Oral Answers to Questions — Terrorist Outrage, Jerusalem

– in the House of Commons am 12:00 am ar 23 Gorffennaf 1946.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington 12:00, 23 Gorffennaf 1946

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make on the bomb outrage at the British Headquarters in Jerusalem.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Hon. Members will have learned with horror of the brutal and murderous crime committed yesterday in Jerusalem. Of all the outrages which have occurred in Palestine, and they have been many and horrible in the last few months, this is the worst. By this insane act of terrorism 93 innocent people have been killed or are missing in the ruins. The latest figures of casualties are 41 dead, 52 missing and 53 injured. I have no further information at present beyond what is contained in the following official report received from Jerusalem: '' It appears that, after exploding a small bomb in the street, presumably as a diversionary measure—this did virtually no damage—a lorry drove up to the tradesmen's entrance of the King David Hotel and the occupants, after holding up the staff at pistol point, entered the kitchen premises carrying a number of milk cans. At some stage of the proceedings, they shot and seriously wounded a British soldier who attempted to interfere with them. All available information so far is to the effect that they were Jews. Somewhere in the basement of the hotel they planted bombs which went off shortly afterwards. They appear to have made good their escape. Every effort is being made to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this outrage. The work of rescue in the debris, which was immediately organised, still continues. The next-of-kin of casualties are being notified by telegram as soon as accurate information is available. The House will wish to express their profound sympathy with the relatives of the killed and with those injured in this dastardly outrage.

The High Commissioner, Sir Alan Cunningham, has returned to Palestine by air.

As the House knows, His Majesty's Government are at this moment in consultation with the Government of the United States with a view to arriving at proposals for a just settlement of the Palestine problem which will be placed before representatives of both Arabs and Jews. His Majesty's Government have stated, and state again, that they will not be diverted by acts of violence from their search for a just and final solution of this problem.

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

While associating myself and my hon. Friends on this side of the House with the Prime Minister's expressions of horror at this dastardly and inexcusable outrage, and also with the words of sympathy he has expressed towards the relatives of those who lost their lives, I would like to put one question to him. I quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman may not be able to give details, but we would like to be assured that the Government intend to take every step in their power here, and to provide the local authorities with any sanction they may need to take any steps in their power, to prevent, if possible, a recurrence of any such incident as this.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Certainly. The right hon. Gentleman will realise that I am awaiting a full report from the High Commissioner and the, military authorities as to the steps that are required by them.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

While associating myself with everything that the Prime Minister said, will he consider whether there is anything which the Jews in Great Britain, who are shocked by this murderous and senseless outrage, which brings dishonour and shame to the name of Jew, can do to help to put an end to such outrages, and in particular, will he call upon the religious and lay leaders of the Jews in this country, including the leaders of the Zionist organisation, publicly and unreservedly to condemn these dastardly outrages, and to pledge their full and loyal support to the Government in any action they may take to suppress them?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Certainly, I will consider the suggestion of my hon Friend.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

May I, first, associate myself with every word that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said about the criminal insanity of this outrage? May I, next, ask him whether there is any credible evidence or any direct evidence so far that the perpetrators of it were Jews? Thirdly, may I ask him whether he appreciates that the continued detention in Palestine without trial of almost every moderate and responsible leader inevitably leaves the field free to the terrorists?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

With regard to the first question, I have already stated that I have no information beyond what is given by the official report. It would be quite improper for me to try to make any conjecture beyond what I have got from the official report. As to the second part of the hon. Gentleman s question, it is quite incorrect to suggest that every responsible leader has been held in prison or anywhere else. I would say that the hon. Member does an injustice to the members of the Executive of the Jewish Agency by suggesting that arrests made of a certain number of persons included the whole of the responsible leadership of Jewry. It is quite untrue.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

Will the Prime Minister take note that there are in this country hundreds of ex-officers and men trained with the resistance movements during the war, and, in order to further the admirable object which he has enunciated, will he consider using these people, who are well trained, to put down organisations of this kind, whether Arab or Jewish?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I shall have to depend, in regard to that, on the advice of our military advisers who will, I am sure, ask for any forces they require.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham

In view of the fact that the members of that most gallant force, the Palestine Police Force, are in some doubt about their terms of service, will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear that the relatives of those killed and also those seriously wounded will receive exactly the same pensions as they would receive if they were killed in action, in view of the fact that they are fighting against as vile and treacherous a foe as the Nazis?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I understand that is the position, but I would like to give a considered answer. Perhaps the noble Lord will put down a question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Hackney Central

In considering the suggestion made by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Glasgow (Colonel Hutchison), will the Prime Minister be careful not to set up anything like the "Black and Tans"?

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

While joining in the strong expression of sympathy for the dependants of those who suffered as a consequence of this terrible outrage, may I ask the Government seriously to consider, in dealing with this problem of Palestine, the necessity of bringing about an independent Palestinian State where Arabs and Jews will have to co-operate together?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

As the hon. Member knows, we are now considering with representatives of the United States of America what should be the permanent solution, and we are making great progress in those talks.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Is the Prime Minister aware that a report has already been circulated in this country from General Barker showing that he has for some time desired to take over the whole of the King David Hotel, and has been unable to do so, and in view of that will the Prime Minister initiate early inquiries; and will he also publicly disclaim any association of the Government with the statement, which was reported in the "Jewish Standard" of 12th July to have been made by the hon. Member for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman), advising Jews to go underground and oppose the airborne division by all means other than violence?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

With regard to the first point, I have not seen the statement by General Barker, but I am having an inquiry made into the position with regard to the King David Hotel. As for any statement of Government policy, that is made by responsible Ministers, and not by other individuals.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester West

Whilst expressing my deepest sympathy with those who have suffered and my horror at and condemnation of the dastardly actions which have been taken by these desperadoes, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that these feelings are those of the Jewish communities of the world; that the Jewish Agency Executive and the National Council of Palestine Jewry have expressed similar sentiments and are desirous of suppressing those responsible as rapidly as possible?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I have noted that statement and welcomed it.