28 MAY 1948, Page 15



SIR,—The Via Dolorosa with which Palestine is faced reminds one of the words of Christ: "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." Instead of Jerusalem, we have to substitute Palestine, and we have a picture which fills us with fears and misgivings for a land and people in whose fate not merely the individual, but the world, is deeply interested. Destruction of life and property there is, alas, bound to be, but utter desolation there must not be.

It is difficult to imagine Palestine without the British Administration to which the land and its people owe so much. Britain, having surrendered the mandate, has nevertheless still her responsibilities as a member of the United Nations and as a great world Power. Her influence and know- ledge will, we hope, be used to restore peace to Palestine and to prevent a general conflagration. I well remember General Allenby entering the Holy City and the jubilation of Christian, Arab and Jew. Britain brought law, order, freedom, education and health to Palestine. It is a glorious chapter in the history of that land, and Britain may well be proud of her achievements.

Now that " Israel " has been born, I should like to plead that the infant be not allowed to be strangled at birth. The hopes and aspirations of a race are centred in "the land of promise." "Next year in Jerusalem" is a prayer which is constantly on the lips of every pious Jew. But Palestine is also sacred to Christians and Moslems. The three religions have to live side by side and must learn to live peacefully. " Israel " should declare and define its boundaries which must, of course, follow the plan of partition. It must also guarantee religious freedom to all within its borders, whether to its compatriots or to others. What place will Christian Jews or Christian missions and schools hold in the new Jewish State? What of Arabs living in Jewish areas and of Jews living in Arab areas? It is difficult to cu.: the small country of Palestine into two well-defined parts. We would have wished evolution rather than revolution for Palestine, for so much more can be accomplished by good will than by strife. We must "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," that liberty, equality and fraternity be the watchword of the many races who live within the borders of the Holy Land, that the land be saved further suffering and bloodshed, ard that right and reason may prevail.—Yours