Arab Higher Committee“Dr. Hussein el-Khalidi, secretary of the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine, rejected today proposals for a truce in Jerusalem for an international force to protect the city and for a trusteeship for the Holy Land.

Dr. Khalidi had just returned from an Arab League meeting in Beirut, where he conferred with the committee’s chairman, Haj Amin el-Husseini, exiled Mufti of Jerusalem.

In rejecting the proposals for peace in Jerusalem, made by Dr. Cyril Garbett, and the Archbishp of York, Dr. Khalidi declared that they were inspired not by convern for holy places buy by a realization that the position of the Jews in the city would be untenable after May 15 (the date for Britain’s relinquishing of the League of Nations mandate), ‘when we will cut off the water supply and put 300 barricades across the Bab el-wad road to the coast.’

The Archbishop of York’s fears for holy places in the Old City are unwarranted as far as the Arabs are concerned the Arab spokesman said, because it is ‘inconceivable that the Moslem, who have been their custodians for the past thirteen centuries,’ will damage them.

‘A threat to holy places, Christian, Jewish or Moslem,’ Dr. Khalidi maintained, ‘could come only from Jewish aggression an attempt to break into the Old City or action by the Stern, Irgun Zvai Leumi and Haganah groups, initiated the bombings of the last few years.’ [The Stern Group and Irgun Zvai Leumi are terrorist groups.  The Haganah is the Zionist militia.]

Dr. Khalidi disclosed that the Arab Higer Committee had, through the Moslem Supreme Council, suggested to British authorities that the Arabs would guarantee the lives and property of Jews in their quarter of the Old City on three conditions

(1) Withdrawal of all members of the Haganah, Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group, ‘who never lived or belonged there’

(2) Removal of all pillboxes entrenchments and machine-gun post on the roof of the great synagogue.

(3) Only Orthodox Jews who lived there in peacetime should remain.  Since no reply had been received he said, he assumed the Jews rejected the suggestion

Dr. Khalidi had declined to separate the question of Jerusalem from that of Palestine generally.  ‘There has always been fighting in Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘since the times of the Temple Crusaders, the Turks, Napoleon, Ibrahim  Pasha of Egypt and the British’

Source: New York Times March 30, 1948