An attempt to make the world believe that the Jews of Palestine have perpetrated upon themselves the massacres for which the Arabs are held responsible, was made by Amin el Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and president of the Moslem Supreme Council, in what is termed by Reuter’s News Agency an “authoritative statement of the Arab view concerning the controversy in Palestine,” in an interview granted to Reuter’s by the Grand Mufti.
The Grand Mufti asserted that the disturbances which, led to great losses of life and property in Jerusalem and in other Palestine centers, were caused by the mistaken notion of a Jerusalem Jew who, in panic or deliberately, provoked the Arab attack by firing a revolver or throwing a bomb when he beheld “a large number with the usual Moslem sense of display bearing swords, daggers and sticks,” following the Moslems leaving the Mosque of Omar. He was convinced, the Grand Mufti stated, that an impartial inquiry will show the Jews mainly responsible for the recent outbreaks.
“Jewish ambition and greed,” asserted the Grand Mufti in his interview with Reuter’s, “were deliberately, responsible for provoking the Arabs’ attack in order to gain the support of the whole world for reopening the question of the Wailing Wall and influencing the Labor government to amend the status quo as constituted by the White Paper.”
The Grand Mufti referred to the Jewish demonstration on August 15 (Tisha B’Ab, the day when the Jews commemorate the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple) before the Wailing Wall which, he said, “was not made from religious but political motives. Young Jews marched through the Moslem quarter bearing national flags and singing national songs, at the same time insolently threatening Arabs,” asserted the Grand Mufti. (Continued on Page 4)
“From that day until the fateful Friday, August 23, when the outbreak began, there were many incidents of Jews insulting and attacking and injuring Arab men, women and children. One of these incidents resulted in the death of a Jew from wounds he received. This was used by the Jews as an excuse for further demonstration, and threats continued to be levelled at Moslems until August 23, when large numbers of Moslems came to Jerusalem for prayer.
“Jews shut their shops and retired to their quarters. During and after the prayer, I called upon the Moslems to return to their villages quietly, but owing to the large number, with the usual Moslem sense of display, bearing swords, daggers and sticks, a Jew, taken by panic or deliberately, provoked the Arab attack by firing revolvers and throwing bombs, thus turning the peaceful demonstrators into a frenzied, uncontrollable mob.
“The news quickly spread throughout Palestine that Jews were attacking the Arabs and that the Holy Places were in danger. There is a consequent rising in the whole country.
“The fact that there were no armed forces available, except police, shows that the government also thought that no trouble would come from the Arabs. Had the attacks by Arabs been premeditated, other steps would have been taken for simultaneous attacks on all Jewish colonies and settlements, cutting the telegraph wires and similar aggressive measures,” the Grand Mufti declared.
The head of the Moslem Supreme Council showed the Reuter’s correspondent a number of Arab papers, alleged quotations from the Hebrew Jerusalem daily newspaper “Doar Ha’yom on a controversy about seven months ago between Ittamar Ben Avi was alleged to have said: “You are preparing the way for a Jewish massacre. The blood of all Jews will be on your head. You will be called to answer on the Day of Judgment.”
A well known American writer who came to Palestine to study the Zionist temperament stated, the Grand Mufti alleged, that they were precipitating a crisis.
“The Jews,” the Grand Mufti further asserted, “desecrated the tomb of Said Naoukash and another tomb of historic value. At the same place the Mosque covers were torn and all religious books, including the Koran, were torn up. The house of the Imman was broken into and looted. Moslems had previously asked for a guard for the Mosque. This was supplied in the form of two Jewish policemen who, at the time of the desecration, were either absent or asleep.
“In fairness to the Jews, I must mention that previous to this occurrence, a synagogue had been burned down. It was noticeable that individual Jews walked through Arab quarters without molestation, but Arabs, men or women, could not show themselves in the Jewish quarters without an escort.
“During the last nine days there have been several attacks by Jews on Arabs, which is going in the right way toward creating further trouble. It is very difficult to hold the Arabs from making reprisals,” the Grand Mufti said.
“The nature of the wounds inflicted,” he continued, “proves that the Arabs in most cases were armed only with sticks and knives, while the Jews had rifles and revolvers.”
It is pointed out here in Jewish circles that the Grand Mufti’s assertions are made for consumption abroad, as both Arabs and Jews in Palestine know the facts, which are in direct opposition to the Moslem leader’s presentation. It is pointed out that Auni Abdel Hadi Sij, secretary of the Palestine Arab Executive, only two days ago, in a public statement, frankly admitted that the outbreaks were not of a spontaneous nature and were the results of clever Arab anti-Jewish propaganda and that the Arab rioters had been instructed to “shoot at Jews only.” It is further pointed out that the assertion that the disturbance was caused by a Jew’s misconception of “Moslem display” of knives, daggers and swords, flies in the face of the facts that for two weeks prior to August 23 a great number of Jews in Jerusalem were stabbed and otherwise wounded by Arabs who were frequently apprehended by the police. The events showed a sequence and continuity pointing to a preconceived, organized plan.
The unusually great number of worshippers, armed with knives, sticks and swords, obviously unnecessary for the purposes of devotion, on that fateful day, was not explained by the Grand Mufti.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.