Themes

NEGOTIATIONS WITH HAGANAH OVER THE ALTALENA

 

The joy of Meridor’s surprise homecoming after four years’ enforced absence was soon invaded by the grim tones of our conference with Begin and Avraham.

 

INSTEAD OF A SHIP FILLED WITH MEN AND ARMS WE BROUGHT ELOQUENT EXPLANATIONS FOR ITS FAILURE TO ARRIVE.

 

This was indeed the crucial moment.

 

An accretion of even a few hundred rifles and a few thousand rounds of ammunition at that moment could have a decisive effect on the battle in which our Irgun force, under the operational agreement with the Haganah, was at that moment engaged: an attack on Ramleh.

 

A courier from Giddy arrived while we were talking to ask of (ammunitions).

 

There was none available.

 

The Haganah, Begin told us, was in no better state.

 

WITH ADEQUATE ARMS HE WAS CONFIDENT THE WHOLE OF WESTERN PALESTINE COULD BE LIBERATED.

 

We came to a quick decision.  Crying over spilt milk would not help. 

 

WE MUST FIND THE QUICKEST MEANS OF BRINGING THE ALTALENA.

 

          *        *        *

 

That midnight at the Irgun headquarters in the Fraud Hospital we held a meeting with three representatives of the Haganah: it’s Commander Israel Galili, Levi Skolnik (now Eshkol) and a man named Cohen.

 

The Irgun was represented by Begin, Avraham, Meridor and me.

 

We told them of the Altalena and we made them a proposal.

 

*They should supplement the funds at our disposal so that we could buy an adequate quantity of arms to put into the hands of our men when they went into the national army which we expected would soon be created.

 

We estimated our lack at 250,000 dollars.

 

*With our thousand men and or arms on board, the Haganah could then add a thousand or even two thousand men of their own from their reserves in Europe, together with whatever arms they wished to transport.

 

*With the bringing of the ship and its cargo to Palestine, we would hand the ship over to the ownership of the Provisional Government of Israel.

 

*We also informed them of the negotiations in Canada for the purchase of planes.

 

*In the circumstances, once we had the planes, we would direct them to whatever airfields were designated by the Haganah.

 

*They agreed to give Avraham the necessary information to guide the pilots when they came flying them.

 

          *        *        *

 

The joy of Meridor’s surprise homecoming after four years’ enforced absence was soon invaded by the grim tones of our conference with Begin and Avraham.

 

INSTEAD OF A SHIP FILLED WITH MEN AND ARMS WE BROUGHT ELOQUENT EXPLANATIONS FOR ITS FAILURE TO ARRIVE.

 

This was indeed the crucial moment.

 

An accretion of even a few hundred rifles and a few thousand rounds of ammunition at that moment could have a decisive effect on the battle in which our Irgun force, under the operational agreement with the Haganah, was at that moment engaged: an attack on Ramleh.

 

A courier from Giddy arrived while we were talking to ask of (ammunitions).

 

There was none available.

 

The Haganah, Begin told us, was in no better state.

 

WITH ADEQUATE ARMS HE WAS CONFIDENT THE WHOLE OF WESTERN PALESTINE COULD BE LIBERATED.

 

We came to a quick decision.  Crying over spilt milk would not help. 

 

WE MUST FIND THE QUICKEST MEANS OF BRINGING THE ALTALENA.

 

NEGOTIATIONS WITH HAGANAH OVER THE ALTALENA:

 

That midnight at the Irgun headquarters in the Fraud Hospital we held a meeting with three representatives of the Haganah: it’s Commander Israel Galili, Levi Skolnik (now Eshkol) and a man named Cohen.

 

The Irgun was represented by Begin, Avraham, Meridor and me.

 

We told them of the Altalena and we made them a proposal.

 




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