HC Deb 29 October 1936 vol 316 cc11-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information to give the House as to the present position of affairs in Palestine?

21. Mr. SHORT

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement respecting the position in Palestine?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the situation in Palestine?

23. Mr. WHITE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement with regard to the present position in Palestine?


I am glad to say that the general strike ceased from 12th October and as regards disorders the situation throughout the greater part of the country has improved rapidly. Since 15th October only small isolated incidents have occurred though a few armed bands, including non-Palestinians, continue to be a source of some anxiety in one or two localities. Generally speaking the country is quiet and the people have resumed their normal callings. Steps are already being taken to reduce the number of British troops which have been sent to reinforce the garrison. Arrangements have now been made for the Royal Commission to leave England for Palestine towards the end of next week, and I feel sure that everyone in this House will join with me in wishing them such a successful outcome of their most responsible labours that the peace and progress of all communities in Palestine will be reassured.


Is it the intention of the Government to withdraw at an early date, the reservists who were sent out to Palestine?


I think that question ought to be addressed to the War Office, but I believe they will be among the first to return.


(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the law-breakers in Palestine are to be disarmed and whether martial law will be used in order to disarm them if necessary.

I may say that this is the only part of my question which has not been already answered.


That is not quite the question which I received from the right hon. and gallant Member. I will read my full answer. I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the statement I have just made, and I will add, in the light of that statement, that the question of the High Commissioner delegating any further special powers to Lieut.-General Dill for the enforcement of order does not in present circumstances arise.


What degree of trouble in disarming the people who have created the trouble in Palestine will be sufficient to secure the application of force?


Since the disorders are ceasing and the strike has been called off and we want the most tranquil position for the Royal Comission that we can have, I think what one might call forward military activities are to be deplored, but, of course, if anybody in the possession of arms uses them in Palestine the military forces will strike back at once.


Are we to gather, therefore, that the Arabs will be allowed to retain the arms with which they have attacked the Jews?

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