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U N I T E D N A T I O N S

General Assembly
Distr.


A/AC.21/JA/3
22 January 1948




UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION


Memorandum From the Hebrew Committee of National
Liberation Regarding Hebrew Political. Prisoners
Detained by the British Government



The attached memorandum was handed in to the Secretariat by two representatives of the Hebrew Committee of National Liberation on 22 January 1948 with the request that it be called to the attention of the Commission.







MEMORANDUM
REGARDING HEBREW POLITICAL PRISONERS DETAINED BY
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT


Prepared by THE HEBREW COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL LIBERATION
2315 Massachusetts Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D. C.
13 January 1948
DETENTION
POINT
NO. OF
PRISONERS
CATEGORY OF
DETENTION
RECOMMENDATION
Bethlehem
10
(Women)
Convicted
Amnesty and Release
Atlit
50
(Women)
No Charge
Release
Latrun
415
No Charge
Release
Jerusalem
200
Convicted
Amnesty and Release
Kenya
(British Africa)
288
No Charge
Repatriation and Release
Germany"
(British Zones)
10
Various
Amnesty, release and
Repatriation

MEMO ON HEBREW PRISONERS


I. THE PRESENT SITUATION

There are today three categories of Hebrew prisoners held by the British for acts of war against the Palestine Administration. These are:

There are about two hundred convicted prisoners, about six hundred prisoners detained in Palestine without charge, and about four hundred prisoners detained in Kenya, also without charge, in all over a thousand prisoners, and about tan prisoners in Germany.

II. THE CONDITIONS OF DETENTION

The prisoners held in Palestine are guarded by Arab and British guards. Recently the security situation deteriorated to such an extent that all Hebrew prisoners were moved from the Acre Prison to the Jerusalem Prison. Also, all the Hebrew women detainees were moved from the Bethlehem Women’s Prison to a Woman’s detention camp in Atlit. However, there are still five convicted Hebrew women prisoners in the Women’s Jail in Bethlehem and there are about five hundred Hebrew men prisoners in the Latrun camp. Both Bethlehem and Latrun are far removed from any Hebrew locality and the prisoners are at the absolute mercy of their guards. There is also a great risk of the Arabs staging an attack against either Bethlehem or Latrun and in such a case it is to be expected that the guards will not offer any serious resistance and a massacre of the absolutely defenseless prisoners will result. The conditions in Jerusalem are somewhat better because the prison is situated in the center of a city with a large Hebrew majority, but there too the prisoners are at the mercy of their Arab and British guards.

In Kenya, although there is no danger of an Arab attack, there exists considerable tension between the prisoners and their guards which once resulted in the guards shooting and killing two prisoners and wounding fifteen ethers.

III. SUGGESTIONS

It is suggested that:

IV. THE REASONS BEHIND THE SITUATION

After Britain’s declaration that it will leave Palestine in 1948, thus acceding to the extreme demands of the Hebrew underground, there does not seam to be any reason for the continuation of the conflict between the two sides. The fact that the conflict is still going on is due to an apparent determination on the part of the British to take the maximum vengeance on its erstwhile Palestinian foes before leaving their country. The holding of over a thousand Hebrew prisoners is today completely unwarranted. The fact that this situation is tolerated by the United Nations has a considerable demoralizing effect not only on the members of the Hebrew underground, but on the whole Hebrew nation. The Hebrews feel that they should not be uselessly martyrized in order to satisfy the lust for vengeance of a British police force.


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