SHUMEL KATZ ANSWER TO BEN GURION’S ULTIMATUM, 20 SEPTEMBER 1948
Shmuel Katz’s public answer to Ben Gurion’s ultimatum of threat of civil war sent to the Irgun, 20 September 1948:
“Rejection of this ultimatum would involve considerable bloodshed. The strength of the Irgun Zvai Leumi in
“But this ultimatum – which incidentally shows considerable advance from the 10 minutes allowed to the Irgun Commander at Kfar Vitkin – provides yet another example of the practiced deception and trickery with which the Provisional Government of
“This document comes three weeks after the Provisional Government had had the I.Z.L. reply to its previously stated demand of disbandment. Then too and for the same reason that we were not prepared to let the Government plunge us into Civil War – the I.Z.L. announced its readiness to yield to the demand. But then the demand was accompanied by proposals (verbally) made to I.Z.L. They were as follows:
1. The I.Z.L. in
2. The Provisional Government of
3. The soldiers of eh I.Z.L. in
4. These terms are mutually binding as long as there is Jewish rule in
“The Irgun Zvai Leumi representatives were told they could regard these proposals as official. On the other hand, non-acceptance would result in the Government’s use of force. The I.Z.L. accepted the proposals in principle. And then began the by now characteristic shifty behaviour of the Provisional Government. It was then we were told that the proposals were not the Government’s, but those of the negotiator. Then the negotiator had to ‘negotiate on them’ with the Government. And on one pretext or another treh matter dragged on for three weeks.
“Yesterday, three weeks after they knew that we were not going to give them the opportunity of shedding Jewish blood and that we were prepared to join the Haganah Army, the Cabinet-member who had been negotiating with us announced telephonically that the matter was now out of his hands. And the ultimatum was delivered by the Adjutant to the Minister of Security, Mr. Ben Gurion.