Charging that the war was a “Jewish war,” and asserting that “Germany was not our enemy, and, therefore, we had no interest in the war,” Jamel Husseini, leader of the Palestine Arab Party, today opened the Palestine Arab’s case before the Anglo-American inquiry committee.
Husseini, who was recently permitted to return to Palestine, after having been exiled for nine years for anti-British and anti-Jewish terroristic activities, said that the main Arab demands were:
1. An independent Palestine under Arab rule.
2. Abrogation of the Palestine Mandate.
3. Abandonment of Zionist aims.
4. Stoppage of all Jewish immigration.
Husseini ran into difficulties soon after he began his testimony when he stated that the Arabs in Palestine “find themselves deprived of their chief leader, the Grand Mufti, for whom they cannot accept any substitute.”
Questioned by Richard Crossman concerning the Mufti’s collaboration with the Nazis, Husseini said that the Mufti fled to Germany, because it was the only place to which he could escape. He alleged that the Mufti did not help the Germans, but only wanted to get something out of them. if they won.” Asked whether in view of the Mufti’s record, the Palestine Arab Higher Committee still felt that he enjoyed the confidence of the Arabs, Husseini said: “Yes.”
“I am unable to understand,” Crossman said, “how, if you believe in the Four Freedoms, and believe in the fight against fascism, your leader allied himself with fascists, I take it you felt that in the fight against the Zionists, it would best serve the interests of the Palestine Arabs to ally yourself with Hitler. How do you answer the average Englishman who says: “He who fights the common enemy deserves well of me; he who stands by idle, or even assists him, does not deserve so well of me’.”
In reply Husseini then remarked that Germany had not been the Arab’s enemy and added “I’ve read somewhere that it was a Jewish war anyway.”
URGES BRITISH TO WITHDRAW AND HINTS AT ARAB VIOLENCE
Husseini described the Zionists as “invaders,” adding that as he listened to David Ben Gurion testify yesterday, he thought that he “was hearing Hitler speak from the grave.” Ben Gurion’s demands, he added, were fascist.
Hinting at Arab violence, Husseini said that if the British and Americans are unable to solve the Palestine problem “with Justice,” British troops and police should withdraw from the country and the Jews and Arabs should be allowed to solve the problem by force, if necessary.
“Ben Gurion says that the Jews are able to defend themselves,” he continued, “We stay the same.” Husseini added that, however, if the British troops withdraw, there will not be bloodshed, “because if the Zionists know that they will not be pampered and idled, as in the past, by the British, we would become friends. And I feel thirty percent of the Jews would leave Palestine, if they realize that they cannot have a Jewish national home here. The remainder will stretch out their hands to us, and we will extend, not only our hands, but our arms, and embrace them.”
CHAIRMAN SAYS NEITHER JEWISH NOR ARAB CLAIMS CAN BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE
American co-chairman Joseph Hutcheson interrupted to say: “Your view are the same as the Zionists. You feel that only you can be trusted to take care of your own life. Therefore, we cannot take at face value either claim, can we?”
To a question from Bartley Crum, Husseini said that in a Palestine Arab state, Jews would have the same rights as Jews in other Arab countries.” This drew a burst of laughter from the audience, and he added quickly: “I mean the democratic Arab States.” Husseini stated that the only guarantee that could be given the Jews would be on paper, “as in the United States.” Crum interjected that “in the United States. practice what we preach.”
Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, Arab extremist leader, told the committee this afternoon with T.E. Lawrence, famed British agent in the Middle East during the last war, had misled Emir Feisal of Iraq into signing an agreement in 1918 with Dr. Chaim Weizmann, giving Arab approval to a Jewish state in Palestine. Abdul Hadi alleged that Feisal will never seen the final English translation of the agreement.
A bit of drama was injected into the hearings when after Abdul Hadi reaffirmed that the Mufti was still leader of the Arab Higher Committee and denied that he had other engaged in Nazi activities, Crossman produced a photograph from the Wiener Illustrierte Zeitung, a Vienna weekly, dated Jan, 12, 1944, showing the Mufti giving the Nazi salute during an inspection of a Moslem S.S. unit. Abdul Hadi first said that, perhaps, the photograph was a forgery, and then added if it wasn’t the explanation for the Mufti’s action was that he thought then that Hitler would win.
Crossman asked him whether “if anther great power came up some day, offering you assistance, would you accept such assistance if it might be inimical to Britain,” Abdul Hadi replied “No.” He gave the same answer to a question from Crum as to whether he knew of the existence of any written agreement between the Mufti and Hitler.
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.