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U.N. Commission Starts Discussion in Jewish Agency Request Arming Militia

January 28, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Arguments for the sanding of an international police force to Palestine and the immediate arming of the Haganah by the United Nations were presented today by Moshe Shertok, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency, at a session here of the U.N. Implementation Commission, at which the Agency’s request for the establishment of a Jewish militia in Palestine as considered.

Emphasizing that the immediate supplying of arms to the Haganah is a matter of extreme urgency, Shertok said that this action is necessary in view of the fact that the Arabs are getting arms “through governmental channels,” while the Jews are prevented from securing weapons as a result of the U.S. arms embargo. In addition, he said, those arms which the Jews in Palestine possess are continually being confiscated by the British authorities.

While suggesting that arms for the militia should be supplied through the provisional Councils of Governments, which are to be established during the transitional period between the surrender of the Mandate and the declaration of independence, Shertok declared that in view of the urgency of the situation, the Jewish Agency should be entrusted with receiving these arms until the Provisional Council of the Jewish Government is set up.He urged that the Implementation Commission take steps to establish the Provisional Councils as quickly as possible.

The representative of the Agency also asked the Commission to formulate a general policy with regard to sending arms to Palestine. He said that the Security Council must not allow the sending of arms to governments which defy the U.N. decision.

Regarding the establishment of the Jewish militia, Shertok told the Commission that the Agency contemplates a force of between 30,000 and 35,000 strong. Members of this force will be recruited preferably within Palestine, he stated.

Elaborating on the Agency’s request for an international police force, Shertok that such a force would serve as a “potential deterrent” to a possible Arab ##svolt, The presence of an international force would indicate that the U.N, is determined to carry out its decision on Palestine, he declared.Relying to a question by Karel Lisicky, chairman of the Commission, as to ## the Agency intends to finance the arming of its militia, Shertok said that the Agency believes it is entitled to international assistance. The arms, he said, could## supplied by the Security Council, from the stores of demobilized armies or from member states. The most practicable method of financing would be through the granting of loans for purchasing the necessary military equipment.

Shertok assured the commission that the Jewish militia could work without outside assistance. Neither the Haganah nor the Irgun would be incorporated into the militia as organized groups, but their member would be accepted on an individual ##esis, he concluded.

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