HC Deb 01 June 1938 vol 336 cc2045-6
63. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons have been killed or wounded by terrorists in Palestine during the month of May; and what supplementary measures have been adopted to eliminate the gangs of terrorists which have been responsible for those deaths?

Mr. M. MacDonald

During the period between 3rd May and 30th May, 36 cases of murder and 44 of wounding were reported. The erection of a barbed wire fence along the frontier is proceeding as rapidly as possible. In view of the recent increase in terrorisation of villages in the north by armed gangs, a number of villages in the Haifa and Galilee districts have been occupied by troops and police since 20th May, with a view to denying the villages to the gangs, protecting life and property, opening up the more inaccessible villages by construction of roads and generally re-establishing Government authority.

Mr. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what has happened since 20th May when these supplementary measures were taken?

Mr. MacDonald

I should have to look into the whole matter again to see what proportion of the figures I have given for the whole month have come since 20th May. I do not know that the proportion altered at once, but I think there has been a slight improvement in the last few days, although I am not sure that that is anything to go on.

Mr. Sorensen

Do I understand that there are machine-guns round Galilee?

Mr. MacDonald

There are troops in occupation of these villages, but I could not say without notice exactly what their full equipment is.

Mr. T. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many Jews and how many Arabs are involved in these cases?

Mr. MacDonald

I will try to let the hon. Member have that information.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that the only solution of this problem is the withdrawal of partition and the establishment of a legislative assembly?

Mr. MacDonald

That is a much wider question, and I would remind the hon. Gentleman that there is a commission of inquiry at the present time in Palestine.