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Forces, Palestine (Functions)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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46.

asked the Minister of Defence if it is still the intention of His Majesty's Government to retain our troops in Palestine until 1st August; and what instructions he has now issued as to their behaviour during the period concerned.

As has already been announced, 1st August is the date by which it is planned to complete the evacuation of our Forces from Palestine. As regards the functions of the Forces remaining in Palestine until that date, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the speech made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 11th December, 1947. I am sure the House will agree that the troops are carrying out their difficult task in a manner deserving of the highest commendation.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, the House agrees with the right hon. Gentleman, but in view of the fact that Jewish terrorists have apparently intensified their murderous attacks on British troops, will not the Government reconsider their decision, and evacuate them sooner than 1st August?

In view of the developments in Palestine since the speech referred to, can my right hon. Friend say whether the Government propose to continue their policy in Palestine of making no distinction whatever between those who are defending the United Nations decision and those who are attacking it?

The Question merely deals with the retention of troops and nothing else.

Is the Minister aware of the statement made in today's paper that 500 cases of Scotch whisky were seized by Arabs in a train held up yesterday, and will he consider making arrangements to ban these exports?

The Question has nothing to do with Jews or Arabs, but is about our troops.