“…we prefer to be annihilated in our entirety to becoming a minority in our country.” – Mufti of Jerusalem.
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Says Partition of Palestine Will Be Resisted, U. S. Oil Interests May Suffer
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 10 (UP).—The Haj Amin El-Husseini, exiled Mufti of Jerusalem, said today the Arabs will fight anybody they have to in order to prevent a Jewish state in Palestine.
He intimated the Arab States would join fully in the fight, that they would even oppose any international force sent to Palestine by the United Nations after the British withdrew, and that American oil interests in the Middle East would suffer.
Often questions submitted to him, the Mufti, who is the titular political and spiritual leader of the Palestinian Arabs, answered eight. He left unanswered one concerning a possible Communist threat to the Arab world, and one on the possible future position of the Trans-Jordan Arab Legion, which serves under British officers.
The questions and answers-
Q.—What do you think of threats by Arabs of eventual withdrawal of Arab nations from the U. N. if the partitioning of Palestine is adopted?
A.—I have no doubt that they only voice the feelings of Arabs.
Q.—If the American government continues to support Zionism will the Arabs oppose American oil interests in the Middle East and will British interests suffer the same fate?
A.—The Arabs have repeatedly declared that they will resist aggression by all means at their disposal. With this end in view they are determined to sacrifice both life and property, physically and economically, as would any other people when it finds itself faced with the danger of extinction.
Q.—Do the Arabs consider Russia’s stand for partition equally as unfriendly as they consider America’s?
A.—Yes, such an attitude on the part of both powers is not only unfriendly but devoid of any moral justification and is in direct violation of the principles of the U. N. Charter. This violation the Arabs are determined to fight to the bitter end.
Q.—Will the Arabs fight in Palestine if international police take over from Britain?
A.—The Arabs are unwaveringly determined to defend all the country from any aggression, irrespective whence it comes.
Q.—If war is inevitable what will be the fate of the Jews in conquered Palestine?
A.—I hope wise statesmanship, based on morality and the principles of the U. N. Charter, will make it possible for war in the Holy Land to be avoided. When an Arab State is established in Palestine the Jews will be treated with justice and in the same way Jews are being treated in Britain and America. …
Q.—Zionists claim that the Arabs in a Jewish state would not be deprived of their land and would continue to enjoy full rights of citizenship, so that consequently the Arabs need not fear partition. If this is true, why do the Arabs fight partition?
A.—The Arabs oppose partition for the same reasons Americans would oppose creation in California of a separate independent state by an alien community imposed upon Americans by force of arms. The Arabs therefore are determined to fight the creation of a Jewish state in a part of Palestine with the same force as they would fight the creation of such a state in the whole of Palestine. … Every part of their country is as dear to them as any other part. They are supported in this defensive fight not only by the Arab, but also by the Moslem world. With reference to the assurance regarding the civil rights of the Arab minority in a would-be Jewish state, the reply is that we prefer to be annihilated in our entirety to becoming a minority in our country.
Q.—Your Eminence was charged with being an Axis collaborationist during the war. Is this true?
A.—After the Arabs vainly tried to dissuade the British from imposing upon them an alien population, coming expressly to dominate them, they resisted. Their villages were bombed, their organizations declared illegal. Some of their leaders were put in concentration camps. Others were exiled. Still others escaped and sought refuge in neighboring countries. I was one of these. I first took refuge in Lebanon, then was forced to leave for Iraq, then for Iran. But upon the occupation of Iran by the British I had no alternative but to seek Europe as a political refuge, having been denied a home in Turkey.
Q.—Would Your Eminence accept the presidency of an independent Palestine, and what form of government would you propose for that state?
A.—Personally, I have no wish or desire ever to be head of an Arab state in Palestine. Regarding the form of government, that is a question to be determined by a constituted assembly representing the country.