3 OCTOBER 1947, Page 2

The Future of Palestine

It is so difficult to quarrel with Mr. Creech Jones's statement of the British Government's attitude to Palestine that even the Jews and Arabs have not yet been able to attack it with any conviction. That the Mandate must end and be replaced by independence has been recommended by the Palestine special committee of the United Nations, quite apart from the fact that it has always been a central point of British policy. That the British Government should not be asked to take sole responsibility for enforcing any policy, unless that policy is acceptable to both Jews and Arabs, is no more than plain justice. That the duty to lay down a policy, and to enforce it if necessary, rests with the United Nations is an accepted fact, arising directly from the nature and functions of that body. But it remains doubtful whether the United Nations will be willing to assume the onus of framing a plan acceptable to both sides, and it is all but certain that no compromise stands a real chance of willing acceptance. Jamal Husseini has already burnt the Arab boats by stating that the Arab Committee will resist to the death any other proposal than an Arab State throughout Palestine. Mr. Ben-Gurion has left a loophole for compromise by saying that a Jewish. State must be established, but not specifying that it should cover more than a part of the country. In fact, the attitude of the Jewish Agency has become decidedly less assured now that the possibility of a British withdrawal has come a step nearer to reality. The determination and consistency of the present British line has not, of course, stopped the Jewish, Arab and Russian spate of abuse, based now on what Mr. Creech Jones " virtually " said rather than on what he did say. Nor is there any sign of a cessation in the murderous activities of Jewish terrorists. But the possibility of an indefinite continuance of unsupported British occupation has been ruled out. It now remains for the United Nations to narrow the field still further.