HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 cc1278-9
36. Mr. V. Adams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information with regard to the destruction by Arab terrorists, on 17th June, of the ancient Jewish synagogue and sepulchre at Tiberias, which has for centuries been a place of pilgrimage for devout Jews; and what steps are to be taken to stop such outrages against Jewish holy places in Palestine?

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

I received a report from the High Commissioner to the effect that considerable damage was done on 17th June by unknown incendiaries to a tomb near Tiberias which is an object of much veneration to the Jews. The Palestine Government, as I am sure the House needs no assurance, is using its utmost endeavour to put an end to outrages from whatever quarter they come, and against whatever object they are directed.

Mr. Adams

On this particular occasion was not a collection of priceless holy books destroyed? If the British mandate is relinquished, how is security against this kind of sacrilege more likely to be guaranteed?

Mr. MacDonald

The British mandate will not be relinquished until the British Government and the League of Nations are satisfied that security will be properly provided.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that a lot of holy lives are being destroyed as a result of the mandate? Will he not grant independence to Palestine?