2 APRIL 1948, Page 1


THE American Government's appeal for an immediate truce in Palestine deserves more support than it is likely to receive. Unfortunately, it is not possible to arrange for a truce which would be, as the American spokesman at the United Nations suggested, " without prejudice to the rights of either Arabs or Jews." Nego- tiations for a truce would have to take into account such questions as the import of arms, areas of Arab and Jewish interim sovereignty, security of communications, and above all immigration, none of which can be divorced from the fundamental dispute (which is, after all, the reason for the fighting)—who is to be master in Palestine ? If both sides were exhausted by prolonged warfare they might be prepared to accept a temporary lull, but as it is they arc still experi- encing the comparative relief which comes from the violent break- ing of prolonged restraint and tension. Both Arabs and Jews believe that they can do more good for the ultimate success of their ambitions by seizing the military initiative in Palestine now than they could by a return to the frustrating war by debate in New York, as the increasing scale of outrages seems to, prove. In any case, a truce could only put off for a very short time the need for some positive action by the United Nations, and it should be by now quite clear to everybody that positive action of any sort must be backed by force. This applies as much to trusteeship as to partition, and it would be almost equally hopeless to expect a truce to survive without the sanction of some armed authority from out- side Palestine. If the United Nations are to remain interested in Palestine they have got to reconcile themselves to the need for sup- plying a military force for the country. Once they have done this they will be in a much more promising position for getting the next stage in their plans implemented, whether this is a truce or trusteeship or anything else.