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Palestine Government Accuses Jews of Non-cooperation in Checking Terror

April 5, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The charge that the Jewish community in Palestine has failed to give the authorities the necessary cooperation in crushing the terrorist groups responsible for the recent outrages, was voiced today by John V. W. Shaw, Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, addressing foreign correspondents. He declared that the arrest over the week-end of 60 persons throughout the country “should have a good effect on the security situation.”

Replying to questions, the Chief Secretary denied that the curfew which was lifted Sunday after nine days had been a punitive measure directed against the Jewish population and described it as an action necessary to restore order and facilitate the capture of the perpetrators of the outrages. “It was certainly not a punitive measure against the Jewish community,” Shaw declared. “The curfew, by clearing the streets at night had made it more difficult for terrorists to circulate and also very much relieved the police by lightening their duties. That was the object of the curfew.”

Shaw declared that the curfew only applied to the Jewish quarters because that was where the outrages had occurred and where the perpetrators lived. He said the authorities had not wanted to retain the curfew any longer than necessary and that it was lifted as soon as the security officers deemed fit. He warmly defended the Palestine police and denied as “utterly fantastic” charges that they did not want to catch the terrorists.


Asked why the police had not advertised the names and descriptions of the wanted man. he replied that that was a question of police policy. Asked about the circumstances surrounding the escape of a score of Sternists (members of the Stern terror gang) from the Latroun detention camp, he replied: “All I can answer on that is that it was certainly not police connivance.” He also denied assertions that the police were using brutality and Gestapo methods in their treatment of suspects.

Discussing the attitude of the Jewish community toward the police, Shaw declared: “No police force can operate to full efficiency to protect lives and property without the support of active public opinion and the physical support of the population itself. Here you have got a situation where there is a difference of opinion on matters of policy between the Jewish people and the Government which, to a certain extent, leads the law-abiding section of the Jewish community–which is the overwhelming majority–not to cooperate on security matters as they should. All the Government has done has been to impress upon them that we should get their full cooperation in running those thugs to earth. It does not ask the people to make arrests in the streets. All it asks is information. We have not had from the Jewish community the cooperation we expect in the line of information.”

In response to a question, the Chief Secretary admitted that the Government had never directly appealed to the public for cooperation. “I am prepared to cooperate with the Jewish Agency to the limit of my powers when they are prepared to cooperate with me,” he added.

Asked by one correspondent to characterize the Arab attitude in the recent events, the Chief Secretary replied: “The Arab attitude has been correct. They have been quiet and correct. The Arab press was certainly very critical at one phase last week. Whether the censorship allowed them too much latitude is a matter of opinion.”

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