HC Deb 13 November 1929 vol 231 cc2021-3
31. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any disciplinary action has been taken in connection with the refusal of the Palestine Police to obey orders or act during the riots; whether the policemen who failed are restored to their places and rank in the force; and what is being done to replace them if they are felt to be unreliable?


I have received no report from the High Commissioner indicating that there was any refusal by members of the Palestine Police Force to obey orders or to take necessary action during the disturbances. My right hon. and gallant Friend is, no doubt, aware that the force has recently been strengthened by the recruitment of some two hundred additional British constables.


Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries from the Palestine Government and let me know what the facts are?


I will endeavour to get the information.

63. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the present strength of the military garrison in Palestine; how many additional British police have been recruited for Palestine since the outbreak of the Wailing Wall disturbances; and for what period of service these police have been engaged?


The military garrison of Palestine and Trans-Jordan at present consists of two-and-a-third squadrons Royal Air Force, five sections armoured cars, two infantry battalions, and the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force (four companies). Two hundred additional British police have been engaged for a period of one year in the first instance.


Can the hon. Gentleman inform the House what the additional cost of these additions will be, and whether the cost will be borne by the British Treasury?


I think I answered a similar question a week ago.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies when the colony defence scheme in Palestine was abandoned; why this step was taken; and what alternative means of protection was provided for the Jews?


The withdrawal of the special armouries formerly maintained in Jewish Colonies for purposes of defence was carried out gradually over a period of some five years prior to the late disturbances. The armouries were withdrawn as communications improved and the mobility of the regular security forces of the country increased. At the time of the outbreak some 16 or 17 colonies still retained rifles. The question of the protection of the Colonies is being reviewed by the High Commissioner in the light of recent events.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it not a fact that whenever the Jews have rifles the Arabs have kept well clear of them?


Was it not the case that formerly there was never any need for the defence of the Jews before the Balfour Declaration?

42. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies how many police had to be temporarily disarmed in Palestine in the rioting?


The only case reported by the High Commissioner in which police were deprived of firearms during the recent disorders in Palestine was that of about 20 special constables of Jewish race, who were disarmed at Jerusalem on 27th August.


Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that many Arab police were disarmed in the early part of the raids owing to the fear that they might use their arms in the wrong direction?


I am not aware of that fact. The matter is being considered now by the Commission of Inquiry in Palestine, and I must really await their Report.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a number of those who were disarmed were British subjects who were also Jews, and that they were disarmed on the sole ground that they were Jews? Is it the policy of His Majesty's Government to discriminate between the various religions?