15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 2

The Spread of Terrorism

The recent disclosure that Jewish terrorists were preparing to attack persons and property in this country (the original threat having apparently been made some seven weeks ago) has widened still further the sphere of violence spreading from a small criminal minority in Palestine. The attacks which were first made on Arabs, then on the British, and then on other Jews in Palestine, are now menacing eminent individuals in this country. It is doubtful whether such contagion can spread except where some favourable conditions exist, however slight these conditions may be. Terrorism could hardly have persisted for so long in Palestine if the efforts of all Jews to bring the terrorists to book had been as strong as the words of denunciation pronounced from time to time by some of the leaders of the Jewish Agency. It is still not possible to give full credence to those words. Vague reports that the forces of the Hagana have been employed against the Irgun are no more com- forting than any other news of war between private armies. Clear reports of speeches accusing the British of violence and loot, such as that recently delivered in America by Mr. David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency, are little more than an incitement to further criminal attacks. The core of violent action will never be extracted so long as the outer mass of violent talk continues to grow. There will always be a few criminals willing to work where the conditions are relatively favour- able. The conditions in Palestine will continue to be favourable so long as the funds and organisation exist to create and maintain a flow of illegal immigrants. The allocation of part of the monthly immigrations quota of 1,5oo persons to illegal immigrants can do little good. In fact it may do harm by excluding the more deserving, and encouraging undesirables to make the attempt. Those members, from all parts of the House of Commons, who on Wednesday called for clear information about the sources of finance for the illegal movement and the flag of the ships engaged in it were attacking the menace at the right point—its origin.