HC Deb 13 March 1940 vol 358 cc1194-5
71. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give details of the Jewish strikes and demonstrations against the land regulations which have occurred during the past two weeks in various towns and settlements in Palestine; the number of persons who have been killed or injured, whether Jews, Arabs or British; and the number of persons arrested?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the answer is rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Mr. Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many deaths and arrests there have been?

Mr. MacDonald

There have been two deaths of Jewish demonstrators who were injured in the demonstrations and died subsequently, and there have been 140 persons arrested. These disturbances have completely ceased since the Debate in the House of Commons last week.

Mr. Williams

Have those 140 persons who have been arrested had any charges laid against them?

Mr. MacDonald

I have not had any precise information on that point. Some have been arrested probably under one provision of the law and some of them under another, and I have no doubt that a good many of them have been awaiting trial.

Following is the answer:

Jewish demonstrations against the Land Transfers Regulations took place daily in Palestine between 2nd and 7th March. These demonstrations were restricted to Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv and Petah Tiqvah, and elsewhere the country was generally quiet. In those towns, during the course of the demonstrations, the troops and police were stoned, barricades were erected, and attempts were made to destroy Government property. It became necessary to disperse the demonstrators, as the result of which a number of persons were injured, and curfew had to be imposed at one time or another in each of the towns in question. Since 7th March there have been no incidents. As regards the second part of the Question, during this period two soldiers were slightly injured; five British police were seriously and eighteen slightly injured; and one Palestinian policeman was seriously and one slightly injured. Seventy-four Jews were seriously injured (of whom two subsequently died) and 323 were slightly injured. As regards the third part of the Question, 140 persons were arrested, all of whom were Jews.