Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 11
The British Mandate - The beginning of the End-
i. Dov Gruener's Trial
ii. Haifa Police Station Bombed
iii. Bombing of the Jewish Press Office
iv. The Beginning of the End
v. Op Polly
vi. Executions and Funeral
vii. Irgun Frees Acre Prisoners
Dov Gruner languished in the condemned cell in Jerusalem Central prison, still unexecuted. Despite his American sister's pleading he refused to make an appeal from the verdict of a court he considered illegal. His American Uncle and Aunt had made an appeal on his behalf but that would probably be dismissed as irrelevant.
The British Government were in a bind. In the 1939 McDonald White Paper, they had promised to make Palestine independent by 1949. They had also promised the Arabs that Jewish immigration would end in 1945 so the Arabs would still have a majority on independence.
However, in December 1945, due to the problem of post-war Jewish Displaced Persons, the British has allowed another monthly intake of 1500 Jews. Now,when the Palestine Police captured illegal immigrants, the courts placed them in the Athlit detention centre and released them when the next quota came up.
In 1946 both Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews had refused to attend a joint conference in London to decide the terms of Independence, but both put their views separately to the British Government. The Palestinian Arab Higher Executive did attend a Conference with the Independent Arab States and the British in London.
The 1,200,000 disunited Palestinian Arabs demanded independence, which every other Arab State had already attained, while they were still in the majority, with the freedom as a majority to determine the future of the country.
The 600,000 Palestinian Jews, represented by the Jewish Agency, first proposed that His Majesty's Government should continue to administer the mandate on a basis which would enable them to continue to expand the Jewish National Home until immigration gave them a numerical majority in Palestine. The British Government claimed they could not do that because of the promise they had made in the McDonald White paper. The Jewish Agency suggested that they would be prepared to consider any Government plan giving them a viable Jewish State in an adequate area of Palestine.
The British Government replied that it was not within their mandate to decide the terms of Palestinian Independence. That was a decision Palestinian Arabs and Jews had to decide together. If they failed to agree the United Nations would have to decide.
When the Palestinian Arabs and Jews still refused to talk to each other, the independent Arab States attended a conference with the British to try and solve the problem.
On February 18th 1947,Mr Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs , See photo on right informed the House of Commons that the conference with the Arab nations had ended. No solution had been found. Britain would now submit the problem to the judgment of the United Nations.
Meanwhile the military court had sentenced three more Irgun members,Yehiel Dresner, Mordechai Alkahi and Eliezer Kashani, to death. Sir Evelyn Barker's last task, before relinquishing his post in the middle of February had been to confirm these three death sentences.
For Mr Bevin's stance on the issue see Hansard PALESTINE (GOVERNMENT POLICY) HC Dec 25 February 1947 vol 433 cc1901-2007
Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association