15 AUGUST 1947, Page 2

The Palestine Debate

Tuesday's discussion of Palestine in the Commons provided a quiet ending to the dangerous disturbance of public opinion which began with the murder of the two British sergeants at the end of July. The passions aroused by that particularly horrible crime have been arrested, the racial riots which broke out mainly in' the old centres of anti-Semitic feeling in North-West England have stopped, and the debate was rightly concerned with measures for preventing the spread of violence. There was no agreement on future policy, apart from a common understanding that the per,iod of exclusive British responsibility for order in Palestine has been unduly pro- longed and must be ended as soon as possible. In the meantime the daily stories of murder and destruction continue to come in, with the ominous addition of accounts of fighting between Jews and Arabs which are undoubtedly a foretaste of the situation which the terrorists will try to produce if the British troops are withdrawn and the United Nations fails to provide alternative forces. The extended arrest of trouble-makers is being undertaken by the police as a preferable alternative to the further extension of martial law, but the task of stemming the flood of violence remains as heartbreaking as ever. All the usual landmarks remain unaltered. Anti-British propa- ganda continues in the American Press ; the three ships carrying refugees remain off Port-de-Bouc while their passengers refuse the open and reasonable invitation to accept the hospitality of France ; and the United Nations Commission continues its time-wasting activity by visiting displaced persons' camps. It is unlikely that anything will be done until the Assembly meets, and even the hope that there will be effective action then is faint. But what should be done becomes plainer as time drags on. The responsibility for present order in Palestine should be made an international responsibility, and the responsibility for future peace should be safeguarded by the international control of Jewish immigration. If the United Nations does not accept that responsibility nobody else will, and if nobody accepts it a terrible blood-letting between Jews and Arabs is a certainty.