HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 c1799
36. Dr. Segal

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the responsibility of the Government of Palestine for the maintenance of law and order until 15th May includes the safeguarding of free access of medical and nursing staffs to their hospitals; and whether the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem is included under these arrangements.

Mr. Mayhew

The free access of medical and nursing staffs to their hospitals is being safeguarded so far as resources permit. Comparative freedom of travel on the road which leads from the City of Jerusalem through an Arab quarter to the Hadassah Hospital had been maintained for some weeks by military action, but was interrupted on 13th April by an attack launched by Arabs on a convoy, apparently in retaliation for the murder of Arabs by Jews at Deir Yassin. British Military forces immediately went to the scene, engaged the attackers and rescued the convoy. Thirty-four Jews were killed and 21 wounded in this engagement and the British forces lost two soldiers killed and two wounded. A senior British police officer was also seriously wounded. It is understood that in view of this incident the Jewish authorities have decided to evacuate the Hadassah Hospital.

Dr. Segal

Is not the Minister aware that a whole team of doctors engaged on full-time research work in the causation of cancer was wiped out in this engagement; and, if the British administration cannot safeguard the safety of two miles of open road, would it not be better to disclaim their intention of continuing responsibility for law and order in the whole of Palestine at the same time as our troops are engaged in withdrawal from that country?