Mr. CREECH JONES
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any information concerning the activities of the Supreme Arab Strike Committee in Palestine, which is advocating the non-payment of taxes to the Government of Palestine and enforcing the strike by me ins of violence; how many Arabs have been killed and wounded in consequence of their refusal to abide by the orders of the Strike Committee; and whether the said committee is recognised by the Government of Palestine?1849W
Mr. M. MacDONALD
I understand that the Arab Supreme Committee represents the principal Arab political parties in Palestine and is so regarded by the Palestine Government. My information is that the committee has hitherto endeavoured to restrain the extremer elements and has publicly discountenanced violent measures. I have no information as to any Arabs having been killed or wounded for refusal to abide by the orders of the Supreme Committee or of the Strike Committee.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement about the situation in Palestine; whether order has been reestablished; and how far the local police has been strengthened to deal with the Arab unrest in that territory?
§ Lieut.-Commander FLETCHER
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make on the situation in Palestine; whether he has any indication as yet as to how the announcement of a Royal Commission has been received by the Jewish and Arab leaders; what the terms of reference to this commission will be; and when its personnel will be announced?
Mr. M. MacDONALD
A state of unrest accompanied by sporadic acts of violence still continues in Palestine. Hon. Members will have seen reports in this morning's Press to the effect that the most serious disturbances which have taken place occurred in Gaza yesterday. I am glad to say that order has been restored there. In addition to other measures the High Commissioner has taken steps to restrict the movements of agitators and strike leaders. Authority was given earlier in the year for increases in the British and in the Palestinian sections of the police, and the High Commissioner has recently authorised the enrolment of a number of ex-constables as supernumerary police.
As the hon. Members are aware, the military garrison has been substantially reinforced since the outbreak of unrest. With regard to the appointment of a Royal Commission after order has been restored, there is no reason to suppose that this will not be generally acceptable. It is not yet possible to make any statement about the terms of reference or the personnel of the commission.