19 JUNE 1947, Page 2

Palestine Again

Yet another Committee is going over the well-trodden ground of the Palestine question, and once again the old attitudes are being struck. and the familiar arguments are being repeated. The United Nations Committee has received from the Palestine Government the detailed survey of the country which provides the factual and statisti- cal basis for the inquiry. The Arab Higher Executive Committee has issued its detailed instructions for a boycott of the proceedings in a document couched in studiously correct terms and carefully avoiding any injunction to disobey the Government. Even the Mufti, in a message which, since publication was not allowed, was read in the mosques, seems to have observed all the proprieties and concen- trated on the need for Arab unity- and co-operation. This super- ficial air of sweet reasonableness was well sustained by Mr. Shertok when he gave evidence on behalf of the Jewish Agency on Tuesday. He submitted that political and economic co-operation between Jews and Arabs was perfectly possible and gave examples of it. He attri- buted Palestine's present importance to the Jewish creative genius ; he emphasised the desirability of establishing a new relationship between the Jewish people and the land ; he pointed out the narrow limits within which Jews can now acquire land ; and he argued that Jewish expansion had not injured the Arabs. In fact, reason only flagged when questions of positive action were raised. A suggestion by the Persian delegate that since Jews and Arabs seemed to be get- ting on so well together they might perhaps form a unitary State did not appeal to Mr. Shertok. He said that they- could not agree about immigration, but he was unable to find any convincing reply to the Indian delegate's suggestion that it was the Jewish insistence on a vast increase in the inflow of immigrants, through regulations so loose as to be unique in the world, which was at the root of this difficulty. And so the old circle is joined, unreasonable policies meet- ing unreasoning resistance. But at least if the Committee is finally convinced that this circle exists they will have taken the first step to relieving Britain of her intolerable burden.