27 AUGUST 1948, Page 17


Sta,—Your correspondent, Mr. Israel Cohen, makes a number of astonish- ; ing assertions in his letter published in The Spectator of August 13th. In nis attempt to exonerate the Zionists and lay the blame for the creation of the Arab refugee problem in Palestine on the Arab States, he says that "the Jews did not begin any military action until after the organised invasion by the armies of the Arab States which started immediately after the termination of the mandate." If ever a large, palpable and clumsy cart was wrenched out of its normal position and pushed arbitrarily in front of the horse it was in this statement. The Jewish brutal attacks on the civil population of Haifa and Jaffa and the appalling massacres at Deir Yassin and Tiberius all took place before the end of the mandate and the intervention of the organised armies of the Arab States. It is true that these attacks do not deserve the comparatively respectable name of "military action," because they were in the main a savage assault on defenceless civilians deliberately calculated to bludgeon the Arab popula- tion into panic and flight so as to clear the proposed territories of the Jewish State of the unwanted indigenous inhabitants, but I do not think this could have been Mr. Cohen's reason for excluding them from the right sequence of events. Again, many of these attacks were made against Arab towns and villages outside the area allotted to the Jewish State by the United Nations partition resolution of November 29th, because the Jews were not satisfied with the frontiers given them in that resolution and wanted to extend them by force and face the world with a fait accompli against the moment of implementation.

Mr. Cohen also claims that the fighting was started by the incursion into Palestine of irregular Arab bands before the termination of the mandate. He entirely forgets apparently that irregular Jewish bands had been illegally entering Palestine for years before November 29th last and conducting a campaign of terrorist violence whose object was first to compel Britain to withdraw from Palestine and then to coerce the Arab population into submission to-theft will. If there are hundreds of thousands of Palestine Arab refugees today, the reason for this is just one and no other ; namely, that a foreign people wants to take Palestine away from its indigenous inhabitants. It is a casuistic waste of breath for the Zionists and their supporters to propound endless other explanations.— 92 Eaton Place, S.W.r. Secretary, The Arab Office.