Monday, September 19, 2016

The Murder of Avraham Stern in Parliament

In parliamentary question time in Britain's House of Lords, on the subject of "Palestine Terrorism", we have this record for 02 June 1942 

My Lords, I beg to ask the first question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows: To ask His Majesty's Government when and under what circumstances a Palestinian Jew named Stein or Stern was killed while attempting to escape.]

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Cranborne has had to leave the House, and he has asked me to make the following statement on his behalf. Abraham Stern, to whom the noble Lord's question presumably refers, was the leader of a secret terrorist organization of Jewish extremists formed in Palestine about the middle of 1940. The Stern group included persons known to have been responsible for the murder of two British police inspectors in 1939, but against whom nothing could be proved, and others concerned in cases either of murder or robbery with violence who have subsequently been convicted.

Soon after the group was formed, its members entered upon a campaign of organized terrorism, primarily with the object of obtaining funds for the furtherance of their 69so-called political programme, which was Fascist in character. In the furtherance of their objectives, they sought to enlist the help of Italy after Italy had entered the war. Steps were taken by the authorities to round up the gang, and the activities of these Jewish terrorists reached their climax in the cold-blooded murder at Tel Aviv in January last of three police officers and the wounding of four others. Vigorous action has since been taken by the police in rounding up members of the gang, and this resulted in the death, while attempting to escape, of Stern himself and of two other terrorists in February last, and in the detention of the principal members of the gang.

LORD WEDGWOOD My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord realizes that the connotation of the words "killed while attempting to escape" is unfortunate. They have a very unfortunate background and, indeed, come from Germany. I hope that that sort of thing is not going to develop in Palestine.

Stern, Yair, was shot dead while his hands were manacled.

Did [Geoffrey Morton] or did he not shoot an unarmed Stern in cold blood? Morton maintained, for the rest of his life that he shot Stern dead because the latter had tried to escape through a window and might have triggered an ‘infernal device’ that would blow everybody in the room up. This version of events was called into question several times in subsequent years. The most damaging testimony came from a fellow policeman, Sergeant Bernard Stamp, who claimed to have been in the room when the shooting took place. According to Bishop, in a statement Morton gave immediately after the event, he acknowledged Stamp’s presence, but years later he denied the sergeant had ever been there. Not long before he died, Stamp said that Morton shot Stern without him having made any attempt to escape, and that any talk of there being an ‘infernal device’ was trumped up nonsense.
And this:

Another policeman, Bernard Stamp, later told Israel Radio that in his judgment, Stern was "killed by the police force, he was unarmed, no chance of escape."


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