UN Palestine Commission – British editorial comment on Palestine question



1. In an editorial entitled “Palestine – More Delays”, THE SPECTATOR of 5 March 1948 states that although the. Security Council’s discussions are barren of promise, “Britain is carrying her aloofness to dangerous lengths…” Even more than the United States, the British Government is now making membership of the United Nations “an excuse for avoiding responsibility, and our recent contributions to the Palestine debate have not gone beyond a series of nagging reminders of the obstacles in the path of settlement”.

2. THE ECONOMIST of 6 March 1948 asserts that the pro-Russian bloc in Palestine Jewry now ranges tram the Stern Group, which “gave its allegiance” to Russia last December, through the new merger of the Left-wing Settlers (Hashomer Hatzair) with the Labor Unity Crow, to the Communists. The latter group, according to THE ECONOMIST, has two sections: the Palestine Communist Party “which found no difficulty in changing overnight from a violent anti-partition platform to enthusiastic acceptance of partition”, and the Association of Hebrew Communists, A “National Bolshevist” group. There are, in addition, a number of “fellow-traveling” groups: the Association for Soviet Palestine Friendship”, “Friendship for Democratic Poland”, the V-League and a section of the “Slav Union”. The “LEPAC” publishing house and bookshop in Tel Aviv has a large output of Soviet literature, supplemented by lectures and meetings.

Over these groups, differing in internal policies but “united by a common hatred of Britain end America and hysterical adoration of Russia” presides Dr. Moshe Snah who resigned from the General Zionist Party and from the Jewish Agency Executive soon after the United Nations Partition decision. It is believed, the editorial states, that he can also rely on the support of the Irgun Zvai Leumi.

Thus, concludes the article, even before the Jewish State has come into existence, the “polarisation” of its politics is far advanced. The pro-Soviet bloc has been clamoring for new elections and already provides the semblance of a “national democratic government” of the familiar East European type.

3, In its lead editorial THE TIMES of London of 20 March 1948 describes the American proposal of March 19 as evidence that the United States Government “has accepted the hard logic of the facts in Palestine”. It is manifestly impossible to put partition into operation peacefully and the United States has therefore withdrawn its support of the plan, having come to the conclusion that the recent recommendations of the Four Power Committee could produce no more than pious resolutions”. No one, continues the editorial, can suggest a practical alternative to the British Government’s policy of laying upon the United Nations the responsibility for solving the problem. Both the Security Council and, the General Assembly have been discussing the matter “with their head in the clouds”, and the American proposal should bring them down to earth.

4. In an editorial entitled “Next Steps in Palestine” THE TIMES of London of 22 March 1,948 maintains that after the first shock of surprise the “common sense” of the United States decision to change its policy toward partition “must commend itself to all capable of forming a dispassionate view of the present state of the Holy Land.”

It is now plain to all, continues the editorial, that the partition plan cannot be carried out without the use of force. However, the use of force cannot in fact carry out the Assembly’s plan; it can only exacerbate Arab resistance to it. Thus, “after a period of disastrous hesitation, the United States has come to hold the British view that a satisfactory settlement in Palestine is impossible unless reasonable opinion on both sides accepts an arrangement permitting the two communities to dwell peacefully together”.

In the opinion of THE TIMES, an agency should be appointed by the the United Nations not to impose partition but to administer Palestine after the withdrawal of the British. But, it is pointed out, this agency cannot be effective without the services of an international force. If an effective International trusteeship could be arranged it would permit a cooling-off period during which moderate opinion on both sides might be mobilized. The trustee would be committed to no particular solution and there would still be “the weary, but more titan ever urgent, task of persuading the two sides to work out a solution for themselves”.


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Go to Top