a car accompanied by an armed convoy. The Chief Secretary is understood to have reported on his meeting with Dr. Khalidi and to have stated that the government would not tolerate “high-handedness” on either side.

The Irgun Zvai Leumi tonight published an open letter to the Arabs, extending ## hand of friendship. “We will heartily shake a friend’s hand, but will cut off ##nemy’s,” the letter said. “As we stood and fought alone against 100,000 well disciplined and exceedingly well armed soldiers and won the battle, so we can meet ## Arab onslaught and win,” the letter concluded, “but we want peace.”Speaking at a meeting called by the Histadruth to celebrate statehood, David ## Gurion, Agency chairman, said tonight that although the area the Jews had sought had been cut in half, “we have been given the largest part of the cultivable land ## the main water resources, which provide almost unlimited possibilities for development.” He stressed that the new state will remain merely on paper unless 1,500,000 Jews are brought in within the next ten years. He called for cooperation between Arabs and Jews and a democratic regime based on a Labor foundation.


Despite the U.N. decision to partition Palestine, there is great danger that Arab and British machinations will interfere with the establishment of a Jewish {SPAN}##ate,{/SPAN} Moshe Sneh, member of the Jewish Agency executive and reputed leader of the Haganah, last night told the annual conference of the Jewish Journalists Association.

“We face a great struggle in translating the message of Lake Success into a ##lity,” Sneh asserted. “Whereas we had a two-thirds majority on our side at Lake success, here we have the reverse” situation–two of the three decisive factors in the Palestine situation are opposed to partition, he said.He predicted that the British and the Jews would come into conflict in two areas–immigration and security. He pointed out that the Jews could not agree to continuation of the present monthly immigration quota of 1,500 during the transition period preceding independence. As for security, he pointed to a situation which developed yesterday as evidence of the difference between the two points of view. ## response to a Jewish Agency request that either British troops or Jewish security forces be assigned to protect traffic along the main highways, the government prompt## suspended all civilian vehicular traffic, a move which the Agency charged would ##oke off Jewish industry and commerce.

Referring to future relations with the Arabs in Palestine, he said: “Our aim must be to preserve a unified Palestine, giving the Arabs living in Palestine a sense of greater freedom and equal rights than they enjoy in neighboring Arab countries.”

Turning again to the international scene, Sneh stressed the importance of friendly relations with “Palestine’s greater neighbor–Russia.” In order to gain the Soviet Union’s friendship, he stated, “we must show them friendship.” He urged Jews to “change their attitude” toward the U.S.S.R., which he characterized as “the only power in the wide world where anti-Semitism is really fought and where almost none exists.”

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