HC Deb 27 September 1944 vol 403 cc226-7
30. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the reasons justifying the continuance of the system of collective fining on communities in Palestine and, in particular, what was the justification at Givat Shaul, when it was admitted that this community was not accessory to the attack on the High Commissioner and gave no passive or active assistance to the attackers or harboured them, but strongly condemned the outrage.

Colonel Stanley

The system of collective fines is justified by the present state of public security in Palestine. As regards the fine on the Jewish settlement of Givat Shaul, this was imposed on account of the failure of the settlement to render all assistance in their power to discover the criminals who attacked the High Commissioner on 8th August. After the attack, several men were seen running from the engagement and entering the Jewish settlement of Givat Shaul. This was later confirmed by police dogs. Preparations at the scene of the crime had apparently beta made under cover of bogus survey operations. Two surveyors' levelling poles were found on the site of the attack and a similar pole was found in the precincts of a house marked by the dogs at Givat Shaul. Police cordoned the settlement immediately, but no one in the settlement volunteered or gave any useful information.

Mr. Sorensen

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman does not appreciate that this penalty inflicts hardship upon many innocent persons and is, in fact, a repressive method sometimes pursued by the enemy?

Colonel Stanley

Here is a case where, in a small settlement, the presence of potential murderers must have been known. Not one single inhabitant assisted the law in bringing these criminals to justice, and I think that, in these circumstances, the penalty is fully justified.

Mr. Stephen

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that these are the sort of arguments used by the Herrenvolk in Germany?

Colonel Stanley

I am not interested in the arguments they use. I think the arguments I have used are good arguments, which I am prepared to justify in any assembly.