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Immigration, Land Settlement
SIR JOHN HOPE SIMPSON, C.I.E.
Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to
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To The Secretary of State for the Colonies,
In accordance with Your Lordship's instructions I proceeded to Palestine in order to examine on the spot the questions of immigration, land settlement and development on which you desired that I should report.
I reached Jerusalem on 20th May, 1930, and at once commenced my enquiry. I was in constant consultation with the High Commissioner, who was thereafter kept in touch with the enquiry as it proceeded.
2. Much information has been obtained from official sources, and, in addition, both Arab and Jewish authorities and organisations have been consulted. Material has been obtained from the most varied sources, and has often been volunteered. In addition, as many tracts and villages of Palestine have been visited as the time available permitted. On Map No. 1, attached to the Report, both the tours and inspection of the villages visited are marked.*
3. In addition to local enquiry in Palestine itself a visit was paid to TransJordan, where the British Resident, LieutenantColonel C. H. F. Cox, C.M.G., D.S.O., very kindly arranged a tour throughout the northern part of the territory. His Highness the Emir of TransJordan also accorded to me the favour of an interview.
4. I desire to acknowledge invaluable assistance received in many quarters. The High Commissioner, Sir John Chancellor, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., D.S.O., and Sir Spenser Davis.. C.M.G., Officer Administering the Government after the departure of Sir John Chancellor, afforded me every possible help, and in consultation the benefit of their knowledge and experience. I had access to the records of all Departments of the Government. The enquiry inevitably entailed upon them heavy additional work, and I express my sense of the obligation under which the Heads and staffs of those Departments have placed me by the information which they collected and supplied.
The Supreme Moslem Council and the Arab Executive gave valued aid in the enquiry. Specially I am indebted to Jamal Effendi Husseini, who accompanied me on tours in some of the Arab villages.
The Jewish Agency supplied a very large amount of information on every subject investigated. I record my gratitude specially to Dr. Kuppin, whose aid was invaluable, and to Mr. Victor Konn, of the P.I.C.A. These gentlemen arranged my tours through the Jewish settlements.
* See Note on page 3.
Dr. Wilkansky, of the Agricultural Experimental Station at TelAviv, not only placed his large technical knowledge of agricultural matters at my disposal and accompanied me on some of my tours, but has placed me under a particular obligation by allowing me to use the proofsheets of his book, which is about to appear, on " The Fellah's Farm ".
Air Commodore Playfair, M.C., very kindly arranged for an aerial test survey of the Hill Districts for the purposes of my enquiry. It has been a deciding element in the conclusions which have been reached. To him and the members of the Air Force who carried out the survey, my very sincere thanks are due.
Special recognition is also due to Mr. C. H. Ley, O.B.E., Director of Surveys, and his staff, who not only did a large amount of work in determining the areas but also prepared special maps which are attached to this report.
It is impossible to acknowledge in detail the innumerable sources from which help was drawn. It may be said generally that all concerned united to make my enquiry as complete as was possible in the time at my disposal.
I acknowledge with thanks the courtesy of the " Geographical Review", published by the American Geographical Society of New York, and of Dr. Strahorn, in generously permitting me to use the soil map appended as Map No. 4* to the report.
Finally, I desire to record my deep obligation to Mr. Maurice C. Bennett, who served throughout as my secretary and accompanied me to Athens, where the report was written, and to Mr. C. L. Horton, my assistant secretary. Had it not been for the devoted service and untiring labours of these two gentlemen, the report could not possibly have been prepared by this date.
I now forward for your Lordship's information the Report on the matters included in the terms of reference.
NOTE.The maps referred to in this Report, with the exception of No. 3 (not reproduced), will be published later in the form of an Appendix to this Command Paper.
Chapter I: Palestine: The Country and the Climate.
(Pages 12 to 20.)
(Pages 24 to 29.)
(Pages 29 to 38.)
Tenancies—Landlords—Tenants—Land Transfer Ordinance, 1920 —Restriction on sale of land—Complaints against restrictions— Transfer of Land Ordinance, 1920-21—Protection of Cultivators Ordinance, 1929—its practical effect—Occupancy Right—Position of Jewish agricultural tenants—Its effect—Eegister of tenants— Palestine Survey—Land Settlement—Land Registration Fees— Land Registers—Maintenance of Record of Occupancy Right.
(Pages 38 to 60.)
(ii) The Zionist Settlements.—The Jewish National Fund— Zionist settlements—Principle of '' self-labour ''—Expenditure by Keren Kayemeth and Keren Hayesod—Population of 'Settlements—Area of Settlements—Reserve Area—Emek Colonies and contagious abortion—Experts' opinion as to completion of establishments—Self-supporting Zionist Settlements —the Consolidation Budget—Kfar Yeheskiel—Cost of Settlement—Keren-Hayesod Budget—Influence of Federation of Labour—Kvutzoth Colonies—Small-holding Colonies—Emek and Upper Jordan Colonies—Nahalal—Regulating Societies Kfar Yeheskiel—Degania " A "—Kiryath Anavim—Jewish Rural Population—Zionist Settlements not self-supporting— Excessive cost of Zionist Settlement—Jewish Settlement in Russia—Settlements of Refugees in Greece—Expenditure on Settlement and Effect of non-payment.
(iii) The Effect of the Jewish Settlement on the Arab— P. I.C. A. and Arab relations—Zionist Colonization—the P.L.D.C.'s attitude towards Arab cultivators—Government responsibility towards Arab cultivators—the Constitution of the Jewish Agency—Land holding and Employment clauses—Keren Kayemeth Draft lease—Employment of Jewish labour only—Keren Hayesod Agreements, Employment of Labour—Zionist policy in regard to Arabs in their Colonies— The Effect of the Zionist Colonization policy on the Arab— Reasons for the exclusion of the Arab—Policy contrary to Article 6 of the Mandate.
(iv) Government Lands.—The question of the Government Lands—Huleh and Beisan—Chiftlik Estates—Only small areas available until developed—Possibility of additional Mewat land.
(Pages 74 to 91.)
B. Education.—The Jewish Schools—the State Schools—the Budget—the Necessity—its importance to agricultural development
—Agricultural Schools—the Village School and Agriculture—Need for additional Expenditure Technical Education in Agriculture— Agricultural certificated schoolmasters—Collaboration between Departments of Agriculture and Education.
C. Irrigation.—The existing waste of Water—the Aujha Concession—Nebi Rubin—The Acre Plain—The Huleh area—the Beisan area—the Beisan Agreement—the Jordan Valley—other possibilities—the Draft Irrigation Ordinance—constitution of a separate Irrigation Service.
D. Co-operation.—The Jewish movement—Information avail-able—Rates of interest on deposits and loans—Activities of certain co-operative Societies—Co-operative Industrial Producers' Societies
—Land-purchasing Societies—Membership of Societies—Necessity for extension to Arab population—Treatment of existing debts— Desirability of joint action between Jews and Arabs.
Chapter VIII: Agricultural Produce.
(Pages 92 to 106.)
(a) Citrus Cultivation.—Origin of orange cultivation—Area avail-able—Area under Citrus cultivation—Future of the Orange Trade.
(d) Melons.—Exports to Egypt and Syria—Adverse effect on Export due to imposts in Egypt and Syria.
(e) Almonds.—Production and Export figures—Area under Almond cultivation—Eeplacement of Almonds by Oranges—Pests
(f) Grapes.—Export of Wine—Exports of Table-grapes—Competition in the markets—Trial consignments to London—Complaints against the Excise duty and Licence fees.
(g) Tobacco.—Extent of the Tobacco trade—Local leaf—Necessity for instruction in improvement of methods—Complaints in regard to the Tobacco Ordinance—Minimum area of two dunams— Prohibition of use of home-grown Tobacco.
(h) Olives.—Grade of Oil—Methods of culture—Introduction of improved methods—Extension of area under Cultivation.
(j) Barley.—Export Trade—Possible reasons for reduction of overseas trade—Proposals for revival of the trade.
(k) Minor Agricultural Products.— The Silkworm—Present position of Sericulture—Bees—Prevalence of Eoulbrood—Expansion of the Industry.
(1) Dairy and Stock-breeding.—Contagious abortion—Stall-feeding of Dairy Stock.
(Pages 106 to 118.)
(Pages 119 to 140.)
—The influence of the General Federation of Jewish Labour over Immigrants and Immigration—Preparation of Labour Immigration Schedules—Procedure after Schedule approved by High Commissioner—Authorization of visas—Failure of the System—Weakness of and responsibility under the present System—The selection of Immigrants abroad—Government control abroad—Travellers remaining in Palestine—Evasion of the Frontier control—Discouragement of Illicit Entry—Immigration and the General Federation of Jewish Labour—'Settlement of cases in which members are concerned—Jewish labour as Key-stone of the Jewish National Home—The sources of Immigration—Immigration and Unemployment—Figures in regard to the number of unemployed—Arab Unemployment—Further Immigration and its probable Effect on Arab Unemployment—Recent increase in Jewish Unemployment— Duty of Government in regard to Immigration—Employment .of Arabs in Jewish concerns—" Derived Demand "—Unemployment Statistics and Government Employment Exchanges—'Seasonal and Occasional Labour—Importation of other than Jewish Labour— Prevention of illicit Immigration—Arab Unemployment as a political Pawn—Article 6 of the Mandate and its Effect on Immigration
—Suspension of Labour Schedule—Preparation of the Labour Schedule—Proposed Change in Method—Formation of a Department of Immigration Labour and Travel.
(Pages 141 to 153.)
Agricultural Development Scheme.—Improvement of tho Fellah's Methods—Development of Intensive Agriculture—Development of Irrigation—Jewish reserves of Land—Control of Disposition of Land—Powers of Government to purchase Land—Development Commission—Responsibilities of the Development Commission—Available areas in Plains—Cost of Settling a Family—Distribution of Developed Land—Co-operation between Jewish Agencies and the Development Commission—Artificial Inflation of Land Values—Ascertainment of the Number of Landless Arabs— Migration—Its difficulties—Hydrographic Survey—Urgency of Irrigation Legislation—Formation of an Irrigation Department— Occupancy Eight—Partition of Mesha'a—Acceleration of Land Settlement—Abolishment of Imprisonment for Debt—Redistribution and Reduction of Taxation—Reduction of Land Registration Fees—Co-ordination of Agricultural Scientific (Services—Increase of Department of Agriculture's Budget—Demonstration Plots—Distribution of Trees—Separation of the Forest Service.
Education.—Increase of the budget of the Department of Education—Agricultural Course for Schoolmasters—Co-operation— Encouragement of Co-operation between Arab and Jew in Orange Industry—Constitution of Co-operative Credit Societies—Mr. Strickland's Mission.
Agricultural Development.—Government acquisition of The Huleh Concession—Limitation of Orange Cultivation—Development of other Fruit Crops—Import Duty on Melons in Egypt—-Improvement of Grades of Tobacco—Amendment of Minimum area of Tobacco—Improvement of Quality of Olive Oil and Pruning of Trees—Steps to revive the Barley Export Trade—Encouragement of Sericulture and Production of Honey—Possibility of a Canning Industry for Dairy Produce.
Palestinian Industry.—Reduction of Excise on Wines—Position of Industries—Encouragement of Arab Industries.
Immigration and Labour.—Preparation of Labour Immigration Schedules—Immigration Officer at towns abroad—Expulsion of illicit Immigrants—Registration of Unemployment and Labour Exchanges—Constitution of a separate Department of Immigration, Travel and Labour—Part of Expenditure of Development Commission recoverable—Intensive Development of rural Palestine essential—Introduction of Settlers possible if Development carried out—Necessity for joint Endeavour.
TABLE OF EQUIVALENTS.
Palestine: The Country and the Climate.
Palestine is a small country generally stated to be about the size of Wales. There have been many estimates of its size and varied statements and arguments based thereon. The size of Palestine, and especially the cultivable area of the country, are so highly relevant to the matters under enquiry and to the deductions which must be made, that it is necessary to examine the more important of the statements and the estimates with some care.
The " Handbook of Palestine " prepared by Messrs. Luke and KeithRoach, puts the total area at 10,000 sq. miles, practically 26,000,000 metric dunams. The Report of the Experts submitted to the Joint Palestine Survey Commission <jp. 18) recorded 8,800 sq. miles. They do not offer any information as to the authority for this figure.
On May 20th, 1925, a statement was made by Lord Stanhope in the House of Lords, which has frequently been quoted as authoritative. In that statement he said that the total area of Palestine was approximately 27,000,000 Turkish dunams; this is equal to 8,528 sq. 'miles.
On July 4th, 1927, the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government wrote a letter (No. 10,56627) to the address of Dr. Ruppin,. Head of the Colonisation Department of the Zionist Organisation r in which he said that the total area of Palestine was 9,570 sq. miles.
The Statistical Abstract for 1929 published at Jerusalem by the KerenHayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) records the area as 10,170 sq. miles.
Finally, the Director of Surveys in Palestine reported to the Commissioner of Lands in July, 1929, that, excluding the BeerSheba subdistrict and the southern desert, the area of the rest of Palestine was 13,760,000 dunams, and that the area of Beersheba subdistrict and the southern desert was 12,398,000 dunams, making the total area of Palestine 26,158,000 dunams or 10,100 sq. miles.
In forwarding this estimate to the Chief Secretary the Commissioner of Lands wrote :
The Natural divisions of Palestine. The natural divisions of the country are :
(c) The Beersheba area, different in character and population from the rest of the country.
* See Note on page 3.
1.THE MARITIME PLAIN.
The Maritime Plain as shown in Map No. 2 is estimated by the Director of Surveys to extend to 3,218,000 dunams, of which 2,663,000 dunams are cultivable. This estimate agrees very closely with that made by the Experts and printed on p. 22 of their Report to the Joint Palestine Survey Commission. They record the cultivable areas :
Nonirrigable ... ... ... ... 410,000 dunams
These figures differ materially from the analogous figures recorded by the Experts. In the Report of the Experts on p. 22, this plain is divided into the plain north of Acre and the HaifaAcre plain. The total area of the two amounts to 183,000 Turkish dunams, i.e., 168,000 metric dunams. The cultivable area is shown as 103,000 Turkish dunams, i.e., 94,500 metric dunams. The cultivable area is also shown as all irrigable. It is not known whence the Experts obtained the estimate included in their Report.
" .... Up to within recent years the land was cultivated from the Arab villages, located round the rim of the Plain. Cereals together with minor garden areas around the villages constituted the Arab cropping system. In very recent years considerable areas of land have passed under the control of Jewish colonies and villages; gardens and orchards are now dotting the former expanse of grainfields . . . . "
In ancient times Esdraelon was the granary, and by the Arabs is still regarded as the most fertile tract of Palestine. The soreness felt owing to the sale of large areas by the absentee Sursock family to the Jews and the displacement of the Arab tenants is still acute. It was evident on every occasion of discussion with the Arabs, both effendi and fellahin.
Private land.. ... ... ... 110,000 do.
Lake Merom ... ... ... 18,000 do.
The figures are all Turkish dunams, and, reduced to metric dunams, the areas are :
No survey of the marsh area has been made, nor is one possible, except by air, until the marsh is drained. It will be safe to assume that, excluding the cultivation of the Arabs in that area, there is still an area of some 25,000 to 30,000 metric dunams of marsh land available for reclamation. Were the Lake also drained a further 9,000 or 10,000 metric dunams would be rendered cultivable. The soil of the whole Huleh Plain is exceedingly fertile. It is indeed said to be the most fertile soil in Palestine.
For the purposes of the present enquiry a committee, consisting of the Government Geologist, the chief Agricultural Officer, the Irrigation Officer and an agricultural chemist, was appointed to enquire into and report upon the extent of irrigable lands in the southern part of the Jordan Valley. They report that there is an area of roughly 100,000 dunams which may profitably be irrigated, in addition to the present irrigated area, between the Dead Sea and the southern boundary of the Beisan area. Of this 28,500 dunams is land included in the Beisan chiftlik. The balance is 71,500. Already some 54,000 metric dunams are under irrigation in the lower Jordan Valley. Adding to this latter area the 71,500 dunams of the Committee's report and the 388,517 dunams of the Beisan Agreement areas, the total cultivable area of the whole Jordan Valley reaches 514,017 dunams.
Possibilities.Given the possibility of irrigation there is practically an inexhaustible supply of cultivable land in the Beersheba, area. Without irrigation, the country cannot be developed. Up to the present time there has been no organised attempt to ascertain whether there is or is not an artesian supply of water. If there prove to be such a supply the problem of providing agricultural land for the Palestine population and, indeed, for a large number of immigrant settlers, will be easy of solution.
Palestine: The Agricultural Land.
Mr. Jabotinsky's Estimate.Many estimates have been made of the total agricultural cultivable area of Palestine, of which some have been rather in the nature of guesswork than of estimations. Mr. Jabotinsky has stated that the cultivable area is from 16,000,000 to 18,000,000 dunams. It is not known on what facts this suggestion is based nor whether the dunams mentioned are metric or Turkish. It is perhaps founded on a statement published in the Review of the Agricultural situation in Palestine, 1922, in which Colonel Sawer writes : " We are dealing with a total exploitable land surface not exceeding 4,500,000 acres." Colonel Sawer pointed out, however, that half of this area had been " written off as uncultivable."
Dr. Ruppin's Estimate.In his evidence before the Commission on the Disturbances, Dr. Ruppin, head of the Colonisation Service of the Zionist Organisation, gave an estimate of the total area of Palestine as from 25,000 to 27,000 sq. kms., of which 12,500 kms. are cultivable. Of this latter area he described 20 per cent, as entirely uncultivated, that is to say, that in his opinion there are 2,500 sq. kms., or 2,500,000 metric dunams available for settlement. As an annex to his statement he filed a paper showing the total of cultivated and uncultivated land in Palestine. Here again the area described as " tillable but uncultivated " is given a& 2,500,000 dunams. The statement was based on the figures quoted by Lord Stanhope in the House of Lords of May 28th, 1925. These dunams were Turkish dunams, and the area was therefore not. 2,500 sq. kms. as stated in the body of the statement, but 2,298.4 sq. kms.
Lord Stanhope's Statement in the House of Lords.Lord Stanhope's statement in the House of Lords, on which Dr. Rugppin relied, was in its turn based on figures submitted by the PalestineGovernment. It is unfortunate that these figures have been widely quoted and frequently accepted as accurate. They are in fact far from accurate, as there were no statistics available at that time from which anything in the nature of an exact estimate could Have. been framed.
Estimate of Commissioner of Lands.Two recent estimates, have been made in an attempt to determine more accurately the cultivable area of Palestine. Of these, one was submitted on April 30th, 1930, by the Commissioner of Lands, and in his letter forwarding the estimate, he discusses the question of the meaning of the term " cultivable land." He includes in that term land which is actually cultivated or which can be brought under cultivation " by the application of the labour and financial resources of the average individual Palestinian cultivator. This definition would therefore exclude marshes, the coastal sanddunes between Eafa and Acre, the rocky hills, the wilderness of Judea and extensive areas in the larger part of the Beersheba subdistrict south of Beersheba town." It appears to include the windblown sands in the maritime plains which are suitable for orange plantations. On this basis the Commissioner of Lands estimates the cultivable area of Palestine as follows :
Estimate of Director of Surveys.The cadastral survey of Palestine is now in progress and the Director of that survey has submitted a careful estimate of the total cultivable area of the country, based in part on the area already surveyed and in part on the results of the aerial survey to which reference has already been made.
Further details of the above areas are given in Appendix 3. The Director of Surveys states that this estimate is based on actual results so far as these have been reached, namely, in an area of 4,047,000 dunams, chiefly in the Maritime Plain. The Director of Surveys has applied to whole cartographic areas as measured on smallscale maps, the same percentage as has been found by largescale survey in the large fractions of those areas already surveyed.
He also states that the cultivable area in the Hills, which has not yet been surveyed, has been calculated from the percentages obtained by close detailed examination of aeroplane photographs specially made by the Royal Air Force on crosscountry flights over a number of tracts selected as representative. The results have given an average percentage of cultivable land in the tracts photographed which has been applied to the whole area of the inhabited hills as measured on a small scale cartographically. The cartographical measurements of whole areas have necessarily in each case been made upon previously existing maps and the figure so obtained is of course far from exact; nevertheless, it is probably much nearer to the actual than the figures hitherto suggested, which were in fact based on guesswork more or less intelligent.
Dr. Strahorris figures in the Report of the Experts to the Joint Palestine Survey Commission.During the enquiry of the Experts who reported to the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, a soil survey of nearly the whole of the area included in the Five Plains was made by Dr. A. T. Strahorn, whose report is found on pages 143236 of the volume of Reports of the Experts. On page 231 he gives the areas of the Plains, excluding the Huleh and the Beersheba areas and a small portion of the Jordan Valley, viz., that portion lying between "WadiesSherar and JisredDamieh. The total area which Dr. Strahorn gives for the plains included in his soil examination is 4,873,354 dunams, of which 490,387 dunams are uncultivable. He uses Turkish dunams. Converting into metric dunams, the cultivable area according to his measurements is 4,029,262 metric dunams. The Huleh area, which is accepted as 80,000 Turkish dunams of which 52,000 dunams are marsh, would give 25,740 metric dunams of cultivable land. The total estimate for the Five Plains, excluding a small area in the narrowest part of the Jordan Valley, would thus be 4,055,002 metric •dunams of cultivable land. This compares with the figure of 4,094,000 calculated by the Director of Surveys for the same area, including the portion of the Jordan Valley omitted by Dr. Strahorn.
The estimate of the Director of Surveys to be accepted for purposes of this Report.For the purpose of this report the estimate of the Director of Surveys will be accepted. The important areas are those of the cultivable land of the Hills and of the Five Plains. The Beersheba region need not enter into consideration for the present. It is not an area in which settlement is possible at the present time. The total area in which settlement might be possible, if there be land to spare, amounts to 6,544,000 dunams in the Hills and in the Five Plains.
Area of Agricultural Land held by Jews.According to Dr. Ruppin's statement before the Commission on the Disturbances, the total area held by the Jews was at that time 1,200,000 Turkish dunams, of which 1,000,000 was cultivable. Of the cultivable area of Palestine, excluding Beersheba, the Jews therefore held at that time 14.04 per cent. Since Dr. Euppin made his statement a further 50,000 metric dunams have been purchased on Jewish account, and, in addition, some 80,000 to 85,000 dunams are under option of purchase. Thus the total percentage either in Jewish possession or under option amounts to over 16 per cent, of the whole cultivable area in these two regions.
Area available for nonJewish cultivators.Of this total, which is not less than 1,300,000 Turkish dunams, 20 per cent, may be deducted to allow for areas possibly uncultivable. The balance will be 1,040,000 Turkish dunams equal to 956,000 metric dunams. Deducting from the estimated cultivable area of 6,544,000 metric dunams a round figure of 900,000 metric dunams on account of Jewish holdings, an area of 5,644,000 metric dunams remains available for nonJewish cultivators at the present time.
Soil Map.By the courtesy of the " Geographical Review published by the American Geographical Society of New York, and with permission kindly accorded by Dr. Strahorn, a map showing the distribution of the soils of .Palestine is attached to this report as Map No. 4.*
Palestine: The Population.
Vital Statistics.The following figures give the average birth, death, and infantile mortality ratios according to religion during the period 1923 to 1929 inclusive :
Appendix 5 gives the detail for each year. The figures are interesting and important and that from more than one aspect. In the first place it is noticeable that the excess of births over deaths is most marked (25.35) among the most numerous section of the population, namely the Moslems. The corresponding figure for the Jewish population is, 22.44. The next noticeable point is the very low death rate among the Jewish population. This is without doubt in part due to the vigorous and young immigrants, of whom that population is composed to a material extent. Finally the figures of infantile mortality are interesting. The Jewish average for the past seven years is 110.25 per thousand, but during the years 1928 and 1929 the figures were 95.8 and 89.78. In England the corresponding figure for the year 1929 was 74, in Germany 97.
Comparative Infantile Mortality figures.The following table gives some comparative figures :
Size of average, family of fellah.Enquiry has been made as to the size of the average family of the fellah. A return from the various district authorities and the Director of Health indicates that this average is 5.5. Applying this figure, the number of families resident in the Hills and the Five Plains is 86,980 this year.
Fellah families cultivating.An enquiry has been made by a Commission appointed by the Palestine Government into the economic condition of agriculturists in 104 representative villages. In these villages there reside 23,573 families, of whom 16,633 have holdings and 6,940 have not, that is to say, that there are in these villages 29.4 per cent, of families who live, not directly by cultivation, but by labour either in the village or outside and in other ways. Everywhere there is the complaint that many of the cultivators have lost their land. Doubtless this 29.4 per cent, includes these landless men who previously were cultivators. If a deduction of 29.4 per cent, is made from the total of 86,980 families reached above, the balance is 61,408 families actually cultivating the land in the Hills and the Five Plains. In addition, there are a large number of families which should be, but are not, cultivating the land.
Much, however, still remains to be done. Huleh is a plague spot. The malaria of that part of Palestine will not be finally overcome until the Huleh Lake is drained and there is a free flow of water out of the Basin into the Jordan River. There are wide areas in the neighbourhood of Acre where drainage is necessary. There are still swampy areas in the Maritime Plain.
The second of the preventable diseases which are common in Palestine is trachoma. This disease is being combated with great vigour all through the Jewish Settlements and in the towns. In the village schools of the Government the eyes of the children are examined periodically by competent physicians. The work of the hospital of the Order of St. John at Jerusalem is famous even beyond the boundaries of Palestine.
Generally speaking, the health of the population of Palestine is the object of more attention than is the case in the great majority of Oriental countries. Once the malarial swamps are drained, and when the Arab villages become more accustomed to demand medical care than is the case at present, the position will be completely satisfactory.
It is the good fortune of the Government that Jewish organisations provide such an effective service for their own people. It would be impracticable for the Government to supply anything on a similar scale with the funds at its disposal. In its report* for the year 1928 on the administration of Palestine, submitted to the Council of the League, His Majesty's Government wrote the following : " It has been the policy of Government to rely as far as possible on private and Municipal Hospitals and Dispensaries to furnish general medical relief to the population, and to devote Government funds to such services as isolation hospitals for serious infectious diseases, special clinics for trachoma and epidemic ophthalmia, the treatment of the endemic syphilis which exists in many of the villages and of malaria in rural areas. For certain sections of the population, however, such as the Beduin tribes, which would otherwise lack medical attention altogether, Government establish special clinics, and circumstances arise from time to time in which assistance to voluntary organisation for general assistance is necessary."
The country is fortunate that there is so much of voluntary help in Palestine. It is questionable whether with the large growth of the Jewish population, which is proceeding by natural increase, apart altogether from immigration, it will be possible for the Jewish agencies indefinitely to maintain expenditure on its present scale. It will be impossible for the Government ever to undertake medical services to the Jewish population on a scale more liberal than that applied to the rest of the population, but a time will surely come when the services of the Government will be compelled to extend their radius of action, so as to include Jewish settlements as well as Arab villages.
Meanwhile such funds as can be made available will doubtless be applied to the drainage of the malarial swamps which still remain. There is a distinct relation between the economic efficiency of a people and its health. Its vigour is seriously affected by malaria. If the country's agriculture is to be developed, that development will be easier and more efficient if the rural population can be freed from the scourge of malaria.
The Health Department of the Government is staffed by a Director, a DeputyDirector, an Assistant Director, six Senior Medical Officers, a specialist surgeon, a Government analyst, 40 junior Medical Officers. There are Government Hospitals at Jerusalem and Haifa, and Municipal Hospitals, assisted and administered by the Government, at Nablus, Gaza, Beersheba and Acre.
In all, including the hospitals administered by the Hadassah and the Government, there are 38 hospitals in Palestine. Of these, five are special hospitals(two mental hospitals, 117 beds; one tuberculous diseases hospital, 53 beds; one ophthalmic hospital, 45 beds; one leper hospital, 60 beds)and the remaining 33, with 1,692 beds, are available for the general needs of the population. This gives one bed for 559 persons.
It is noticeable that the main concentration of medical assistance of all kinds is in the towns. Private medical practice does not extend to the Arab villages. These are chiefly dependent on the services of the Government Medical Officers. The Jewish settlements are, however, well provided for in this respect, and that population, probably more than in any other country, has ample medical assistance at its door.
Among the complaints made by Arabs one had reference to the enormous influx of Jewish doctors into the country, an influx which "was stated to have deprived a number of Arab qualified practitioners of their practices. The population of Jaffa is about 33,000; of TelAviv, the Jewish suburb of Jaffa, which is now a separate Municipal area, 40,000. In 1922 there were registered 25 medical practitioners in Jaffa and 24 in TelAviv. In 1929 the respective numbers were 32 and 147. That is to say, that for 73,000 people there are 179 medical practitioners, or one to every 408 inhabitants. It is clear that the number of new practitioners cannot but have affected the practice of the existing Arab doctors, the more so as it is very rare for a Jewish family to call in an Arab doctor. On the other hand, it is said that the Arabs have no aversion to the employment of Jewish medical men.
For the whole of Palestine there are 631 registered medical practitioners; of these there are 147 in TelAviv, 140 in Jerusalem and 75 in Haifa.
Land Tenure in Palestine.
" Wakfs are broadly classified into Sahih, or true Wakfs, and Ghairsahih, or imperfect. The former arise from the dedication of mulk property; the latter from the dedication of miri. As miri property is owned by the State, dedication can only be made by its head. It took the form of setting aside some benefit attaching to the land, generally the tithe, for the use of the object of the dedication. The mulk owner had of course the power to dedicate as and when he pleased, and he still retains that power . . . . "
Expense of partition.Apart from the difficulty in establishing the title, the registration of the amended title costs 3 per cent, of the value of the property by way of registration fees. Again, before the Courts will proceed to a partition they demand a map prepared by a qualified surveyor. This map has to be furnished by the applicant for the partition. In addition, there are the Court fees for the partition, which are themselves not negligible. In sum, the applicant for partition by action of the Courts is put to very serious expense as a preliminary, and is quite uncertain how long the proceedings may last and what the ultimate result will be.
Unofficial partition.There are a large number of villages in which de facto partition has been carried out, although no official sanction has yet been given. In the majority of cases these partitions are unsatisfactory from the agricultural point of view. As in all Oriental countries there is in Palestine a universal desire that each shareholder should have a share, however small, of each distinctive class of land. The result is that the plots of individuals are scattered here and there throughout the village, and are frequently either of ridiculous shape or too small for effective exploitation. Cases are known of fields being so divided that a share is 2,000 metres long and 41 metres broad. There are cases of this kind even where partition has been made by Government officers, as, for instance, in the Beisan area. This is exceedingly unfortunate.
Partition by agreement.It is desirable that partitions should be made by agreement, in which case the procedure is simple and inexpensive, and the cost of the Courts is avoided. As a preliminary a survey of the area to be partitioned is necessary. In sanctioning these partitions it is essential that the influence of the sanctioning officer should be used to correct the tendency to diffuse and uneconomic partition. It is said that this is difficult. One case has been cited in which the fellahin were persuaded to redistribute the land so as to amalgamate the holdings, thus constituting economic blocks. It was a long and tedious process, and the officer concerned was of opinion that it had taken three times as long as an ordinary partition case. The matter is of such extreme importance that it is well worth while to spend a large amount of trouble to ensure satisfactory partitions.
Acceleration of partition.The matter should form the subject of immediate and serious consideration by the Palestine Government. In passing legislation it would be well, if at all feasible, to avoid the nomination of committees. These are notoriously ineffective, both as executive or as quasijudicial bodies. It would be preferable to grant to Area Officers, and, under their supervision and control, to District Officers, the power to enable them to deal with partition cases. Some right of appeal will be necessary in case of parties who feel themselves aggrieved, but resort to the civil courts should be discouraged as far as possible. It is preferable, if feasible, that appeals in partition cases from decisions of Area Officers should lie to the District Commissioner, from District Officers to the Area Officers.
Tenants.No occupancy right exists in favour of the Arab tenant in Palestine. As a rule he holds his land on a yearly tenancy, terminable by his landlord at will.
Land Transfer Ordinance, 1920.Several attempts have been made to improve the position of the agricultural tenant in this respect. In September, 1920, soon after the establishment of the Civil Government, the Land Transfer Ordinance, 1920, was issued. The Preamble of that Ordinance recites :
transferor, if in possession, or the tenant in occupation of the property leased, would retain sufficient land in the district or elsewhere for the maintenance of himself and his family.
If an application were rejected by the District Governor, an appeal lay to the High Commissioner, whose decision was final.
The High Commissioner also had the power to consent to the sale of large areas of land, if he were satisfied that the transfer was in the public interest, or he might refer an application for any such disposition to a Commission which existed at that time, and whose duty it was to report upon closer settlement of the land.
Complaints against restrictions.From the beginning there was general protest on the part of the Arabs against these restrictions on the sale of the land. They alleged that they were designed to impoverish the Arab population and to compel the sale of their land to the Jews at an inadequate price. These complaints were formulated before the Commission of Enquiry which reported on the riots of 1921. That Commission wrote as follows :
Protection of Cultivators Ordinance, 1929.The latest attempt to protect the tenant in cases of sale by the landlord is the Protection of Cultivators Ordinance, 1929. This cancelled the provision of the Ordinance of 1921, which required that, on sale, arrangements should be made to provide a tenant in occupation with land in lieu of the holding from which he was dispossessed.
' Cmd. 1540, page 51.
Its practical effect.This Ordinance is of little value in preventing the displacement of tenants from the soil. There is no record of tenancies in Palestine, as there is, for instance, of agricultural tenancies in India. It would be extremely difficult for any tenant to establish a tenancy of five years on the same holding. In any case, at its best, the ordinance would only provide money compensation, while what is eminently required is, not compensation for disturbance, but a provision against disturbance.
right will effect a very radical change in the position of the Arab tenant visavis his landlord. It will also reduce the market value of land occupied by tenants. It is, however, the only measure likely to arrest the present tendency to divorce the fellahin from the soil.
Register of, tenants.The creation of occupancy right will entail not only the preparation of a register of existing tenants but also the necessary machinery for keeping that register up to date. It is in any case desirable that such information should be available, as it will enable the Government to watch the movement of the agricultural population from the soil to the village or the town. It will provide information as to the course of rents, and so will facilitate periodical revision of any tax on land which may be imposed. It is an essential of any efficient policy of agricultural development. It is desirable that this register of tenants should be prepared by the Settlement staff in the case of settlements now in progress, and I advise that this should be done.
Palestine: Survey.At the present time a survey of Palestine is in progress, which will afford information, of which the want has always been felt seriously with regard to the areas of the
Land Settlement.The main objects of the Settlement are two; the first is to obtain an exact record of the rights of all proprietors of agricultural land, the second, to provide a basis on which a reasonable system of land taxation can be founded, in order that the antiquated systems of Tithe and of Werko may be abolished.
Land registration fees.As to the first of the above objects it may be said that the settlement results will prove of strictly temporary utility if the existing fees on registration of transfers and dispositions of land remain in force. One of the chief reasons for the avoidance of registration of title in the past has been the expense which that registration entailed on the applicant. In Appendix 6 the rates of fee for registration of various kinds are detailed. It will be seen that they are in fact very onerous.
Land registers.It is highly desirable that, once the record of rights prepared by the settlement officers is complete, its maintenance as an accurate record shall be easy. Otherwise the record will very rapidly again become inaccurate. For this reason, the fees to be charged on the registration of changes in the record should be so light that they will not prove to be a serious burden on the person to whom a property has been transferred.
Maintenance of record of occupancy right.It has been suggested above that the village records should include a record of tenants as well as one of the proprietors. If this proposal is accepted, it will be necessary to have a machinery to keep the tenants' register up to date. The same agency might deal with the register of owners. Responsibility for application for amendment of the register should not be removed from the shoulders of the proprietor or the tenant, but the official who is charged with the maintenance of the records will be in a position to bring to notice those cases in which that responsibility is not in fact discharged. If a penalty were to attach to failure in this matter of application for amendment of the register, and at the same time there existed an official in a position to know the facts, there should be little difficulty in keeping the registers accurately up to date. An accurate record of this kind will be of great value, not only to the authorities but, and perhaps even more importantly so, to the proprietors and to the tenants of the village.
Benjamina.Similar provision is made for the labouring class, in this case Jews from Georgia, in the colony of Benjamina, lying south of Pardessana. In that colony a perfume factory has been started successfully, and both the colonists and the labourers have been encouraged to reserve a small area for jasmine, and have been instructed in the method of cultivation and in that of plucking the flower. The produce of the factory is stated to be of good quality, and to sell for high prices in France or in England. The actual profits to the grower are not large, as cultivation and plucking absorb much labour and occupy much time. The industry is, however, well suited for allotment holdings such as those with which the labourers are provided.
* The whole of this sum has not been expended on families actually settled. It includes an amount spent on land still in reserve.
Area of Zionist settlements.In Appendix 11 is reproduced a statement submitted by the Jewish Agency as to areas held. This shows that included in the settlements belonging to the Zionist Organisation are 129,466 dunams of land, in addition to 14,758 dunams belonging to settlements described as '' supported ''. These latter are settlements belonging to other agencies for whose continuance the assistance of the Zionist Organisation is required. Of the 129,466 dunams actually the property of the Zionist Organisation, and included in the settlements, 15,137 dunams are leased to others, 11,958 dunams are shown as fallow, and 7,390 are " idle, fit for cultivation ", i.e., in all 34,485 dunams, or 26.6 per cent, of the total of the cultivable area of these settlements was for one reason or another not cultivated during the last year by the settlers themselves.
Reserve area.As has been recorded, the total area of land held by the Jewish National Fund is 270,000 metric dunams. From the statement in Appendix 11 it appears that, excluding the settlements called " supported " only 114,329 dunams were cultivated. This implies that of the land held by the Fund over 155,500 dunams are in reserve. The Zionist Organisation has been engaged in colonisation work since before the War, though only since the War has development been rapid. It has now a reserve of land sufficient for a programme for a number of years. This is satisfactory, in that it will enable a general programme of development to be worked out for the country without interference with the work of Zionist settlement.
Emek colonies and contagious abortion.A large number of the Zionist colonies are in the Emek. They tend more and more to be based on dairy produce, poultry, and fruit. The price of milk is now falling. The Zionist colonies have large herds of fine cows, many of them being purebred Holsteins, or the HolsteinDamascus and the HolsteinGaulan cross. They are heavy milkers. It is unfortunate that with the cows has also been imported Bang's bacillus, and that contagious abortion is present in the large majority of the stallfed dairy herds. The matter has been taken in hand by the Department of Agriculture, and it is hoped in time to eradicate the disease. Meanwhile, its appearance cannot but affect the estimates of the cost of settlement and throw back the date at which the dairy settlements will definitely become selfsupporting.
Experts' opinion as to completion of establishment.On page 40 of their Report the Experts wrote as follows :
The Consolidation Budget.By the courtesy of Dr. Kuppin, statements were submitted bringing up to date the information contained in Table I printed on page 72 of the Experts' Report, This table gives, among other information, the amount of the " Consolidation Budget," that is, the amount still necessary to complete the settlement of each colony. From the statements it appears that for Nahalal (which is described in the Memorandum as " selfsupporting ") a sum of £10,000 is still required, for Ginegar the sum is £23,000, for Balfouria, £3,500.
Kfar Yeheskiel : Cost o/ Settlement.Only in the case of Kfar Yeheskiel can the colony be said to be selfsupporting, and in the modified sense of that word used in the Memorandum. This colony contained 59 families, in 1930. In the statement on p. 72 of the Experts' Report the cost of the land for this colony and its amelioration was shown at $342,090, say £70,389. In the statement now submitted the cost of the equipment is shown as £63,935 in addition. The total expenditure of settling 59 families is, therefore, £134,329, an average of £2,277 per family.
KerenHayesod : Budget.In view of the continuing necessity for expenditure on existing colonies it is remarkable to find that in the year 19281929 the budget of the KerenHayesod for agricultural colonisation fell from £167,090 of the previous year, to £93,123, while at the same time the expenditure on urban colonisation rose from £4,747 to £91,949.
Further, there is at present a plan in preparation with the object of placing one thousand families of labourers on the land. The following is an extract from the Report of the Palestine Jewish Agency, published in the " Palestine Weekly " of July 4th,
•" Regulating Societies ".One feature of the colony is what are described as " regulating Societies ", which afford help to colonists who suffer from sickness or from poverty. The members arrange among themselves to cultivate the land or tend the animals of a sick member, charging him with the cost. If it is found that the colonist cannot pay, the debt is carried forward to the following year. Some bad debts are made, but the Societies put aside a sum every year to meet such losses.
It was reported that some of the colonists are putting money into their farms. This argues an income in excess of that necessary for the maintenance of the family. The colonists have not yet begun to repay any of the money due to the KerenHayesod for installation, nor is rent being paid to the KerenKayemeth.
Kfar Yeheskiel.Another successful colony in the Plain of Esdraelon is Kfar Yeheskiel. Here the average lot is 85 dunams, but six of the 40 cultivating families have additional land in a neighbouring village. In this colony also the basis is dairying. The colonists own 300 cows and live by selling the milk and the young stock. In addition many fowls are kept and 20,000 eggs are sold on the average each month. Some of the colonists are specialising in fruit and it has been found by experiment that the grapefruit will flourish. The colonists estimate that the net income in cash is £60 per family. Repayment to the KerenHayesod and payment of rent have not yet commenced. The total number of families in this village is 60, of whom 20 are engaged in trade or in work other than agriculture.
Dagania A.Of another type is the Kvutzoth colony Dagania A in the Upper Jordan Valley. This colony was founded 20 years ago. The area was stated by residents on the spot to be 7,000 dunams, of which 800 are irrigated by pumps worked by electric power. There are 255 residents, of whom 116 are children. The industries of the village are dairying and fruit, and the gross produce was said to be £20,000 per annum. Bananas are the staple fruit of the colony and do well. This colony is certainly prospering, but here also no payments are being made in respect of debt or of rent.
Kiryath Anavim.A colony which is looked upon by the Zionist Organisation as a great success is the hill colony Kiryath Anavim, a few miles distant from Jerusalem. It is a dairying and fruit colony, with a small area under cultivation. The fodder for 40 Dutch cows comes up by lorry from colonies near to Jaffa, and the settlers stated that its cost was met by the
Jewish settlement in Russia.It is interesting to compare the principles and cost of Jewish settlement on the land in Kussia with the corresponding cost and principles which obtain in Palestine. Jewish colonisation is proceeding on a large scale in Southern Russia, under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee, known in its colonisation activity as " AgroJoint." Conditions are of course different, as the Russian Government supplies the necessary land free of charge. Apart from the land, it is costing ;£150;£200 to settle a family on the land in Russia, This includes preparing the land (tractor operations and wellsinking) though in a number of cases the digging of the wells is done by the settlers themselves. Of the total expenditure on settlement 82.25 per cent, is described as " returnable expenditure." The balance represents expenditure on what is called " agricultural extension " and on administration. The latter item amounts to the remarkably reasonable percentage of 6.64 per cent, of the total expenditure. It is recorded in a report for 1926 that the new settlers of the 192324 season were already paying their debts.*
In a report on the work in Russia, by J. Billikopf and Dr. Maurice B. Hexter, written in 1926, the following occurs :
* Report by Joseph A. Rosen, Director of the AgroJoint, submitted to the Chicago Conference of the United Jewish Campaign, October, 1926.the average to less than ;£80 per family, but this sum did not include the price of the land, and about half the houses were provided by the Government, being houses evacuated by exchanged Turks and Bulgarians. These houses, however, required radical repairs.
Expenditure on settlement and effect of nonrepayment.It is undesirable, from the point of view of ordinary morality, that colonists should be allowed to benefit by the large expenditure which has been made for their settlement and yet to escape payment of the amounts spent upon them. Nothing could be worse than that the Jewish immigrants should feel that they have the right to be established in Palestine at the expense of others. There is a danger that this view will prevail and that settlers will look upon what is described as the " inventory," this is, provision for their settlement, as a right. If a strong, healthy and selfrespecting peasantry is desired in the Jewish colonies in Palestine, it should be made quite clear to the settlers that they are under the obligation to repay the outlay which has been made on their behalf.
Zionist colonisation: the Arab.In the Memorandum submitted by the Jewish agency attempts were made to establish that the purchase of the villages in the Esdraelon valley and their settlement by the Jews had not had the effect of causing the previous tenants to join the landless class. A list of the ejected tenants was submitted as an annex to the Memorandum, giving the subsequent employment of each one of these tenants in so far as they could be traced. The annex dealt with 688 tenants. The following is an extract from the Memorandum :
KerenHayesod Agreements: Employment of labour.In the agreement for the repayment of advances made by the KerenHayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) to settlers in the colonies in the Maritime Plain the following provisions are included :
The same remark applies to the following extract from the Memorandum submitted by the General Federation of Jewish Labour to the " Palestine Commission of Enquiry " (i.e., the Commission on the Palestine disturbances of August, 1929) :
Reasons for the exclusion of the Arab.Attempts were made to ascertain the reasons for these drastic provisions directed to exclude every Arab from the land purchased. The Executive of the General Federation of Jewish Labour were perfectly frank on the subject. They pointed out that the Jewish colonies were founded and established by Jewish capital, and that the subscriptions of which this capital is composed were given with the intention that Jews should emigrate to Palestine and be settled therethat these subscriptions would never have been given had it been thought that they would be employed to support Arab labourersthat it was the business of the Zionist Organisation to cause immigration into Palestine of as many Jews as possible, and that, if Arabs were employed, posts would thus be filled up for which Jews might have immigratedthat the position of agricultural labourer in the colonies, when occupied by a Jew, serves as a training for the immigrant and prepares him to take over a holding himself at a later dateand, finally, that if these posts were left open to the ordinary competition of the labour market, the standard of life of the Jewish labourer would be liable to fall to the lower standard of the Arab.
Policy contrary to Article 6 of Mandate.All these arguments are thoroughly logical, and have a basis in fact. They are, however, irrelevant, in view of the provisions of Article 6 of the Mandate. The principle of the persistent and deliberate boycott of Arab labour in the Zionist colonies is not only contrary to the provisions of that article of the Mandate, but it is in addition a constant and increasing source of danger to the country. At the moment this .policy is confined to the Zionist colonies, but the General Federation of Jewish Labour is using every effort to ensure that it shall be extended to the colonies of the P.I.C.A., and this with some considerable success. Great pressure is. being brought to bear on the old P.I.C.A. colonies in the Maritime Plain and its neighbourhoodpressure which in one instance at least has compelled police intervention. As a symptom of that pressure may be cited the construction of a labour Kvutzoth (communal colony) on the outskirts of the P.I.C.A. village of Nessziona. It is certain that the employers of that village will not be able to resist the arguments of the General Federation, reinforced by the appeals of the vigorous labour colony at its gates.
That this replacement of Arab labour by Jewish labour is a definite policy of the Zionist Organisation is also evident from the following quotation, taken from '' A Guide to Jewish Palestine '', published by the Head Office of the KerenKayemeth Leisrael The Jewish National Fundand the KerenHayesod, at Jerusalem in 1930 :
The question of the Government lands.
Jazzair, which extends to about 418 dunams, is leased to an Arab tenant of long standing for 20 years.
Hassaniyeh, for which demands have been made, lies in the Safad subdistrict. The claim of the villagers to this property has been recognised and it is no longer State Domain.
Dahnuneh and Mubaraheh, also in the Safad subdistrict, have been settled with a Jewish Cooperative Society on a 50 years' lease. Their area is small.
TobAlti, at Acre, is largely occupied by the Agricultural Station, and by sites reserved for the Central Prison and for the Men's Elementary Training College. The balance consists of building sites, many of which have already been sold under a scheme initiated by the Ottoman Government.
The property of Subeih, in the Nazareth subdistrict, was of the same class as the group of villages on which the Arab tenants are allowed to remain on payment of 10 per cent, of the gross produce as rent, which have been detailed above. The total area is 9,000 dunams. Of this, 2,000 dunams have been taken for the Jewish Agricultural School to be founded from the Kadoorie Bequest. The Government has agreed to sell the remaining portion of the village to the Arabs who are settled thereon and have been for at least the past century. There are reported to be 140 families, of whom 70 are actual cultivators and the rest graziers or workmen. Parts of the boundaries of the village lands are in dispute and the case is before.the court.
The Kishon Lands consist largely, if not entirely, of wadi beds drained by the Government, the work being done as a relief work for the Jewish unemployed in 192627. These lands are only 450 dunams in extent and should assuredly be reserved by the Government, in view of the keen demand for land in that neighbourhood, both for Government and other buildings on the completion of the Haifa Harbour works. The Jewish community already holds a large area of land in Haifa itself and in the immediate neighbourhood.
The Rushmia property, 3,385 dunams, occupies a large area on the Carmel ridge, and is in the immediate neighbourhood of Haifa. An application for a lease to the Jewish National Fund is under consideration. In view of the outlook for Haifa, this again will be a property of rapidly increasing value. It is fair that the enhanced value which results from the Government's expenditure at Haifa should redound to the financial advantage of the Government. This property is not an agricultural property in the ordinary sense. It will rapidly become a suburban property. The wiser course would seem to be to split up the property into blocks and dispose of these on long lease to individuals. If this land is leased to the Jewish National Fund, the result will be that no Arab can ever hope either to occupy a portion of the land or possibly to be employed thereon as a labourer or workman.
Athlit, Kabbara and Caesarea have already been granted to the P.I.C.A. under a concession. (Therkaz and Hudeidoun are occupied by the same organization. The two latter are small areas.
The Toubas lands, in the Nablus subdistrict, are 41,700 dunams in extent and are occupied by Arab cultivators who have never acknowledged the Government claim to proprietary right. The Arabs have never paid rent and do not do so at present. It is reported to be very questionable whether the claim of the Government has any basis.
Bassat el Yaraki is a swamp. The total area is 2,500 dunams. The right to cut reeds in the swamp is sold annually. There are claims to grazing rights by certain Arab stockbreeders. It is stated that the swamp is not capable of economic drainage.
Basset el Mulabbis is already leased to the Jewish colony of Petach Tikvah.
There is litigation in progress on the subject of the Jaffa sanddunes, which cover an area of 35,000 dunams. These are, of course, largely uncultivable. An area of 21,000 dunams is earmarked for lease to the Jewish colony of RishonleZion, subject to the result of the action in court.
The Ahata property, 15,000 dunams, lies on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, in the ravines of the Judaean Hills. The ownership is disputed. The whole area is uncultivated and the major portion uncultivable.
There is a large area of land in the Jericho Chiftlik and Es Suwaideh, Ghambeh and Jahayyer lying between the Dead Sea and Jericho. Apart from the area irrigated from the Ain Sultan, there is only a small area of this land at present cultivable, and considerable development will be necessary to render any portion of it fit for cultivation. Irrigation is essential.
Of this area, 11,000 dunams were offered to Jewish organizations, but were refused as unsuitable.
Ain Feshka, on the Western shore of the Dead Sea, is uncultivable. The land is highly saline.
Near Gaza there are 6,000 dunams of sanddunes, included in the list of Government properties. There is at the moment an action in Court on the question of ownership. These sanddunes are in the main uncultivable and the tract is the site of the New Gaza.
The above deals in detail with all the Government properties to which the Jews have laid claim. Had different action been taken in the case of the Huleh Basin and the Beisan Lands, doubtless some portion of the demand could have been met. It is clear, however, that of the land which remains with the Government at the present time the area is exceedingly small, with the exception of tracts which, until developed, are required in their entirety for the maintenance of the Arabs already in occupation. It cannot' be argued that Arabs should be dispossessed in order that the land should be made available for Jewish settlement. That would amount to a distinct breach of the provisions of Article 6 of the Mandate.
There will be an addition to the area of Government lands, and possibly a material addition, as the settlement proceeds and areas of Mewat are determined. Meanwhile the general idea that the Government has command of large areas which it could, but will not make over for Jewish settlement is far removed from the facts. This myth is based on a tradition of disappointment because of the action of the Government of Palestine in regard to the concession of Government lands in the Huleh Basin, and to the settlement of the area covered by the Ghor Mudawwara Agreement with the Arabs in possession of that area.
Area of cultivable land occupied by the Fellah. The question of the cultivable area of Palestine has been examined in another part of this report, and the estimate of the Director of Surveys has been accepted as the most reliable available estimate. He puts the cultivable area of the whole of Palestine, including Beersheba, at 8,044,000 dunams. For the purposes of the present enquiry the Beersheba tract as to whose area little is in fact known, and which depends on an erratic and insufficient rainfall is omitted, and consideration directed to the cultivated areas in the Hill country and the Five Plains which have already been described. The total cultivable area of these two regions is 6,544,000 dunams. Of these at least 900,000 dunams are already in the possession of the Jews.* There are thus 5,644,000 dunams available for the Arabs at the present time, t This figure differs materially from the figure quoted by the Commission on the Disturbances on p. 113 of its Report, and used in the arguments on pp. 120 et seq.
* The total Jewish holdings are reported at 1,250,000 Turkish, i.e., 1,149,000 metric dunams. Allowing 20 per cent, for uncultivable land, the remainder will exceed 900,000 dunams.
f There are some areas held by German colonists and certain ecclesiastical authorities, but they are comparatively so small that they need not be taken into account in this calculation
This opinion was arrived at on a consideration of the gross return from the holding at the prices of the years 1924 to 1928. As has been shown elsewhere, presentday prices are but 50 per cent, of those adopted by the Committee in arriving at its deductions.
A detailed investigation was made into the conditions in the village of Beer Zeit, in the Hill country, for the purpose of this enquiry. Of the cultivation 27.4 per cent, consisted of olive groves 8.2 per cent, of figs and other fruittrees, 17.8 of vines and 46.6 of cereals. It was found that there were 180 families in the village, that the " lot viable " was 112 dunams, and that the village could only provide holdings of that area for 65 families. There were therefore 115 families in excess of the number which the village could actually support. The total debt of the village amounts to ;£7,000, an average of about .£39 per family. The sources of maintenance beside cultivation were remittances from persons who had emigrated to America from the village, daily labour in the village and elsewhere, and additional borrowing from
The fellah's plough.It is a common impression that the fellah's cultivation is entirely inadequate, and a good deal of ridicule has been and is poured upon the nailplough which he uses. In the stony country of the Hills no other plough would be able to do the work at all. With regard to the use of that plough, Dr. Wilkansky writes :
In connection with Dr. Wilkansky's estimate it is to be remarked that nothing is shown as payable for rent, also, that income is shown from milk, but nothing on the expenditure for the feeding of the cow. The balance available for personal expenditure of the whole household for a year is 185. This sum has to meet all luxury expenditure, including expenditure on the purchase of meat and this for five or six persons.
Deductions from the figures supplied by 104 milages.In the enquiry conducted by the Committee on the Economic Condition of Agriculturists, returns were made showing the gross income declared as received from all sources in the 104 villages in question. This declaration was revised by the Committee on the basis of average prices of the previous four years taken in 1928 for the purpose of commutation of the Tithe. In the Committee's estimate also the total produce reported by the villages was revised to agree with the average yields per dunam used for the commutation of the Tithe. The returns thus calculated given in that Report are appended to this Report in Appendix 13. Prices have fallen very materially since the commutation of the Tithe in 1928, and a calculation has been made of the gross income of the 104 villages, applying the prices prevailing in May, 1930. The sum reached is £306,043, as compared with the declared return of £301,999, and the Committee's calculation of £483,600. The yield accepted by the Committee has been taken as the actual yield for the purposes of the new calculation. That on which the declaration was based is considerably smaller. (For yields, see Appendix 24.)
On the figures adopted by the Committee the gross average yield of 100 dunams of field crops only amounts to £51. On the revised figures now calculated it is £32.
The above figures refer only to the income from the field crops. From fruit trees, stock, dairy produce, poultry and other village sources, and from transport and labour outside the village there was a declared income of £242,882. This figure was examined in detail by the Committee. They have raised it to £420,070. They have, however, continued to take the prices on which the Commuted Tithe was based rather than existing prices. For instance, they estimate the value of oliveoil at £53 a ton, while the present price is but £33 a ton. Making an adjustment on this account a figure of £388,373 may be accepted as the income from other sources than crops. Thus the following result is reached :
The fellah's debts.In addition to these facts it must be borne in mind that the average holding of 104 villages is not 100 dunams, but 75 dunams, and that the average debt per family amounts to £P.27, on which the rate of interest of 30 per cent, is usual, that is to say, that for interest alone the family must pay £P.8 per annum. The rate of 30 per cent, is regarded as quite reasonable, and is indeed exceeded in many cases. It is a usual practice for the moneylender or the merchant to make an advance on terms known as " asharahamastash," which means that a sum of £P.10 advanced at the time of sowing is repaid by a sum of £P.15 at the time of harvest. Another common arrangement is interest at the rate of Is. in the pound per month.
Legal rate of interest.In regard to this question of interest, it is true that the legal rate of interest is 9 per cent, per annum. This law is a dead letter. There are many obvious methods of evasion, and even were there no such methods, no fellah would dare to defend himself by means of this law, as he would unquestionably close to himself the door of the moneylender for ever. Without the moneylender he cannot live.
Financial situation of the Fellah.As to the financial situation of the Arab farmer the Committee on the Economic Condition of Agriculturists write :
" . . . . Up till the middle of 1929, the net income of the average agricultural family has been between £25 and £30, and the family has contrived to live on this income. It is clear, however, that there must have been many families less favourably situated, who have been obliged either to lower their standard of living or to fall into debt . . . many farmers now owe sums that are quite beyond their capacity to pay . . . ." At another place they write :
Commutation of the Tithe and the result of the fall in prices The position of the Arab cultivator has always been one of extreme poverty, but there are at the present time certain circumstances which render it more desperate than has been the case in the past. In the year 1928, steps were taken to commute the Tithe. This payment was based on the average yields and prices of the four preceding years. Since that time there has been a progressive fall of prices of agricultural produce. (Vide Appendix 14.) During the present year the fall has become more rapid and more pronounced. As a result, the Arab cultivator has now to sell, not onetenth, but onefifth of his crop in order to pay the Tithe in cash. Indeed, in many cases the amount is more than onefifth for the prices for commutation of the Tithe were based not oil prices of the village but on those of the market town, and the two rates vary largely. In addition, the price of sale is lower than the price of purchase, and the price of forced sale is still lower. At the time of this enquiry actual prices of sale were in certain cases extraordinary. Villages found it exceedingly difficult to sell at all, and there was an established case reported in which barley was sold at Gaza at £P.2 a ton, when the quoted market price was ;£P.3.100, itself a price exceedingly low.
Diminution of the. size of holdings.There is also a progressive diminution in the areas of the holdings; in every village visited there were complaints on this score. Portions of the holdings have been sold either to pay off debts or to pay the Government taxes or to obtain the wherewithal to keep the family alive.
The population of the villages is increasing faster than in Turkish times, owing in large measure to the cessation of conscription. There is consequently increasing competition for land, and division of holdings among the increased number of members of the family.
Rise in rents.Eents are rising; those who wish to rent land find it difficult to obtain it, and offer rents which frequently cannot be paid and yet leave a surplus for the maintenance of the family in a standard of reasonable comfort. Cases were reported in which fellahin who desired to obtain land offered 50 per cent, of the produce, the landlord paying the Tithe. The Committee reports that the commonest rent is 30 per cent, of the produce, the tenant paying the Tithe, or 40 per cent., the Tithe falling on the landlord. Money rents are now beginning to appear in some parts of the country, as was to be expected as a consequence of the commutation of the Tithe. These rents vary from about 50 mils to 250 mils the dunam. The most common is 100150 mils (i.e., 2s. to 3s.). Above it has been reported that the gross income from 100 dunams of field crops is £32 at present prices. At 3s. a dunam the rent would be £15 for 100 dunams, that is, equal to about 47 per cent, of the gross income. One case reported has reference to land owned, but not yet settled, by Jews, of which Arab tenants in an adjoining village rent 5,600 dunams. Up to the year 192627 the cultivators paid 20 per cent, of the produce in kind. Since then, the lease has been put up to public auction and in 192728 produced £260, in 192829 £400, and in 192930 £525. It is not suggested that the rent is even now excessive, but the rise of more than 100 per cent, in the past three years demonstrates the amount of competition that exists for land.
Warrants and imprisonment for debt.A further symptom of the economic position of the Arab cultivator is found in the number of cases in which it is necessary to issue warrants for debt. Attempts were made to collect information on this point, but it has been found difficult to concentrate figures. The Supreme Court gave information with respect to warrants issued for debt in all districts during the first two months of the present year, except in the district of Jaffa, for which the figures were not available, and the actual imprisonment figures for Haifa, which were not reported. The statement is therefore not complete, but even so it shows that in the two months in the area included in the return 2,677 warrants were issued for debt and 599 persons imprisoned.
A report on this point was received from the Director of Agriculture in respect of the Haifa district for the past year. From this it appears that in the Magistrates' Court at Haifa alone and for the Subdistrict of Haifa, with a population estimated at 67,800, there were heard 8,701 proceedings for debt, issued 4,872 orders for execution and filed 2,756 applications for imprisonment for debt. Assuming that the average family consists of 5 persons, the total number of families in the Subdistrict was 13,560. The execution proceedings taken were thus in number equal to 64.2 per cent, of the number of families of the Subdistrict. According to the census of 1922 the Jewish population represented less than 20 per cent, of the population of this Subdistrict.
House and Land Tax.2. The Werko is the house and land tax, authorised by the Ottoman Law of 5th August, 1886. It is assessed on capital value, and at various rates which are shown in Appendix 16. The rate on lands subject to Tithe, and on ordinary farm buildings is 4 per mille. An addition to this tax aggregating 41 per cent, on buildings and 56 per cent, on lands was levied from time to time by Ottoman Decree, and is still collected, except in the case of buildings and lands reassessed since 1919.
The Animal Tax.3. The Animal Tax is imposed per capita once annually at the following rates :
Recovery of taxes.The following note was prepared by the District Officer of Jaffa on the question of the taxation of the fellah.
Taxation: Remedial measures.Of the seriousness of this question of agricultural taxation evidence is afforded in the Report of the Committee on the Economic Condition of Agriculturists. The Committee found that the Tithe and Animal Tax together amounted to 19 per cent, of the net return from the use of land. The net return was reached by deducting from the assumed gross return the cost of production and the rent. But in arriving at the figure of net return they used prices of the Tithe commutation which are admittedly double those of the market today. The incidence of taxation would therefore be much higher if today's prices were applied. In fact, the Tithe, in place of being 10 per cent, of gross income, as it was at the time of commutation, is today actually 20 per cent, of the gross income.
Government action to relieve the burden of taxation.The whole question of taxation is at present engaging the attention of the Palestine Government. At the moment the burden is not adjusted to the various ^classes of the community in accordance with their ability to pay. It is intended to replace the Tithe and the Werko by a land tax fixed in accordance with the quality of the land. The settlement is being carried out with this intention. Until it is possible to impose such a tax, the Tithe should be entirely remitted, if feasible. If it is found financially impossible to grant this measure of relief, as a temporary measure it might be possible to vary the Tithe in accordance with the variation of the market prices of agricultural produce. As at the present time these prices stand at about half of the prices at the time the Tithe was commuted, the relief so afforded would amount to about 50 per cent.
The Extension Division.The Extension Division is of great importance for practical agriculturists. It not only maintains demonstration fields, but also nine district instructors under a chief of division. The services of these instructors are available for any of the settlers who desire to refer to them. In the division of dairy husbandry the Institution is carrying out experiments in conjunction with the Empire Marketing Board on the questions of the uniformation of the herd, of the substitution of other feeding stuffs for milk in the rearing of calves and of the proper feeding rations for cows and calves.
The Hebrew University.In addition to the Agricultural Experimental Station of TelAviv with its extension farms, agricultural work of a scientific character is also done by qualified research chemists and analysts at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Agricultural Department is a composite Department, comprising the following services :Agriculture, Forestry, Veterinary, Horticultural, Entomological, Irrigation, Fisheries, Stockbreeding, Analytical, Sericultural, Meteorological. It also controls the Kadoorie agricultural schools, which were founded with funds left for the purpose by a generous and wealthy Jew.
Expenditure.The expenditure of the Department was £76,713 in 1929, and the estimate for 1930 was £77,054.
Relations with Jewish agencies for agricultural development. There is a danger that the Government services will overlap the services supported by Jewish agencies and the Hebrew University.
This danger was early recognised by the Director of Agriculture, who wrote in 1921 :
The distribution of trees.The Department of Agriculture has ceased to sell young trees from its nurseries to the cultivators. The reason given is that it is undesirable to compete with private enterprise. Private nurseries are almost entirely Jewish, though there is one wellknown German nursery. The decision of the Department in this matter was criticised on many occasions, and the interference in private enterprise is in fact very small, as the fellahin would neither be willing, nor in most cases be able, to pay the price asked by the nurseries for trees. The importance of trees from the national, as well as from the individual point of view is so great that it is desirable to encourage planting by every possible means. So far from refusing the sale of seedlings in order to prevent competition with private enterprise the Department would be well advised to sell these seedlings at a nominal price or even to give them away, if by so doing the area under trees could be increased.
The Forest service.At present the Forest service it attached to \he Department of Agriculture. This seems to be a mistake. It is undesirable to burden the Department of Agriculture with matters other than agriculture proper specially in view of the importance of agricultural development at the present time and the necessity of its extension. The Forest service is developing rapidly. There are now 704,000 dunams of forest reserve, and newly afforested areas are showing good promise.
Jewish plantations.The great possibilities of afforestation have been established by Jewish activities in this direction. There is a small Jewish village called Motza, close to Jerusalem, where a farmer of the name of Broza has planted an orchard, on what seemed to be sterile and barren rock. The trees and the vines have flourished, and what was a wilderness without vegetation of any kind is now a fine orchard producing a large income for its proprietor. The result is the more praiseworthy in that the planter received no assistance from any Jewish or other sources, but created the property by his own exertions. Another instance of development on the same lines is the orchard planted by the Zionist Organisation at Dilb. (Kiryath Anavin). The land on which that orchard has been planted was similar to that of Motza. The trees were not irrigated but they have succeeded wonderfully. A similar instance is to be found in the Jewish suburb of BethHakarem, close to Jerusalem, where a hillside which appeared to be hopelessly bare and arid is now covered with gardens containing trees of every kind. Everywhere the Jews are planting, and have planted trees, and there is no one of their colonies where this branch of agricultural activity is not in evidence.
The village school and agriculture.The Department of Education has already introduced a system intended to encourage more modern methods in agriculture. It has attached to many of the village schools agricultural plots where practical work is done. It also teaches sericulture, fruitfarming, and beekeeping. At the present time this movement is hampered by the ignorance of the village teacher in agricultural matters and the whole of this branch of village education is dependent on a single supervisor, himself only partly trained.
' Need for additional expenditure.It is clear that the Government of Palestine must face very considerably increased expenditure on education, both primary and agricultural. As to the former, a plan should be worked out for expansion over a term of years. If the educational budget, at present standing at £150,000, could be increased by £15,000 a year for the next ten years, at the close of that period important progress would have been made towards the solution of the problem of primary education.
It seems desirable that the grantinaid to Jewish education should be increased proportionately with the increase in the general education budget of the State. Assuming that the Jewish children of school age bear the same proportion to the total population as is the case with the Arabs, the grantinaid from the present year should be increased by £1,500 per annum for the next ten years if a total annual increase of £15,000 in the Educational Budget proves feasible.
Technical education in agriculture.For technical education in agriculture also a plan should be prepared to cover the next ten years. Its first object should be to provide accomodation for a largely increased number of students at Tulkarem. There is no reason why that school should not provide education for 120 to 150 boys. The present grantinaid is £1,000 a year. It would be necessary to increase the grant by at least £1,500 for the increased number of students. But the plan should not be confined to an increase in the accommodation at Tulkarem. It will prove essential to institute similar schools elsewhere, though probably not on the same elaborate scale. The matter is one for very careful examination by the Government.
Agricultural certificated schoolmasters.Meanwhile it should be made a condition of employment of schoolmasters in the rural schools that they should be in possession of a certificate from the Tulkarem school, or from some other recognised agricultural school, that they have attended a course in practical agriculture for at least six months. One year seems to be an unnecessarily long period for that purpose. It would be an advantage if arrangements could be made for training of these teachers at one of the Jewish schools as well as at Tulkarem, for it would be regrettable that the watertight system should be observed even in agricultural instruction.
In the case of existing schoolmasters, the Educational Department will have to make the best arrangements possible to release them in batches for this training.
Collaboration between Departments of Agriculture and Education.It is of course essential that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education should collaborate closely in order to ensure the success of the arrangements proposed for agricultural education in rural primary schools. There should be no difficulty in such collaboration. The curriculum of the rural school, in so far as it includes agricultural instruction, should be worked out by the two Departments in consultation as also the curriculum for the six months' training period of the village schoolmaster.
The Aujha Concession.It is regrettable that one of the chief sources of irrigation in the country, the Aujha Eiver, has been included in a concession. This concession, originally given with the object of the production of electric power, and subsequently as a purely irrigation concession when it was discovered that the current was not required for power, has as yet not been employed for irrigation on a modern scale. A comparatively small portion of water is pumped by riverain proprietors for the irrigation of their orange groves, but the great mass of the water flows into the sea. A further drawback to the exercise of the Aujha concession by the concessionaires is found in the fact that if its water were to be used generally for irrigation of the plantations of the Maritime Plain, the existing demand for electric power to pump irrigation water from wells in the plantations would be liable to diminution or possibly to cessation. The concession for this power was in the same hands as that for the Jordan River, but in 1929 the Palestine Electric Corporation promoted a separate irrigation Company to take over its irrigation rights in the Aujha Concession. This transfer was approved by the Government on condition that an irrigation scheme should be submitted to the Government within a year and that the work must be done on the scheme within a period of two years of its approval, a condition which was accepted by the Company.
In the latter portion of 1929, the Company submitted an irrigation scheme for the lands of Petach Tikvah. This scheme was sent for the examination of the Government technical advisers. It is believed that no report on the scheme has yet been rendered in consequence of the occupation of those advisers on the locust campaign. The irrigation scheme has not yet been commenced.
Nebi Rubin.In the Maritime Plain there is an area claimed as Wakf known as Nebi Rubin, which is now being drained, and arrangements made for the irrigation by the Supreme Moslem Council. The area capable of irrigation is some 5,000 dunams. The plan for this work of drainage and irrigation is stated to have been prepared by an engineer of the Rockefeller Foundation. The work is being carried out satisfactorily. This will provide a useful area for the Arab tenants of the Wakf.
The Acre Plain.The Acre Plain is said to be entirely irrigable, either from the Kurdani Spring (marked No. 2 on Map No. 5 attached to this Report) or from subterranean water at a reasonable depth. A large portion of this Plain is in the hands of Jewish organisations. As yet the practice of irrigation in this area is not general.
The Huleh Area.The Huleh area is all irrigable. The property might be a very valuable one and it is regrettable that the area owned by the Government therein has passed almost in its entirety out of the hands of the Government into the hands of a concessionaire, Selim Bey Salam of Beyrouth. The concession was originally made by the Turkish Government before the War, but was renewed by the Government of Palestine. The concessionaire at one time desired to get rid of the concession and has been on various occasions in treaty with the Zionist Organisation and subsequently with the Walbrook Trust. The negotiations came to nothing in both cases, and the concession still exists. The concessionaire is about to commence operations with the object of draining a portion of the marsh by deepening the bed of the Jordan and so lowering the water level of the surface of the lake.
In Huleh, the extent of a holding necessary to support an agricultural family would not be greater than 40 dunams, of which half irrigated. There will thus be a large reserve of land in that area, when it is properly developed. The question of the drainage of the Lake was considered by Mr. Henriques and was reported upon in the volume of Reports of the Experts at p. 400. His estimate is that to drain the Lake by blasting out the gorge through which the Jordan river flows after leaving the Lake, would cost over £1,000,000, to include deep ploughing of the reclaimed area, drainage as might be necessary, and arrangements for irrigation. If the concession falls in, as is possible, it seems essential that the Government should retain the proprietary right in the area, for development purposes. The estimate of Mr. Henriques is that of an expert, but was not founded on the preparation of any detailed plans. If the Huleh area should revert to the Government, a technical study should be made in order to ascertain the actual cost of the suggested drainage.
Other possibilities.The remarks recorded above have reference only to certain of the known sources of irrigation. It is urgently necessary that attempts should be made to discover further sources. Both in the course of the settlement of the refugees in Greece, and more recently in Cyprus, steps were taken to determine the subterranean supply. In both countries these enquiries are believed to have resulted in success. In Macedonia, in Thrace, and in Old Greece, an artesian supply was discovered which has resulted in the sinking of hundreds of wells which give a copious yield of water. It is well possible that serious attempts might result in a similar discovery in Palestine. As has already been remarked, the discovery of an artesian supply of water in the Beer-Sheba region would revolutionise the possibilities of colonisation in Palestine. It is worth while to devote a considerable sum to a hydrographic survey of Palestine in the hope of locating the water table both of spring water and of artesian water, if the latter exists. A study of all existing sources of irrigation should also be undertaken, and plans prepared for scientific and economic use of the water in question.
The Draft Irrigation Ordinance.In Appendix 19 will be found a resume of the Draft Irrigation Ordinance. Legislation to empower the Government to regulate the use of water for irrigation should be enacted as rapidly as possible. It is a question for the Government whether the powers contained in the Draft Ordinance for control over the sinking of wells is necessary. There was at one time a fear that the multiplication of wells in the Maritime Plain had caused a fall in the water table in that area. The matter was examined by an expert Committee which came to the conclusion that the fear was not well founded. The water table had fallen in a certain region, but there remained an ample supply at the deeper level.
Constitution of a separate service.By an unusual arrangement the Irrigation Service is also placed under the control of the Department of Agriculture. This arrangement is not satisfactory.
In fact, it has resulted in the Irrigation Officer being employed, and necessarily employed, on urgent duties not connected with irrigation. For instance, during a considerable part of the present year he was engaged on a locust campaign. This was doubtless a work of great urgency, but while he was thus employed his regular work as Irrigation Officer was in abeyance. That work is of the first importance in view of the backward state of irrigation in Palestine. It is desirable that the Irrigation Service should be detached from the Department of Agriculture and constituted a separate service.
Data have been collected for 134 of these societies as at the end of May, 1930, and have been submitted by Mr. Harry Viteles, the General Manager of the Central Bank of Cooperative Institutions in Palestine.
These 134 Jewish cooperatives had at that date 33,436 members, and share capital, reserves' and other owned capital amounting to £334,827. In addition to this sum, they have in members' deposits and savings £711,445. At the same time the total indebtedness to banks and other creditors was £294,411. In fact, the cooperative societies work, to a large extent, on the money provided by their members, a position highly satisfactory.
Rates of interest on deposits and loans.High rates of interest are paid both on deposits and on loans from Banks, and the Societies charge their members 10 to 13 per cent, on the loans and advances made to them. This rate of interest is not only high in itself, but is an indication of the still higher rates which are charged by the moneylender. If the general rate of interest charged elsewhere for accommodation of the kind furnished by the Societies were not excessive, and it is known to be excessive, it would clearly not be to the advantage of the small man in the town and in the village to resort to a cooperative which demands 10 to 13 per cent. The fact is also an indication of the uselessness of the legal limit of 9 per cent.
On this question of the rate of interest Mr. Viteles remarks in his note :
Jewish Cooperative Movement: Cooperative Industrial Producers' Societies.The Labour Federation has organised a special Department to promote and to supervise Cooperative Industrial Producers' Societies. At the end of 1928 there were 50 such societies with a total of 326 members, an average of less than 7 per society. At the end of May, 1930, there were 41 with a membership of 507, more than 12 per society. In addition to the members, these societies employed 235 hired workers and apprentices. The most remarkable of the societies of this type are the transport societies, in which the members transfer to the society the property in their motor vehicles and are credited with the capital value as their share capital. It is said that these societies command most of the internal traction of the city of Jerusalem and town of Tel Aviv and a large proportion of the commercial transport between the two places.
Land purchasing Societies.A considerable number of the more important cooperative societies are those which have been organised for the purchase of land both in rural and in urban areas. In the case of the former type of transaction, the land is frequently bought and developed for members not yet resident in Palestine, but who hope to immigrate later. The total present value of the land, improvements, buildings, etc., the property of members of these societies, is reported to be nearly one and a half million pounds.
Jewish Cooperative Movement: Membership of Societies.It is clear that the cooperative movement has not only been successfully launched among the Jewish population, but has already become a highly important economic factor in its daily life. On the whole the societies are extremely well managed. Some of the Credit Societies appear to be too large for efficient control by the members themselves. There is one with over 3,000 members, there are eight with membership in excess of 1,000. In other cases there is a tendency in the opposite direction,' and new members are not welcomed. But there can be no doubt that the cooperative societies are doing magnificent work and are a valuable asset both to the villages and to the residents in the towns.
Necessity for extension to Arab population.As has been pointed out, the whole of the cooperative organisation in Palestine is Jewish. It is very much to be regretted that no efforts have as yet been made to popularise the cooperative idea among the Arab population. The need is desperately urgent. The fellah population is so tightly bound in debt that no credit whatever is available to enable that development of agriculture which is so essential for progress.
The view is commonly expressed that the Arab will not cooperate. It is said that one attempt was made to form a cooperative society of the tobacco growers, but that the society failed owing to the disloyalty of its members. The great probability is that the cause of failure might be found either in ignorance of the principles of cooperation or in the constitution of the society. The Arab is ignorant, but he is at the same time highly intelligent and hardworking. That he can learn is evident from an inspection of the Arab villages in proximity to the German and to the older Jewish (P.I.C.A.) colonies. That he is ready for practical cooperation is patent from instances which have been observed recently. One case was noticed in a village close to the German colony of Wilhelma. There three fellahin desired to have the use of a tractor and tackle for deep ploughing. No one of the three could afford the expenses of transport. The three joined together, hired the outfit, had all three holdings ploughed and shared the expense. In another village, near Ramleh, a case was observed in which five cultivators pooled their teams in order that power might be available for deep ploughing. Those cases, though perhaps of little intrinsic importance, indicate that the cooperative sense is not absent in the Arab cultivator.
There is nothing but cooperation that will save him from his present depression. He cannot hope ever to escape from the burden of debt unless cheaper credit is made available. Only by cooperation can that object be obtained. It is well that Mr. C. F. Strickland is making an enquiry into the methods by which cooperation may be made available for the fellahin of Palestine.
Treatment of existing debts.One of the most difficult of questions in approaching the problem of the foundation of Arab Cooperative Societies, is the policy to be followed in respect of existing debts. As has been noted, these are everywhere exceedingly heavy, and the prospect of agricultural development of the Arab holdings, a development which will be dependent on the facility for obtaining working capital at a reasonable price, is at the moment rendered impossible. The Arab is crippled by debt. His chance of advance is hampered by debt. How is he to be released from his burden as a preliminary to improving his chances of advance ?
Mr. Strickland, who was in Palestine at the time of this enquiry, and was himself examining the possibilities of cooperation among the Arab population, favoured me with a note on the clearance of old debts by cooperative societies. His considered opinion is hostile to a policy of loans at a low rate of interest in order to enable the peasant to pay off existing debts at high rates of interest. In the course of his memorandum he writes :
" .... I do not consider that peasants who have become accustomed to a condition of permanent indebtedness can be taught to help themselves, except by an unpleasant and somewhat long course of discipline. Therefore they must for two or three years prove their loyalty to their Society by dealing in small sums. This process forms their character and makes them such men as can be trusted with large sums. They must also have the courage to defy the moneylender and boldly invite him to go to court. When he does so the Society can help them, but a total payment of their debt at an early date is too strong a medicine for them to digest, while a partial payment of a moneylender's debt is a mere waste of money. "When crediting it he charges the full rate of interest, but when coming to a final settlement he will agree to a lower rate."
Desirability of joint action between Jews and Arabs.In view of the great desirability of a rapprochement between the Arab and the Jewish population of Palestine, it would be of advantage if the Jewish .cooperative societies were to encourage Arab membership. In the case of " Pardess," for example, it would be to the advantage of the Jewish orange growers themselves to enlist the Arab growers in their Society. The price of oranges abroad is said to be based on the. price of the cases of least merit. The higher the quality of the inferior product, the better for those who ship oranges of good quality, wellgraded and well packed. If " Pardess " were to lay itself out to serve the Arab groves as well as the Jewish, it would obtain its reward in a general rise in the standard of the cases shipped from Palestine. And this is only one of the directions in which enlistment of Arab cultivators would actually strengthen the cooperatives of the Jews. In addition, naturally, the political difference would tend to become less acute than is at present the case. The more the Jew can identify himself with the economic interests of the Arab, the better for the general peace of the country. Nothing is more fatal for the peace of Palestine than emphasis on the difference rather than on the common interests of these two constituents of the population.
(a) CITRUS CULTIVATION
Area available.In the Reports of the Experts at page 199 et seq there is an interesting statement of the opinion of Dr°Strahorn as to the areas in which citrus cultivation is in his opinion possible. His deduction on this subject is to be found on Page 201 and is recorded in the following words :" ... It is felt that the absolute area of irrigated plantations in Palestine will not exceed 300,000 dunams." This is a very important pronouncement by an expert of worldwide reputation. This question is discussed in the Memorandum submitted during the course of the present enquiry. The experts of the Jewish Agency do not agree with the opinion thus expressed by Dr. Strahorn; on the contrary, they consider that there are 595,000 dunams in the Maritime Plain which are irrigable and of the light soil usually found suitable for orange cultivation. Including the irrigable area of the Beer-Sheba series of soils, which they take as 503,347, arid deducting an assumed area for " nasaz," they conclude that an area of 500,000 dunams of the Maritime Plain is suitable for citrus cultivation. " Nasaz " is thus described by Dr. Strahorn :
Area under citrus cultivation.Details of the areas now under orange cultivation and of export and prices are given in Appendix 20. It is generally assumed that this fruit may be successfully cultivated in the whole of the soil suitable to its growth. A limiting factor may prove to be that of water for irrigation, in certain regions. Hitherto water has been found at reasonable depth, ranging from 9 metres to 53 metres (Report of the Experts, p. 26). In general tube wells are used, with niters, and the pumps are worked either with oil engines or by electric power obtained from the Palestine Electric Corporation. Last year there were symptoms which seemed to indicate that the water table was receding in depth. There were also complaints that salt water had penetrated into certain of the wells. An enquiry was held into the matter, and it was found that in the region where orange cultivation had been longest in vogue, there had in fact been a fall of about 4 metres in the level of the springs, but that the supply at this lower depth was ample. It was also considered that the fall was possibly due to temporary conditions, following as it did two years of rainfall below the average. As to the salt, this was found in two wells only. No explanation of the phenomenon could be suggested, as these two wells were in close proximity to other wells in which the water was sweet.
Future of the orange trade.It is unsafe to prophesy on the subject of the future of the orange trade. Opinions among experts in Palestine vary. On the whole they are optimistic. The chief orange growers feel little doubt that a crop of ten or twelve million cases will be absorbed by the European market. They realise that the possibility of that absorption will depend in large measure on the method in which the oranges are marketed. At the present time this leaves much to be desired. The Jewish growers are taking steps to ensure by cooperation that the standard of the fruit despatched from their groves is uniform and that grading and packing are satisfactory. It is regrettable that the Arab growers are not yet convinced of the necessity of the adoption of similar measures.
The question of the future of the orange trade is one of very great importance for the development of agricultural Palestine. In the main, it is the development of this particular culture which will justify the belief that the country can support a much larger population than it contains at present. If the market can absorb, within the next ten or twelve years, some 30 million cases of oranges, where today ii is absorbing less than 3 million, the 200,000 dunams, which is the minimum area still awaiting development in the Maritime Plain, will support a population of at least ten thousand families of orange growers, with the ancillary population connected with the business, on an area which today is supporting probably less than 2,000 families. Should the suitable area prove to be larger than 200,000 dunams, as is reported by the experts recently employed by the Jewish Agency, and whose opinions differ from that of Dr. Strahorn, the additional population supportable will be increased pro tanto.
On the other hand, if development goes on at the present pace, and the market proves unable to digest the enormous increase in supply, not only will disaster overtake the new families who may be settled in the Maritime Plain in the future, but the large population now settled in that region will share in the disaster. It is the path of wisdom to proceed with the policy of orange plantation without undue precipitancy and to await the result of the work of the past four years before embarking on a more ambitious scheme of the same kind.
Careful enquiry has established that the area under the banana in Palestine in 1930 amounts to 2,368 dunams. The fruit can be grown in the whole of the Jordan Valley where the soil is fertile. It is also grown in a few areas outside the Jordan Valley, but with more difficulty.
Cost o/ production and yield.
The cost of production is £87 a dunam up to the bearing stage and thereafter £18 per annum for maintenance. At 15 mils a kilo, with a yield of 2,000 kilos from a dunam in full bearing, the gross annual income is 30. This year the price is very low, and the growers have found difficulty in disposing of their fruit.
The Palestine banana is a fruit of excellent quality in consumption, though its appearance leaves much to be desired. The whole question of cultivation and marketing was discussed at length by Mr. George M. Odium, in a report to the Palestine Economic Corporation in 1927. This has been published, by the courtesy of the Corporation, as a leaflet of the 'Department of Agriculture in Palestine (No. 11). The general result at which Mr. Odium arrives does not encourage the hope that the possibility of creating a market in the banana will afford scope for widespread extension of cultivation. He sees " considerable possibilities for a banana industry of moderate dimensions in Palestine." The difficulty is largely one of marketing. The Palestine fruit could not compete with the Canary and West Indian bananas in Western Europe. It is bound to be restricted to local markets and the undeveloped markets of Eastern Europe. The possibility of expansion in these latter markets should however be explored, and meanwhile the methods of packing and transporting the fruit improved. It is a matter of great regret that the nematode (Egyptian eelworm) (from which Mr. Odium recorded that Palestine was free), has now appeared and is found spread generally among the banana groves of the country.
(d) melons. Exports to Egypt and Syria.
There is a very large trade in watermelons with Egypt and a smaller, but still considerable, trade with Syria. The former, in 1929, amounted to 49,000 tons, the latter in 1928 to 6,800. In both directions the trade has been affected by fiscal measures. In Egypt an import duty of 500 milliemes per ton was imposed last year. In Syria the town of Damascus has imposed an octroi duty on melons, which is of course of a general nature, affecting Syrian as well as Palestinian melons, but which at the same time tends to reduce the amount exported from Palestine.
Adverse effect on export of imposts in Egypt and Syria.
Complaint on the score of these imposts was general, and it was suggested that the Syrian case should be taken up with the French Government and that in the Egyptian case the Palestine Government should retaliate by penalizing imports from that country. Petitions on the subject were submitted to the Palestine Government. The District Commissioner of Haifa, in reporting on the Egyptian question, gave figures which establish that the cost of transport of a ten ton truck, including transport to the railway, cost of loading, demurrage fee, unloading and commission, and customs dues, totalled ;£P25.005. The average wholesale prices in Egypt range from £20 to £25 per ten ton truck, and there is consequently little or no profit to the producer in Palestine. He was of the opinion that the new tariff will seriously affect the trade in melons.
The matter is one for negotiation with the Egyptian Government. The balance of trade is so seriously adverse to Palestine that every possible effort should be made to encourage its exports. Of 'these the melon holds quite an important place.
The Syrian question is more difficult. No preference is being accorded to Syrian melons. Doubtless the Damascus Municipality requires the additional income which the octroi on melons will afford. It does not seem possible to suggest that Palestine melons should have a preference over the local product in the Damascus market, and probably no steps can usefully be taken in the matter.
Appendix 21 gives the figures of production and of export from three sources. It is unsatisfactory that they differ so widely, and a remarkable fact indicated by those figures is that over a period of seven years the total export of almonds has been far in excess of the total production. No explanation of this fact can be offered, unless it can be attributed to underestimation of the crop for purposes of assessment of tithe.
Area under Almond cultivation.
The most recent enquiry into the area under almonds was made in the early months of 1927. It indicated a total area under this tree of 27,776 dunams, of which 21,175 were in Jewish colonies. The tree is easy to cultivate and flourishes on land which is unsuitable for plantation of any other kind. It gives a return per dunam six times that of cereal crops. It is therefore a useful culture for the development of poor soil.
Replacement of Almonds by Oranges.
The area under almonds has been affected by the popularity of the orange. Even before the enquiry in 1927 a considerable area of almond groves had been uprooted in order to make room for oranges, and in certain cases for grapes. In the report of the Department of Agriculture for 1925 it was already recorded
In the heavier soils the borer has done very serious damage, but in the poorer soils the almond groves are frequently unaffected by this pest. The same is the case with gummosis.
In 1929 a consignment of almonds was forwarded to England and handled by the Empire Marketing Board. The report was not very encouraging, but in the issues of the " Grocer & Oil Trade Review " of llth August and 15th September of that year Jordan almonds were quoted at the highest price in the London market. On the former date the best Jordans sold for more than the best Valencias.
The chief markets are in Egypt and Damascus, in both of which centres large quantities are imported.
There is no doubt that at recent prices almond cultivation has been a paying proposition, and in view of the suitability of the tree to the poorer soils, it will doubtless take its place in any general scheme of agricultural development for Palestine.
Exports of Wine.
Table grapes and grapes for wine are both cultivated in considerable areas in Palestine. But both in the case of wine manufactured in the country and in the case of grapes for the table, the export trade has suffered a severe and continued setback during the past seven years. In 1922 over 2,700,000 litres of wine were exported of a declared value of £58,821. In 1927 the corresponding figures are, quantity slightly in excess of 900,000 litres, value £21,686.
Exports of Table Grapes.
In 1922, 1,334 tons of table grapes were exported. In 1928 the figure had fallen to 246 tons.
Competition in the markets.
Trial consignments to London.
A trial consignment of table grapes was on two occasions sent to London and was dealt with on each occasion by the Empire Marketing Board. The reports were not very favourable, but they indicated that given better methods of harvesting the fruit, most of which arrived in a condition overripe, there was a prospect of a market for certain of the varieties submitted, specially the Salti.
Complaints against Excise Duty and Licence Fees.
In the course of this enquiry a representation was made by the Cooperative Society of Vine Growers of Hichon le Zion and ZichronJacob Cellars on the subject of the very heavy recent increases in the licence fees for manufacture and in the Excise duty on intoxicating liquors. Prom this representation the following is extracted :
" We do pay Licence Fees for manufacture of alcohol that are 15 times as big as the Licence Fees existing now in England, and with regard to Licence for manufacture of wine, we don't know any country where such Licence Fee should exist, meanwhile we are paying a little less than one mil per litre, making £P.1,600.
" Should the Government a»ntinue to impose the Licence Fees to the actual level, it would practically mean taking from the viticulturist £P.0.250 per kantar of grapes for the licence only.
Attempts have been made by the cigarette manufacturers to induce the cultivators to produce in this country the amount of tobacco of a higher class which is necessary for the manufacture of cigarettes of better quality. These attempts have not been successful. The local cultivator prefers a tobacco which gives a large yield. The seed of the better grade of plant is smaller and lighter than that of the coarser tobacco, and for this reason alone is unacceptable. In addition, the cultivator cannot realise that a smaller crop of the finer leaf is more valuable than a heavier crop of the coarser kinds.
Necessity for instruction in improvement of methods.
This prejudice might perhaps be overcome, but there is an additional difficulty in that the finer tobacco requires manipulation of a special kind, with which the Palestinian cultivator is not familiar. He does not know how to prepare his tobacco for the market, nor does he know the method of packing. Both of these difficulties are easily overcome. It is a question of education, and an expert from Cyprus or Greece could readily teach the cultivator. The Arab cultivator is intelligent, and, if taught, would find no difficulty in learning the methods of those countries.
One of the tobacco manufacturing firms advanced £20,000 to the tobacco growers in the course of last year. The result was entirely satisfactory, and the money has been repaid practically in full.
Complaints in regard to the Tobacco Ordinance.
There were complaints of two different kinds against the administration of the Tobacco Ordinance. On the part of the cigarette merchants it is alleged that smuggling is rife, especially after the disturbances of August last, and it was urged that much more severe measures are required on the part of the authorities in order to combat that evil. On the other side there were frequent complaints on the part of the fellahin that the Tobacco Ordinance is not only Harsh in its terms, but is, in addition, administered in a
There are certain provisions of the Ordinance which are special subjects of complaint. It is, for instance, argued that there is no good reason why the minimum area of cultivation should be two dunams. On the face of it the complaint is well founded. The reason for the provision is given in the following extract from a letter of the Director of Customs, Excise and Trade :
" A committee of representatives of the Departments of Agriculture and Customs and of Tobacco Growers and Manufacturers was held in 1926. This Committee recommended that the minimum area planted by any one grower should not be less than half a dunam, but later it was considered desirable to increase the area to two dunams . . . ."
Prohibition of use of home grown Tobacco.
Another provision which is subject to bitter criticism is that which renders it a criminal offence for the cultivator to smoke his own homegrown tobacco. It is rightly pointed out that compulsion to purchase excised tobacco raises the price to the cultivator by about 60 per cent. On the other hand it is clear that if the cultivator were to be allowed to smoke his own tobacco, a door would be opened for illicit consumption which might have serious results on the excise revenue.
The following table gives the number of offences against the Ordinance during the past two years and the action taken in respect of them :
There is a large production of olive oil in the country. As a rule the oil is of inferior quality, containing a high percentage of acid. This is due to the primitive nature of the machinery of extraction, to the absence of cleanliness in connexion with the process, and to the antiquated receptacles in which the oil is stored. A reform in methods is a necessary preliminary to a pure and sweet oil.
Methods of culture.
Cultural practice is also as a rule ignorant and primitive. The olives are removed from the trees by beating the branches with sticks. Partly as a result of this practice the crop of the following year is affected so much, that the olive is looked upon in this country as a tree that yields well one year and very poorly the next. A further drawback to successful culture is the ignorance of the fellahin on the subject of pruning the tree. It may be said with truth that in large areas pruning is actuated not by any desire to improve the tree or the crop, but by the necessity to obtain firewood.
Instruction in improved methods.
These are all directions in which instruction would have good results and this could best be afforded by demonstration. The same absence of knowledge of pruning was remarked in the case of many of the Greek refugees, and it was necessary to employ travelling instructors to teach the peasants how to treat their olive trees. There is no reason why such a method should not be adopted in Palestine. The financial results of the system in Greece fully justified the expense.
Extension of area under cultivation.
There are wide spaces in the hill country where the olive would grow and where it would give a better return, even at the present low prices, than is obtained from cereal crops. It would be of advantage to the country if these areas were put under olives rather than cultivated each year with cereals. It was suggested that in cases where cereal land in the hill country is put down to trees, the tithe should be excused on that land until the trees are in bearing. This seems a fair suggestion, not only in the case of olive groves but also where fruit trees are planted, and not only in the hills but in the plains also.
Imports and Exports.
Everywhere a demand was made that the import duty on sesame, which had been removed in 1925 in order to help the Jewish Oil Factory " Shemen " should be reimposed, and the Palestine Government has agreed to the reimposition. The sesame position is curious. In the year 1929 while 3,539 tons were exported at an average price of ;6P.20.436 mils per ton, 3,470 tons were imported at a price of £P.23.278 mils per ton. The imported sesame comes chiefly from China and is generally said to be an inferior seed to the Palestinian seed.
Value as a summer crop.
The cultivation of sesame has a value apart altogether from its crop. It is a summer crop, and requires a great deal of careful weeding and cultivation. It is followed by the winter cereal crop, and the land is in a good condition to receive the seed when the sesame has been pulled. Sesame is therefore a crop to encourage, apart from its commercial value.
The Jewish colonies grow no sesame, as it is a crop demanding labour both of women and of children at time of harvest. The crop is not reaped; each individual stalk is pulled by hand, labour of a kind which the Jewish population does not favour, in part perhaps because there are not yet many children of an age to help in the harvest. The value of the yield at present prices would not support the expense of hired labour. The fellah carries through the harvest with the help of his family.
Possible reasons for reduction of overseas trade.
One of the principal reasons for the failure of the trade to revive appears to be that prohibition in America has released . large quantities of Californian barley, which now finds its way to the United Kingdom. There are, however, other reasons. The rainfall of the Gaza area is very erratic, and a crop cannot be depended on each year. Probably the merchant prefers to deal where he is certain regularly to find the amount he desires. The Gaza barley contains a good deal of extraneous matter. A proposal was made to purchase a cleansing plant on behalf of the Government, as it is understood has been done in the Sudan, and to demand that all exported grain should be cleaned previous to export. This scheme fell through for financial reasons.
It is also suggested that the United Kingdom demand for malting barley has fallen and that the reduced demand is met to a larger extent than formely by supplies produced locally. Also that the time of shipment from Gaza, i.e., the end of June, is too late for the market. Further, the freight from Gaza to the United Kingdom amounts to 4s. 6d. a ton, which compares with 3s. 3d. from Canadian ports, and 3s. 6d. from New Orleans. From New York it is said to be Is. 9d.
Proposals for revival of the trade.
There seem to be a number of reasons which explain the failure of the barley trade with Great Britain. For its revival, if that revival is possible, there are three necessary preliminaries. First, there must be cooperation between the growers and the merchants in Palestine. Next, grading and cleaning are essential. The outlay on the necessary machinery is considerable and it is probable that Government assistance is a condition of its purchase. Finally, a reduction is required in the freight charges from Palestine to the United Kingdom. The last is probably the most difficult of the three conditions.
(k) MINOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
The Department of Agriculture employs an expert in the breeding of the silkworm. The budget allotment is so small that the activities of the Section are crippled. This is the more unfortunate in that there is a group of Arabs who are familiar with the culture of silk, and there is a definite demand in other quarters for instruction, for provision of mulberry trees and for assistance to breed silkworms. This is a demand which should be met, if at all possible. Nothing of any importance is possible with the exiguous sums provided in the past, and it is of little use to pay an expert £300 a year in order to stimulate a demand, unless the creation of the demand is to be followed by some more positive action.
Present position of Silkworm Culture.
The culture of the silkworm is suitable to the conditions of smallholders both in the Jewish settlements and in the Arab villages in many parts of the country, and this is a useful line of development of a minor type, where the family income is small
The production of honey is another activity for the smallholder. This industry is gradually extending, both among the Jews and among the Arabs, though the number of hives kept by the Jews is probably the larger. Export of honey first commenced in 1925 when 9 tons were despatched; in 1926 the amount exported was only 5 tons which sold for £325. The export rose to 11 tons in 1927, 17 tons in 1928 and 24 tons in 1929. The value of the honey exported in 1929 was £P.1,625 f.o.b.
Prevalence of Foulbrood.
Foulbrood first broke out in Palestine in 1924, when 400 hives were destroyed. Since that time there have been minor outbreaks from time to time, until last year, when there were two serious outbreaks in Jewish settlements, costing the settlers hundreds of hives. It is said that if taken at once, this disease is easily controlled.
Expansion of the industry.
Palestine honey is said to be as good as any in the world. With the extension of the orange groves the production of orangeflower honey has very largely increased; the same is true of eucalyptus honey. Wild thyme is becoming less plentiful, as the land on which it flourished is being broken up, but Palestine has a wealth of wild flowers and there is practically no limit to the possible extension of beekeeping. It is an occupation in which the fellah rapidly becomes expert, and which is popular among the Jewish settlers. The Government employs an expert, Mr. Ldpsbltz, who is also in charge of the Acre Poultry Farm. If the industry increases at a rapid rate, as it promises to do, it will be necessary to strengthen the personnel of the Department which deals with it.
(1) DAIRY AND STOCK BREEDING.
In many of the Jewish colonies the basis of settlement is the dairy. A large number of bulls and cows were imported from Holland, and, as has been recorded in another chapter, an epidemic of contagious abortion has broken out. The Chief Veterinary Officer states that there are records of the existence of this disease in 60 per cent, of the dairy herds, but that it is probable that all cases have not been reported and that about 80 per cent, are in fact infected. The farms have been planned on the assumption that each cow will provide 2,500 litres of milk for sale, after the necessary deduction for consumption by the family, and for feeding of the calves. The price of milk has been estimated at 13 to 15 mils. The success of the farm naturally depends on the accuracy of these two assumptions. They have been vitiated by the epidemic of contagious abortion, which reduces the yield of the dairy affected for obvious reasons, and by the fall in the price of milk, which was selling in the Emek at the time of this enquiry at 10 mils net the litre.
Stallfeeding of dairy stock.
Stallfeeding of stock and sale of dairy produce is probably the most efficient way of using land in the larger area of the nonirrigable, or semiirrigable, tracts. In the agricultural development of the country as a whole, the method must take its place. But it must at the same time not be forgotten that the local market for dairy produce is very strictly limited, and that unless some method of disposal of the products is adopted, differing from the ordinary sale in the market, prices will fall so that the area taken as a unit will prove to be insufficient to support a decent standard of life. It is therefore essential to explore the possibility of creating a canning industry for dairy products, and of manufacturing cheese for export. In both of these directions keen competition will be experienced, but unless the efforts made are crowned with success, the dairy cannot be regarded as the basis of settlement except in an area comparatively small, and the size of the holding will have to be enlarged.
Food, Drink, Tobacco.The most important group was that dealing with Food, Drink and Tobacco. In this group there were 473 establishments, with a capital of £1,319,912, with an expenditure of £1,664,083 and production valued at £2,036,272. The group included flour milling, distillation of intoxicating liquors, bakeries, tobacco and cigarette manufacture.
Chemicals and allied trades.The next group in importance is that of Chemicals and Allied trades, including olive oil presses, soapmaking, etc. It employed a total capital of £638,313. The expenditure of the year 1927 was £506,409 and the production was worth £649,523.
Cement, Brick, Stone and Clay trades.The group, containing the Cement, Brick, Stone and Clay trades, includes one of the largest and most important individual factories in the country, the " Nesher " Cement Works. In the group are 148 establishments. The total capital invested was £517,106, the expenditure £155,903, and the value of the outturn £209,994.
Census of Jewish industry.The Jewish Agency has supplied a Memorandum on Jewish industry based on a census carried out in the month of March, 1930. It covered 2,274 urban enterprises, which gave work to 9,362 persons, had an annual wage bill of £476,452 and used raw materials to a value of £904,881. They produced finished articles to a value of £1,635,462 and estimated their invested capital at £998,904. Thus the average number of workers per establishment is 4.11, who are paid on the average about £51 per annum. The raw materials used average £398 per establishment per annum. Per establishment the finished articles averaged £718 for the year, and the average invested capital was about £435.
In 1927 the total sales rose to 45,888 tons, of which 9,012 tons were exported. In November of that year the duty was raised to 600 mils (12s.) per metric ton.
In 1928 total sales were 59,165 tons, of which 11,332 tons were exported. In December, 1928, the protective duty was again raised, from 600 to 850 mils (12s. to 16s. 6d.) per metric ton.
In 1929, the total sales rose to 68,661 tons, of which 7,699 tons were exports.
In the sixth annual report for the year 1928 the Company's profit was shown as £19,271, and a dividend of 6 per cent, tax free was declared.
The Company's cement is sold in Palestine at dGP.2.700 mils (54s.) per ton. Last year, 1929, cement was exported to Syria, Cyprus and Egypt, but the major portion went to Syria, where it was sold at an average price of 45s. a ton9s. a ton cheaper than the Palestine price, notwithstanding the cost of transport to Syria. The Manager of the Company explained that building activity in Palestine is irregular, and that, in order to meet any sudden demand, it is necessary to maintain production at a higher rate than that justified by the average local demand. For this reason there is a necessity to dispose of the excess product so manufactured even at a price that is not remunerative.
" Nesher " cement: Effect of protective tariff.It is clear that the Company would have made a loss in place of a profit had the whole production been sold locally at the Syrian price. Also that the industry could not be maintained were it not for the protective tariff. The sole good reason in favour of the tariff is that it enables the Company to employ 260 Jews and Jewesses and 130 Arabs who might otherwise have been without employment. This argument is not convincing to the purchaser in Palestine, who ultimately has to pay the protective duty in the price of his cement. Specially is the argument unconvincing to him when the profit created by the protective tariff for which Palestine is paying passes into the pockets of an English Company registered in London. The expediency of increasing the protective tariff from 12s. to 16s. 6d. a ton in view of the profits gained under the lower rate of tariff is also frequently canvassed, and with reason.
Eastern Oil Industries, Ltd.The " Shemen " Works, of the Eastern Oil Industries, Ltd., a Company registered in London, were founded in 1929 by Messrs. Paenson and Wilbush. The Company was known as the Palestine Oil Industry " Shemen," Ltd., and it subsequently transferred the business to the present proprietors. The works are situated at Haifa. The factory manufactures olive, sesame and other oils from Palestinian products, and also coconut oil from imported copra. It makes toilet and washing soaps, cooking fats, boiled linseed, oilpaints, perfumes and sweets (such as " Halwa "); from the residue, cattle cake is pressed.
Tobacco: Messrs. Karaman, Dick and Salti.The factory employing the most labour is the tobacco factory of Messrs. Karaman, Dick and Salti at Haifa. The labour force, which is almost entirely Arab, numbers over 500. The factory manufactures cigarettes for the local market, and does a large increasing business. A second tobacco factory, that of Messrs. Maspero Freres, Ltd., belongs to a company registered in London, and also does an increasing business. Its personnel, which is chiefly Jewish, exceeds 100.
Grands Moulins de Palestine.Haifa is also the seat of the Grands Moulins de Palestine. These Flour Mills were originally founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and it is understood that he still takes an interest in the venture. They commenced working in 1923, and the value of the annual outturn has varied between d690,000 and £145,000. They cater almost entirely for the home market, but occasionally export flour to Syria. The same company operates also a factory for the production of " matzot," the unleavened Passover cakes. The annual output of tfiis subsidiary factory is from 330 to 440 tons. Of the production about one half is consumed in Palestine and the other half exported.
The two factories together employ slightly over 100 men and women, all of them Jews.
Complaints are made that no protection is offered to this industry. It is said that the competition of imported flour is such that the mills only produce to half their full capacity. It is pointed out that the import of foreign flour is actually greater than the amount of flour milled in the country. The manager of the mills expressed the hope that the import duty on flour might be increased and that on wheat reduced, as this would enable the local mills to grind flour from foreign wheat for the local market. He pointed out that the local wheat does not lend itself to the production of a white flour, such as is required to make white bread. All the local wheats are of the macaroni variety, and produce what he described as a " thick " flour, yellowish in colour. He also complained of the high cost of transport by the Palestine Railways. He stated that business was decreasing on account of competition, in meeting which the mills were at a disadvantage owing to the facts cited.
The wine industry.Wine is manufactured in the German Colonies, by the Salesian Fathers at Beit Jamal, and on a small scale in a number of ecclesiastical institutions. But the most important cellars are those attached to certain of the P.I.C.A. villages. The famous cellars of Richon le Zion and of Zichron Jacob were erected by Baron Edmond de Rothschild at his own expense, and he has leased them since 1906 at a nominal rental to the Cooperative Society of the Vinegrowers of the Cellars of Richon le Zion and Zichron Jacob, Ltd. The cellars at Rehovoth and the distillery at Gedera are the property of the Cooperative Society. During the last season the society has produced :
Smaller industries.Of other smaller industries the more interesting are those for the manufacture of artificial teeth, of fancy leather goods, of textiles and fruit products.
As to the factory of artificial teeth, the Memorandum of the Jewish Agency contains the following :
The stocking produced is a very cheap article and evidently supplies a considerable demand both locally and in adjoining countries.
Fruitjuice and fruit products.An industry which, as yet of small proportions, may ultimately prove of great importance to Palestine is that of fruit juice and fruit products. The " Assis " Company manufactures fruit juice of excellent quality from oranges. There is a considerable quantity of oranges which for various reasons are not fit for export though perfectly sound fruit. With the increasing production of the orange the number of these unexportable oranges will increase rapidly, and the " Assis " Company is one of the agencies for profitable disposal of this fruit. It is desirable that efforts should be made to popularise the products of this and of similar concerns, in the interests of the orange growers. The produce of this factory much resembles that of a wellknown Australian factory.
" If such Jews do not exist at all or are not available in any large numbers then the present investigation with respect to the possibility of an industrial immigration as distinct from an agricultural immigration becomes obviously purposeless. The problem will then have been solved by its nonexistence. It is the contention of the Zionists that such Jews do exist and that they are available in large numbers, that they clamour for admittance and that in settling in Palestine they will not drive (? away) the Arab population that it holds at present."
It then dwells upon the importance of the Tourist industry with all the subsidiary occupations accessory thereto. Finally, after pointing out the opportunities and the demands in the Building industry, the Memorandum closes by relying on the success of the past as an indication of the possibilities of the future, and insisting that such part of Jewish immigration as is meant to be absorbed by industry should not be limited by any imaginary absorptive power of the country.
The Director of the Department of Customs, Excise and Trade wrote as follows on this subject :
" It would appear that for a factory to have any real chance of ultimate success it must look to the markets of Egypt and Syria to take the larger proportion of its manufactures, and not to the Palestine market; it is therefore those factories which are manufacturing articles likely to find a ready sale in those countries which would seem to have the most prospect of success and to be worthy of Government assistance in the way of exemptions for raw material.
" It cannot be said that there are any prospects of the heavy industries enumerated above requiring any fresh labour, but certain additional labour might be required as some of the smaller factories progress. Probably at least 50 per cent, of such additional labour would be female ....
" A recent examination of the exports of manufactures from Palestine does not show that rapid expansion which is desired, even allowing for the setback owing to the disturbances in August, 1929. On the other hand, there is progress, although slow, and although many of the weaker concerns must fail, there are reasonable hopes of progress for certain industries in Palestine but not on anything like the scale that was at one time anticipated. In fact it would seem probable that it will be a matter of many years before Palestine is likely to be able to claim to be an industrial as well as an agricultural country."
Industries likely to succeed.There are industries for which there is every hope of success in Palestine. There is no reason, as is pointed out in the Memorandum, why the Tobacco industry should not become increasingly important. It is exceedingly desirable that a Canning industry should prove a success if the Dairy industry and the Fruit industry are to expand in the future. Every effort should be made to extend the market for and the production of fruit juice. The Printing industry will doubtless develop naturally into an important branch of the industry of Palestine. If the Dead Sea concession proves to be a successful venture, it is impossible to forecast the magnitude to which the Chemical industry arising therefrom may expand. The Tourist industry (if it can legitimately be so designated) will doubtless continue to grow and to afford employment for a greater number of persons each year. All of these are perfectly natural developments.
Danger of unemployment.It would be a bad, and might prove a fatal policy, to attract large capital in order to start doubtful industries in Palestine, with the object of justifying an increase in the number of immigrants. The Memorandum spends much effort in an attempt to establish that the year of " socalled " crisis in 1926 was not in fact a year of crisis at all. It is a question, somewhat academic, of the meaning to be attached to the word
Concentration on industries showing vitality.The correct principle governing the problem is to concentrate on those industries which already show signs of vitality and success, and to attempt to create those, such as are detailed in the Memorandum and above in this report, whose effect will be to increase the exports of manufactured goods and to employ as raw material Palestinian products of which it is impossible otherwise to dispose.
Arab industries.There exist certain indigenous Arab industries besides that of soap, to which reference has been made earlier. There is a Tanning industry, there is a Pottery industry, there is a Weaving industry and a Carpetmaking industry. All of these are on a very small scale. In any attempt to develop the country, the claims of Arab industry should not be overlooked. There is in existence a Society of a semicharitable nature which is designed to encourage and stimulate the indigenous industries. It will find its place in any general scheme of development.
Mineral deposits.The mineral resources of Palestine have been examined by the Government Geologist, who has published an interesting report.* There is no doubt that phosphatic rock exists in very large quantities, both in Palestine and in TransJordania, and that some of it is of good marketable quality. Transport is an outstanding difficulty. Bitumen has also been found, and there are oilshales in certain tracts. Recently an important deposit of sulphur is said to have been discovered in the Gaza area, and a syndicate formed to work it. Copper is believed to exist in the Akabah peninsula.
Though nothing very definite has so far been done, the chances of mineral development of the country exist, and this possibility should not be overlooked.
* "The Mineral Resources of Palestine and TransJordania," by G. S. Blake, Jerusalem, 1930.
Early history.For the purposes of this report it is unnecessary to discuss the early history of immigration into Palestine. The original Immigration Ordinance came into force in 1920, under which the Zionist Organization were authorized to introduce into the country 16,500 immigrants per annum, on condition that they accepted responsibility for their maintenance for one year. This system was not found to be a success, and in May, 1921, immigration was suspended until revised conditions could be imposed.
Pronouncement of 3rd June, 1921.Those conditions were announced in a public pronouncement by the High Commissioner on 3rd June of that year.
The following categories of immigrants were permitted in accordance with the pronouncement :
Unrecorded immigration.In addition to the persons of the categories provided for those who desire to settle in Palestine, a large number of persons, amounting to some thousands each year, secure admission to the country in the guise of travellers. Only a minority come under notice and, of these, those qualified are registered as immigrants under their respective categories. Those of the working class and under 35 years of age are counted against the Labour Immigration Schedule. The rest are refused permission to remain in Palestine, but it is exceedingly difficult to secure their departure, and a large number remain in the country. In addition a number of persons, not inappreciable, secure admission by evading such controls as exist on the frontiers.
No effective control of immigration into Palestine is possible unless steps are taken to deal with these two classes of irregular entrants.
Procedure in regard to the issue of Immigration Certificates. With reference to the Labour Schedule on which the number of immigrants under Class C is based, the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances wrote on pp. 104 and 105 of their report :
The Influence of the General Federation of Jewish Labour over immigrants and immigration.There is nevertheless a very close connection between the General Federation of Jewish Labour and the immigrant, even before he leaves the country whence he comes.
In each of the countries whence immigrants come, there exists an organization for preliminary training in agricultural practice. Close to Warsaw, for example, there is a large farm on which the Chalutzim, the Pioneers, obtain agricultural training and instruction. In Galicia they become paid agricultural labourers. Similar arrangements exist in Germany and in France. To each of these centres of training, the General Federation of Jewish Labour has deputed instructors. At the time of writing twenty of these teachers, almost all of whom are so deputed, are employed. These men, though representatives of the General Federation, receive from that Federation only the cost of their journey. Their expenses in the country in which they work are met either by their own earnings or by funds provided by some Zionist Organization.
The actual choice of the individual immigrant is, it is true, made by the Committee to which reference is made by Mr. Snell in his note of Reservations. It is at the same time clear that all the immigrants who come in on the Labour Schedule are trained by teachers deputed by the General Federation before they are so chosen. The large majority become members of the Federation immediately on arrival. The official in charge of the Hostel in which immigrants reside on their arrival at Jaffa is himself a member of the Executive of the General Federation of Jewish Labour, and as the Jewish Agency point out in a Memorandum on immigration which they have submitted in connection with this enquiry, the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency provides for the registration of all arriving immigrants as members of the Kupat Cholim (the Sick Fund of the General Federation of Jewish Labour).
It is therefore somewhat disingenuous to suggest that the General Federation of Jewish Labour is unconnected with the
The following is an extract from the Memorandum submitted to the " Palestine Commission of Enquiry " (i.e., the Commission on the Disturbances of August, 1929) by the General Federation of Jewish Labour. After describing its many and important activities in Palestine, it says :
Preparation of Labour Immigration Schedules.The preparation of the Labour Immigration Schedules is governed by Regulation 8 made under the Immigration Ordinance. Twice in each year the Jewish Agency presents a memorandum giving the number of men and women immigrants whom they consider will be needed for new employment during the period under review, and exposing the reasons in detail. This memorandum is considered by the Chief Immigration Officer in the light of information received also from other sources, as, for instance, the Director of Public Works, the General Manager of the Palestine Railways, the principal employers of labour, the General Federation of Jewish Labour. Information which has come to officers of the Immigration section in the course of their regular work and investigations is also taken into consideration.
Procedure adopted after schedule approved by High Commissioner. A schedule having been approved by the High Commissioner, the necessary number of immigration certificates is prepared. Of these the required number is reserved for private employers in Palestine whose applications have been approved and whose candidates are qualified for the Schedule. Certificates are also reserved for working men and women within the ages laid down, who are found during the Schedule period to be in Palestine without permission. The remainder of the certificates less the " Reserve " (F. above) are placed at the disposal of the Jewish Agency , which is expected therefrom to provide to all Jewish young men and women (excepting wives) of the working class on whose behalf application is made by relatives for immigration certificates during the half year.
Authorization of Visas. The Jewish Agency is asked to indicate where the respective visas will be claimed and in reply a list is sent in the following form :
Instructions are conveyed to Passport or Consular Officers intimating that visas may be granted to persons who fulfil the conditions laid down, and who are nominated by the Jewish Agency representative, and that those who are married may obtain visas at the same time for their wives and minor children. Visas should in no circumstances be granted to men and women to whom there is known political or medical objection, or objection on account of character.
Failure of the system.The system described above fails to work well in certain particulars. In many cases persons have been admitted who, if the facts had all been known, should not have received visas. A large number of these cases have been examined. A considerable number concern Yemenite Jews who immigrate from Aden. The following cases all concern immigration certificates which have been used during the last three months, and were issued by the representatives of the Jewish Agency at Aden :
The following is the copy of a letter dated 14th April, 1930. •from an immigrant who has been in the country some years : " . . . . My wife arrived in Palestine on 26th November, 1925, together with (A.B.) as the latter's wife. She was unable to arrive as my wife because I, myself, entered as a traveller and was not yet in possession of a permission to remain in the country. Since my wife strongly wished to join me and meanwhile the wife of (A.B.) became ill (he was in possession of a permission to enter Palestine on her behalf) my wife and our son .... arrived on his passport.
" (A.B.) left the country approximately in May, 1926, for Canada via JaffaParis. I am unaware of the exact date of his departure.
Weakness of, and responsibility under the present system.The second case and the cases of the Yemenites discussed earlier indicate a weakness in the present system. The authority responsible for the issue of the certificates is the local representative of the Jewish Agency. He is also responsible for seeing that the person who actually travels, is the person for whom the certificate was issued. It is true that the Yemenite cases should have been detected by the officer who dealt with the visa. The facts were not concealed. They were actually stated on the passport. But the primary responsibility rests with the local agent of the Jewish Agency.
Selection of immigrants abroad.In the Memorandum of the Jewish Agency on Immigration, the subject of the selection of the emigrants abroad and of the care with which they are chosen and assisted till their arrival at their destination is described in full. The following is a quotation from that Memorandum :
" . . . . The selection of the immigrants for Palestine is the first and paramount responsibility of the Palestine Offices abroad, which represent all the Zionist circles interested in the upbuilding of Palestine. These Offices act on the periodical instructions of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency, which in turn are giv^n after consultation with the Immigration Board."
It is clear therefore that the Jewish Agency accepts the fullest responsibility for these cases of irregularity. That fact, however, does not render it any the easier to rectify matters, when the immigrant has arrived in Palestine.
Government control abroad.It is difficult for the Passport Officer or for the Consular Officer to examine all these cases minutely. At the same time it is most important that they should be so examined, both in order to prevent persons being admitted to Palestine who have no right to enter, and to protect the country from characters who may be undesirable. The Immigration Department used to have its own representative at Warsaw to deal with immigration from that centre. The post was abolished for reasons of economy. It is desirable that the post should be reconstituted. It is also desirable that there should be officers representing the Immigration Department in all the centres whence immigration is on a large scale. Only thus will it be possible to ensure both against irregularities in connection with the certificates and against the immigration of undesirables.
Travellers remaining in Palestine.The case of the traveller who enters with permission to remain for a limited time and then stays on without sanction to do so, is exceedingly common. It is calculated that the numbers of such cases were 2,400 in the year ending June 30th, 1928, 3,400 in the following year and 2,000 in that ending on June 30th, 1930, that is to say, that in the last three years 7,800 persons stayed in Palestine without permission.
Evasion of the frontier control.Another serious feature of immigration is the number of persons who evade the frontier control and enter Palestine without formality of any kind. It is exceedingly difficult to maintain any effective control of the various frontiers of Palestine. At the present time such control as exists is carried out at police posts on the roads. The immigrant who wishes to evade the control naturally leaves the road before reaching the frontier and takes to the footpaths over the Hills.
Mr. Dowbiggin, who recently enquired into the police of Palestine, remarked on the fact that this duty of controlling immigrants is not a duty which the police should be called upon to perform. It is eminently a duty for the Immigration Department, and it is understood that the Palestine Government is about to replace the Police who are employed on this duty by officials of that Department.
Discouragement of illicit entry.As to the treatment of such immigrants when they are discovered, it should be the rule that they are at once returned to the country whence they came. The rule may possibly work harshly in individual cases, but unless it is understood that detection is invariably followed by expulsion the practice will not cease. It is probable that it will cease entirely as soon as it is discovered that the rule is actually in force.
The case of the " pseudotraveller " who comes in with permission for a limited time and continues in Palestine after the term of his permission has expired is more difficult. Each case requires consideration on its merits. Where the case is flagrant, recourse should certainly be had to expulsion. In cases of no special flagrancy, and where there is no objection to the individual, it is probably sufficient to maintain the present practice, under which he is counted against the Labour Schedule, though this method does a certain injustice to the Jewish immigrant outside the country whose place is taken by the traveller concerned.
Immigration and the General Federation of Jewish Labour.In order to understand the connection between the question of immigration and the labour movement in Palestine it is necessary to have some idea of the activities and policy of the General Federation of Jewish Labour. This powerful Federation is in reality far more than a federation of labour in the ordinary sense. In the Memorandum which the Federation submitted to the Commission on the Disturbances it describes itself and its own activities as follows :
" The General Federation of Jewish Labour (Histadruth Haovdim Haivrim Haklalit) is the largest organised body within the Jewish population of Palestine. It numbers 27,000 members, men and women, and encompasses the whole range of the organised activities of the Jewish working class in town and country. It embraces all the Trade Unions and all the different types of workers' cooperativesin colonisation, production, consumption, contracting and credit. Workers' cooperative settlements on the land affiliated with the Histadruth cover practically the whole field of the agricultural colonisation carried out by the Zionist Organisation during the last twenty five years. Out of the total number of 123 Jewish agricultural communities, settlements of this type number 46. The Federation conducts educational work among adult and adolescent workers and workers' children for which purpose it has built up a network of schools, libraries and reading rooms in all labour centres. It issues a daily paper and an agricultural journal and publishes books and pamphlets on social, educational and scientific subjects. It carries on a medical and sanitary service through the Workers' Sick Fund, which maintains hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, convalescent homes, and scores of physicians and nurses. The Federation represents a widespread social organism, its members and their families accounting for over a quarter of the Jewish population .... The Labour Federation constitutes an important factor within the world Zionist movement. At the last Zionist Congress more than a quarter of the total number of delegates represented such Zionist circles, both in Palestine and abroad, as are indentified with the Federation. ..."
Settlement of cases in which members are concerned.This Federation refuses to allow its members to have recourse to the Courts of the land in cases of dispute with another member. It has its own Courts of first and second instance and its Labour High Court to which appeals from the subordinate tribunals lie.
Jewish labour as the keystone of the Jewish National Home. It looks upon Jewish Labour (which it most effectively represents) as the keystone of the Jewish National Home. By permission the following is quoted from a letter of Dr. Arlosoroff, one of the members of the Executive of the Federation. Referring to that view, he says :
" . . . . (a) The upbuilding of the National Home means not only the return of a homeless and drifting race to the soil; but, at the same time, the return of a people which for centuries have been cut off from the sources of productive work to a life of labour and toil, the life of a selfsupporting community.
" (fe) Without the manifold kinds of manual work which naturally form part of a people's everyday life being undertaken by Jews, the National Home in Palestine could never attain to that degree of selfreliance and coherence without which it cannot have any meaning whatever in modern Jewish life.
" (c) The National Homewhich is not the profit hunting enterprise of a Chartered Company must not be built upon the foundation of cheap native labour exploited by immigrant capitalism.
" (d) Jewish enterprise in Palestine is the result of a conscious effort on the part of various Jewish groups and individuals to cooperate for the purpose of the National Home; it is based on the influx of Jewish capital public and private and should therefore provide the natural centre of absorption for Jewish labour.
" (e) The young Jewish immigrants, most of whom are coming to this country with the intention of settling on the land, need a training ground for their future independent career as farmers or planters; employment at Jewish plantations or farms during a number of years provides the necessary training."
The above note puts shortly the argument for the admission of Jewish labour in the interest of building up the Jewish National Home, though there may already be other labour in the country competent to do the tasks available. In another letter the Executive Committee of the General Federation wrote :
" . . . . When, therefore, immigration is restricted by administrative measures, not only is the inalienable Jewish right of return to Palestine assailed but an obstacle is also placed in the way of the country's general progress. At this point our meaning must not be misunderstood. We are not basing our claims to unrestricted immigration on the benefits which the Jewish influx confers upon the other elements of the population. We believe ourselves to he fully entitled to serve the interests of tho Jewish masses and to let this consideration determine our line of action .... This is our stand in principle, but it is our privilege to point to the fact that in practice our immigration and settlement, far from ousting other elements, has actually spelt more plentiful employment and a higher standard of life for the rest of the population .... The checks to Jewish immigration are bound to hamper the country's progress and can therefore bring no good to any part of its population .... Our basic right recognised by the Mandate, is to bring in without hindrance as many Jews as Palestine can be made ^to absorb by its natural possibilities and by our own constructive efforts. We are, therefore, opposed to any restriction of immigration which is not based on the prospects of employment, but upon such political or economic reasoning as fall outside the scope of Jewish efforts. It follows that the control of immigration must be left in the hands of the Jewish Agency, this being the only responsible body that is both under an obligation and in a position to strike a balance between the needs of immigration and the constructive efforts of the Jewish people."
The General Federation of Jewish Labour has adopted a policy which implies the introduction into Palestine of a new social order, based on communal settlements and the principle of self labour. Where self labour. is impossible, it insists on the employment of Jewish labour exclusively, by all Jewish employers. It has been sufficiently powerful to impose the policy on the Zionist Organisation, to the extent that, as it points out in the memorandum from which a quotation has been given above, 46 of the Zionist colonies are based on the principle of communal settlement. This principle was condemned both by the Experts in their report and by the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, but that fact has had small effect either on the Labour Federation itself or on the Zionist Organisation, for communal labour colonies are still being constructed.
The question of the power, the principles and the activities of the Federation were discussed by Dr. Elwood Mead and his Associates, and at pp. 51 to 53 of the Experts' Report they wrote as follows :
" The activities of organised labour and its conception of the extent to which it should participate in the founding and organisation of settlements and in the selection of settlers was candidly set forth at a conference between the Commission and five representatives of the
" ' In respect to the agricultural wageearning workers it (The Jewish Federation of Labour) acts as a Trade Union Executive, negotiates conditions of employment, etc., but in respect to the settlements it is not a trade union at all, but is more or less an economic authority, that is, it is responsible on behalf of all these people towards the Zionist Executive, the Keren Hayesod, etc., for the plan of settlement, the yearly budget, and also it is responsible for the human composition of these settlements. The Union as such has the say as to who is going to settle and how these groups are going to combine. The Union is the authority for all these settlements.'
" In further explanation of the colonising activities of the General Federation of Labour and of the Agricultural Workers' Union, Mr. Shertok said:
" ' We must try and bring in people and press for more employment and make all sorts of arrangements that will facilitate penetration of a Jewish working class element in these colonies. When we come to the Zionist Executive with a claim for new settlement and are told that it is impossible at the moment we do not always rest content with such an answer. We know the land, and so we can come forward with proposals, we make suggestions, we tell them that we are going to help them, and we also give suggestions, sometimes, as to obtaining financial means.'
" In response to the Commission's statement that settlers were suffering great hardships and money was being wasted by founding settlements faster than the funds at the control of the Executive warranted, Mr. Shertok replied :
" ' Your contention may be valid only on one assumption, it is that the Zionist Organisation, however small its means may be, has an assured influx of money, which is not the case. This is the most decisive factor. You say it is better to go slowly but surely, and then it will go quicker in the end, but the thing is that the Zionist Organisation gets its money from Jews abroad. Jews are giving money for Palestine for a variety of psychological reasons. They are making great financial sacrifices; and the most important factor is the work that is being done in Palestine. Perhaps it will be true to say that not Keren Hayesod made the Emek, but the Emek made the Keren Hayesod. The fact that land was bought and people rushed to that land, made great sacrifices, contented themselves with very little, gave an impetus to Zionists abroad to give money, and to Jews at large, because they saw what things were being done in Palestine.'
The Commission feels strongly that this belief that it is necessary to establish new colonies, regardless of ability to equip them properly, in order to secure money from abroad is a delusion. It is confident that the interest in a national home does not have to be sustained by wasting money or squandering the time and efforts of settlers as is now being done. Furthermore, the financial situation which is being created will discredit the Zionist movement unless promptly changed.
" The Commission has been unable to escape the conclusion that the rate at which colonies have been founded, the selection of settlers for those colonies, and the organization and equipment of the Colonization Department have been largely influenced, if not controlled, by the General Federation of Jewish Labour. "We are therefore of the opinion, as already stated in our major conclusion No. 4, ' that the Department of Agricultural Colonization should be reorganized and placed in charge of officials committed to the primary aim of creating a selfsustaining agriculture, rather than of establishing a new social and economic order.'
" The Commission has no opposition to labour. On the contrary, its members believe in organised labour, but it has the same opposition to labour control and colonization in Palestine that it would have to control by bankers, lawyers or any particular party or economic group . . . ."
In Sir John Campbell's " Report on the Jewish Settlements ", published in the same volume, he wrote at p. 436.
" . . . . Effective practical control has in a large measure passed out of the hands of the Palestine Executive into the hands of a political organization. The Labour Federation has, in practice, controlled the situation. From the initial selection of the immigrants, down through finance and technical departments to the choice of the men to be settled, the place where they are to be settled, the resources to be placed at their disposal, the plan to be followed in establishing them, the apportionment of funds as between different classes of settlers, the Labour Federation has governed the situation. In other words, the body which is technically and ostensibly responsible for the work has not in practice effectively controlled that work; power has been, more or less completely divorced from responsibility."
These extracts from the reports of the Experts describe the position as it is today with remarkable accuracy. The General Federation of Jewish Labour continues to carry out, at the expense of the generosity of World Jewry a social and economic experiment of great interest, but of questionable value. The Jewish Agency either approves of this experiment or is impotent to suppress it.
The sources of immigration.Of the Jewish immigrants over 70 per cent, come from Poland, Russia and B/Romania. Of recent years there has also been a large influx of Yemenite Jews.
In a supplement to the Memorandum of the Jewish Agency submitted for the purposes of this enquiry, the reasons for the extent of the immigration from these four countries is explained. With reference to Poland it is said :
" . . . . This situation was aggravated by the fact that there simultaneously arose amongst the Poles themselves a movement to enter that field of activity which was previously controlled by the Jews. This economic penetration was accompanied by a national economic struggle, in which State and people worked together to eject the Jews from their former economic positions, making considerable use of the cooperative movement for this purpose. All these factors combined to bring ruin upon the Jews of Poland, rendering immigration on a large scale imperative. It is particularly for the Jewish youth of Poland, which aspires to go over to manual labour and productive pursuits, that Palestine affords the essential solution."
In regard to Russia it records :
" . . . . The Jewish religion also has been singled out for malicious and savage persecution. Thus for the Jews of Russia the appalling economic conditions to which they have been reduced, and the political and religious persecution to which they are continuously exposed, make emigration the only possible alternative to economic extinction on the one hand and racial and moral degeneration on the other . . . ."
As to Roumania it is recorded :
" With the postwar annexations by Roumania of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania, the Jewish population rose from 960,000 souls, whose economic condition is aggravated by the fact that a considerable proportion of them those of Bessarabia have been cut off from their former economic hinterland in Russia. Political depression and periodical anti-Semitic excesses are further factors in the Palestine movement among the Jews of this country, where Zionism has been strong since the founding of the first Jewish Colonies in Palestine and the inception of modern Zionism . . . ."
In regard to the Yemen it is written in the supplement :
" . . . . The Jewish community dates back to pre Islamic times and estimates as to its numbers vary from forty to sixty thousand souls. These Jews, are deprived of all civil rights, while there is in force a monstrous decree that all orphans who are minors become wards of the Imam, and must adopt Islam, a decree which in recent years has been enforced more rigorously than previously. The Jews of the Yemen are for the most part skilled workers in handicrafts or agriculturists, while being bred to life in the Orient they very readily assimilate Palestinian conditions. The journey from the Yemen to the coast of Aden takes twenty days; and is fraught by perils of brigandage and murder, yet by this terrible route some 2,000 Yemenite Jews have entered Palestine since the War. Of these no less than 600 entered during the past year, their departure from the Yemen being largely stimulated by fear of the decree as to the forcible conversion of orphan children . . . ."
The above is a very frank explanation of the reasons which have actuated the movement from these four countries to Palestine. By the Zionist Palestine is regarded as the haven of refuge for the distressed Jew, and the National Home is being peopled to a great extent for the time being, by those who escape from countries where distress is most pronounced.
Immigration and Unemployment.It is widely believed and commonly alleged among the Arabs that unemployment among them is due to Jewish immigration and the competition of Jewish labour. In so far as Jewish labour is employed on works which are being carried out solely with imported Jewish capital, there is no basis for the belief. It is however impossible to ascertain whether labour has been imported in excess of what is necessary for these purposes. Indeed from the fact of the increased employment of Jewish Labour on other enterprises, as for instance in the Public Works Department, on the railways, in building enterprises such as Hotel, Y.M.C.A. buildings and other edifices not paid for by purely Jewish capital, it might be argued that more Jewish labourers have been imported than are necessary for purely Jewish requirements, and that, to this extent, the Arab labour market has been adversely affected by Jewish immigration. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the development which has followed on Jewish immigration during the last nine years, has provided additional openings for Arab labour. The expansion of the orange trade alone requires the services of a large number of Arab porters and boatmen at the ports. The same may be said of the large imports of machinery and material in connection with the Jordan Concession, with the Dead Sea Concession, and with the construction and working of the " Nesher " Cement Company. All of these have provided a certain amount of work for Arabs, chiefly on the heavier and more menial tasks. In many directions Jewish development has meant more work for the Arabs, and it is a fair conclusion that the competition of imported Jewish labour is equalized by those increased opportunities.
Figures in regard to the numbers of unemployed.No statistics of unemployment, except those provided monthly by the Immigration Department, exist, and these are admittedly unreliable. The reported figures for the current year are as follows :
For the Jewish authorities, with their extensive system of Labour Exchanges and the Statistical Department of the Labour Federation, it is an easy matter to provide information on the subject of Jewish unemployment which may be regarded as accurate and exact. In the case of Arab unemployment, no adequate machinery exists which would enable an opinion, even approximately accurate, to be formed at any given moment.
Arab unemployment.At the same time there can be no doubt that there is at the present time serious unemployment among Arab craftsmen and among Arab labourers. For this unemployment there are several causes. Motor transport, largely in the hands of the Jews, is driving the camel and the donkey off the roads, and with them the Arab camel driver and the Arab donkeyman. The motor car, again largely owned and driven by Jews, is displacing the horsedrawn vehicle and its Arab driver. The increased use of cement, reinforced concrete and silicate brick, all manufactured by Jews, is replacing dressed stone for constructional purposes, and so displacing a large number of stonedressers and stonemasons, nearly all of whom are Arabs. The Arab quarrymen are also being displaced.
But probably the most serious cause of additional unemployment is the cessation of conscription for the army, prevalent under the Turkish Government. The young men now remain in the villages. Formerly they were despatched to the Yemen or to Anatolia, and
A many, indeed the majority, of them, failed to return. In Jewish circles the story of Arab unemployment is regarded as a myth. There are also individual members of the British Colony at Jerusalem who do not consider it serious. It is difficult to form an opinion, impossible to dogmatise, on the subject of Arab unemployment, but careful consideration of available information on the subject supports the belief that such unemployment not only exists but is serious and widespread. The estimate submitted by the Supreme Moslem Council, that altogether from 30,000 to 35,000 Arabs are unemployed, may be discarded. The figures were described as " fairly reliable." No explanation was offered as to the authority by whom they were supplied. There is, however, ample other evidence. A note by Miss Margaret Nixon, Government Welfare Worker, records that from her personal knowledge there is very serious unemployment among Arabs of the artisan class in Jerusalem. She suggests that the reason lies in the refusal of Jewish employers to engage Arab labourers in view of the riots of last August. Enquiry was made from a British Police Officer who had made a personal investigation into the question at Haifa. He reports that in that town alone 2,050 Arabs are unemployed, including 200 carpenters and 300 stonemasons. From Trans-Jordan it was ascertained that a report that further recruits were required for the Frontier Force resulted in " well over " 4,000 men, mainly from Palestine and Northern Trans-Jordan, besieging the Headquarters of the •Force in hope of employment. In Rarnleh there were 120 applicants for the post of scavenger overseer on a salary of £2.750 mils (£2 15s.) a month.
The Director of the Public Works Department was consulted on the question and stated that there was no difficulty whatever in obtaining all the labour required for his Department. The programme of that Department for the future is important and includes 12 or 13 buildings which will cost from £140,000 to £150,000. In his opinion, even if Jewish immigration were to cease altogether, there would be no difficulty in obtaining the personnel necessary to complete these undertakings.
The Resident Engineer of the Haifa Harbour Works wrote on this subject :
" . . . . There is no question but what there is a very great deal of unemployment in the Arab section of the population, and I have little doubt that, so far as the Harbour Works are concerned, labour requirements could be met two or three times over. Just as an illustration, about a fortnight ago we engaged some 40 additional men to work at the Quarries near Athlit. The news that more men had been started quickly spread, and on one morning last week I myself saw a huge crowd of Arabs seeking work, and they must have numbered some 400 or 500 men . . . ."
Many of the Area and District Officers were consulted. They expressed an unanimous opinion that Arab unemployment is serious and general. In the face of this information from independent sources it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that unemployment among the Arabs is a serious feature of the economic life of Palestine at the present time. Much information was also volunteered as to the trend of Arab wages, from which it would appear that unemployment, as is natural with unorganised labour, is affecting the standard of life. The information obtained indicates that in the case of skilled artisans, carpenters and stonedressers the fall in wage rates amounts to 50 per cent. A competent artisan can still earn 15 to 20 piastres (3s. to 4s. per day). A fellah workman is content to accept 8 to 10 piastres (Is. 8d. to 2s.). The Deputy District Commissioner of Jerusalem stated that this year (1930) tenders for municipal contracts were at half the rates demanded in 1929, the decrease being due to the fall in Arab wages. The tales told by Arab workmen themselves were impressive. Several of them were men who had enjoyed a certain measure of ease and prosperity in the past, but whose conditions had deteriorated during recent years. There were mastermasons who used to employ a number of subordinates, yet now are not only not in a position to employ any assistants, but are themselves destitute, owing to the inability to find work. There were carpenters who produced excellent certificates and are in the same plight. There were labourers who are willing to accept any wage if only they could obtain work. All of them ascribed their misfortunes, probably quite erroneously, to Jewish competition.
Further immigration and its effect on Arab unemployment. It is thus evident that Arabs are unemployed in at least considerable numbers, and that the fact is resulting in a distinct reduction of the standard of life among the Arab labouring class. As has been pointed out, the policy of the Jewish Labour Federation is successful in impeding the employment of Arabs both in Jewish colonies and in Jewish enterprises of every kind. There is therefore no relief to be anticipated from an extension of Jewish enterprise unless some departure from existing practice is effected.
Recent increase in Jewish unemployment. There is also evidence of increasing unemployment among the Jews at the present time. The return of unemployment for the month of June showed that 1,300 Jews are out of work as compared with 650 in the previous month. The Labour paper, " Davar," published by the General Federation of Jewish Labour, wrote on 8th July :
" . . . . Conditions of employment during the last weeks have grown worse .... Hundreds of cheap labour are employed in seasonal work .... And the Jewish labourer goes idle .... The help from our central organisations is required in order to avoid undesired developments, especially at the present time."
Next day it wrote :
" . . . . The present situation requires the mobilisation of all public forces to meet the danger. Many of the employers in the colonies have recently forgotten all shame when dealing with the question of Jewish employment."
The Chief Immigration Officer writes on this question, after a visit to the large village of Petach Tikvah :
" . . . . The presence of men and women without work could not be concealed. The representative of the local trade union admitted about 200 unemployed .but assured us that this was merely a temporary matter .... The local police estimated unemployment at between 300 and 350, a figure that is probably correct . . . ."
The reason for the unemployment probably lies in the fall in the price of oranges, wKich renders it difficult for the growers to pay the higher rate of wages for Jewish pluckers, and so they employ Arab or Yemenite labour.
Employment of Arabs in Jewish concerns.One of the Executive of the Jewish Labour Federation put the case quite clearly. He said, "We would not initiate the work if we were compelled to employ Arab labour. The Zionist object in development is to employ Jews. Unless Jews can be employed we fail in our object." The principle underlying this statement is logical and comprehensible. The Jews do not spend their capital in the development of Palestine in order that Arab unemployment should be overcome. Nevertheless, by the Government, Palestine must be treated as an entity and there must be no discrimination between the races which it contains. If there is unemployment, whether Jewish or Arab, it is clearly the duty of the Government to prevent immigration if such immigration will intensify that unemployment or prevent its cure.
" Derived Demand."There is one special case to which the principles enunciated above will not apply. It has been pointed out that Jewish capital will not be brought into Palestine in order to employ Arab labour. It will come in with the definite object of the employment of Jewish labour and not otherwise. The principle of '' derived demand '' would justify the immigration of Jewish labour even when there are Arab unemployed in the country if the newlyimported Jewish labour is assured of work of a permanent nature, through the introduction of Jewish capital to provide the work on which that labour is to be employed. It is clearly of no advantage to the unemployed Arab that Jewish capital should be prevented from entering the country, and he is in no worse position by the importation of Jewish labour to do work in Palestine for which the funds are available by the simultaneous importation of Jewish capital. In fact, he is better off, as the expenditure of that capital on wages to Jewish workmen will cause, ultimately, a demand for the services of a portion of the Arab unemployed. It is in this way that the principle of " derived demand " works in his case,
The Government, however, must be well assured that the employment for which the Jewish labour is imported is permanent in its nature, that this labour will not be employed for a time and then thrown on to the labour market. This would only aggravate the unemployment position in the country.
It would be justifiable that the Government should demand from the Jewish Organisations that a security fund should be initiated, to assure against Jewish unemployment in all such cases. If a substantial sum were deposited with the Government as a guarantee, to provide for the maintenance of overimported labour, in case of unemployment, it would be a much easier task for the Government to deal with the Labour Schedule. Negotiations on this subject might be undertaken between the Palestine Government and the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
Unemployment statistics and Government Employment Exchanges.The principle that the preparation of the Labour Schedule shall depend on the total unemployment in Palestine demands that the existence of that unemployment shall be accurately determined. As has been shown above, no machinery exists at the present time which permits of an accurate estimate of Arab unemployment. Such machinery must be devised. In the towns this result could be obtained by the creation of Government Employment Exchanges, with which the existing Jewish exchanges might be amalgamated. Arrangements to facilitate the employment of the unemployed is the function of a Government rather than that of one section of the population. The existence of Employment Exchanges would permit of a comparatively accurate estimation of the number of Palestinian unemployed, whether Arab, Jew or other, at any moment.
In the villages, the question is of great difficulty. Registration of unemployment might be entrusted to the Area and District Officers, who could obtain the information through the Mukhtars (Headmen) of the villages. The question of machinery is one for the Palestine Government, but whatever machinery may be employed it should be such as will afford to the Government at any time, or at such stated intervals as may be laid down, accurate information as to the total number of unemployed, classified according to their occupations. Only when such reliable information is available will it be possible to prepare the immigration schedule on a rational basis.
Seasonal and occasional labour.There are two obvious dangers against which provision must be made in the execution of any measures dealing with the registration of unemployment. The first lies in the large amount of casual and temporary unemployment of the agricultural labourer and indeed of the small Arab cultivator. Of this class many individuals flock to the towns in order to earn something in addition to what is yielded by the land. The agricultural labourer is paid entirely in kind, while, in the case of the small cultivator, unless he can eke out his income during the agricultural offseason, he is frequently unable to obtain the cash necessary to pay his taxes or his moneylender, and for the year's purchases which are essential for his household. There can be no valid reason for refusal to register as unemployed temporary labourers of this kind, if they are in fact in the labour market, and in fact unemployed. The regulations of the employment exchanges should, however, be so framed as to ensure that the names of persons of this class seeking employment should be removed when seasonal activity causes them to return from the towns to the villages.
Importation of other than Jewish labour.Further, it is clear that if unemployment is a valid reason for preventing Jewish immigration, it is also a reason for preventing importation of labour of other nationalities. At the time of writing, even with marked unemployment among Arabs, ^Egyptian labour is being employed in certain individual cases, and its ingress has been the subject of adverse comment in the Press.
Prevention of illicit immigration.Finally, in closing the front door, steps should be taken to ensure that the backdoor should not be kept open for would-be immigrants into Palestine. The Chief Immigration Officer has brought to notice that illicit immigration through Syria and across the northern frontier of Palestine is material. This question has already been discussed. It may be a difficult matter to ensure against this illicit immigration, but steps to this end must be taken if the suggested policy is adopted, as also to prevent unemployment lists being swollen by immigrants from TransJordania.
Arab unemployment as a political pawn.The question of unemployment and immigration has been treated solely from the economic standpoint. It has immediate political repercussions with which this enquiry is not concerned, but which must receive consideration from His Majesty's Government in arriving at a decision. Two of these repercussions will require particular attention :
First, Arab unemployment is liable to be used as a political pawn. Arab politicians are sufficiently astute to realise at once what may appear an easy method of blocking that immigration to which they are radically averse, and attempts may and probably will be made to swell the list of Arab unemployed with names which should not be there, or perhaps to ensure the registration of an unemployed man in the books of more than one exchange. It should not prove difficult to defeat this manoeuvre.
Article 6 of the Mandate and its effect on immigration.Second, there is the repercussion on the policy of the Jewish National Home. It is evident that any interference with freedom of immigration is a limitation to the admission of Jews who desire to take part in the local constitution of that Home. Article 6 of the Mandate, however, directs that the rights and position of other sections of the population shall not be prejudiced by Jewish immigration. Clearly, in cases in which immigration of Jews results in preventing the Arab population obtaining the work necessary for its maintenance, it is the duty of the Mandatory Power, under the Mandate, to reduce, or, if necessary, to suspend, such immigration, until immigration will not affect adversely the opportunities of the Arab for employment. Elsewhere in this report the exclusion of Arab labour from the land purchased by the Jewish National Fund has been discussed, and it is pointed out that this exclusion is liable to confirm a belief that it is the intention of the Jewish authorities to displace the Arab population from Palestine by progressive stages. This belief, which, however unfounded it may be, is unfortunately very widely held, will be confirmed when it is realised that the immigration of Jewish labour is permitted while the Arab cannot earn his daily bread. On general grounds, therefore, as well as in order to carry out the terms of Article 6 of the Mandate, it is necessary that the existence of Arab unemployment should be taken into consideration when determining the number of Jews to be admitted at the time of preparation of the Labour Schedule.
Suspension of the Labour Schedule.A question which has developed marked political importance is that of the suspension of immigration under the Labour Schedule which was ordered by His Majesty's Government at the end of the month of May of the present year. That Schedule was prepared in the ordinary way and sanctioned by the High Commissioner. Its suspension caused the greatest excitement, which has even now not altogether subsided. At the time there is no doubt that the recommendations of the Chief Immigration Officer, and the decision of the High Commissioner were justified by the prospects of work in Palestine. Since that time conditions have changed and there are at the moment signs of an economic crisis in Palestine. Prices have fallen suddenly and heavily. As has been shown in this Chapter, unemployment is widespread and is increasing. The immediate outlook for industry is bad. Economically it would be unwise to allow into the country a large number of additional workmen for whom work must be found, when there is at the moment difficulty in finding work even for Jewish workmen.
To leave the economic argument for a moment, it is said that there is an important psychological aspect of the question which escapes the notice of an enquiry purely economic. The suspension of labour immigration, it is alleged, has created the impression that the British Government is, if not hostile at least apathetic in the matter of the National Home and that this attitude finds its expression in the suspension in question. As a result of the impression so created, the flow of capital to Palestine and of subscriptions for the settlement work in that country have both been affected. The capitalist doubts the security of his capital. The benevolent questions the utility of his subscription if the National Home is in the end to prove a phantom.
Those who use these arguments, and they are universally used among the Jewish community, suggest that there is in fact no danger in reopening immigration. On the contrary they are of the opinion that the cancellation of the order of suspension would at once restore confidence, stimulate the flow of money to Palestine, and so prevent the very economic difficulty which is anticipated.
There is weight to be attached to these opinions and those arguments. They are held and used by those who have the most acute knowledge of Jewish psychology. Yet from the purely economic standpoint, it has to be said that to cancel the suspension would be to take a risk, not justified by the economic position of the moment. It is not the province of this report to suggest whether it would or would not prove justifiable from the political standpoint.
Preparation of the Labour Schedule: Proposed change in method.It is probable that a slight change in the method of preparation of the Labour Schedule would tend to increase the amicable relations between the Jewish authorities in Palestine and the Immigration Department. There is no reason why the Schedule should not be prepared by the representatives of the Jewish Agency and of the Immigration Department working together. If thought desirable some commercial authorities outside the Agency and the Government might be called into council as, for example, the Manager of Barclay's (Overseas) Bank at Jerusalem and the Manager of the Anglo Palestine Company, each of whom is in intimate touch with the economic position in Palestine,
If the representatives of the Agency and the Department were in full agreement the agreed schedule would be submitted for the orders of the High Commissioner, who would doubtless accept it as it stood. If on the other hand there were disagreement on any of the items of the Schedule, the items on which agreement had been reached might be submitted under the signature of both parties, and separate schedules submitted in respect of items on which there was disagreement. The High Commissioner would then pass such orders as he thought fit.
Formation of a Department of Immigration, Labour and Travel.. At the present time the Immigration work is done by a section of the Police Department. The work is very voluminous and important and it is unsuitable that it should be connected in any way,, even nominally, with the Police. The amount of work and the size of the staff both justify the creation of a Department of Immigration, specially as the Immigration staff deal also with Travel and with Labour. In view of the additional work which will fall upon this staff in consequence of the necessity to create a service for the registration of unemployment, it is exceedingly desirable that the Immigration Service should be detached from the Police Department and constituted a Department of Immigration, Labour and Travel.
Government Lands. (Chapter I. Section (Hi).)
The most important of lands, the property of the Government at the time the Mandate was given, were the Beisan area and the Huleh Basin. Of these the Beisan area was settled, in accordance with the terms of the Mudawwara Agreement of 1921, with the Arabs already in occupation or who had claims to possession. The Huleh Basin was subject to a concession already granted by the Ottoman Government which was confirmed by the Palestine Government. Of other considerable areas the Kabbara Swamp, the Caesarea Sanddunes and a portion of the lands of Athlit, an area in the neighbourhood of 39,000 dunams, were ceded to the P.I.C.A. It is an error to imagine that the Government is in possession of large areas of vacant lands which could be made available for Jewish settlement. In fact free areas are negligible in extent. The Government claims considerable areas which are occupied and cultivated by Arabs. Even were the title of the Government admitted, and it is in many cases disputed, it would not be feasible to make those areas available for settlement in view of the impossibility of finding other lands on which to place the Arab cultivators.
The provision of a margin depends on material progress in the development of the land already included in holdings. It has been shown that the area of cultivable land in Palestine (excluding the Beer-Sheba region) is 6,544,000 dunams, considerably less than has hitherto been estimated. It has also been shown that, while an area of at least 130 dunams is required to maintain a fellah family in a decent standard of life in the unirrigated tracts, the whole of the cultivable land not already in the hands of the Jews would not afford an average lot in excess of 90 dunams, were it divided among the existing Arab cultivators. (Chapter III.) For an average holding of 130 dunams, about eight million dunams of cultivable land would be required. It also appears that of the 86,980 rural Arab families in the villages, 29.4 per cent, are landless. It is not known how many of these are families who previously cultivated and have since lost their land. This is a matter which should be ascertained in the course of the Census which is to take place next year.
Present agricultural policy.The condition of the Arab fellah is little if at all superior to what it was under the Turkish regime. No definite policy of agricultural development of the country held by the Arabs has been adopted. The sole agencies which have pursued such a consistent policy have been the Jewish Colonisation Departments, public and private. With this exception agricultural progress of any kind has been haphazard and of small extent or value.
Jewish and Arab advantages and disadvantages. (Chapter V.) The Jewish settlers have had every advantage that capital, science and organization could give them. To these and to the energy of the settlers themselves their remarkable progress is due.
(Chapter VI.)The Arab has had none of these advantages and has received practically no help to improve his cultivation or his standard of life. The Arab population has increased with great rapidity and the land available for its sustenance has meanwhile decreased by about a million metric dunams which have passed into the hands of the Jews.
Compensation of Beduin for loss of grazing rights. (Chapter Vl.)~The problem of the Beduin requires careful investigation, in order that their rights may be ascertained. Where those rights conflict with the requirements of the State for agricultural development, the Beduin should be compensated, if those rights are annulled.
Alterations of terms under which Jewish National Fund purchases and leases land. (Chapter V. Section (Hi).)Reference has been made to the terms on which the Jewish National Fund purchases and leases its land. It is there recorded that those terms are objectionable and should be radically altered.
Government's duty under the Mandate.It is the duty of the Administration, under the Mandate, to ensure that the position of the Arabs is not prejudiced by Jewish immigration. It is also its duty under the Mandate to encourage the close settlement of the Jews on the land, subject always to the former condition. It is only possible to reconcile these apparently conflicting duties by an active policy of agricultural development, having as its object close settlement on the land and intensive cultivation by both Arabs and Jews. To this end drastic action is necessary.
Agricultural Development Scheme. (Chapter VII.}A methodical scheme of agricultural development should be thought out and undertaken, which will ensure the use of the land of the country to better purpose than has been the case hitherto. This development should have two distinct aims :
Improvement of the Fellah's methods. (Chapter VII.)In the first place, to improve the method of cultivation of the Arab fellah in the dry tracts, and also to extend irrigation wherever that is possible, so that the fellah will be able to gain a reasonable livelihood from a smaller area of land than that which has been essential hitherto.
Rearrangement of holdings.In the second place to to rearrange holdings of land, that there will be a margin for further settlement in accordance with the terms of Article 6 of the Mandate.
Development of irrigation.If such development is undertaken in accordance with a definite plan and the cultivable land of the Plains of Palestine improved, as in many places it can be improved, by the provision of water for irrigation, there will unquestionably be sufficient land both for Arabs and for additional Jewish settlement. The results desired will not be obtained except by years of work.
Jewish reserves of land.It is for this reason peculiarly fortunate that the Jewish organizations are in possession of a large reserve of land not yet settled or developed. Their operations can continue without a break while the general scheme of development is being worked out and brought into operation.
Control of disposition of land.Until the scheme is worked out the control of all disposition of land must of necessity rest with the authority in charge of the development. Transfers should only be permitted in so far as they do not interfere with that scheme.
Powers for Government purchase of land.In order that any scheme of development should be a success, the authority controlling ^6 development must be able to obtain the land which it is intended to develop. It may be possible that arrangements to this end can be concluded amicably between the Government and the owner of land required. In such cases naturally the Government would buy the land. It should also have the power to purchase at a valuation all land for sale in the market. On the other hand in any case in which the Government refuses to sanction a sale of land, the would-be vendor should have the right to demand that the Government take over that land at a valuation.
It may be however that the Government will not be able to acquire the land it needs by private arrangement or by purchase at a valuation. In such a case it already has the power to act, under the Expropriation of Land Ordinance No. 28 of 1926, and to acquire the land at a valuation, as being required for a public purpose.
Development Commission.The development of the land could best be ensured by the appointment of a Development Commission, invested with the necessary powers.
It is desirable that there should be a Chairman of British nationality, one Arab Commissioner and one Jewish Commissioner.
Responsibilities of the Development Commission.The Commission would not only undertake the development of the land but would also be responsible for its colonisation, both by Arab and by Jew. Until the survey is finished and the census is taken next year, it is impossible to say what the actual area available for cultivation may be and the number of Arab families whom it may be necessary to displace.
Available areas in the plains.The Jewish Agency has made a calculation which indicates that there is room for 54,900 additional families in three of the five plains, namely, the Maritime Plain, the Huleh Plain, and the Jordan Valley, including Beisan. This is the result of a careful and detailed examination of the cultivable area and of the possibilities of development. It is true that the figures adopted in this calculation differ from those of the Director of Surveys in certain areas, and it would not be possible to accept the estimate as strictly accurate. It is at the same time certain that a large number of additional families can be provided with improved holdings in these areas.
It is impossible to give anything like a reliable estimate of the number of families who could be accommodated in Palestine, if the whole country were adequately developed. The development of 100,000 dunams in certain areas of the Maritime Plain might perhaps provide sufficient land for the settlement of 5,000 to 6,500 families. Accommodation would probably be thus provided in such an area for the families already on the spot, together with 2,000 families of Arabs from the congested areas in the Hills and 2,000 families of Jewish settlers. A similar area in Beisan would accommodate possibly only one half or twothirds of the number of new families. Everything depends on water for irrigation and markets for the produce. But there can be no doubt that systematic and methodical development over a series of years will change the whole aspect of agricultural Palestine, and admit of a largely increased population.
Coordination of Development Schemes.Any scheme of development should provide for the settlement both of Jews and of Arabs on the developed area, and should take into consideration the plans of colonisation of the Jewish agencies, in order that development by those agencies and by the Commission might be coordinated. It might well prove possible to combine two schemes of development in certain areas with mutual advantage and with considerable economy.
Cost of settling a family,It is assumed that the average expenditure on settling one Arab family will be about £60. This does not provide for' anything luxurious in the way of settlement. The Arab builds his own house. It costs him £10 per room. If he builds a house of two rooms, £40 will remain, which will be sufficient to provide him with a good cow, an iron plough and a harrow. The family will already have cattle and implements and it will not be necessary to provide maintenance. Though the standard of life of Arab and Jew differ materially, no difference could be made either in the size of holding allotted or in the amount granted for settlement. If the Jew desires a more liberal settlement, and he will desire it, clearly he must obtain its cost elsewhere than from the Development Commission.
Distribution of developed land.The distribution of the developed land should be made to Jews whose names are borne on lists supplied to the Commission by the Jewish Agency, and to Arabs named by the District Commissioners. The claim of would-be settlers of both sections of the population should be considered simultaneously, and the Commission must have the final decision on the claims.
Cooperation between Jewish agencies and the Development Commission.The scheme proposed depends for its success on loyal cooperation of the Jewish Colonisation Agencies with the Development Commission. The Commission should be in constant touch with those agencies, and their schemes of development, though intended for Jewish settlement alone, must Be so framed as to fall in with the scheme for the development of the country as a whole. This is the only way in which the provisions of Article 6 of the Mandate can be observed and close settlement of Jews on the land encouraged while the position of the other sections of the population is not prejudiced. There will doubtless be difficulties at the commencement in coordinating Jewish plans with those of the Commission, but with goodwill on either side and a realization of the common object those difficulties should be capable of resolution.
Artificial inflation of land values.It is also only by cooperation that artificial inflation of the price of the land will be prevented. At the present time, the price of land in Palestine has risen to an exaggerated height, owing to the determination of the various Jewish purchasing agencies to buy, at all hazards and at any price, land which comes into the market, and the fact that the owner knows that if he only holds, he can get his price. As the price of the land, or an adequate percentage on that price in the form of rent must be collected from the population to be settled, the scheme will fail if the land is bought at an unreasonable price, such as the present price. It is thus an essential condition of success that the land should be bought at a reasonable price. This is only possible either by agreement; between the Government and the Jewish purchasing agencies or by Government control over dispositions of land. The object desired might be attained by a " gentleman's agreement " between the Jewish Agency and the Commission. Control, however, would be essential in any case in order to prevent the incursion of third parties desirous of speculating in land.
Ascertainment of the number of landless Arabs.The forthcoming census should be used in order to ascertain the number of Arabs who have become landless. It would also be well if the number of fellahin who have not a holding on which they are able to maintain a reasonable standard of life could be ascertained through the Area and District Officers. .These two classes are dealt with by Mr. Snell in his Note of Reservations. to the report of the Commission on the Disturbances. He says on page 177"
The Arab, on the other hand, should be secured in the possession of sufficient land to provide him with a decent standard, of life . . . . " and on p. 181, '' .... If there are still Arabs who are landless through the failure of the Palestine Government to apply administratively the provisions of the Land. Laws in force in that country, steps should be taken by the Government to settle them on the land at the public expense. . . .
Migration: Its difficulties.The task of a Development Commission will not be easy. It will involve, among other problems, that of migration. Evidently it will not be possible to increase the size of a fellah's holding in the Hills, except by arrangement which will involve the transfer of some other fellah from the Hills elsewhere and the use of the latter's holding to increase that of the former in the attempt to create a " lot viable."
" The process of migration involves many difficulties .... of which not the least is the understandable objections of the occupiers in the neighbourhood of the new holding to immigrants being given land to which they consider they and their families have a prior claim. Much tact and foresight are necessary in planning migration schemes and inducing holders to migrate to a part of the country where the local associations .... would be strange to them .... Though migration formed a definite part of the policy of the late Congested Districts. Board in dealing with their Estates .... the inherent difficulties .... prevented a development of the policy on a very extensive scale .... The now almost universal scope of land purchase in Saorstat Eireann makes it possible to effect more extensive schemes of migration."
The above is a quotation from the Report of the Irish Land' Commissioners for the year ending 31st March, 1929. There is no doubt that similar difficulties will be encountered in any policy of development which entails migration as a consequence. In the case of the fellah, however, the conditions under which he lives are so unbearable that the difficulty of migration is not likely to be presented to the same degree. He is always migrating, even at the present time. He goes to any spot where he thinks he can find work. Many have left the country altogether. Emigration of a similar nature is understood to be common both in Syria and in 'Iraq.
Relations with the Department of Agriculture.The relations. between a Development Commission and the existing Department of Agriculture will require determination and definition. There is danger both of jealousy and of overlapping. Both of these dangers are evitable. The object of the two agencies is identical, namely, the improvement of the condition of the smallholder. If the relations between the Commission and the High Commissioner are close and cordial, as must be the case if the scheme is to have full success, those between the Commission and the Department should not fail to be satisfactory.
Spheres of action of the Development Commission and Department of Agriculture.The broad principle of division between the two agencies is the following :It is the duty of the Development Commission to improve the land for the cultivator; to introduce irrigation if possible, to regulate the size of the holding so that it shall be appropriate, and to arrange for its occupation either by migration of Arabs already in the country, or by the settlement of Jews who have immigrated under the auspices of the Jewish organizations. It is the duty of the Department of Agriculture to look after the technical side of the cultivator's life, to provide him with education and, if possible, training, to render him more capable than he is at present to use the improved land to the best advantage when it is made available for him by the Development Commission.
There will be borderline cases. For instance, it is conceivable that the Development Commission may establish nurseries to provide trees for the improved land. The Department of Agriculture may also have nurseries to provide trees for the cultivators generally. But by the application of ordinary commonsense, there should in practice be no difficulty in arranging the spheres of action of the two authorities.
Hydrographic Survey.It has been recommended that the Government should institute a hydrographic survey of Palestine. This is essential to satisfactory development of the country and to methodical development of irrigation. Meanwhile one of the first tasks of a Development Commission will be the examination of the available water resources, in order that development may commence where there is the most immediate likelihood of success. They will require the services of the irrigation engineer of the Government for this purpose.
Urgency of Irrigation Legislation (Chapter VII).The contemplated legislation to regulate irrigation and to render it more efficient should be passed as soon as possible. The control of all irrigable water should remain with the Government, and all surplus water above that on which rights have been or may be established should be its property. It is regrettable that the Government has in one case parted with the irrigation rights in an important source to a concessionaire, and steps should be taken to ensure that in that case satisfactory arrangements are made for a supply of water for irrigation at an early date.
Formation of an Irrigation Department.It is not desirable that the irrigation services should be a branch of the Agricultural Department and subject to the Director of that Department. They should be constituted a separate service with a Department dealing only with irrigation.
Occupancy Right.The question of the creation of occupancy right of the agricultural tenant is discussed. No measure short of such right will suffice to secure the tenant against ejectment or the imposition of an excessive rental. The bestowal of the right will, it is true, reduce the market value of the property on which the tenant is settled, but it is essential that his tenure should be rendered more secure than it is at the present time. Legislation should be introduced as soon as is possible to confer on the tenant in Palestine that right, which exists all over India. This legislation should also secure the tenant against increases in his rent except under the orders or with the sanction of a Court. A register of all tenancies should be compiled in the course of the settlement now in progress.
Partition of Mesha'a (Chapter IV).The tenure in common known as mesha'a which prevails in nearly half of the Arab villages of Palestine has been described and discussed, and it has been recorded that this system is a great obstacle to any agricultural development of the country. It is essential that steps should be taken to partition the mesha'a villages as expeditiously as possible.
Acceleration of land settlement (Chapter IV).It has been pointed out that the maintenance of the record of rights which is now being prepared, and of a register of tenancies, is a necessary condition of good administration of the agricultural tracts. The work of the settlement, which is extremely complicated, is proceeding very slowly, and should be accelerated, if that is possible. If the delay is due to the expense of the settlement, and the inadequacy of the Settlement Budget, that Budget should be increased. The work is so important to the Government for its general purposes, and so essential to activities of a Development Commission, that no avoidable delay should be tolerated.
Abolition of imprisonment for debt (Chapter VI.)Imprisonment for debt is an anachronism and should be abolished.
Redistribution and reduction of taxation (Chapter VI).Agricultural taxation is excessive in Palestine at the present time. The Tithe is based on prices of produce which have fallen by about 50 per cent, since the Tithe was commuted. Until arrangements can be made so to redistribute the burden of taxation that it will fall more fairly in accordance with the financial ability of the taxpayer, the Tithe should, if possible, be suspended. If that is not possible, it should vary with the average market price of produce.
Registration fees Reduction of fees.The fees at present charged for the registration of dispositions of land, especially those on sale, mortgage and succession, are so high as to prevent the registration of changes in title consequent thereon. It is desirable, in the interests of the maintenance of an accurate record of rights, that these fees should be reduced.
Coordination of Agricultural Scientific Services (Chapter VII, Section A).It is urgently necessary that steps should be taken to prevent overlapping between the scientific establishments of the Government, of the Jewish Agency and of the Hebrew University. It is preferable, and would be more economical, that the Government, rather than duplicate such services, should grant a subvention or should make payments for services rendered.
Increase of Department of Agriculture's Budget (Chapter VII). It is a question whether the Agricultural Department should maintain certain minor 'Services, as, for instance, the Fisheries Service and the Sericultural Service, with its present limited Budget. The existing Budget is insufficient for the work which the Agricultural Department should perform. It should be increased.
Demonstration plots (Chapter VII).Of all the agencies of an agricultural department in a country of smallholders none is more valuable than the Demonstration Plot. It is also one of the most economical methods of bringing practical and practicable improvements to the notice of the peasant cultivator. It is suggested that this method might well be adopted by the Agricultural Department, in Palestine.
Distribution of trees (Chapter VII).Another valuable agency for improvement of the holding of the peasant is the distribution of trees either at cost price or below it.
Separation of the Forest Service (Chapter VII).The Forest Service is not one which should be attached to the Agricultural Department. It should be constituted as an independent service.
Increase of Budget of Department of Education.The educational budget is by far too small for the requirements of the country, and it is recommended that it should be increased.
Agricultural course for Schoolmasters (Chapter VII).Agricultural development is dependent on the spread of elementary education. It is desirable that all village schoolmasters should be given a six months' course at an agricultural school, and that the curriculum of the village school should include elementary instruction in agriculture. Each village school should have a small plot of land which will serve as a school garden and demonstration plot. There should be close cooperation between the Departments of Education and of Agriculture.