Home || Permalink
U N I T E D N A T I O N S

General Assembly
Distr.
RESTRICTED

A/AC.21/ORG/18
24 March 1948



UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION

Communication Received from Hadassah, Now York



The following communication, concerning alleged Arab attacks on non-sectarian medical and allied projects of the Hadassah organization in Palestine, has been received from the National President of Hadassah, New York.







The Woman’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

HADASSAH
1819 Broadway
New York, 23, N.Y.

March 19, 1948
Honorable Karel M. Lisicky, Chairman
United Nations Palestine Commission
Lake Success, New York

Dear Sir:

We respectfully address this urgent appeal to you as chairman of the United Nations Palestine Commission in the face of constant Arab attacks on the Hadassah Medical Center and the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus outside of Jerusalem, Palestine and because of the latest threat by Abdel Kader El-Husseini, Arab military commander of the Jerusalem area to “occupy or even demolish” the complex of medical and educational buildings which he alleges is a military base.

This is not the first time that we have had the occasion to protect what seems to tus to be a concerted Arab plan to incapacitate and destroy our institutions, supported in this country by 250,000 American who are members of Hadassah and who who for thirtypsix years, conducted a network of non-sectarian medical and allied projects in Palestine.

So that you may have a complete plats documentation on this matter, we are attaching a copy of a memorandum submitted on March 11 to the U.S. State Department and the British Ambassador to the United States, Lord Inverchapel. We have amended this memorandum, giving a complete docket up to March 7 on the daily, almost hourly attacks upon our buildings, ambulances, buses and medical personnel, and on the destruction of the half mile road leading from Jerusalem to Scopus.

We are also giving you here a copy of a wire which was sent yesterday to the U.S. State Department, the British Ambassador, the International Red Cross offices in Geneva and Jerusalem and the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Your will notice that our latest protest came as a result of cabled reports from American correspondents to THE NEW YORK TIMES AND NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, published on March 18. We have called Mr. El-Husseini’s threat “an advance alibi for murder”, since it will be clear to you from the proof which is enclosed, that systematic unprovoked Arab attacks began against our staff, vehicles and buildings on December 20, and that defense measures which we have been forced to take, do not by any stretch of the imagination, constitute the establishment of what he alleges in a “military base”.

Were Abdel Kader El-Husseini’s threat permitted to go unchallenged the result would be devastating, not only to the health services of Palestine, but also to the efforts of your Commission and of the United Nations to restore peace and order in the Holy Land. No humanitarian institution anywhere in the world could hope to remain inviolate to military aggression if the United Nations does not take immediate action to help enforce internationally accepted conventions which forbid attacks against medical institutions.

We therefore appeal to you as chairman of the Palestine Commission, entrusted with executing United Nations policy in the Holy Land, to take all possible measures at once to expose and prevent the threatened destruction of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. We also respectfully urge that your Commission call upon the representative in the United States of the Arab Higher Committee of Palestine to repudiate the El-Husseini threat and to pledge strict observance of international conventions with respect to medical institutions, personnel, vehicles and roads.

We are confident that in the interest of humanity, you will do all in your power to help prevent a disaster which, if it is occurred, would shock the conscience of men of good will everywhere.


Sincerely yours,

(signed) ROSS L. HALPRIN
Mrs. Samuel W. Helprin
National President, Hadassah



RLH:SE
Encl.



THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC.

1819 BROADWAY • NEW YORK 23, N.Y.
TELEPHONE: COLUMBUS 3-6585

March 19, 1948

Honorable Trygve Lie, Secretary General,
United Nations,
Lake Success, Long Island.

Dear Sir:

I am attaching here a copy of a communication which has also been sent today to the Honorable Karel M. Lisicky.

From its contents you will see why the utmost urgency attends our request that you, as Secretary General, and Mr. Lisicky, as chairman of the Palestine Commission, do all in your power to expose and prevent the threatened destruction of the Hadassah Medical Center, which includes the Hebrew University and constitutes the largest, most efficient and indispensable medical and educational institutions in Palestine.

If action is not taken at once to stave off this threatened disaster, the results might well shake the conscience of men of good-will all over the world, and reflect severely upon the power of the United Nations to move with authority to protect non-sectarian medical and welfare institutions anywhere.

We are eager to have your reaction to our presentations We look forward to your early reply.


Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin
National President, Hadassah


RLH:SE
encl.

FOUNDER
MISS HENRIETTA SZOLD
PRESIDENT
MRS. SAMUEL W. HALPRIN
TREASURER
MRS. ABRAHAM TULIN
SECRETARY
MRS. ELLIOT F. GLASSBERG
RECORDING SECRETARY
MRS. NATHAN D. PERLMAN
HONORARY VICE PRESIDENTS
MRS. MOSES P. EPSTEIN
MRS. EDWARD JACOBS
MRS. IRMA LINDHEIM
MRS. DAVID DE SOLA POOL
MRS. ROBERT SZOLD
HONORARY COUNCIL
MISS PEARL FRANKLIN
MRS. A. H. FROMENSON

VICE-PRESIDENTS
MRS. ALEXANDER M. DUSHKIN
MRS. BENJAMIN GOTTESMAN
MRS. DAVID B. GREENBERG
MRS. LOUIS ROTHENBERG
MRS. PERRY SEWEL
MRS. ABRAHAM STRAUSS
CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BOARD
MRS. HERMAN SHULMAN
PRESIDENT, JUNIOR HADASSAH
MISS ZELDA FUNK
WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE
MRS. RAPHAEL TOUROVER
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
MISS JEANNETTE N. LEIBEL




THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC.

1819 BROADWAY • NEW YORK 23, N.Y.
TELEPHONE: COLUMBUS 3-6585

March 19, 1948

Honorable Karel M. Lisicky, Chairman
United Nations Palestine Commission
Lake Success, New York

Dear Sir:

We respectfully address this urgent appeal to you as chairman of the United Nations Palestine Commission in the face of constant Arab attacks on the Hadassah Medical Center and the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus outside of Jerusalem, Palestine and because of the latest threat by Abdel Kader El-Husseini Arab military commander of the Jerusalem area to “occupy or even demolish the complex of medical and educational buildings which he alleges is a military base.

This is not the first time that we have had occasion to protest what seems to us to be a concerted Arab plan to incapacitate and destroy our institutions, supported in this country by 250,000 American women who are members of Hadassah and who have for thirty-six years, conducted a network of non-sectarian medical and allied projects in Palestine.

So that you may have complete documentation on this matter, we are attaching a copy of a memorandum submitted on March 11 to the U. S. State Department and the British Ambassador to the United States, Lord Inverchapel. We have amended this memorandum, giving a complete docket up to March 7 on the daily, almost hourly attacks upon our buildings, ambulances, buses and medical personnel, and on the destruction of the half-mile road leading from Jerusalem to Scopus.

We are also giving you here a copy of a wire which was sent yesterday to the U, S. State Department, the British Ambassador, the International Red Cross offices in Geneva and Jerusalem and the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D. C.

You will notice that our latest protest came as a result of cabled reports from American correspondents to THE NEW YORK TIME and NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, published on March 18. We have called Mr. El-Husseini’s threat “an advance alibi for murder”, since it will be clear to you from the proof which is enclosed, that systematic unprovoked Arab attacks began against our staff, vehicles and buildings on December 30, and that defense measures which we have been forced to take, do not by any stretch of the imagination, constitute the establishment of what he alleges is a “military base”.

Were Abdel Kader El-Husseinits threat permitted to go unchallenged the result would be devastating, not only to the health services of Palestine, but also to the efforts of your Commission and of the United Nations to restore peace and order in the Holy Land. No humanitarian institution anywhere in the world could hope to remain inviolate to military aggression if the United Nations does not take immediate action to help enforce internationally accepted conventions which forbid attacks against medical institutions.

We therefore appeal to you as chairman of the Palestine Commission, entrusted with executing United Nations policy in the Holy Land, to take all possible measures at once to expose and prevent the threatened destruction of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. We also respectfully urge that your Commission call upon the representative in the United States of the Arab Higher Committee of Palestine to repudiate the El-Husseini threat and to pledge strict observance of international conventions with respect to medical institutions, personnel, vehicles and roads.
We are confident that in the interest of humanity, you will do all in your power to help prevent a disaster which, if it occurred, would shock the conscience of men of good will everywhere.


Sincerely yours
Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin
National President, Hadassah

RLH:SE
encl.

FOUNDER
MISS HENRIETTA SZOLD
PRESIDENT
MRS. SAMUEL W. HALPRIN
TREASURER
MRS. ABRAHAM TULIN
SECRETARY
MRS. ELLIOT F. GLASSBERG
RECORDING SECRETARY
MRS. NATHAN D. PERLMAN
HONORARY VICE PRESIDENTS
MRS. MOSES P. EPSTEIN
MRS. EDWARD JACOBS
MRS. IRMA LINDHEIM
MRS. DAVID DE SOLA POOL
MRS. ROBERT SZOLD
HONORARY COUNCIL
MISS PEARL FRANKLIN
MRS. A. H. FROMENSON

VICE-PRESIDENTS
MRS. ALEXANDER M. DUSHKIN
MRS. BENJAMIN GOTTESMAN
MRS. DAVID B. GREENBERG
MRS. LOUIS ROTHENBERG
MRS. PERRY SEWEL
MRS. ABRAHAM STRAUSS
CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BOARD
MRS. HERMAN SHULMAN
PRESIDENT, JUNIOR HADASSAH
MISS ZELDA FUNK
WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE
MRS. RAPHAEL TOUROVER
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
MISS JEANNETTE N. LEIBEL





WIRE SENT TO:
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
BRITISH AMBASSADOR IN WASHINGTON
MARCH 18, 1948

COPIES TO:

INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, JERUSALEM, PALESTINE
AMERICAN RED CROSS HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON, D. C.
UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION

MAY WE RESPECTFULLY BUT URGENTLY CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE NEWYORK TIMES AND NEWYORK HERALD TRIBUNE STORIES OF TODAY PAGES TWENTYTWO AND SEVEN RESPECTIVELY WHICH QUOTE ABDEL KADER ELHUSSEINI DESIGNATED AS THE MILITARY COMMANDER OF PALESTINIAN ARABS IN WHICH HE IS REPORTED TO HAVE THREATENED TO DEMOLISH AND OCCUPY THE HADASSAH HOSPITAL AND HEBREW UNIVERSITY STOP THE TIMES REPORTS HIM AS SAYING THAT THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE BEING USED AS A MILITARY BASE STOP ALSO THAT THIS ALLEGED MILITARY BASE IS BEING USED QUOTES TO PROVOKE ARABS INTO ATTACKING A HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AND THEN EXPLOIT THE ATTACK FOR PROPAGANDA PURPOSES UNQUOTE IN THE TRIBUNE ELHUSSEINI IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID QUOTES IF ATTACKS CONTINUE FROM THESE TWO INSTITUTIONS WE MAY OCCUPY OR EVEN DEMOLISH THEM UNQUOTE FACTS GIVEN IN OUR DOCUMENTED MEMORANDUM FILED WITH YOU ON MARCH 11 SHOW CONCLUSIVELY THAT UNPROVOKED ARAB ATTACK AND OFFENSIVE AGAINST HADASSAH BEGAN ON DECEMBER 30, 19147 WHEN THEY FIRED FROM THE NEBI SAMUEL ROAD UPON DEFENSELESS UNARMED DOCTORS NURSES AND PATIENTS OF THE HADASSAH HOSPITAL AND EMPLOYEES OF THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY FOURTEEN OF WHOM WERE WOUNDED ON THAT DAY AFTER THEIR BUS AND CAR WERE WRECKED STOP AS A RESULT OF NEARLY THIRTY CONTINUING ATTACKS FROM DECEMBER 30 THROUGH MARCH 9, 1948 BY BULLET BOMB AND MORTAR FIRE AGAINST MEDICAL PERSONNEL BUSES THE HOSPITAL ITSELF AND AMBULANCES CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE RED STAR MERCY SYMBOL ANALAGOUS TO THE RED CROSS NEARLY THIRTY INDIVIDUALS WERE WOUNDED A NURSE AND GUARD WERE KILLED AND THE SCOPUS ROAD WAS CUT STOP PROTESTS TO BRITISH AUTHORITIES IN PALESTINE RESULTED IN THEIR AUTHORIZATION OF FOURTEEN SUPERNUMERARY POLICE TO AUGMENT HOSPITAL DEFENSE STAFF STOP BRITISH REPORTED TO HAVE FINALLY OCCUPIED MRS. KATE ANTONIUS’ HOUSE ON THE SCOPUS ROAD ON MARCH 9 SINCE THIS WAS A KNOWN SNIPERS’ NEST STOP WE ARE MAKING THESE AND FURTHER REPRESENTATIONS TO THE AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND THE UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION BECAUSE WE ARE CONVINCED THAT ELHUSSEINI’S TACTICS ARE TO GIVE AN ADVANCE ALIBI FOR MURDER WHICH MAY PRECEDE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO WIPE OUT THE LARGEST AND MOST EFFICIENT MEDICAL INSTITUTION IN PALESTINE STOP WE ONCE AGAIN ASK YOUR FURTHER EFFORTS AND GOOD OFFICES TO STAVE OFF SUCH A DISASTER WHICH BREAKS EVERY KNOWN INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CONVENTION AND WHICH WOULD IF UNDETERRED THREATEN THE THIRTYSIX YEAR CONTRIBUTION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND TEACHING OF A COMPLEX OF INSTITUTIONS KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLEEAST AND THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR THEIR HIGH STANDARDS HUMANITY AND NONSECTARIAN WORK


MRS. SAMUEL W. HALPRIN
NATIONAL PRESIDENT HADASSAH




THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC.

1819 BROADWAY • NEW YORK 23, N.Y.
TELEPHONE: COLUMBUS 3-6585

March 19, 1948

International Red Cross
Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Sirs:

To follow up our cable sent you on March 18, we are appending to this communication a memorandum submitted on March 11 to the U. S. State Department and the British Ambassador to the United States, Lord Inverchapel, detailing the Arab attacks upon the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem, from December 30, 1947 to March 7, 1948. The institution buildings, ambulances, supply cars, medical personnel and incoming and outgoing patients have been fired upon with rifles, machine guns, mortar shells, from four ambush points along Mt. Scopus road, which leads to the Center. The road itself has been mined repeatedly; at times, it has been closed to traffic, preventing the ingress and egress of doctors, nurses, patients, food and medical supplies. Telephone, electricity and water installations have been under attack. All telephone service to and from the hospital has been cut off at intervals. Although the British authorities belatedly promised some escort and authorized additional defense staff for our hospital, the situation is still urgent and critical.

Although the Arab Higher Committee made a statement in Jerusalem on December 27, 1947, and the president of the Palestine Arab Medical Association also issued a memorandum on January 13, 1948, asking Arab guerrillas to refrain from attacking hospitals, ambulances, doctors, nurses, etc., the record shows a consistent acceleration of these attacks.

On February 1, a committee of three International Red Cross delegates, Dr. R. Marti, Dr. M. J. de Raynier, Mr. M. J. Munier, were present at a conference in the office of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, in Jerusalem, during which Dr. Avraham Katznelson, head of social welfare service for the Vaad Leumi (General Council of the Jews in Palestine) placed before the committee a bill of indictment against the Arabs, including the following charges:

The International Red Cross delegates present at the conference agreed that, though conditions in Palestine could not be called “a war”, the conventions governing warfare could be applied if not in every detail, certainly in spirit. The Committee was informed of the Jewish community’s willingness to subscribe to these conventions, and in answer to a request from the delegates, the representatives of the Jewish community, offered to confirm their response in writing. Dr. Katznelson also pointed to specific instances where Jewish fighters killed in action by Arab gangs were mutilated.

The International Red Cross delegates also visited the Hadassah Hospital on February 1, where they were received by a committee of Hadassah workers. The delegates found it necessary to make the trip to the Hospital in an armored car, which was transporting a patient, a woman in labor. During a tour of the Hospital, the delegates were informed of the conditions under which the institution must operate at present. These facts were brought to their attention:

The foregoing outline, together with the documented memorandum, listing the day and night attacks upon the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, reveal a consistent and planned attempt to deprive the Palestine population of the service of the largest and most modernly equipped medical institution in the country.

This attempt, we submit, is in direct violation of all International Red Cross conventions. It has, moreover, culminated in a threat to “demolish” the Hadassah University Medical Center.

On March 17, Abdel Kader El-Husseini, Arab Military Commander in the Jerusalem area, declared publicly in the presence of accredited American correspondents, that his troops would “occupy or even demolish” the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, under the pretext that it served as a Jewish military base. Reports of his statement were cabled to American newspapers (N.Y. TIMES, N.Y. HERALD TRIBUNE) and appeared on March 18. Abdel Kader El-Husseini’s advance alibi for murder is completely exposed by the above outlined series of events. His action also proves that Arab guerrillas are not prepared to heed the proclamation of the Arab Higher Committee on December 27 and the Palestine Arab Medical Association on January 13, excerpts from which are attached as an addendum.

On March 19, we dispatched messages of which copies are attached, to the U. S. State Department, the British Ambassador, the International Red Cross in Jerusalem, and American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, requesting immediate action to enforce observation of international medical conventions in face of the El-Husseini threat to destroy the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. We urgently appeal to you to exercise all of your great influence in this same direction.

Since its inception, the International Red Cross has been widely respected as the guardian of missions of mercy. We submit that doctors and nurses have been killed and wounded on the Mt. Scopus road, while on medical duty. We submit that clearly marked ambulances have been attacked and pierced by bullets. We submit that these ambulances have had to be plated with steel to provide some protection for the medical personnel and patients coming to and from the Hospital. We therefore urgently seek your intervention against these attacks and against the outrageous threat to destroy one of the largest medical establishments in the .Middle East.

The Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center is supported by 250,000 American women, members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, who have for 36 years, maintained non-sectarian medical services and institutions of the highest professional standards in Palestine.


Respectfully yours,

Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin,
National President, Hadassah








ADDENDUM FROM ARAB HIGHER COMMITTEE PROCLAMATION OF DECEMBER 27, 1947


The Arab Higher Committee reminds every Arab that hospitals, ambulances, doctors, nurses and officials stationed in health centers enjoy a sanctity which must be observed, in that these organizations and persons employed in them are occupied in alleviating sufferings and in relieving the wounded, in preventing the spread of devastating epidemics. The Arab Higher Committee pleads with all Arab to avoid any attacks on these organizations and persons, and not fire on them. It is a duty to protect them, for it is not in keeping with Arab character and tradition to commit acts which would mar their national awakening and national struggle.

ADDENDUM FROM PALESTINE ARAB MEDICAL ASSOCIATION APPEAL OF JANUARY 13, 1948

In confirmation of the proclamation issued by the Arab Higher Committee, which was published in the newspapers and announced from the Jerusalem Radio Station, the Palestine Arab Medical Association requests the Arab people to prove their respect and appreciation of medical men and their assistants - nurses and orderlies. It requests them to refrain from interfering with them as they go about discharging their duties, from harming them or inflicting injury on them, regardless of their race or religion. For they are all messengers of mercy and servants of humanity, without distinction as to race, belief or color. Likewise we request them to protect the hospitals, health institutions, ambulances and physicians’ cars which carry the sign of the Red Crescent, the Red Cross or the Red Star. They are all servants of humanity and their work is a sacred one. They must be respected and no harm must touch them.

We wish also to address the physicians and their aids, requesting them to attach themselves to health services and to place in a prominent position, the distinguishing mark of the Red Crescent, Red Cross or Red Star on their bodies, their buildings or cars.



THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC.

1819 BROADWAY • NEW YORK 23, N.Y.
TELEPHONE: COLUMBUS 3-6585

March 19, 1948

International Red Cross
Jerusalem, Palestine

Gentlemen:

We are enclosing for your attention copies of material which has also been sent to the International Red Cross offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to the American Red Cross, Washington, D.C., to the United States State Department, to the British Ambassador to the United States, the United Nations Palestine Commission and the members of the Security Council of the United Nations.

The facts contained in these data are known to you since a committee of the International Red Cross, according to our information has already conferred on the problem of protection for Hadassah and other medical institutions in Palestine, with Dr. Avraham Katznelson of the Vaad Leumi and with members of the Hadassah staff in Jerusalem.

We need hardly reiterate to you, who are working in a locale where the International Red Cross conventions are being daily dishonored by Arab aggressors, how disastrous and shocking to the conscience of men of good will everywhere is the latest reported threat of the military commander of the Jerusalem Arabs to “occupy or demolish” the Hadassah Medical Center, which he falsely alleges is a military base.

We are hoping that your good offices too will be urgently and strenuously employed to avert further tragedy.


Respectfully yours,

Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin
National President of Hadassah


FOUNDER
MISS HENRIETTA SZOLD
PRESIDENT
MRS. SAMUEL W. HALPRIN
TREASURER
MRS. ABRAHAM TULIN
SECRETARY
MRS. ELLIOT F. GLASSBERG
RECORDING SECRETARY
MRS. NATHAN D. PERLMAN
HONORARY VICE PRESIDENTS
MRS. MOSES P. EPSTEIN
MRS. EDWARD JACOBS
MRS. IRMA LINDHEIM
MRS. DAVID DE SOLA POOL
MRS. ROBERT SZOLD
HONORARY COUNCIL
MISS PEARL FRANKLIN
MRS. A. H. FROMENSON

VICE-PRESIDENTS
MRS. ALEXANDER M. DUSHKIN
MRS. BENJAMIN GOTTESMAN
MRS. DAVID B. GREENBERG
MRS. LOUIS ROTHENBERG
MRS. PERRY SEWEL
MRS. ABRAHAM STRAUSS
CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BOARD
MRS. HERMAN SHULMAN
PRESIDENT, JUNIOR HADASSAH
MISS ZELDA FUNK
WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE
MRS. RAPHAEL TOUROVER
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
MISS JEANNETTE N. LEIBEL






THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC.

1819 BROADWAY • NEW YORK 23, N.Y.
TELEPHONE: COLUMBUS 3-6585

March 19, 1948

American Red Cross Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sirs:

In the name of 2$0,000 American women, members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, who have for 36 years maintained non-sectarian medical institutions and services of the highest professional standards in Palestine, we urgently seek your intervention to halt the Arab attempt to deprive the Palestine population of the services of the largest and most modern medical institution in the Holy Land, the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center.

This institution has brought American medical techniques to Palestine and has had an acknowledged effect on the health services of the entire Middle East. It has been under attack by Arab guerrillas since December 30, 1947. These attacks have been consistently accelerated in the intervening period, and have now culminated in a threat by the Arab Military Commander of the Jerusalem area to “occupy or even demolish” our institution on the pretext that it is a Jewish military base.

We are appending a memorandum detailing the daily incursions upon the institution’s buildings, personnel and approaches from December 30 to March 7, together with copies of messages sent to the U.S. State Department, the British Ambassador to the United States Lord Inverchapel, Karl Lisicky, Chairman of the United Nations Palestine Commission, United Nations Secretary-General Trygve Lie, International Red Cross Headquarters in Geneva and the International Red Cross in Jerusalem.

We appeal to you to assist us by using your great influence to help assure the inviolability of an American medical institution of great repute and importance, and to do all you can so that we shall be enabled to continue to extend our humanitarian service to the whole population of the Holy Land.


Respectfully yours,

Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin
National President of Hadassah

FOUNDER
MISS HENRIETTA SZOLD
PRESIDENT
MRS. SAMUEL W. HALPRIN
TREASURER
MRS. ABRAHAM TULIN
SECRETARY
MRS. ELLIOT F. GLASSBERG
RECORDING SECRETARY
MRS. NATHAN D. PERLMAN
HONORARY VICE PRESIDENTS
MRS. MOSES P. EPSTEIN
MRS. EDWARD JACOBS
MRS. IRMA LINDHEIM
MRS. DAVID DE SOLA POOL
MRS. ROBERT SZOLD
HONORARY COUNCIL
MISS PEARL FRANKLIN
MRS. A. H. FROMENSON

VICE-PRESIDENTS
MRS. ALEXANDER M. DUSHKIN
MRS. BENJAMIN GOTTESMAN
MRS. DAVID B. GREENBERG
MRS. LOUIS ROTHENBERG
MRS. PERRY SEWEL
MRS. ABRAHAM STRAUSS
CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BOARD
MRS. HERMAN SHULMAN
PRESIDENT, JUNIOR HADASSAH
MISS ZELDA FUNK
WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE
MRS. RAPHAEL TOUROVER
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
MISS JEANNETTE N. LEIBEL






MEMORANDUM TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE

FROM: HADASSAH, THE WOMAN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA, INC,

SUBJECT: PROTECTION OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTION, THE HADASSAH HOSPITAL, MOUNT SCOPUS, JERUSALEM.

I.

Hadassah is an American organization, incorporated in the state of New York and registered with the Division of Controls, Department of State, under Number 185, it is comprised of 250,000 American women members. Its governing body is a National Board of American citizens. The funds which support its work in Palestine are collected in this country from American contributors.

It has built, maintained and supported medical and health welfare institutions in Palestine since 1913. These institutions are non-political and non-sectarian, devoted solely to the care of those who seek its services and to promoting modern scientific medicine in Palestine.

Patients at the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus include Arabs and British as well as Jews. During the war the hospital, its methods of treatment and the scientific findings of the hospital laboratories, were at the disposal of Allied military authorities in the Middle East, including American military medical personnel and American medical missions.


II.

The Hadassah Hospital and other institutions of the Rothschild-Hadassah-University Hospital and Medical Center on Mount Scopus, and hospital ambulances, transports and personnel have been under attack by armed Arab bands since December 30, 1947. The 450-bed hospital and other buildings are beleaguered. Gunfire, road mining, and road destruction have made the highway from Jerusalem to and on Mount Scopus extremely dangerous and frequently impassable.

Although plainly marked with the Red Shield of David, Hadassah ambulances carrying ill and wounded patients, and transports conveying personnel, medical supplies and food have been continually fired upon in complete disregard of international conventions. Bullets have hit the hospital proper and some have penetrated windows, endangering the lives of patients and staff alike. Telephone and electric lines frequently have been impaired on a number of occasions relief staffs have been unable to reach the hospital, resulting in double duty for those on hand. On others, hospital contingents relieved from duty could not leave because of heavy firing, resulting in a situation that taxed the dormitory facilities of the hospital to the utmost. On February 26 conditions on the Scopus road were so hazardous that no patients, supplies or relief staff could reach the hospital.


III.

The attacks on Mount Scopus have seriously disrupted the services of the hospital precisely at a time when mounting casualties in Jerusalem make increasing hospital services imperative. The demands upon the Hadassah Hospital at this time are all the more urgent since, as Dr. Haim Yassky, director of the Hadassah medical Organization in Palestine reports, “Other hospitals in Jerusalem are utterly inadequate to handle casualties.”

In spite of the extreme hardships, the Hadassah Hospital is making every endeavor to maintain its services. Its armored ambulances and other vehicles brave the fire which often comes from both bides of the Scupus Road. The normal hospital staff of 150 has been augmented and emergency surgical teams are in constant readiness. The main hall of the hospital has been turned into an emergency receiving ward for wounded. Hospital authorities have provided sand-bag protection for the building.

The high quality of service of the Hadassah Hospital is so generally known that though transport to the hospital at present is hazardous in the extreme, many ill and wounded insist on being taken only to that hospital. A British policeman in Jerusalem who was severely wounded, and had to undergo an immediate operation in the Hadassah clinic in the city, was about to be transferred in a Red Cross ambulance to a Government hospital but he begged to be taken to the Hadassah Hospital. This was done. In another instance, a mine on the Scopus road exploded under a bus and an Arab woman from the village of Assawaiye was seriously wounded. Her request to be taken to the Hadassah Hospital was granted. As she was being moved into the hospital, Arabs were shooting at a Hadassah ambulance on the road nearby.


IV.

Hadassah has received first-hand information from the director of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Palestine and from the Hadassah Palestine Council, of which the American citizen, Dr. Judah L. Magnes, is chairman, recounting some of the attacks that have occurred in the vicinity of the hospital since December 30, 1947. This information is contained in cables and in memoranda brought to the Hadassah headquarters in New York from Palestine by a special courier, excerpts from these dispatches are attached.

V.

The information indicates that the most dangerous sector on the Scopus road is only about a half mile in length, from the base of the hill, and that there are four main centers from which attacks are launched. The latter are Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Joz, Kerem Hamufti, and Antonius House. It would seem that the Mandatory Government, cognizant of the urgent need of the services of the Hadassah Hospital at this time, would recognize that protection of the hospital is a major necessity. Yet repeated representations by hospital authorities and others have so far failed to secure adequate protection for the road and hospital environs. Occasional troop escorts have been supplied, but in many instances they were so inadequate as to present no threat to the attackers, who fired on them and those whom they were convoying.

This compelling question asks itself: must the largest and best equipped hospital in Palestine curtail or cease its humanitarian work because the British security forces fail to give the sick and wounded, doctors and nurses, food supplies and medicines sufficient protection over a vital half mile of road? Because the institution involved is a hospital and is accessible only through one road, it is incumbent on the Mandatory Government to keep that road open and free from snipers.


VI.

In requesting the Department of State to make representations with the view to securing protection for the hospital, Hadassah is concerned not only with the ever-present danger to the hospital patients and staff but to the population of Jerusalem as a whole. Under present conditions, no one is immune from gunfire and explosions, and the preparedness and safe accessibility of the Hadassah Hospital must be assured as a humane measure. We earnestly hope that representations by the State Department will succeed in procuring from the Mandatory Government that measure of protection for the Hadassah Hospital that will insure ingress and egress without the hazard of attack and insure the safety of the highway from the city and up Mount Scopus.

Respectfully submitted,
(signed)
Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin
National President
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist
Organisation of America, Inc.
Hadassah
1819 Broadway
New York 23, New York






EXCERPTS FROM CABLES AND MEMORANDA ON MOUNT SCOPUS ATTACKS

December 30, 1947: Five Hadassah doctors on their way to Mount Scopus escaped when their car was fired on and burned at 6 a.m. Employees of the hospital and Hebrew University were wounded when their bus was fired on opposite Nebi Samuel Road. Fourteen were slightly wounded, one seriously. After three hours traffic was renewed but was limited to essential workers only. Efforts to have the road properly controlled by the British were intensified.

January 2, 1948: Twenty-five Hadassah workers and an ambulance, both accompanied by a police armored escort, were attacked near St. George’s College. A Hadassah nurse, Hanna Gardi, was killed.

January 27, 1948: Sporadic attacks along the Scopus Road continued during the month and attempts made to blow up the small culvert or bridge at the base of the highway. A Hadassah armored bus was rammed by an Arab-driven lorry at the Nashashibi bend on the Scopus road at 2:30 p.m. A police car, which summoned another police car, kept a growing group of armed Arabs from firing.

February 3, 1948: The explosion that blew up the Palestine Post building seriously damaged the Hadassah emergency clinic on Hasollel Street in the old Rothschild-Hadassah Compound. Though there was no injury to personnel, all equipment and supplies were rendered useless for a period. Twenty casualties in the neighborhood, many serious, were treated on the spot in the demolished clinic, but the transfer of these patients to the hospital on Mt. Scopus had to take place at night for safety.

February 13: At 7 a.m, two mines were discovered and detonated by the police on the No 9 bus route on the Scopus road at the beginning of the Sheikh Jarrah Quarter. A delay in starting saved the morning’s first Hadassah bus from striking the mines.

February 17; At 11 a.m. a volley of shots were fired on a No. 9 bus with Hadassah personnel on the way to the Hadassah Hospital. Bullets penetrated the armor and wounded two passengers, both of whom had to be hospitalized. At 2:45 p.m. another bus was struck by bullets, injuring one person. At 4 p.m. three buses descending together, with an armed escort, were met by a hail off bullets coming from Kerem Hamufti and from both sides of the road. A hand grenade struck one bus.

February 18: At 6:30 a.m. the No. 9 bus was struck by a mine close to the pillbox on Mount Scopus. The bus was hurled forward a distance of a meter and a half, and although damage was done to the front of the bus, no passenger was injured. Throughout the morning a large number of shots were fired, even exceeding the intensity of those on Tuesday, the 17th.

At l p.m. a passenger in an armored truck was fatally wounded by shots fired from the bend. Many volleys were fired for the rest of the day. Shooting was directed at the Hadassah Hospital and the Ratnoff Post-Graduate Medical School Building from the Sheikh Jarrah Quarter and Wadi Joz. At 4 p.m. the caretaker of the Ratnoff Building was hit in the neck by a bullet.

February 20: At 11:30 a.m. heavy firing was directed at the No. 9 buses between Kerem Hamufti and the pillbox. The Hadassah armored ambulance was also fired on. At 1 p.m, the Hadassah ambulance was hit by bullets on the same stretch of road. At intervals from 11:15 a.m. shots were directed at the Hadassah Hospital and at workers engaged in building operations at the Medical Center. Shots were fired at the roof of the hospital and a bullet missed the hospital director by a few inches. At 4 p.m. a corporal of the supernumerary police went to the roof to check the post, and was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

February 21: Heavy shooting went on all day in the direction of the Hadassah Hospital. Later an explosion damaged the bridge on the road to Scopus. Shots hit the Ratnoff Building and the hospital wall along the road.

It was observed from the roof of the hospital that many of the shots came from Antonius House. The police were informed and investigation revealed a number of armed Arabs on the grounds of the House. At night the Scopus Road was blown up at the point near the Chalk Hill where the track to Wadi Joz crosses it.

February 22: In addition to Hadassah’s armored ambulance and three armored No. 9 buses, several Red Cross ambulances plied up and down Scopus transporting some of the most severely wounded victims of the Ben Yehuda Street explosion to the Hadassah Hospital. At 2:45 a No. 9 bus left the hospital for town, full of nurses, doctors and hospital personnel. The bus was fired on as it passed Kerem Hamufti. Heavy firing continued at the bus forthwith sides of the road until the pillbox was reached. Two bullets penetrated the bus and injured two veteran Hadassah nurses, the Misses Katchko and Drugan.

During the day Hadassah personnel treated 66 casualties at the Hadassah emergency clinic on Hasollel Street. Many were in a serious condition and some subsequently died. Although as many patients as possible were sent to other hospitals because the road to the Hadassah Hospital was then unsafe, ten seriously wounded had to be left at the clinic.

February 23: In the morning the Hadassah armored ambulance was fired on while on its way to the Hadassah hospital with wounded from the clinic. No one was hurt. In the hospital itself, a rifle bullet was found in the corridor of the Children’s Department and a hole was discovered in a window through which it was fired. Some of the windows have been bricked up to prevent bullet penetration.

At 7:15 a.m. the Hadassah supply lorry was hit by three bullets while on its way to the hospital. At about 10 a.m. traffic to the hospital was virtually suspended.

During the evening the culvert on the road to Scopus, not yet repaired, was again blown up, and authorities declared the road impassable. At about the same time, 8:30 p.m., many shots were directed at the hospital and a second bullet entered the corridor of the Children’s Department through a window facing the main road.

Because of the impassable condition of the highway, the difficulties of admitting patients and wounded, of relieving personnel, of maintaining supplies for 310 patients, their attendant staff and the 120 nurses in the Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of Nursing, became acute.

February 24: No repair work has as yet started on the culvert. At 10:30 a.m. Hadassah Hospital authorities were informed that a diversion had been arranged around the culvert which would take light armored cars.

At 7:30 p.m. a Jewish armored vehicle was stopped in the Sheikh Jarrah Quarter by a truck obstructing the road. It was attacked by Arabs. A second Jewish armored vehicle went to the aid of the first and was also attacked. The first vehicle began to burn soldiers stood the Jewish drivers against the wall and turned the headlights of vehicle No. 2 on them. Many shots were fired by Arabs in their direction. During the heavy fire the soldiers took shelter behind the vehicle and the Jews did likewise. One injured Jew, two Jewish orderlies, were brought to the Hadassah Hospital.

February 25: The Hadassah bus descended Scopus and was shot at from Kerem Hamufti and from near the Mosque. A convey of three armored trucks containing workers, and the University armored car, were heavily fired on. There were five casualties, two severe. At 2 p.m. the Hadassah bus went down to the clinic and numerous shots were fired at it. Returning from the clinic with a police escort and a supply lorry, the vehicles were heavily attacked in the usual area and four shots hit the bus. At 4:15 p.m. the supply lorry, going down Scopus under police escort, was attacked by a grenade and bullets. At 10:15 p.m. the British Control Center found a mine on the Scopus Road.

February 26: At 3 a.m. exceptionally heavy firing was directed at the Hadassah Hospital and University buildings from the direction of Tour village and Wadi Joz. The supernumerary police force returned the fire and heavy shooting continued over a period of two hours. A third bullet penetrated the corridor of the Children’s Department of the Hadassah Hospital and a number hit walls and windows. At 3:15 a.m. one of the hospital’s remaining telephone lines ceased to function. At 6 a.m. the external source of electricity failed and the reserve generator had to be used. At 9:30 a.m. Dr. Haim Yassky, Director of the Hadassah Medical Organization, was informed by the police that there was an undetonated mine on the main mad near the Antonius House.

He was advised that in present circumstances it was inadvisable to use the road. At 12:30 p.m. both telephone lines were interrupted and there was no telephone or road communication with the town. At 12:35 p.m. one telephone line was restored. There has been no road communication between the hospital and the town today, and no supplies, no patients, and no relief staff have reached the hospital.

February 27: At 1:15 p.m. the Hadassah, ambulance, with wounded and women in labor, was hit by two bullets on its way to the hospital. At 3:13 p.m. a hospital bus carrying relief and patients was heavily fired upon and hit by several bullets, Fragments from the framework within struck three passengers - a nurse, a hospital worker, and a patient - causing wounds. At 4:15 p.m. when the hospital bus descended, it was attacked by bullets and grenades.

February 29: At 7:30 a.m. a mine on the Scopus road was cleared by the military. At 8:15 a.m. the hospital bus and the hospital milk lorry reached the hospital after running the gauntlet of exceptionally heavy fire at Sheikh Jarrah. Several bullets struck the vehicle. At 10:15 a.m. a hospital bus was fired on.

March 1: “As the Hadassah Hospital bus on its way to town passed the mosque at Sheikh Jarrah, a landmine was detonated.

March 2: At 12:30 p.m. shots were fired at a convoy of two buses, the hospital ambulance and supply lorries on the way up the Scopus road to the hospital.

At 2:05 p.m. the telephone operator at the Hadassah Hospital was told on the telephone by a man, first speaking in Arabic, then in Hebrew, that the hospital would be blown up at 3:30 p.m. and would be completely destroyed. The telephonist stated that it was a man’s voice and that the Hebrew was that of an Arab. The police were informed.

At 2:35 p.m. the convoy which came up earlier in the day left with discharged patients and off-duty hospital staff. A mine exploded under one of the vehicles near Kerem Hamufti. A hole eight by four feet was blown in the road and the vehicle was damaged.

March 3: For one hour from 11 p.m. shots were fired at the Nathan Ratnoff Graduate Medical School Building and the Hebrew University.

March 4: At 8 a.m. shots were fired at building workers near the hospital. Two road blocks, one near the Nashashibi bend and the other near the Kerem Hamufti, were removed by the police and Hadassah vehicles were able to descend the Scopus road.



ADDENDUM TO MARCH 11 MEMORANDUM

SENT BY HADASSAH

TO U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT AND BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES


March 4: (continuing) At 10:15 p.m. all telephonic communication to and from the hospital was interrupted.

March 5: Telephone lines still out.

At 5:10 p.m. a convoy returning to the hospital with police escort was subjected to heavy fire beginning at Kerem Hamufti and continuing all the way to the Hadassah pillbox. The wheel of the Hadassah ambulance was badly punctured.

March 6: Telephone repairmen, escorted by Army guards, restored three lines.

At 10 p.m. heavy sniping was directed at the University and Hadassah buildings from the direction of Wadi Joz.

March 7: At 7:55 a.m. a mine exploded under the first bus of the Hadassah convoy just beyond Antonius House. The bus was hurled sideways for about a meter, but the driver kept control of the wheel and sped on; no one was hurt. Military vehicles had passed the point unharmed a few minutes earlier, so presumably the mine was electrically detonated. Immediately after the mine exploded, a hail of bullets was fired at the cars in the convoy. The second car was hit, several bullets penetrated, one entering the eye and brain of one of our workers. His condition is very grave. The third car in the convoy was our ambulance. It was hit by a number of bullets, but no one was hurt. All vehicles bore clear Red Shield markings. Observers in our buses reported that the arms used by the Arabs this morning were much more powerful than those used hithertofore.

Police reported that the culvert, following the heavy rain and recent explosions, was now dangerous for heavy traffic. This was corroborated by our drivers. Control Center reported that the Public Works Department and the Army had been notified of the state of the culvert, but it was unknown when repairs would begin.

At 11:30 a.m. our ambulance, which reached the culvert with wounded, had to return to the clinic in town, since the wheels just sank into the ground at the culvert. A lorry with building materials which reached this point became sunk. The position now is the most serious in which the hospital has found itself since the beginning of the trouble


Document in PDF format