HC Deb 01 July 1942 vol 381 cc193-4
23. Mr. David Adams

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the increasing danger of invasion in Palestine, the 40,000 to 50,000 Palestinian Jews available are now being enlisted, organised and equipped for the defence of their country as a Home Guard, whilst continuing to follow their respective agricultural or industrial occupations until their services are actually required?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

The existing Jewish local defence organisations, for example, the Jewish settlement police, the special police, the temporary additional police, etc., are regarded as fulfilling in Palestine functions analogous to those of the Home Guard in this country. The Jewish settlement police are armed, and the other bodies are being trained and equipped as and when instructors and arms become available. There is also a Palestine Volunteer Force, based on the larger urban centres, which is open to all sections of the community, British, Arabs and Jews: its purpose is to assist the regular military forces in all measures required for the prosecution of the war or ensuring internal security. Recruitment for this force is at present limited by the equipment position and the number of instructors available.

Mr. Adams

Am I to understand that every facility is being afforded by the Palestinian Government to these people to defend their country?

Mr. Macmiilan

Yes, Sir.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Would not the best way be the creation of a Jewish Army?

Mr. Macmillan

Anything to do with the Army is, of course, not a matter for my Department.