Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a UN document.
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
League of Nations
31 December 1936
by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the
Council of the League of Nations
on the Administration of
for the year 1936
REPORT BY HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN
IRELAND TO THE COUNCIL OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF
PALESTINE AND TRANS-JORDAN FOR THE YEAR 1936.
Palestine lies on the western edge of the continent of Asia between latitude 30° N. and 33° N., Longitude 34° 30 E. and 35° 30' E.
On the south-west it is bounded by Egyptian territory, on the south-east by the Gulf of Aqaba, on the east by Trans-Jordan, on the north by the French Mandated territories of Syria and the Lebanon, and on the west by the Mediterranean. The boundaries are as follows:--
--From a point on the Mediterranean coast north-west of Rafa, passing in a south-easterly direction to the south-west of Rafa, to a point west-north-west of Ain Maghara; thence to the junction of the Gaza-Aqaba and Nekl-Aqaba roads, from whence it continues to the end of the boundary line at the point of Ras Taba on the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.
--From Ras Taba, the Gulf of Aqaba to a point two miles west of Aqaba, thence up the centre of the Wadi Araba, the Dead Sea, and the Jordan, to the centre of the River Yarmuk to the Syrian frontier.
--The northern boundary was laid down by the Anglo-French Convention of the 23rd December, 1920, and its delimitation was ratified in 1923. Stated briefly, the boundary runs from Ras el Naqura on the Mediterranean east-wards to Metulla and across the upper Jordan valley to Banias, thence to Jisr Banat Yaqub, thence along the Jordan to the Lake of Tiberias and on to El Hamme station on the Samakh-Deraa railway line.
--The Mediterranean Sea.
AREA AND CLIMATE.
2. The average length of Palestine from south to north is about 160 miles and its extreme width from east to west is less than 70 miles, the total area being approximately 10,100 square miles inclusive of a water area of 261 square miles (the Dead Sea, Lake Tiberias and Lake Huleh). In size it is therefore comparable with Wales or Belgium.
3. The climate of Palestine, affected by the neighbouring deserts of Arabia and Nubia as well as by nearby temperate zones, is characterized generally by a dry, warm, but not excessively hot summer, and a mild winter with heavy periodical rainfalls accompanied by high, cold winds; frost is rare. But the typical climate is varied by the diverse topography of the country. In the south and south-west there are wide expanses of sand dunes and desert. The remainder of the country falls naturally into three longitudinal strips--the maritime plain, the mountainous regions (or central highlands), and the Jordan valley. Each of these strips, which are more closely described below, is climatically distinct.
The climate of the maritime plain is warm but equable; the heat of summer and the cold of winter are both tempered by the westerly winds from the Mediterranean. In the central highlands there is a greater range of temperature both daily and seasonal, and the maximum temperature is a few degrees lower than in the coastal plains. Snow and hail occasionally fall in Jerusalem and Hebron, and the winter storms are accompanied by penetrating winds which necessitate the use of clothing suitable for a cold English climate.
The Jordan valley is tropical. The high air pressure and the excessive heat in summer combine to produce most oppressive conditions, but the winter in this region is warm and balmy.
The maritime plain and the central highlands are both healthy, though the one, on account of greater humidity, is relaxing in its effects, while the other, through sudden changes of temperature, predisposes to chills and respiratory complaints.
4. The following records are typical of the three climatic zones:--
Mean daily maximum
Mean daily minimum
Absolute maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
69 per cent.
70 per cent.
55 per cent.
68 per cent.
51 per cent.
64 per cent.
5. Rainfall is of vital importance in Palestine and any reduction in its quantity arouses concern for the prospects of agriculture and water conservation generally. The mean volume of annual rainfall is roughly equal to that of the rainfall in the east of England.
There are two well-marked periods of precipitation. The "former rain" in October and November is not usually large; during December, January and February, the rainfall steadily increases; in March it begins to abate, and it is practically ended in April. The characteristic winds are the moist west and south-west of winter and the dry north and north-west of summer. Desert heat is brought by the sirocco from the hot deserts of the south or east generally in April and May and occasionally in September and October.
6. Along the greater part of the western seaboard lies a stretch of fertile plain of sand and sandy loam soil. In the south this plain has an average width of about 20 miles, but it gradually narrows to the north until at Mount Carmel, near Haifa, the hills approach to within a few hundred yards of the sea. Beyond Carmel the plain widens again, but in this area it is marshy and malarial.
The second strip consists of two distinct mountainous regions divided sharply by the plain of Esdraelon. To the north of that plain are the mountains of Galilee extending beyond the Syrian frontier and rising to Jebel Jermak to a height of 3,934 feet above sea-level; to the south are the mountains of Samaria and Judea, which in places reach heights little less than those of Galilee. Most of this second strip of country is desolate and stony, but at irregular intervals there occur stretches of fertile land capable of deep tillage.
The plain of Esdraelon, which cuts so sharply through the mountain system of Palestine, is roughly triangular in shape. Though the soil is here of a heavier and more clayey texture than that of the coastal plain, Esdraelon is proverbially fertile and is especially suitable for cereal production.
The third and eastern strip of country is the Jordan valley, a natural depression which, starting from sea-level in the extreme north of the country, falls gradually to a depth of 1,300 feet below that level at the Dead Sea, about 100 miles to the south.
7. The capital of Palestine is Jerusalem, situated in the midst of the hills of Judea, and the principal towns are Haifa, with its modern harbour, in the north at the entrance to the plain of Esdraelon; Jaffa, a second port which lies some 40 miles west- north-west of Jerusalem; Tel-Aviv, which is contiguous to Jaffa; and Nablus, the ancient Sichem, in the hills of Samaria. Jerusalem has a majority of Jewish inhabitants; in Haifa the Arab and Jewish elements are now approximately equal in numbers; Tel-Aviv is an entirely Jewish township of 150,000 inhabitants. In Jaffa a large majority of the people are Arabs, and in Nablus, apart from a small community of Samaritans, all the people are Arabs.
Other important towns where the population consists of both Arabs and Jews are Hebron, 20 miles to the south of Jerusalem; Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee; and Safad, a remote town in mountainous country in the extreme north of Palestine.
CHANGES IN PERSONNEL 1936.
8. During the year, the following left Palestine:--
His Honour Mr. Justice O. C. K. Corrie, M.C., Senior Puisne Judge, Supreme Court, was appointed Chief Justice, Fiji.
Mr. L. I. N. Lloyd-Blood, M.C., Solicitor-General, was appointed Attorney-General, Cyprus.
Mr. F. H. Baker, President, District Court, was appointed Puisne Judge, Nigeria.
Mr. W. Foster, Deputy Postmaster-General, and Mr. J. F. Rowlands, O.B.E., Deputy Director of Public Works, retired on pension.
The following appointments were made:--
Mr. O. M. Tweedy was appointed Press Officer, in succession to Mr. R. A. Furness, C.B.E., whose contract of service with the Government had expired.
Mr. J. Gutch, Assistant Colonial Secretary, Gold Coast, was appointed Establishment Officer, Secretariat.
Mr. R. H. R. Church, Assistant District Commissioner, Somaliland, was appointed Assistant Secretary.
Mr. A. L. Craig-Bennett was appointed Chief Fisheries Officer.
Mr. G. N. Sale, formerly in Mauritius, was appointed Conservator of Forests.
Mr. W. B. Kennedy-Shaw was appointed Departmental Assistant, Department of Antiquities.
Mr. R. Macdonald, formerly Assistant Auditor, Federated Malay States, was appointed Senior Assistant Auditor.
Mr. A. H. E. Rogers was appointed Principal of the Government Trade School at Haifa.
Miss J. McDowall was appointed Woman Medical Officer.
Mr. R. J. Manning, formerly Puisne Judge, Trinidad, was appointed Senior Puisne Judge.
Mr. L. E. C. Evans, formerly Senior Crown Counsel, Sierra Leone, was appointed Relieving President of a District Court.
Mr. B. V. Shaw, formerly Resident Magistrate, Kenya, was appointed Relieving President of a District Court.
Mr. P. J. Bourke, formerly Legal Adviser and Crown Prosecutor, Seychelles, was appointed a Chief Magistrate.
Mr. J. P. Hogan was appointed a Chief Magistrate.
Mr. R. F. Jardine, C.M.G., was appointed Chief Inspector, Land Registration.
Mr. A. E. P. Rose, formerly Crown Counsel, Northern Rhodesia, was appointed Solicitor-General.
Mr. S. Fry was appointed Director of Programmes, Palestine Broadcasting Service.
Mr. H. C. H. Jones, formerly Executive Engineer Kenya, was appointed Assistant Director of Public Works.
Mr. R. Le Mare, formerly Assistant Treasurer, Nigeria, was appointed a Senior Assistant Treasurer.
Mr. F. G. Horwill was appointed Examiner of Banks.
Lieutenant the Honourable H. C. Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce, was appointed Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the High Commissioner.
9. The year 1936 in Palestine was dominated by the disturbances which lasted throughout the country from the 19th April to the 12th October.
10. The autumn of 1935 had been marked by considerable political disquiet and by demonstrations of Arab discontent over Jewish immigration and the sales of Arab lands to Jewish buyers.
11. Arab spokesmen conducted a vigorous campaign against those accused of facilitating the transfer of Arab lands to Jewish ownership: a number of small land owners were persuaded to register their lands as family
(a form of trust under Moslem religious law) to save them from falling into Jewish hands: and one large sale to Jews was cancelled through the instrumentality of the Supreme Moslem Council.
12. The ventilation of this grievance proceeded side by side with a sustained Press denunciation of Government's policy for the admission into Palestine of Jewish immigrants, the number of which in 1935 had totalled nearly 62,000.
13. Simultaneously in the Press a strong campaign was maintained criticizing the preference given by Jewish employers to Jewish casual and other labour to the exclusion of Arabs.
14. In paragraphs 12 and 13 of the Introductory Chapter of the Annual Report for 1935, reference was made to two internal incidents which had occurred in the autumn of 1935 and which had served to foment the already existing Arab malaise:--
) the discovery of a large quantity of smuggled arms and ammunition from Belgium. All Arabs--in view of the name of the consignee who was never traced-- assumed that these armaments were destined for Palestinian Jewry.
) The short terrorist campaign of Sheikh Izzedin al Qassan which ended in his death in an encounter with the Palestine Police and in his subsequent apotheosis as a national hero-martyr.
15. Concurrently, certain external events in neighbouring countries were exerting their influence on Arab thought and policy in Palestine which was already interesting itself deeply in the Italian-Abyssinian conflict.
16. In Egypt the students' movement which actually instigated disorders there in November, 1935, was closely watched by Arab youth in Palestine which gradually achieved a certain degree of influence with the Arab leaders themselves and used this influence to press for the adoption of a more extreme Arab policy. These activities were voiced in the Press through the medium of "
" newspaper, which was suspended for a month under the Press Ordinance for advocating the adoption in Palestine of the methods employed by the Egyptian students.
17. In Syria, Nationalist agitation for the conclusion of a Franco-Syrian treaty on the lines of the Anglo-`Iraqi Treaty, culminated early in 1936 in the outbreak of a prolonged strike, in sympathy with which the Palestine Arabs declared a short general strike on the 4th February. There was considerable elation in Arab circles in Palestine when at the end of February the French Government invited a Syrian National Delegation to Paris to discuss the terms of a Franco-Syrian Treaty.
18. The political events of November and December, 1935, and of the first three months of 1936 are described in the following section (Policy) of the introductory Chapter of this Report, with particular reference to the High Commissioner's dealings with the Arab leaders on the subject of
) Arab political demands;
) proposals for a Legislative Council (see paragraphs 22 and 23 of the Introductory Chapter of the Palestine and Trans-Jordan Annual Report for 1935); and
) the proposed despatch of an Arab deputation to England following on the two Parliamentary Debates in London in February and March, 1936, on the subject of the proposed Legislative Council.
19. The fluctuations of these political developments found their echo in the state of public security throughout the country. Tension between the Arab and the Jewish communities which was fostered in both Presses remained at a high pitch, and on the 15th April an incident occurred which precipitated matters.
20. That night a number of cars on the road between Tulkarm and Nablus were held up by Arab highwaymen. After the armed robbers had removed valuables from the occupants of the cars, three Jews were forced to sit together in a truck where they were shot by the bandits in cold blood. One was killed outright and another died later from his injuries. There is little doubt that the unfortunate victims were deliberately chosen because they were Jews.
On the following night two Arabs living in a hut near the road from Kfar Saba to Petah Tiqva were deliberately shot by two armed men. Before he died, one of the victims stated that the assailants were Jews, and he described them. It was the general impression among Arabs throughout the country that the crime was a reprisal for the murder of Jews on the previous night.
One of the Jews shot on the 15th April was buried at Tel-Aviv on the 17th and the funeral was made the occasion of a demonstration. The Police were stoned, speeches were made, and there were cries of "We don't want this Government, we want a Jewish Army." A party of Jews started to move towards Jaffa but were stopped by the Police.
The funeral was succeeded by an anti-Arab labour campaign in Tel-Aviv and some unemployed Jewish labourers demonstrated outside shops which employed Arabs. In the afternoon an Arab carter was assaulted by a party of Jews who forced him to return to Jaffa, and later a shop was broken open and looted because the manager was an Arab and Arabs were employed there. That evening a number of Arab carters passing through Tel-Aviv were assaulted or threatened and there were several other cases of assault.
21. On Saturday, the 18th, an Arab delivering ice in Tel-Aviv was assaulted and his ice destroyed; and an Arab omnibus in Tel-Aviv was stoned by Yemenite boys, as was an Arab- driven truck. In the Manshieh Quarter of Jaffa, which is the northern part of old Jaffa and adjoins Tel-Aviv, Arabs employed on structural alterations in a shop were molested. During the 17th and 18th of April no case of reprisal on the part of Arabs was reported to the Police.
On Sunday, the 19th April, about 9.30 a.m., rumours became current in Jaffa that two Arabs had been killed in Tel-Aviv by Jews, and crowds of Arabs began to congregate in the centre of the town. Further rumours were subsequently circulated that the bodies of the two alleged victims had been brought to the Jaffa Central Police Station. Despite denials of the rumours by the District Commissioner, and a subsequent abortive search by Arab notables, at his invitation, of the Central Police Station and buildings, the crowd maintained their belief in the rumour and departed amid much disorder towards the Government hospital to pursue their investigations. On their way they made a series of indiscriminate assaults on Jews.
Simultaneously, two other rumours, also unfounded, had gained wide credence in two other separate parts of Jaffa:--
) In the Manshieh Quarter; that four Arabs, including one woman, had been murdered by Jews;
(b) At the Town Square; that three Arabs had been killed by Jews in an Arab orange- grove on the Salameh Road.
22. The effect of these rumours was to produce immediate acts of violence by Arabs.
A lady in her car just escaped from an Arab attack and got back to Tel-Aviv. Her damaged car was closely followed into Tel-Aviv by other vehicles, similarly damaged by violence and stone-throwing. A Jewish lorry driver and his assistant were also injured by stones. Thereafter cars passing from Tel-Aviv towards Jaffa were systematically stoned by a patrol of Jews operating along the road from a lorry. During this stone-throwing one Arab lorry travelling towards Jaffa had its wind-screen smashed, and an Arab, who was riding on the top of the load, was severely injured. When the driver of this lorry, who had been cut about the face, reached Morum's Corner, one of the main traffic centres of Jaffa, he (or a companion travelling with him) shouted: "The two on the top have been killed by Jews".
Later, when two more wounded Arabs arrived in another car, the Jaffa crowd started to stone and attack the police, threatened an advance on Tel-Aviv, and murdered a Jew in an adjacent street. The police repeatedly warned them to disperse and when, despite the appeals from one or two of their own people, they refused, baton charges were launched. These charges, which were met by fusillades of stones, had little effect and finally the officer in charge fired one round from his revolver, wounding one rioter. The mob at once dispersed.
Meantime, elsewhere in the town, isolated cases of the murder of Jews--one of whom was stabbed to death near Town Square and another beaten to death in the Manshieh Quarter--had followed in quick succession; and near Morum's Corner two private cars had been violently attacked by the mob. The first car extricated itself by its own power; but the occupant of the second (whom the crowd imagined to be a Jew but whose identity has never been discovered) was saved from certain death by the action of a senior Police officer who, seeing two Arabs in succession about to murder the man, ordered a British constable to shoot. Both Arabs were killed. The immediate effect of these shots was to disperse the crowd. They undoubtedly also affected the crowd in the Manshieh Quarter, which also dispersed.
By 2 p.m. the situation was in hand, and the police and the military reinforcements, which had arrived during the morning, were in control.
Curfew was imposed on Jaffa and Tel-Aviv on the night of the 19th April, and the Palestine (Defence) Order in Council and the Emergency Regulations thereunder were immediately brought into force for all Palestine by Proclamation.
23. On the 20th April there was further serious rioting on the borders between Jaffa and Tel-Aviv, in particular in the Catton, Manshieh and Saknat Abu Kebir quarters. It was again a question of mob-belief in unfounded rumours and resulted in the assembly of large excited mobs of Arabs and Jews; and in Saknat Abu Kebir a serious collision was only prevented by police action. In the course of these incidents two Arabs and two Jews were killed (all at Saknat Abu Kebir) and twenty-six Jews and thirty-two Arabs injured.
24. The total casualties in Jaffa and Tel-Aviv between the 19th and the 22nd April were as follows:--
died of injuries.
Arabs ... ...
Jews ... ...
) The Emergency Regulations published on the 19th April vested Government with exceptional powers under the following headings:--
(1) Occupation of buildings, etc., and the requisition and control of food, forage, and stores, etc.;
(2) The regulation of road traffic and transport fares, and acquisition of local transport vehicles and control of their use;
(3) Control of the sale of petrol, firearms and explosives;
(4) Punishment of acts of sabotage;
(5) Imposition of curfew;
(6) Censorship of parcels, letters, telegrams, press matter; control of publications;
(7) Control of telephones, and movements of vessels;
(9) The right of the Police Force to arrest without warrant; the right of entry and search of houses and confiscation of goods; and the right of search of suspected persons or vehicles.
) Additional Regulations were published on the 22nd May and gave District Commissioners the power to place persons under police supervision and to restrict their movement from one part of Palestine to another.
) On the 1st June further additional Regulations were published which gave
(1) District Commissioners power to order the opening of shops and business premises which had been closed on account of strike;
(2) District Commissioners power to order the detention of persons in internment camps for a period not exceeding one year;
(3) Powers of arrest without warrant to members of the fighting forces.
) The additional Regulations of the 6th June made provision for the infliction of death sentences or imprisonment for life in certain circumstances for
(1) shooting at the troops or police;
(2) bomb throwing or dynamiting;
(3) acts of sabotage;
(4) acts endangering the safety of ships, aircraft, trains, transport vehicles.
Under these Regulations the Government also took power to--
(1) impound labour for the clearing of roads obstructed by barricades, nails, etc.;
(2) control the publication of newspapers by the issue of permits;
(3) levy collective fines in money or kind upon inhabitants of towns or villages who had committed an offence or connived at its commission;
(4) demolish houses from which firearms had been discharged or other crimes of violence committed.
) Under further additional Regulations of the 20th June, the crimes of violence which had been made punishable with death or imprisonment for life in certain circumstances were made punishable with a minimum penalty of five years imprisonment in all circumstances, and this minimum penalty was extended to the possession of bombs and to the possession of firearms without authority or reasonable excuse.
) The additional Regulations of the 25th August--
(1) made it an offence to communicate information, by signalling or otherwise, as to the movement or disposition of troops;
(2) provided for the imprisonment of persons committing disciplinary offences in internment camps.
The following is a chronological statement of the main events which occurred during the period from the 22nd April to the 12th October.
Detailed descriptions of these events will be found both in this section and in the following (Policy) section of this Report.
22nd to 30th April.
The formation of local National Committees.
The declaration of a general strike throughout Palestine.
The beginning of disorders and sabotage.
May and June.
The hardening of the strike.
Proposals for civil disobedience and for a strike of Arab Government officials.
The intensification of violence and sabotage.
The appearance of organised Arab bands in arms.
The debate in the House of Commons and the announcement of the appointment of the Royal Commission.
The establishment of a Concentration Camp by Government.
The arrival of British re-inforcements from Egypt.
The publication of the Emergency (Amendment) Regulations (No. 4) 1936.
July and August.
The announcement of the membership and the terms of reference of the Royal Commission.
The attempted mediation of the Amir Abdullah.
The visit of Nuri Pasha to Jerusalem, 20th-30th August.
The manifesto by the Arab Higher Committee dated the 30th August.
The letter from the Secretary of State to Dr. Weizmann.
The publication of the British Statement of Policy regarding Palestine.
The arrival in Palestine of Lieutenant-General Dill.
The appeal by the Arab Rulers.
The issue of a call by the Arab Higher Committee for the cessation of the strike and disorders.
The end of the strike.
26. The Arab political reaction to the events in Jaffa on the 19th April is described in the following sub-section (Policy). By the end of April the Arab strike was general all over Palestine with the exception of Haifa Port, and this development had an inevitable effect on public security.
27. During the remainder of April demonstrations and incidents of disorder (one of which resulted in two casualties) persisted in Jaffa town, and Jewish buses were frequently stoned and fired upon. Several cases of incendiarism involving mainly Jewish property were reported about this time throughout the Southern District, and there was considerable interference with telephone lines.
Demonstrations accompanied by stone-throwing occurred in Nablus, Jenin and Beisan, and in a number of cases the police were compelled to disperse mobs by baton charges. On two occasions (in Nazareth town) they were obliged to open fire.
The Jewish settlements in the Northern District suffered from constant cases of arson, and malicious damage of trees and crops.
In Jerusalem a few assaults were made by Arabs on isolated Jews, while a large number of Jewish shops in the Old City were closed and Jewish residents in the Old City or in Arab quarters began to move. In Hebron the Jewish community was concentrated in the local Jewish hospital and later transferred to Jerusalem.
28. During May and June a perceptibly increasing amount of lawlessness and disorder developed throughout the Jerusalem, Northern and Southern Districts in the form of attacks on public and private Jewish property, sabotage on railways, telegraph and telephone communications, and, after the institution of frequent patrolling of the main routes by the police and troops, in the placing of barricades and other obstacles on the roads to impede the traffic. In addition, a considerable amount of organized sniping was directed against detachments of British troops and police on patrol, as well as against the escorted road convoys which were inaugurated during this period. The sniping of Jewish settlements, which had been carried out sporadically since the outbreak of the disorders, became more persistent.
29. During the second fortnight of May three Jews were murdered and two others wounded in a crowd leaving a Jerusalem cinema on the night of the 16th May. Two more Jews were also murdered in the Old City, and one was shot at. As a result there followed a further exodus of Jewish householders to safer quarters in the suburbs, while curfew orders were successively imposed, first on the Old City, then on the mixed quarters, and finally over the whole of the Jerusalem Municipal Area.
Other victims were a British policeman, an Austrian Christian, and two Moslem Arabs; and an attempt was made to assassinate a British Assistant Superintendent of Police near the Old City Wall on the 12th June, the Police officer concerned being seriously wounded. One of his assailants was killed by the British policeman who was accompanying the officer at the time.
30. In the Northern District disorders in the towns decreased and activity tended to concentrate in the countryside. The disturbances took three principal forms:--
--During the months of May and June, 30,000 trees were destroyed by forest fires. In the Haifa rural district, damage amounting to £P.4,000 was done to fruit orchards.
Sabotage of Communications.
--Telephone wires were cut throughout the district, roads were barricaded, and bridges and culverts were mined. Serious damage was done, and in one case a bridge on the Nablus-Tulkarm branch of the Palestine Railways was destroyed. The train service on this route was discontinued as a consequence.
Violent armed attacks from ambush on the Military and Police Force.
-- There were four major engagements and several minor though violent skirmishes between armed Arab bands and military detachments.
During this period (May and June) the attacks made by armed bands were characterized by the following four features:--
(i) The larger numbers attacking;
(ii) the increased amount of ammunition used by the attackers;
(iii) the improved organization of the attacks, and the fact that in place of the former indiscriminate sniping the fire of the gangs was now organized and controlled; and
(iv) the appearance among the rebels of "volunteers" from Syria and `Iraq.
In Haifa Town the Arab strike, except as regards transport undertakings, remained widespread, but work in the Port was continued with but little interruption. There were two street demonstrations, one in May and the other in June, in the course of which the police were forced to open fire to disperse the crowds.
Police stations and military billets were constantly sniped at in Acre and Nablus. A collective fine of £P.300 was imposed on Nablus in May, and on Acre and Safad in June.
31. In the Southern District acts of violence and sabotage began to occur with frequency from the end of May. These acts tended to concentrate on the damaging of the railway and of telegraph and telephone communications. After the arrival of the first military reinforcements, during the latter weeks of May, there was an intensification of sniping on military patrols and on detachments of military and police.
In the Jaffa--Tel-Aviv area, inter-racial animosity notably increased with the inauguration in May of landing facilities for cargo on the Tel-Aviv foreshore and later at the new jetty. Bitter protests were made by the Arab boatmen of Jaffa port, who regarded this new development as a direct challenge.
During June there were twelve acts of sabotage on the railway, and on two occasions trains were wrecked, one of the derailments near Lydda on the 26th June causing four deaths and considerable damage to the line and rolling stock. In consequence of this act of sabotage, which followed closely upon an organized attack on the Civil Airport at Lydda, a curfew was imposed on the town of Lydda, which was also fined £P.5,000. Throughout this period Jewish settlements in the Southern Districts became increasingly the object of sporadic attacks and, as in the Northern District, great damage was done to trees and crops by arson and malicious destruction.
Beginning on the 19th June, certain areas in the Old City of Jaffa on the hill overlooking the Port were demolished. These house demolitions were carried out by the Army after notice to evacuate had been given to the inhabitants involved, to whom the Government promised compensation. Those who became homeless and destitute were given relief.
The operations were carried out without loss of life, and in all 237 houses were demolished. As a result, not only has public security been greatly improved in a quarter of the town where, on account of narrow difficult streets and lanes, police work had always--and in particular during the disturbances following on the outbreak of the 19th April--been notoriously difficult, but also two wide streets which by the end of the year were open to traffic, have been created which will improve public health conditions and contribute both to the commercial and residential amenities of the town. During the autumn, a housing scheme for the accommodation of those rendered homeless by the demolitions was initiated by Government. Further reference to this scheme will be found in paragraph 34 of Chapter XX (Public Health).
32. During July and August there was no change in the general situation. The strike continued to be maintained and disorders continued unabated, except indeed for a temporary lull during the attempted mediation of His Highness the Amir Abdullah and later during the negotiations between the Arab Higher Committee and Nuri Pasha es Said. Reference to these negotiations is made in the following section (Policy).
33. In Jerusalem itself a thorough organization of anti-intimidation pickets by the military and the police encouraged such hawkers of village produce as were able to reach the town, and continued to protect the Jewish shops in the commercial centre. On the roads leading to Jerusalem, however, strikers and their sympathizers frequently assaulted villagers bringing produce into the town, destroying their produce and in many cases also killing their animals.
One aircraftman was assassinated and an attempt was made to assassinate a second near Gethsemane on the 10th August.
The Acting Mayor of Hebron was murdered by unknown persons on the 13th August.
Night sniping at Jewish settlements continued in the rural areas of the Jerusalem District, and military and police patrols were fired upon with greater frequency. There were constant cases of sabotage of telegraph and telephone wires as well as of rail and road communications and of crops; and the water-supply pipe-line from Ras el Ain to Jerusalem was wilfully damaged on several occasions.
34. Acts of violence continued during the months of July and August both in Jaffa and in the Southern District generally; and a succession of murderous activities and disorders in the middle of August resulted in the temporary imposition of a 21-hour curfew in Jaffa town.
35. In the Northern District during the month of July, there were several major engagements with armed bands in the Jenin and Safad areas, and a band in the Nazareth area was known to be terrorizing the neighbouring Arab villages with demands for food and money, although it did not come into conflict with the Government's forces.
During July seven attacks were made on the `Iraq Petroleum Company's pipe-line in the Plain of Jezreel and the Beisan Valley.
During August determined efforts were made both by peaceful persuasion and by intimidation to extend the Arab strike in Haifa to workers at the port and on the railways, as well as in the `Iraqm Company's works and in other large commercial undertakings where Arab labour was employed. These efforts were frustrated by the added protection given by the Naval and Military Forces.
There was also a recrudescence of violence in Haifa and its vicinity resulting in the murder of an Arab police officer in Haifa town and of four Jews and an Arab woman on Mount
The bands in the hills had in the meantime increased their numbers and their arms, and towards the end of the month were joined by trained guerilla leaders from outside Palestine. One of these was Fauzi ed Din el Kauwakji, a Syrian who had achieved notoriety in Syria in the Druze revolt of 1925-26. This person subsequently proclaimed himself generalissimo of the rebel forces, and "communiqués" and "proclamations" purporting to have emanated from him were circulated in the country.
These bands came into conflict with the British troops on at least six occasions during August. In the course of these engagements the bands suffered severe casualties. El Hamme Police Post was attacked by an Arab armed band on the night of the 6th-7th August and a number of arms were stolen.
A small party of British troops who were bathing near Beisan on the 12th August were subjected to a surprise attack by a large Arab armed band. Unfortunately their Lewis gun "jammed" and those who were on guard were killed by the band, who succeeded in capturing the Lewis gun and some rifles.
36. During September in the rural district of Jerusalem, intimidation increased, and there were indications of more efficient organization of the sabotage of telegraph and telephone communications which suffered heavily. Action to counter this increase of sabotage was taken by the recruitment of additional Arab watchmen and by posting them in the villages adjacent to acts of destruction, charging their salaries against the villagers. Armed Arab bands continued to beset the lines of communications, the leaders in several cases being "wanted" criminals, while the personnel was mainly recruited from the villages, sometimes by free enlistment, but probably more often by intimidation.
On the morning of the 7th September, an unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate a senior (Jewish) British official while walking with a Jewish colleague to the Government Offices, Jerusalem.
37. During September, the `Iraq Petroleum Company's pipe-line was again damaged on thirteen occasions, and there was a recrudescence of violence in Tiberias, as a result of which two Jews were killed and two wounded. Sporadic shooting at the troops by armed Arab parties continued in the Tulkarm, Nablus, Acre, and Safad Districts, and during the month there were six major police and military encounters with rebel bands, in which the Arabs suffered severe casualties.
Incidents were also reported of these bands raiding Arab villages for goods and money.
An armed Arab band attacked a postal car near Rosh Pina on the night of the 9th September, and four British constables who proceeded to the rescue were ambushed and killed, their Lewis gun and rifles being taken by the rebels.
On the 27th September, Haj Khalil Taha, a prominent Arab politician and a member of the local strike committee of Haifa, was shot dead by an Arab.
38. The closing stages of the strike which ended in the appeal of the Arab rulers and the manifesto by the Arab Higher Committee are described in the following section (Policy); but while these protracted negotiations were in progress, violence and disorder persisted throughout the country. There were frequent police and military engagements with armed bands, in one of which, in the Bethlehem sub-district, the Syrian revolutionary and rebel leader, Said Bey al A'as, was killed. On the same date, the 7th October, an unsuccessful attempt was made in Haifa on the life of an Arab Superintendent of Police.
39. The response to the Arab Higher Committee's manifesto of the 10th October was immediate, and on the 12th October all Arab shops and businesses re-opened; and towards the end of the month Fawzi el Kauwakji and some of his confederates escaped from Palestine to `Iraq, and with his departure disorders temporarily ceased.
40. Isolated outrage, however, persisted up to the end of the year. It took several forms:--
) Shooting on the military and police forces, which was still frequent in October but became negligible in November and December and was no longer directed against the military.
) Attacks on Jews by Arabs. In October these attacks were still frequent, and after a lull in November they were resumed in December when the number of cases reported, including long-range-firing on Jewish settlements and transport, was sixteen.
) Robbery with intimidation by Arabs from Arab houses and villages. During the period thirty-one cases were reported.
) Highway Robbery. These activities had apparently no political inspiration, all save three of the incidents concerning Arab transport alone. They were generally believed to be prompted by economic distress among isolated groups of those who had recently been actively engaged in the armed bands. One such group was attacked and dispersed by the police in December. Special deterrent measures were introduced by the police early in the New Year which were markedly successful, and incidents of highway robbery which numbered twenty in December, 1936, were reduced to thirteen in January, 1937.
41. During November and December, pamphlets were distributed in Jerusalem and elsewhere by unknown persons which were designed to foment Moslem-Christian animosities. These activities did not assume any magnitude and were promptly and openly condemned by the leaders of both religions.
42. A mutual boycott of considerable stringency between the Arab and Jewish communities broke out after the end of the strike. It provoked isolated instances of violence and intimidation and continued to be observed until the end of the year.
43. Throughout the year and more particularly during the period of the disorders the local Press left much to be desired and caused the Government to take repeated summary action against individual newspapers under the Press Ordinance.
Between the 1st January and the 18th April, 1936, one Arabic paper was suspended for a fortnight, while official warnings were given to one Arabic and one Hebrew newspaper.
During the six months of the disturbances Arabic newspapers were suspended on 34 occasions and Hebrew papers on 13 occasions. Arabic papers during the same period were officially warned 11 times and Hebrew papers 10 times.
From the termination of the strike up to the end of the year, one Hebrew paper and nine Arabic papers were suspended. In November, on the occasion of the Bairam festival at the end of the month of Ramadan, all four Arabic daily newspapers were simultaneously suspended for publication of inciting articles.
According to the terms of the Press Ordinance all suspensions were on the grounds of publishing matter likely to endanger the public peace or of publishing false report or false rumour calculated to create alarm and despondency. During the year, seven foreign newspapers and one book were prohibited from entering Palestine.
44. Particulars dealing with crime, police traffic control, and the work of the police dog section will be found in Chapter XI (Military Clauses).
The following statement gives particulars of casualties (excluding accidental casualties) during the period 19th April to 15th October inclusive.
A. DEFENCE FORCES (NAVY, ARMY AND AIR FORCE).
Killed or died of wounds.
B. PALESTINE POLICE FORCE AND TRANS-JORDAN FRONTIER FORCE.
Killed or died of wounds.
Officers ... ...
Other Ranks ... ...
Killed or died of wounds.
(i) Moslems ... ...
(ii) Christians ... ...
(iii) Jews ... ...
(i) Moslems ... ...
(ii) Christians ... ...
(iii) Jews ... ...
(includes 2 members of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force.)
C. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
Killed or died of wounds.
) Moslems ...
) Christians ...
(ii) Jews ... ...
(iii) Christians ... ...
Killed or died of wounds.
Defence Force Casualties
Civilians ... ...
--The numbers given above are those officially recorded as having been treated at civil, military and Jewish hospitals, or where death has been recorded and verified.
Undoubtedly, however, a large number of Arab casualties were concealed, and unconfirmed information received from a reliable source places the number of Arabs killed during the disturbances at approximately 1,000.
45. In last year's report a full account was given of the proposals made by His Majesty's Government for the establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine. These proposals were announced successively to the Arab and Jewish leaders on 21st and 22nd December, 1935. The Jewish leaders rejected them uncompromisingly; the Arab attitude though critical was disposed to give them full consideration.
Shortly before, on 25th November, 1935, His Excellency had at their request received a deputation of the following political party leaders:
Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, President of the National Defence Party.
Jamal Eff. al Husseini, President of the Palestine Arab Party.
Abdul Latif Bey Salah, President of the National Bloc.
Mohamed Ishaq Eff. Budeiri, Reform Party.
Yacoub Eff. Ghussein, President of the Executive Committee of the Arab Young Men's Congress.
who had handed to him a memorandum embodying their main demands, namely:--
) that a democratic government should be established in Palestine;
) that Jewish immigration should be stopped completely;
) that all sales of lands to Jews should be prohibited.
This memorandum was submitted by the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
46. On 29th January, 1936, the considered views of His Majesty's Government were conveyed to the Arab Executive who met His Excellency for the purpose.
The reply to the Arab memorandum was as follows:--
) The demand for the establishment of democratic government in Palestine has been answered by the communication on the part of the High Commissioner to the Arab leaders on 21st December, 1935, of proposals for the establishment of a Legislative Council with a large unofficial majority, in the composition of which the elective principle is recognized.
) There can be no question of the total stoppage of Jewish immigration into Palestine. The guiding principle as regards the admission of immigrants is the policy of economic absorptive capacity and His Majesty's Government contemplates no departure from that principle.
In order to ensure that the closest possible relation is maintained between the number of new immigrants to be admitted and the absorptive capacity of the country, both now and in the future, a Statistical Bureau has been set up in charge of a highly-trained and experienced statistician from Canada. It is intended that this Bureau should carry out periodical surveys of trade, industry and agriculture and should keep the High Commissioner in close touch with the changing economic situation in the country.
) The Secretary of State approves in principle of the enactment of legislation whereby, except in the sub-district of Beersheba and in urban areas, and also except as regards land planted with citrus, no landowner shall be permitted to sell any of his land unless he retains a minimum area which is sufficient to afford a means of subsistence to himself and his family. As a safeguard against collusive sales, this minimum area shall be inalienable and shall revert to Government if it ceases to be cultivated by the owner-occupier.
The High Commissioner shall retain the power to approve the sale of a subsistence area if he is satisfied that to do so will be in the interest of the public good; for example, where a subsistence area is needed for suburban development or is blocking development of rural land or an important irrigation or drainage scheme.
Subsistence areas will have to be defined and prescribed having regard to the condition of cultivation present in each region, and the extent of those subsistence areas will be varied from time to time as the land in question is improved or as irrigation becomes possible. Consideration will moreover have to be given to the possibility, in suitable circumstances, of concentrating subsistence areas and also to the question whether leases of subsistence areas might under certain conditions be permitted.
The legislation proposed will be of general application so that outside the excluded areas the sale of land to any person would be subject to the restrictions indicated.
47. In February the proposals for the Palestine Legislative Council were debated in the British House of Lords and in March in the House of Commons. No vote was taken, but the two debates revealed a general opinion among all parties in both Houses that the proposals were premature and that further experience of the working of the various Municipal Councils was necessary before a Legislative Council came into being. The Secretary of State had already received a Jewish deputation regarding these proposals, and with his approval the High Commissioner, on 2nd April, 1936, invited the following Arab leaders to meet him:--Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, Jamal Eff. el Husseini, Abdul Latif Bey Salah, Mahmud Eff. Abu Khadra, and Yacoub Eff. Ghussein, and on behalf of the British Government informed them that the Secretary of State, having already seen a Jewish deputation which had made strong representations against the setting up of a Legislative Council, would welcome a corresponding opportunity of hearing the expression of Arab opinion. The High Commissioner was therefore authorised to invite an Arab deputation to London for this purpose.
In response to a question whether it would be open to the deputation also to submit to the Secretary of State the Arab case regarding land sales and immigration, the High Commissioner said that although the principal matter to be discussed with the Secretary of State was that of the Legislative Council, the deputation would also be at liberty to put forward their views on land sales and immigration.
The Arab leaders, after a short discussion, accepted the invitation unanimously.
48. At the moment when the disturbances broke out seventeen days later, on the 19th April, 1936, the position as regards the Government and the Arab leaders was that the latter were actually in the normal course of considering what persons should form the Arab deputation which had been invited to visit the Secretary of State in London.
An account of the Jaffa disturbances on the 19th April, 1936, and of the incidents which led up to the outbreak is contained in the preceding section of this report (Public Security).
49. On the 20th April, 1936, a National Committee was formed in Nablus and urged that a general Arab strike should be declared throughout Palestine and be observed for an indefinite period until Arab demands were satisfied, and that similar Committees with similar objects should be formed throughout the country. Between the 20th and 22nd April the strike movement spread rapidly in the towns and villages, and by the latter date, with the exception of Haifa, it was general in Palestine. On the 25th April, the leaders of all Arab parties met and decided to establish a Supreme Arab Committee (later styled the Arab Higher Committee) to control Arab national activities during the emergency. The Committee was composed as follows:--
Haj Amin Effendi al Husseini, President.
Mufti of Jerusalem.
President, Supreme Moslem Council.
Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, Secretary.
General Secretary of the Istiqlalist Party.
Ahmad Hilmi Pasha, Treasurer.
Manager of the Arab Bank.
Affiliated to the Istiqlalist Pary.
Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, Member.
President, Defence Party.
Jamal Effendi al Husseini, Member.
President, Arab Palestine Party.
Abdul Latif Bey Salah, Member.
President, National Bloc, Nablus.
Dr. Hussein Fakhri Effendi al Khalidi, Member.
Mayor of Jerusalem.
One of three Secretaries of the Reform Party.
Yacoub Effendi Ghussein, Member.
President of the Executive of the Young Men's Congress.
Yacoub Effendi Farraj, Member.
Vice-President of the Defence Party.
Alfred Effendi Rock, Member.
Vice-President of the Palestine Arab Party.
Two of the members, Yacoub Effendi Farraj and Alfred Effendi Rock represented the Arab Christians, Orthodox and Catholic respectively.
The Committee adopted a resolution to continue the general strike until the British Government changed its policy in a fundamental manner, of which the immediate manifestation should be the stoppage of Jewish immigration. They formulated their demands in a letter to the High Commissioner as follows:
(1) The prohibition of Jewish immigration.
(2) The prohibition of the transfer of Arab lands to Jews.
(3) The establishment of a National Government responsible to a representative Council.
50. Meantime, on the 21st April, 1936, the High Commissioner had received the following Arab leaders:--
Ragheb Bey Nashashibi (Defence Party).
Jamal Eff. al Husseini (Arab Palestine Party).
Abdul Latif Bey Salah (Young Men Congress).
Shibli Eff. Jamal (Reform Party).
In addressing them, he stated that he felt that every one deplored the disorders and the consequent loss of life which could achieve no good and were the direct cause of evil and bitterness. He counted on them to use their influence to check disorder and asked them to explain to all over whom they had influence that the police would not hesitate to quell any disturbances. He further urged them to exert their influence among school-children to induce them to resume their studies.
51. On the 27th April, 1936, the newly-formed Arab Higher Committee addressed a letter to the High Commissioner enclosing their resolutions of 25th April. (Paragraph 49.)
52. On the 5th May the High Commissioner again invited the members of the Arab Higher Committee to meet him. He warned them against being associated with illegal acts subversive of Government and urged them to use their influence to restrain people from violence and sabotage, and advised them to send their deputation to London (see paragraph 47). The Committee in a written reply expressed their regret for the loss of life and the illegal acts, but stated that they could not call off the strike or send a deputation to London unless Jewish immigration was suspended during the course of their conversations with the Secretary of State.
53. On 6th May the Secretary of State made a statement in the House of Commons in the course of which he stated that he believed that the underlying cause of the disturbances in Palestine was Arab discontent and that he understood that the Arabs had threatened to continue the strike until Jewish immigration was stopped. He took the occasion to reaffirm what he had said immediately after the Jaffa outbreak, that there was no question of the Government stopping immigration in consequence of the strike. He further confirmed that the invitation to the Arabs to send a deputation to London where they would receive a full and impartial hearing, was still open.
54. On 2nd May, 1936, a violent manifesto was issued by the car-owners' and drivers' committee, inciting Arabs to the non-payment of taxes. The President and the Vice-President of the Committee were convicted on a charge of distributing inciting circulars and were fined £P.25 each. On 8th May, 1936, a Congress of the National Committees (see paragraph 49), including the President and members of the Arab Higher Committee, met in Jerusalem and decided on the non-payment of taxes and a continuation of the strike.
Shortly after, in reply to a memorandum addressed to them by the High Commissioner, the Arab Higher Committee intimated that they were not responsible for the movement in favour of civil disobedience, but that this movement was in fact a spontaneous demand made by Arabs generally and that the Committee could not use their influence to check illegal acts unless Jewish immigration was suspended.
55. On the 18th May the Secretary of State made a statement in the House of Commons that the Government had decided to send a Royal Commission to Palestine but that it would not leave until order had been restored in the country. This announcement was received without enthusiasm by the Arabs, and the Arab Higher Committee decided they could not call off the strike unless Jewish immigration was suspended until such time as the Commission had reported.
56. On the same day--the 18th May, 1936--a notice was published in the
Palestine Official Gazette
approving a Jewish Labour Schedule of 4,500 immigrants in respect of the period of six months ending the 30th September, 1936.
57. On the 23rd May sixty-five Arabs were arrested in the public interest and subjected to varying periods of police supervision under Emergency Regulations. In most cases they were ordered away from their own localities and put into enforced residence elsewhere. During June, however, Government found it necessary to detain certain of them--among them Hassan Sidki Dajani and Saleh Abdu, President and Vice-President of the car-owners' and drivers' committee (see paragraph 54), and Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, the Secretary of the Arab Higher Committee (see paragraph 49).
To succeed Auni Bey, the Arab Higher Committee appointed as Secretary another adherent of the Istiqlalist party, Izzat Eff. Darwaza, who was also later interned at Sarafand. Details of the Sarafand Internment Camp are included in a subsequent chapter of this Report (Military Clauses).
58. On the 12th June, 1936, Government issued an addition to the Emergency Regulations (originally declared on the 19th April, 1936) providing for more severe penalties for the offence of discharging firearms at members of His Majesty's Forces or the Palestine Police Force, bomb-throwing, or illicit possession of arms. Details of these Regulations are included in the preceding Section of this chapter (Public Security).
59. At the beginning of June, three prominent Arabs, Jamal Eff. al Husseini, a member of the Arab Higher Committee, Dr. Tannous and Shibli Eff. Jamal left for England as an unofficial delegation with the object of enlisting sympathy for the Arabs. They were accompanied by Emil el Ghori, an Arab politician and journalist, who remained in London after the delegation had completed its mission and opened an Arab information bureau there.
60. On 19th June, a debate took place in the House of Commons about Palestine. It was opened by the Rt. Hon. W. G. Ormsby-Gore who had assumed the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies on the 29th May. The following is the text of the main points of his speech:--
"At the outset I should like to express my own personal concern that Palestine, with which I have had myself close association in the past and the welfare of which I have so much at heart, should now be distracted by civil strife. . . . .
"Disturbances, accompanied by strikes of non-Jewish shops, motor transport, the port workers at Jaffa, and, in short, of almost all Arab industrial enterprises, have now, I regret to say, continued for some eight weeks. Several municipalities have joined in the strike, but essential services are still being maintained, and intimidation, I am informed, is responsible only in a very small measure for the continuation of the strike which clearly has the full sympathy of all too large a part of the Arab population. Nevertheless, the supreme Arab Committee have publicly dissociated themselves from the outbreak, though I fear that in this sphere--and I am confirmed by the opinion of the High Commissioner--they can now exercise little influence on the situation owing to the wide-spread character of the disturbances. I should also like to mention that the supreme Moslem Council has decided to take no part in the strike and the Sharia Courts are still open and the Waqf Administration is working. I am also glad to say there has been no disorder or complaint regarding anything in connection with the services at the mosques which have been carried on without interruption, and perform their religious duties in a quite normal manner. .
"I have made it abundantly clear, in answer to questions, that the first essential is that order must be restored. . . . . In the last three weeks the security forces have been strongly reinforced. . . . .
"With these forces it has been possible to authorize the High Commissioner to supplement the normal powers of the Government to restore law and order and to deal with riots. . . . . The important new orders are principally in the form of regulations made under the Palestine (Defence) Order in Council dated the 23rd July, 1931. . . . .
"It will be appreciated that it is very difficult for effective military action to be taken against individual snipers and small parties who burn crops and attack communications particularly at night. The recent advent of strong military reinforcement has prevented large-scale acts of violence in the principal towns, and every effort is now being made by the authorities to give greater protection to life and property throughout the country as the troops recently arrived become distributed. I am glad to say that railway and other communications, in spite of these attacks which I have detailed, are maintained despite interruptions. Escorts are now being provided for car convoys and all trains. Work, however, has been most seriously dislocated and remains almost at a standstill at the port of Jaffa, though up to now Haifa has been unaffected. . . . .
"At this point I should like to take the opportunity of expressing His Majesty's Government's complete confidence in Sir Arthur Wauchope and their appreciation of his services throughout his time as High Commissioner, and I must at once pay a special tribute to the Palestine Police, British, Jew and Arab, for their devotion to duty and their loyalty in the face of most trying circumstances. May I further pay a tribute to the Jews in Palestine, who, despite extreme provocation and attack, have exercised most commendable self-restraint. . . . I am glad to say that the situation in the neighbouring mandated territory of Trans-Jordan has, under the steadying influence of His Highness the Amir Abdullah remained almost entirely undisturbed.
"After that survey I will turn to the future. Let me say at once that His Majesty's Government have not been, and will not be, moved by violence and outrage. As soon as order is restored, but not before, His Majesty will be advised to appoint a Royal Commission to visit Palestine to carry out a most full and searching investigation into the causes of unrest and of any grievances which may be brought to their notice by either Arabs or Jews. This will be a really impartial and authoritative body, and I wish to give an assurance that any grievances put forward to that Commission will be investigated. The sole aim of His Majesty's Government is to obtain an objective and non-partisan report, to enable them to do justice to all sections of the Palestine population. I am convinced that on the basis of the recommendations of such a Commission a means can be found and will be found, within the framework of the Mandate, with its dual obligations to Jews and non-Jews to secure that end. Let me make it quite clear that I shall submit no name for service on such a Royal Commission of anyone who has been or is in any way connected with Palestine or has any known pre-conceived views, or has ever taken part in Jewish or Arab affairs. . . . . I am confident that the persons serving on such a Commission will approach all their problems, difficult though they will be, with a really objective and impartial mind.
"No one regrets more than I do that the relations between His Majesty's Government and the Arabs of Palestine have been temporarily strained, and I really hope that this is only a passing phase. The Arab people are rightly proud of their historic achievements and of their contribution to civilisation. There has been a traditional friendship between Great Britain and the Arab people which His Majesty's Government value, and it is their earnest desire to see it preserved. They believe that that is equally the desire of the vast majority of Arab peoples throughout the world. The notable assistance given by Britain to the Arabs in the War, in Arabia, in `Iraq and elsewhere, should be evidence of our good will and interest in the future of the Arab people.
"At the same time, there is the age-long aspiration of Jews all over the world for a centre in Palestine. This aspiration and claim were formally and most specifically recognised by His Majesty's Government in the Balfour Declaration in 1917. This Declaration was subsequently endorsed in almost identical terms by all the other Principal Allied and Associated Powers in the War, and was finally enshrined in the Mandate which is our authority for the government of Palestine; and it was entrusted to His Majesty's Government by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers at the San Remo Conference in January, 1920. The Balfour Declaration itself made it clear that with the establishment of the Jewish national home and the recognition of the Jewish claims nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Hence it is clear that under that Declaration we have a dual obligation, both to the Jew and to the Arab.
"There is at present a state of apprehension on both sides, and half the trouble that has led to these disorders is psychological. The Arabs are afraid that the Jews will completely dominate the country, and they fear for the future of their homes and the homes of their fathers and of their children. The Jews, equally, are afraid that the great and really remarkable constructive work which they had already done in Palestine will be cut short or terminated, that the national home on which they have set their hearts will be brought to naught and that the Arabs seek to drive them out of Palestine or reduce them to an inferior status of barely tolerated aliens in Palestine, under Arab domination. I honestly believe that both these fears are baseless, but they must be shown to be baseless. It is the desire of the British Government to find a solution, consistent with their fundamental dual obligation, and they regard those obligations equally as obligations of honour. It is my confident belief that we can dissipate those fears, and do justice to both parties, and it is my intention, when the solution is found, to apply that solution with firmness and consistency. We are most anxious, therefore, that order shall be speedily restored so that the work of the Royal Commission may start without delay.
"Clearly the Royal Commission will have to investigate in detail the existing law and administrative practice of the Palestine Government regarding such matters as land transfers and the regulations regarding immigration not only of Jews but of Arabs and others. These important questions will have to be examined by His Majesty's Government in the light of the evidence collected and in the light of the recommendations of the Commission. I am sure that the whole of this Committee will agree with me that, pending such an impartial inquiry, it would be very wrong of me to prejudice, either by speech or action, the findings of the Commission. We can contemplate no change of policy whatsoever until we have received and considered their report.
"I said a moment ago that certain important questions would have to be submitted to His Majesty's Government in the light of the evidence and the recommendations made by the Royal Commission. Perhaps I ought to add, lest misunderstandings arise, that I am sure it will be appreciated that no Government, least of all a mandatory Power, with its special responsibilities to the League and its duty of reporting to the League, can divest itself of the ultimate responsibility, or undertake in advance to carry out proposals or recommendations which it has not seen; but I would like to say that His Majesty's Government will certainly consider with the utmost care, and with all possible weight, any recommendations made by so authoritative a body as I have envisaged. If, as the result of their examination, they find that the action advised by the Commission commends itself to them, they will carry it into effect without fear and without favour.
"I hope that the Committee will share my view, that in spite of temptation and in spite of crime and outrage, it is essential to take a long view. I should deeply regret any speech that would add fuel to the flames and add an increased racial strife and bitterness. We want Arabs and Jews to realise that both have an assured future in Palestine, and that the whole object of the British Government in that country is that both shall be able to live together in peace and amity in a land holy not only to them but to the three great faiths throughout the civilised world. We hold the Mandate for Palestine specially in trust for the world which regards Palestine with sentiments above, perhaps, any other country and we are determined to preserve our authority as mandatory Power, and to administer Palestine with justice and equity to Jew and Arab alike."
61. On the 22nd July, in reply to a question in the House of Commons asking for an assurance that no change in the declared policy of the Government with regard to the immigration of Jews into Palestine would take place until after the Royal Commission had reported, the Secretary of State for the Colonies made the following statement:--
"As I informed the House on the 19th of June (see paragraph 60) His Majesty's Government can contemplate no change of policy whatsoever with regard to Palestine until they have received and considered the Report of the Royal Commission. As regards, however, the suggestion that there should be a temporary suspension of immigration whilst the Commission is carrying out its enquiry, I am not at present in a position to make any statement as to the intention of His Majesty's Government beyond saying that their decision will be taken in due course on the merits of the case and that there is no question of its being influenced by violence or attempts at intimidation."
62. Towards the end of June a memorandum for submission to Government was prepared by senior Arab Government officials of the Public Service, in which it was represented that the cause underlying the disorders was the insufficient regard paid to legitimate Arab grievances both in the past and since the outbreak of the disorders. The memorandum went on to recommend that the stoppage of Jewish immigration was the only fair and humane solution of the existing deadlock. This memorandum was transmitted by the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State.
A memorandum in similar terms was later addressed to Government by Arab Government officials of the junior division of the service.
63. On the 29th July, the composition and the terms of reference of the Royal Commission were announced by the Secretary of State in the following terms:--
"His Majesty has been pleased to approve the appointment of the following to serve on the Palestine Royal Commission:--
The Right Honourable The Earl Peel, G.C.S.I., G.B.E.
The Right Honourable Sir Horace Rumbold, Baronet, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., M.V.O.
Sir Laurie Hammond, K.C.S.I., C.B.E.
Sir Morris Carter, C.B.E.
Sir Harold Morris, M.B.E., K.C.
Professor Reginald Coupland, C.I.E.
Lord Peel will be Chairman of the Commission and Sir Horace Rumbold Vice- Chairman. Mr. J. M. Martin of the Colonial Office will be Secretary.
"The terms of reference of the Royal Commission will be:--
'To ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances which broke out in Palestine in the middle of April; to enquire into the manner in which the Mandate for Palestine is being implemented in relation to the obligations of the Mandatory towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively; and to ascertain whether, upon a proper construction of the terms of the Mandate, either the Arabs or the Jews have any legitimate grievances on account of the way in which the Mandate has been, or is being, implemented; and if the Commission is satisfied that any such grievances are well-founded, to make recommendations for their removal and for the prevention of their recurrence.'
"It is not yet possible to state on what date the Commission will leave for Palestine, but it is not proposed that the Commission should begin its work in Palestine until order is restored there. When a Royal Commission has been appointed, it has complete control over its own proceedings, so it would be impossible for me to give even an approximate indication of the time which will elapse before the report of the Commission will become available.
"As regards the suggestion that there should be a temporary suspension of immigration while the Commission is carrying out its enquiry. I am unable to add anything to the full reply which I gave on 22nd July to the question by the Honourable Member for the Consett Division of Durham." (See paragraph 61.)
64. At the beginning of August, the Amir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan invited the Arab Higher Committee, individual members of which he had previously received at their request, to discuss the position with him in Amman. This attempt at mediation, however, broke down, as the members of the Committee expressed themselves unable to co-operate unless concessions--including an announcement that Jewish immigration would be suspended during the visit of the Royal Commission to Palestine, which the British Government refused to entertain--were granted.
A further series of negotiations on similar lines was undertaken during the second half of August by Nuri Pasha es Said, at that time `Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs.
65. These negotiations, in their turn, were nullified as a result of the publication at the end of August of a manifesto by the Arab Higher Committee, the text of which was as follows:--
"Negotiations between the Supreme Arab Committee and His Excellency, Nuri Pasha es Said, Foreign Minister of `Iraq, were continued for some days in the course of which all the points which relate to the Palestine Arab case were discussed in an atmosphere of confidence and frankness. These discussions resulted in a complete understanding and in consenting with all satisfaction and trust to the mediation of the Government of `Iraq and of Their Majesties and Highnesses the Arab Kings and Princes.
"In consequence His Excellency the Minister of `Iraq will conduct the necessary official correspondence in this respect, while the Supreme Arab Committee will submit the matter to the Nation, through a General Congress of the National Committees, for consultation and confirmation. The Nation will continue its general strike with the same steadfastness and conviction which it has shown, and with an unblemished dignity, full of confidence, patience and sobriety, and until such time as these negotiations attain the desired result which will safeguard for this brave Nation its existence, secure for it its rights and the realization of its aspirations."
66. While the negotiations were in progress conjecture was rife as to the terms under which they were being conducted and on 2nd September a local Jewish newspaper, the Palestine Post published a completely unfounded account of the conditions which Nuri Pasha had been authorized by the British Government to offer to the Arab leaders. One of these alleged conditions was the suspension of immigration. Dr. Weizmann, the Chairman of the Zionist Organization, who was then in London, thereupon wrote to the Secretary of State asking for assurances on this point. The Secretary of State replied in a letter denying that any promise had been made to Nuri Pasha by the High Commissioner or by His Majesty's Government regarding either the suspension of immigration (i.e. in return for the cessation of the disturbances) or the position of the Foreign Minister of `Iraq as the mediator in the affairs of Palestine.
67. On the 7th September His Majesty's Government issued their statement of policy regarding Palestine in the following terms:--
"Disorders broke out in Palestine in April of this year which, after rioting at Jaffa and elsewhere that was quickly suppressed, took the form of a declaration by a Committee of Arab notables of a general strike of a definitely political character for aims inconsistent with the Mandate and pursued by methods which directly challenged the constituted authority. There have been widespread acts of murder and other outrages by gangs of armed terrorists. Apart from attacks in which British soldiers, airmen and police as well as many Arabs and Jews have lost their lives, the activities of these armed gangs have included repeated attempts to disorganize the means of communication, cutting of telegraph and telephone wires, derailing of trains, and attempts to prevent roads from being used by traffic. Considerable material damage has been done seriously affecting the economic life of the country and several attempts have been made to damage and set fire to the oil pipe-line between Haifa and `Iraq. An important result of the strike has been the practical closing of the port of Jaffa although happily the port of Haifa has hitherto been little affected.
"Active steps were at once taken by the Palestine Administration for the protection of life and property and for the suppression of disorders and during the months following on the outbreak of the disturbances the Palestine garrison has been considerably reinforced. In spite, however, of the greatest forebearance exercised by the British authorities, with the full approval of His Majesty's Government, whose chief concern has been to restore peace between the different communities in Palestine by measures which would entail the smallest possible amount of suffering and loss of life, the political strike has continued accompanied by outrages and guerilla warfare. Widespread intimidation has been used by those responsible for the continuance of those disorders with the object of compelling at any rate the passive co-operation of the Arab population at large. In short the situation which has been created is a direct challenge to the authority of the British Government in Palestine.
"On the 18th of May the then Secretary of State for the Colonies announced in the House of Commons that His Majesty's Government had decided that it was desirable that a full enquiry on the spot should be undertaken but that the first step must be the re-establishment of law and order; and that after order had been restored it was their intention to advise His Majesty to appoint a Royal Commission which would, without bringing into question the fundamental terms of the Mandate, investigate the causes of unrest and any alleged grievances either of the Arabs or the Jews.
"On the 29th of July the personnel of the Royal Commission was announced in the House of Commons together with its terms of reference which are as follows:--
'to ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances which broke out in Palestine in the middle of April; to enquire into the manner in which the Mandate for Palestine is being implemented in relation to the obligations of the Mandatory towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively; and to ascertain whether, upon a proper construction of the terms of the Mandate, either the Arabs or the Jews have any legitimate grievances on account of the way in which the Mandate has been, or is being, implemented; and if the Commission is satisfied that any such grievances are well-founded, to make representations for their removal and for the prevention of their recurrence.'
"The Royal Commission will undertake its duties at the earliest possible moment, but, as has already been stated, order must be restored in Palestine before the Commission begins its enquiry there.
"This is the condition essential to enable it to perform its duties effectively. Unhappily, however, the Arab leaders have taken up the position that they will not end the strike until fundamental changes have been introduced by the British Government in its policy with regard to Palestine, and, notwithstanding the announcement of the personnel and the terms of reference of the Royal Commission, the strike has continued accompanied by outrages of ranging degrees of intensity in many parts of the country. All efforts to introduce a reasonable spirit of accommodation have hitherto failed.
"Well-disposed Arab rulers and notabilities in neighbouring countries have from time to time expressed willingness to use their influence in attempts at conciliation. The King of Saudi Arabia offered the use of his good offices acting in concert, if their co-operation could be secured, with other Arab rulers. Unfortunately conditions have continued to be such that it has not been found possible to make any successful progress by this means. A public-spirited attempt has also been made by His Highness the Amir of Trans-Jordan, but this likewise has proved fruitless. A further recent initiative in the same direction has been taken by General Nuri Pasha es Said, Foreign Minister of 'Iraq. Protracted discussions by him with the Palestine Arab leaders have led to no satisfactory result, for the Palestine Arab leaders issued on the 31st of August a manifesto declaring that they would continue the strike until their aims had been attained.
"Despite General Nuri Pasha's intervention, daily outrages and other instances of grave disorders have continued unabated, and after a careful review of the whole situation, His Majesty's Government are satisfied that the campaign of violence and threats of violence, by which the Arab leaders are attempting to influence the policy of His Majesty's Government, cannot be allowed to continue and more rapid and effective action must now be taken in order to bring the present state of disorder to an end with the least possible delay. With this end in view, it has been considered essential to send further substantial reinforcements to Palestine. An additional division of troops is accordingly being sent there. In view of the size of the reinforcements and of the additional responsibilities entailed, it has been decided that the supreme military control in the country shall be entrusted to a Lieutenant- General. The officer selected to command is Lieutenant-General J. G. Dill, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., late Director of Military Operations and Intelligence at the War Office.
"His Majesty's Government deeply regret that such decisions should have been forced upon them. Great Britain accepted the Mandate for Palestine upon terms which involve responsibility for the welfare of all sections of the population of Palestine. They regard this responsibility as a trust which they have no choice but to carry out. In this connection it is appropriate to recall that in their report to the Council of the League of Nations in 1930, the Permanent Mandates Commission stated that in their view the following two assertions accurately express what they conceived to be the essence of the Mandate of Palestine:--
(1) that the obligations laid down in the Mandate of Palestine in regard to the two sections of the population are of equal weight; and
(2) that the dual obligations imposed upon the Mandatory are in no sense irreconcilable.
"His Majesty's Government are fully in accord with the sense of this pronouncement at Geneva and it is their earnest desire to carry on a policy of impartial justice to both Arabs and Jews and to work for the peace and progress of a country so specially dear to both races.
"It has been the constant aim of British policy to secure and maintain relations of friendship and confidence with the Moslem peoples. For this reason, apart from all others, they would have wished to avoid by all possible means the course of action which has now been forced upon them. But no Government, least of all a Government exercising mandatory responsibilities, can allow themselves to be deflected from their course by violence and outrages. It is still their hope, however, that when those who are disturbing the peace of Palestine have been brought to realize that their present actions are inimical to the true interests of all sections of the population and to the country as a whole, and that the Mandatory Government is determined to exercise its authority with impartiality and justice, it will be possible to ascertain whether any legitimate grievances or fears for the future exist on the part of either Arabs or Jews and to make recommendations for their removal with a view to establishing more cordial and peaceful relations between all concerned. His Majesty's Government are convinced that these objects are attainable within the framework of the Mandate which they have no intention of abandoning.
"It is the confident hope of His Majesty's Government that the Royal Commission will make recommendations which will enable His Majesty's Government to bring finality to a situation of doubts and fears on both sides and that out of the tragic misunderstandings and disorders of the last five months a lasting settlement can be reached."
This statement was simultaneously published as an Official Communiqué of the Palestine Government and five days later, on 12th September, the High Commissioner summoned the members of the Arab Higher Committee before him. In the course of the interview, he emphasized the forbearance which had been shown by the Government in the past and stated that more drastic military action would be taken to restore order. He urged the Committee to issue a call for the cessation of the strike and disorders while there was yet time.
At the same time, District Commissioners held meetings with local notables whom they advised in the same sense.
68. Lieutenant-General Dill arrived in Jerusalem on the 13th September and assumed duty as General Officer Commanding in Palestine and Trans-Jordan on the 15th September. The military reinforcements from England began to reach Palestine shortly afterwards, and by the end of the first week in October all had arrived.
69. Meanwhile the Arab Higher Committee were in constant communication with Their Majesties King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Ghazi of `Iraq, the King of the Yemen, and His Highness the Amir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. On the 8th October the Committee received a communication from King Ibn Saud and on the 9th October from King Ghazi and the Amir Abdullah. All three communications were couched in identical language.
"The prevailing situation in Palestine has greatly pained us. We in agreement with our brothers the Arab Kings and the Amir Abdullah ask you to resort to quietness in order to avoid bloodshed, relying upon the good intentions of our friend the British Government and its declared desire to ensure justice. You may rest assured that we will continue our endeavours to help you."
On the 10th October, the Arab Higher Committee issued a manifesto which, after citing the text of the communications which they had received from the three Arab Rulers, continued in the following terms:--
"The Supreme Arab Committee, after consultation with representatives of the National Committees and with their unanimous agreement, have unanimously decided to respond to the appeal of Their Majesties and Highnesses, the Arab Kings and Amirs, and to call upon the noble Arab Nation in Palestine to resort to quietness and to put an end to the strike and the disorders as from Monday morning, the 12th October, 1936, and to ask all members of the nation to proceed, early morning, to their places of worship for the purpose of holding services on behalf of the martyrs and to thank God for the power of patience and fortitude with which he endowed them. They will then leave their places of worship and open their places of business and will resume their normal occupations, and God is our aid."
The response to this manifesto was immediate; work was resumed generally through the country; and with the exception of a few minor incidents, disorders ceased, and after a month it was possible to make arrangements for the return to England of the reinforcements which had been sent out to Palestine two months before. By the end of the year almost all the units of the additional division had left the country.
70. On the 29th October, the High Commissioner, in a broadcast message, announced the imminent departure from London of the Royal Commission which arrived in Palestine on 11th November, 1936.
71. On the 5th November the Secretary of State made the following statement in the House of Commons:--
"On the 19th June and the 22nd of July I informed the House that His Majesty's Government could contemplate no change of policy whatsoever with regard to Palestine until they had received and considered the Report of the Royal Commission. On the 22nd of July I also said that, as regards the suggestion that there should be temporary suspension of immigration whilst the Commission was carrying out its enquiry, I was not at the time in a position to make any statement as to the intentions of His Majesty's Government beyond saying that their decision would be taken in due course on the merits of the case.
"As the House is aware, the Royal Commission is leaving for Palestine today and His Majesty's Government have carefully considered whether or not there should be a temporary suspension of immigration while the Commission is carrying out its enquiry. They have decided that a temporary suspension of immigration would not be justifiable on economic or on other grounds. It is the view of His Majesty's Government that, if any drastic departure from the immigration policy hitherto pursued were now to be introduced in advance of the findings of the Royal Commission, this would involve an alteration in the existing situation and might be held to prejudice the enquiry of the Royal Commission, which will be directed, among other matters, to the very important question of immigration generally.
"At the same time, His Majesty's Government have thought it right, in the present circumstances obtaining in Palestine, to ask the High Commissioner to take a conservative view of the economic absorptive capacity of the country. He has accordingly recommended that the six-monthly labour immigration schedule which was due to be issued last month, should be fixed at 1,800 certificates: this recommendation has been approved by His Majesty's Government. This figure compares with a schedule of 8,000 in April, 1935; 3,250 in October, 1935, and 4,500 in April, 1936.
"The new schedule of 1,800 certificates includes a special allotment of 300 certificates to provide for registration as immigrants of German-Jews in possession of a capital of £P1,000 already in Palestine who will have been unable as yet to transfer from Germany the qualifying capital within a prescribed period of twelve months. The total increase, therefore, in the Jewish population resulting from this schedule will not exceed 1,500. It will be appreciated, however, that immigration is not confined to those persons who receive certificates under the Labour Schedule. The categories under which other immigrants enter are as capitalists (that is to say persons in possession of £P1,000) and dependants of such capitalists, and dependants of persons authorized to enter under the Labour Schedule, and of persons already resident in Palestine. Taking into account all forms of Jewish immigration, it is expected that the total for the six months from October 1936 will be substantially below that for the preceding six months."
The announcement raised great resentment in Arab circles, and two days later a meeting of the Arab Higher Committee decided unanimously to boycott the Commission and that no Arab witnesses would appear before it.
72. After making a rapid general tour of the country, the Commission opened its enquiry in Jerusalem on the 16th November, 1936.
A letter of welcome had been sent on 13th November to the Chairman by the members of the Arab Higher Committee, in which they stated their regrets that the Arab people were unable to fulfil their traditional duties of hospitality towards the Commission owing to the action taken by the British Government regarding the issue of the half-yearly Jewish Labour Schedule on the 5th November, 1936 (see paragraph 71). The Committee assured the members of the Commission that the Arab population of Palestine was fully confident of their integrity and sincerity.
The Commission was in session, both public and private, up to the end of the year, by which time its enquiry was drawing to a close.
Throughout this period, the Arab boycott was maintained, but, as will be described in the Annual Report for 1937, the Arab Higher Committee on the 6th January, 1937, unanimously withdrew their decision not to co-operate with the Commission and the Arab evidence was heard before the Commission concluded its enquiry on the 19th January, 1937.
73. The opening session of the Royal Commission took place on the 12th November at Government House, Jerusalem. After the High Commissioner had officially welcomed the members to Palestine and the Chief Secretary had read the Royal Warrant of their appointment, Earl Peel, the Chairman, delivered the following speech:--
"Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,
"On behalf of my colleagues and myself, may I thank Your Excellency very warmly for the most kind words with which you have received us? May we also thank all those who have come here today to welcome us at the outset of our enquiry? May I lay stress upon those words `The outset of our enquiry'? We were most anxious to begin our task here in Palestine with minds as free as possible from any prepossession and from all preconceived ideas. We bring, I believe, each of us some contribution of experience derived from one sphere or another of public life; but we were determined that, as regards views and judgments on the affairs of Palestine, we should apply minds fresh and impartial to the problems before us. We therefore heard no evidence before we left London and our only meeting was devoted to discussions of procedure and other points of detail. When our departure from London was delayed, we again considered this question, but in spite of the loss of time we came again to the same conclusion.
"But we have been by no means inactive. We were appointed by His Majesty the King as long ago as August last. We have had, therefore, time to acquire some knowledge of the elementary facts of the situation in Palestine and of the machinery of government and policies on which we may expect to hear evidence. The Government of Palestine and its officers have been of the greatest possible assistance in these requirements. They have answered very fully our rather onerous requests for facts and figures, and we should like to express, through Your Excellency, our keen sense of gratitude to your officers for the fulness and lucidity of the papers with which we have been supplied and for the figures, statistics and descriptions of administrative detail which we have studied. They have saved us an immense amount of labour and have lightened the burden of our enquiry. They have given us a framework which makes it far more easy for us to appreciate the evidence which will be laid before us.
"Let me refer to one point of procedure. The question of whether we should hold our sittings in public or in private has been before us. We have decided that in an enquiry of this importance it would be wiser to hold our sittings as far as possible in public, but we recognize that there may be witnesses whom it would be proper to hear in private and that, in many cases, the witnesses themselves may prefer to give their evidence or part of their evidence in a similar manner.
"You have heard the terms of reference approved by His Majesty. We are `to ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances which broke out in Palestine in the middle of April'. You will note the words `underlying causes'. It does not appear to be necessary, therefore, to enquire into the detailed course of events in the last six or seven months. If there are claims and counter-claims arising out of these events, they are matters for the Courts or for the Administration, but we have to deal, I believe, with wider issues.
"Then we are `to enquire into the manner in which the Mandate is being implemented in relation to the obligations of the Mandatory towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively, and to ascertain whether, upon a proper construction of the terms of the Mandate, either the Arabs or the Jews have any legitimate grievance on account of the way in which the Mandate has been or is being implemented; and if we are satisfied that any such grievances are well founded to make recommendations for their removal and for the prevention of their recurrence'.
"Time will perhaps be saved if those who propose to give evidence will first study our terms of reference. We have, of course, no authority to exceed them, but the terms themselves are very wide and we intend to interpret them in a broad and comprehensive manner. In this connection I would like to quote from a speech made in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister a few days ago. Mr. Baldwin said:--
'I would like to emphasize . . . that a Royal Commission in this country is an entirely independent body, uncontrolled by His Majesty's Government, and perfectly free to report in any sense that it thinks fit within the terms of its reference.'
"We are under no illusion as to the difficulty of our task, and we make a general appeal to the people of Palestine without any distinction to do nothing which may add to our difficulties and give us their friendly co-operation. To those who may give evidence before us, I would quote some words used by the Prime Minister in the speech to which I have referred:--
'I think it is very important that, while the Commission is engaged on this work, which is very difficult and very delicate, we should avoid as far as we can such controversial treatment of that subject as might inflame feelings that have not subsided and that are only too ready to be inflamed on either side.'
"Unhappily, while we were on our journey here, an incident has arisen that can hardly be said to be of assistance. One large section of this population, through its leaders, has declared that it will take no part in the work of the Royal Commission. It would be most unfortunate if without their advice and assistance we were compelled to arrive at conclusions and to make decisions.
"A Royal Commission is an entirely independent body with no responsibility for the policy of His Majesty's Government in the present or in the past. Is it too much to ask that all those who love Palestine and hold her future dear will join with us and share our labours? It would be deplorable indeed if strife and fear and dissension were to be the portion of this Holy Land which sent forth in the past a message of peace and goodwill to all the world."
JEWISH IMMIGRATION INTO PALESTINE.
74. Immigration continued to be regulated as heretofore in accordance with the estimated economic absorptive capacity of the country.
There were 29,727 Jewish immigrants registered during the year. Of these, 2,970 were capitalist immigrants, whose dependants numbered 2,810, and 6,981 were persons coming to employment, whose dependants numbered 4,496. The number of immigrants, apart from dependants, authorized under labour schedules was 4,500 for the period April-September, 1936, and 1,800 for the period October, 1936--March, 1937.
75. In connection with the issue of the latter schedule, the Secretary of State for the Colonies made the statement which is quoted in full in paragraph 71.
76. The Palestine Government has continued to take all possible measures to check illegal immigration through the agency of His Majesty's Consular Officers abroad, by the usual control arrangements at ports and frontiers and by the employment of a special preventive force on land and sea. Additional preventive measures are now under consideration by the Government.
77. Eight hundred and twenty-eight persons (including 198 Jews) who made their way into the country surreptitiously and were detected, were sentenced to imprisonment for their offence and recommended for deportation; 674 such deportations were carried out during the year, including 89 Jews. Ten Jewish and twelve non-Jewish travellers were also deported for over-staying their period of permitted stay in the country, and 47 Jews and 67 non-Jews were deported for other immigration offences. In addition, 1,220 persons, including five Jews, were summarily deported to Syria and Egypt on apprehension at the frontiers.
78. The proportion of Jewish immigrants from Germany has considerably increased, amounting to 27 per cent., as compared with 14 per cent. in 1935 and 16 per cent. in 1934. Poland, which provided 41 per cent. of the Jewish immigrants, continues to be the principal centre of Jewish immigration to Palestine. The proportion of immigration certificates allotted by the Jewish Agency to Germany and to German refugees under the labour schedule increased from 18 per cent. for the period April--September, 1935, to 38 per cent. for the period April--September, 1936.
79. From the beginning of the year until April the representatives of the united Arab Parties whose coalition is described in paragraph 31 of the Introductory Chapter of the Annual Report for 1935 continued to make collective representations to Government upon matters affecting Arab interests. In April, however, a body styled the Supreme Arab Committee was formed. The circumstances in which this Committee came into being and its principal activities are described in the section of this Report dealing with Policy. The Supreme Arab Committee absorbed the representatives of the different parties including the Istiqlal Party, and the President of the Supreme Moslem Council.
After the formation of the Supreme Arab Committee the different parties temporarily sank their differences and Arab political affairs continued to be handled by this Committee who also presented the Arab case to the Royal Commission during its visit to Palestine.
80. As a result of the long strike and the campaign of boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, the Arabs made an effort towards a financial and commercial re-organization aimed at achieving independence of Jewish economy. A separate Arab Chamber of Commerce was established in Jerusalem. Contact between the Arab Chambers of Commerce in different towns became more noticeable and a number of new Arab shops were opened. Steps were also taken to encourage the importation and sale of Arab products from Syria in place of Jewish products.
81. In March an `Iraqi delegation of fifteen senators, deputies and notables who were proceeding to the Agricultural Exhibition in Cairo passed through Palestine on their way to and from Egypt. While in Palestine, they were the guests of the Arab community and visited Nazareth, Jenin, Nablus, Jerusalem, and Jaffa and, on their homeward journey, Haifa.
SUPREME MOSLEM COUNCIL.
82. At its twenty-ninth session, the Permanent Mandates Commission asked for fuller information concerning the composition, working and results of the Supreme Moslem Council. (Minutes, Pages 148 and 208.) This information is given below.
The Commission also asked for information as to its representative character. The circumstances in which the members actually constituting the Council were appointed are described hereafter. Briefly, they are: the President was elected in 1922; the Members were appointed by the High Commissioner under the Supreme Moslem Shari'a Council Ordinance, 1926, the dates of their appointment being two in 1926, one in 1928 and one in 1929.
83. Whilst discussing the representative character of the Supreme Moslem Council, it will be borne in mind that it is not a political body, but an administrative body dealing with Moslem religious affairs. In so far as it is representative, it is representative of the Moslems of Palestine in their religious aspect. Whether, if there were an election, the present members would be re-elected, it is impossible to prophesy. But although the present members were not elected, they are as representative as any who could be appointed by the High Commissioner.
84. The Supreme Moslem Council was established by an Order issued by the first High Commissioner in Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, in December, 1921. This Order regulates the activities of the Supreme Moslem Council.
Under the Order of December, 1921, a Moslem body was created, to be known as the Supreme Shari`a Moslem Council. The main object of the creation of this body was to put in its hands the control and the management of Moslem Awqaf and Shari`a affairs in Palestine. The Government was to have no voice in the constitution of the Council; the powers of administration and control with regard to Moslem Awqaf were vested in the Council to the exclusion of Government. Although the Council was not vested specifically by the Order with the power to administer and control Shari`a Courts, by section 1 it was entrusted with the control and management of Shari`a affairs, and by section 8 it was empowered to appoint the judges and inspectors of Shari`a Courts after the nomination of the Council had been approved by the Government. The Council was given power to dismiss all Awqaf and Shari`a officials, including the judges and inspectors, without the prior approval of Government, and was obliged only to report the fact of dismissal and the reasons therefor to Government.
The Supreme Moslem Council was to be elected by general election, but the special law required by section 4 of the Order, prescribing the method of election and laying down the functions, status and precedence of the President, has never been submitted to Government for enactment.
As regards the members of the Council, under the Order they were to be elected by the secondary electors elected by the inhabitants of the District which the member was to represent in accordance with the Ottoman Law of Elections to the Chamber of Deputies.
85. The duties of the Supreme Moslem Council were defined as follows:--
) To administer and control Moslem Awqaf and to approve the annual Awqaf Budget and, after approval, to transmit the Budget to Government for information.
) To nominate for the approval of Government and after such approval to appoint Qadis of the Shari`a Courts, the President and members of the Shari`a Court of Appeal, and the inspector of Shari`a Courts. If the Government withholds its approval, it shall signify to the Council within 15 days the reasons therefor.
) To appoint Muftis from among the three candidates to be elected by a special electoral college in accordance with the special regulation to be passed by the Council, provided that the election of Muftis in Beersheba District shall be made by the Sheikhs of the Tribes. (The regulation for the election of Muftis has never been enacted.)
) To appoint the directors and mamurs of Awqaf and all Shari`a officials.
) To control the General Waqf Committee and all other committees and waqf administration.
) To dismiss all Waqf and Shari`a officials. When an official is dismissed, notice thereof is sent to Government with reasons for dismissal.
) To enquire into all Moslem Awqaf and to produce proof and evidence establishing the claim to these Awqaf with a view to having such returned to the Council.
The Moslem Community have the right to supervise the actions of the Council through the Electoral College.
86. The election of a President and members of the Council in accordance with the Order was held in 1922. It was at that election that the present holder of the office of President was elected.
87. In 1926 the term of office of the members elected in 1922 expired and an election for new members was held. The election was challenged by one of the parties and declared void by the High Court. Thereupon the Supreme Moslem Shari`a Council Ordinance, 1926, was promulgated, by which it was provided that pending the holding of fresh elections certain named persons should, together with the President, constitute the Council, and that the Council, as constituted, should exercise the functions prescribed by the Order of December, 1921, other than those defined in section 8 (4) of the Ordinance.
In the Ordinance of 1926, it is also provided that the High Commissioner shall have power--
) to constitute a committee of Moslems for the purpose of preparing a revision of the Order of 1921; and
) to make regulations concerning the election of the members of the Council.
In fact, with the exception of the President, the present members of the Council were appointed by the High Commissioner. A committee was also appointed on the 14th May, 1926, in order to revise the Order of 1921. The Committee so appointed by the High Commissioner under the chairmanship of the President, Supreme Moslem Council, submitted to Government a draft Election Ordinance and a draft Organic Law for the Constitution of the Supreme Moslem Council to replace the Order of December, 1921, and the Ottoman Law of Election.
In 1929 the drafts submitted by the Council were made public, but in view of the riots which took place in August, 1929, and of the unrest which followed, these documents did not receive the careful and general study by the Moslem Community which they required. Several comments and criticisms were, however, submitted to Government. Since that date, no further move has been made in the matter.
88. As regards the activity of the Supreme Moslem Council, the following is a summary of its activities since it was established:--
(i) Twenty-one new mosques and three minarets were built, and 313 mosques, including their minarets, were repaired in towns and villages.
(ii) Two hundred and twenty-four new buildings, including shops and houses, were built; some of these buildings are of considerable value, such as the waqf building which was originally the Palace Hotel in Jerusalem and is now used as Government offices.
(iii) Three hundred waqf buildings, including shops and houses, were repaired.
(iv) The Council drained and assisted in draining many swamps on waqf lands.
(v) The Council planted about 40,000 trees on waqf lands.
(vi) The Council contributed to the enlargement of waqf lands by the purchase of about 25,000 dunums.
(vii) Eight schools for boys, girls, and orphans are maintained by the Supreme Moslem Council, and 24 schools receive annual grants-in-aid from it.
(viii) The Supreme Moslem Council has also granted scholarships to 64 Moslem students in universities in Egypt, Syria, and Europe.
(ix) The Supreme Moslem Council established a Moslem orphanage which takes care of some 270 to 300 students of both sexes. After completing their elementary studies, the orphans are trained in various industries including printing, carpentry, tailoring for men and women, bent wood work, shoe-making, work for the blind, and book-binding.
(x) The Supreme Moslem Council contributed financially towards the training of about forty Moslem midwives who graduated from the midwifery school under the Department of Health.
(xi) The most important work undertaken by the Council was the repair of the Mosque of Al Aqsa and other parts of the Haram el-Sharif at Jerusalem, the cost of which amounted to £P.100,000.
89. The principal Jewish case before the Palestine Royal Commission was presented by the Jewish Agency. Their chief spokesman was Dr. Ch. Weizmann, the President of the Agency, who also submitted a comprehensive memorandum regarding the interpretation of the Mandate for Palestine and the Jewish grievances. He was supported by other representatives of the Jewish Agency.
Other Jewish institutions and organizations which appeared before the Royal Commission in Palestine included the Vaad Leumi, the Chief Rabbinate, the Agudath Israel, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, the Jewish Farmers Federation, and the Poale Zion. The evidence given in the public sittings of the Royal Commission, which were fully reported in the Hebrew Press, was followed with keen interest by the Jewish public.
90. The General Council (Vaad Leumi) made representations to Government during 1936 in regard,
to questions of public security, the proposed establishment of a Legislative Council, municipal affairs affecting the Jewish population in towns of mixed populations, subvention of the Jewish religious courts, and grants-in-aid of the Jewish educational and health services. The General Council also issued statements addressed to the Arab population, calling for co-operation between Arabs and Jews and disclaiming any design on the part of Palestine Jewry on the Moslem Holy Places and any desire to establish predominance over the Arab people of Palestine.
91. The negotiations between the Vaad Leumi and the Agudath Israel, which were inaugurated in May 1935, with a view to meeting the legitimate demands of the Agudath Israel within the framework of the Jewish Community Rules and had been interrupted by the death of Chief Rabbi Kook, were not resumed owing to the disturbances and to the absence of the appointment of a successor to the late Chief Rabbi.
Notwithstanding the differences existing between the two bodies in religious matters, they have acted in accord in other fields of communal activity where national or external interests as contrasted with sectional or internal interests are involved. They have, for example, continued to work in unison in municipal matters in the Jewish Municipal Council and in the discussions and declarations of the Jewish community and the Jewish Agency in regard to the proposals for the Legislative Council. The
with the Jewish Agency in the matter of the immigration of Agudath members into Palestine has continued in force.
92. The divergencies between the Revisionist and the Zionist bodies, and in particular the Jewish Labour Federation, were less marked during 1936, and as a result of the disturbances there was a truce between the opposing parties, though no permanent conciliation has been effected. At the end of the year, the Jewish Agency was, however, attacked by the Revisionist press and party in regard to the distribution of immigration certificates under the Labour Immigration Schedule, and there were disputes between Labour Federation and Revisionist workmen in regard to the allocation of work on buildings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
93. A local religious council was constituted in Jerusalem to deal with all religious matters affecting the local community and particularly with the administration of affairs connected with the ritual slaughtering of animals. Hitherto there had been four independent bodies controlling ritual slaughtering in Jerusalem. Through the mediation of the newly constituted council, it proved possible to combine three of the groups concerned in a single board for the control of ritual killing. The Agudath Israel continues to maintain a separate board of its own.
94. The Federation of Jewish Labour continued its campaign for funds for unemployment relief works. A sum of over £P.100,000 had been collected up to the end of 1936. With these funds the Federation has undertaken various relief works and invested in a number of undertakings in conjunction with the Jewish Agency to provide employment on roads and buildings and in agriculture and stone quarrying.
95. The Department for Social Services of the Vaad Leumi (under the direction of the eminent social worker, Miss Henrietta Szold), has considerably extended its activities in supervising and co-ordinating the social work carried out by Jewish local committees. It gave valuable assistance to the Government Probation Officers in dealing with young Jewish delinquents.
96. The General Council (Vaad Leumi) conducted an energetic campaign for the naturalisation as Palestinian citizens of Jewish immigrants, who are qualified therefor by residence, and gave much assistance to the Department of Migration in the acceptance of applications for certificates of citizenship under the Palestinian Citizenship Order, 1925.
97. Local Councils were constituted in the Jewish settlements of Beit Vegan, Kfar Saba, Raanana, and Hertzlia.
98. The new hospital of the Kupat Cholim (Sick Fund) of the Jewish Federation of Labour at Petah Tikvah was officially opened by the High Commissioner in October.
99. A Jewish symphony orchestra was established at the end of the year through the initiative of Mr. Bronislaw Huberman, the well-known violinist, who secured the services of a large number of Jewish players and considerable financial support for his scheme from abroad. Mr. Arturo Toscanini conducted the first concerts of the new orchestra, which achieved a striking success. A number of the concerts are being broadcast by the Palestine Broadcasting Service.
100. Dr. Nahum Sokolow, a former President of the Jewish Agency, and for many years a member of the Executives of the Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, died in May, 1936. He had been one of the leaders of the Zionist movement since its inception. He was also well known as a publicist and author, and his influence on Hebrew cultural development has been profound.
101. The Jewish community, and the inhabitants of Tel-Aviv in particular, suffered a great loss by the death in September of Mr. M. Dizengoff, C.B.E., the Mayor of Tel-Aviv, who had been so intimately associated with the foundation of Tel-Aviv and its subsequent phenomenal growth, and whose services to the city had been invaluable.
Mr. I. Rokach, the Deputy-Mayor of Tel-Aviv, was appointed by the High Commissioner to succeed Mr. Dizengoff as Mayor.
102. Rabbi Amiel, formerly Chief Rabbi of Antwerp, who had been elected as Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv in succession to the late Rabbi Aaronsohn, took up his appointment in January.
103. The revised estimate of revenue for the financial period 1st April, 1936, to 31st March, 1937, is £P4,550,000, as compared with the original estimate of £P6,063,887. The principal decreases occur under Customs Duties (£P1,000,000), Licences, Taxes, etc. (£P310,000), Fees of Court, etc. (£P146,000), and Interest (£P41,000). This setback in revenue collections is due mainly to the strike. Expenditure is estimated at £P4,670,000, and the excess of expenditure over revenue for the year will be approximately £P120,000, excluding any charges which may fall to be borne by Palestine in respect of the excess cost of the British Forces temporarily sent to Palestine in connection with the recent disturbances. The cost of the emergency measures is at present estimated at approximately £P1,250,000. It is anticipated that with these charges included, the accumulated surplus balance of Government at the 31st March, 1937, will amount to approximately £P4,900,000, as compared with an actual surplus of £P6,267,810 at the 31st March, 1936.
104. During the calendar year 1936 a total of 31,671 immigrants entered Palestine, as compared with a total of 64,147 in the previous year. The total value of imports decreased from £P17,853,000 in 1935 to £P13,900,000 in 1936, while the total value of exports decreased from approximately £P4,766,000 in 1935 to £P4,040,000 in 1936. It should be pointed out, however, that the Jaffa Port was closed for nearly six months, and the fall in exports is mainly due to a fall in the citrus crop for the season 1935-36 which is reflected in the exports in 1936.
105. The number of dunums of land sold in 1936 is estimated at 76,000, valued at £P4,921,000, as compared with 187,000 dunums valued at £P11,720,000, in 1935.
106. The estimated value of investments in buildings in 1936 was £P4,000,000, as compared with £P7,000,000 in 1935.
107. New area planted with citrus trees was 20,000 dunums, as compared with 28,000 dunums in 1935 and 50,000 dunums in 1934.
108. During 1936, new companies registered totalled 183, with a registered capital of £P1,038,000, as compared with 298, with a registered capital of £P3,120,000, in 1935, while 50 companies increased their capital from £P1,060,611 to £P1,893,378, as compared with the year 1935 when 55 companies increased their capital from £P1,182,000 to £P2,952,000. At the 31st December, 1936, the currency in circulation amounted to £P5,621,134, as compared with £P6,561,134 at the 31st December, 1935. Deposits with the leading local Banks at the 31st December, 1936, amounted to approximately £P16,600,000, as compared with approximately £P16,000,000 at the 31st December, 1935.
109. Towards the end of 1935, revenue receipts began to reflect the prevailing uneasiness aroused by the unsettled political outlook in Europe, and they continued to fall during 1936. The disturbances which broke out in April, 1936, intensified the process. Customs receipts, which, until November, 1935, had maintained an average of £P245,000 a month, fell to £P138,000 in August, 1936, but by the end of 1936 they tended to stabilize at an average of about £P200,000 per month. Other revenues showed a decrease from approximately £P2,900,000 to approximately £P2,300,000. The general uneasiness to which reference has been made and the uncertainty as to the trend of events in Palestine tended to discourage new developments in trade and industry. The uneasiness was first felt in the money market, and credit facilities were curtailed. Winding-up orders were issued in respect of seven companies and six receiving orders in respect of others. Seventeen other companies went into voluntary liquidation, and 33 bankruptcies of persons were entered in 1936 as compared with thirteen recorded in 1935. The building industry, citrus plantation, and generally trade and industry suffered a setback.
110. With regard to the trade negotiations with Egypt referred to in paragraph 62 of the Introductory Chapter in the Annual Report for 1935, the Agreement reached between the two Governments was embodied in an exchange of notes between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Egyptian Government dated 18th August, 1936.
* The benefits conferred by the Agreement are summarized in the above-mentioned paragraph of the Annual Report for 1935. In accordance with the terms of the Agreement, proposals were made in March by the Egyptian Government for a seasonal reduction of the Palestine Customs Tariff on vegetables grown in Egypt. The Egyptian Government has been invited to send a delegation to Palestine to discuss these proposals with a local Committee, and the proposed visit is expected to take place early in 1937. Negotiations with a view to facilitating trade between Palestine and `Iraq were opened in 1935, and in 1936 an Agreement was concluded by means of an exchange of notes on the 14th December, 1936, between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of `Iraq.** In the interest of the
trade of Palestine the `Iraqi Government will be given a free zone in the Haifa Harbour; and pending the establishment of this free zone the transit trade from or to `Iraq carried over the trans-desert route will receive special treatment by way of extension of the period of free storage of goods to 28 clear days. With a view to encouraging the trans-desert route, the Palestine import duty on rice of `Iraqi origin has been reduced to 50 per cent. of the general Palestine duty on rice in force at any time. The duty on dates of `Iraqi origin has also been reduced to one-half mil per kilo. Barley and ghee of `Iraqi origin have been exempted from import duty, subject, in the case of barley, to such temporary measures of general application as may be necessary to protect the Palestine crop.
*Cmd. 5361. Treaty Series No. 7 (1937).
**Cmd. 5372. Treaty Series No. 9 (1937).
111. During 1936 Dr. A. G. Tomkins of the Low Temperature Research Station, Cambridge, reported on the question of the oversea transport of oranges from Palestine and the need for an investigation into the cause of fruit wastage. His proposals are under consideration by the Government.
112. Mention was made in paragraph 63 of the Introductory chapter to last year's report of the appointment of a Committee to investigate the question of transportation and marketing of citrus fruit with particular reference to the regulation of consignment of oranges by rail and by sea and the need for the establishment of a shipping board. The Committee's labours have been delayed owing to the disturbances. The Committee has divided its work into two sections: "Transportation" and "Marketing", and it has submitted an interim report on Transportation which is at present under consideration by the Government. It is expected that the Committee's report on Marketing will be submitted in the course of 1937. As a result of the special inquiry into the excessive competition of various products manufactured in countries with low wage levels and in countries where export bonuses are afforded which affect detrimentally the conduct of certain local industries, referred to in paragraph 63 of the 1935 Report, further protection was afforded to certain classes of goods and further exemption from duty was granted on certain raw materials. In addition to these steps, Customs drawbacks were granted in certain cases to locally- manufactured exported goods where exemption from duty of the raw material was impracticable.
113. Further steps were taken to implement the recommendations of the experts who visited Palestine in 1935 with a view to the re-organization of the Railway in regard to its tariff and general lines of development and to its accounting and store-keeping methods. Many of the recommendations of these experts have already been carried into effect. There remain, however, certain major recommendations which have perforce had to be postponed owing to the deterioration in the financial position.
114. During the summer of 1936 the General Manager of the Jaffa Citrus Exchange visited the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, France. Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia to continue negotiations with the authorities with a view to securing the removal of trade and currency restrictions which are an obstacle to the Palestine export trade in oranges and grapefruit. The results achieved in 1935 are set out in paragraph 64 of the Introductory Chapter of the Annual Report for 1935. Various tentative arrangements were suggested, but up to the end of 1936 no further definite results have been reported.
115. At the 29th Meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission held at Geneva from 27th May to 12th June, 1936, it was asked whether the Mandatory Power maintained that the provisions of the Anglo-Japanese Commercial Treaty of 1911 could validly be advanced against Palestine in the matter of the duties on Japanese imports into the territory.
The Mandatory Power must accept the legal position that so long as that Treaty remains applicable to Palestine, discrimination against Japan is impossible. It is the general policy of His Majesty's Government to apply the provisions of its Commercial Treaties with foreign Powers to all territories for the administration of which it is responsible, unless there is reason to the contrary, and in the present instance no sufficient cause has been shown for giving notice to terminate the application of the Treaty to Palestine.
In this connection reference should be made to paragraph 36A of Chapter XXIII.
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND LAND.
116. Increasing attention has in recent years been given to the connected problems of afforestation, water conservation, soil erosion, and the improvement of grazing. These questions are of major importance in Palestine: centuries of neglect and of the indiscriminate cutting of timber have resulted in the almost total extinction of forest cover. Large areas of the country are in consequence seriously affected by soil erosion and denudation, and the position is aggravated by close and continuous grazing which precludes the possibility of natural recovery. The immediate result of these conditions, particularly in the hills; is a serious wastage both of soil and of water, which gravely affects the fertility of the country, while floods are a recurrent cause of loss and damage. As a result, also, Palestine is dependent for nearly all its timber requirements on supplies from other countries, the value of such imports being £P.1,344,000 in 1936.
117. The establishment of a separate Department of Forests on the 1st April, 1936, marked a further step in the development of an active and comprehensive policy with regard to these questions. Prior to that date the Forestry Service had formed part of the Department of Agriculture. Increased funds were allocated for afforestation during the year, and a new vote for research on soil erosion was provided in the Estimates. The activities of the new Department had necessarily to be restricted during the period of the disturbances, but considerable progress was made in the formulation of a comprehensive policy, on which the Department's programme of work will in future be based.
118. The year was a difficult one for agriculturists. The winter rains were poor, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where crops were severely affected, and the yields of the major crops (with the exception of melons and potatoes) were considerably below those of the previous year. The situation was aggravated by the prolonged disturbances which rendered it difficult for farmers to transport their produce to the towns and compelled them to dispose of it locally at very low prices. Jewish farmers, moreover, suffered considerable losses from malicious damage to their crops. As the result of exceptionally heavy rains during November and December, the year closed more cheerfully. In spite of the adverse conditions, however, notable progress was made in a number of directions, such as the growing of potatoes and vegetables, the egg and poultry industry, and the use of agricultural machinery.
119. The activities of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with regard to education and propaganda were expanded during the year. In August a new Agricultural Education and Research Officer was appointed, with a view to securing the co-ordination of all forms of research being carried out in the country and the adoption of a more active and comprehensive policy of agricultural education. Prior to this appointment a new Agricultural Supplement to the Palestine Gazette had been started. This supplement, which is published monthly in the three official languages, contains a wide range of information on subjects of interest to agriculturists. The establishment of the Broadcasting Service provided a further opportunity for the dissemination of information and advice to farmers, and talks, market reports, and weather forecasts form a regular part of the broadcast programmes.
120. Owing to the disturbances, little progress could be made during the year with the scheme for the grant of long-term credits to be financed from Loan funds to fellahin in the hill districts, which was described in paragraph 67 of the Introductory Chapter of last year's Report; but since the end of the year the High Commissioner directed that the scheme should now be proceeded with. Loans amounting to £P.34,000 were also issued to farmers in the autumn for the purchase of seed. In spite of financial stringency, Government continued to furnish direct assistance to the farmer in a number of ways: seed potatoes, grain, and vegetable seedlings were issued: beehives were distributed on generous terms, and a supply of duty-free sugar was once again made available for beekeepers: eggs, chicks, and swarms were distributed from Government poultry stations and apiaries, and fruit trees and vines from Government Horticultural Stations.
121. Citrus exports during the season 1935-36 were considerably less than in the previous season, owing to the effect of hot winds on the young fruit in May, 1935. Exports up to the end of the year, in the new season, showed a substantial increase.
The Export of Citrus Fruit Rules, 1936, which were framed in consultation with the industry, effected a number of important changes, including the prohibition of the export of oranges of a size larger than 120 to the box, and the alteration of the date of the commencement of the export season from the 15th November to the 20th November. The programme of the citrus advertising campaign for the season 1936-37 was prepared on the lines adopted in previous years: the advertising fee was raised from 3 mils to 3 1/2 mils a case, in order to ensure that the loss incurred in the previous season, when the number of cases exported had fallen considerably short of the estimate, should be satisfactorily covered.
122. The new Chief Fisheries Officer took up his duties in 1936. The Fisheries Service was increasingly active both in the enforcement of existing legislation and in the dissemination of advice and help to fishermen.
123. At its twenty-ninth Session the Permanent Mandates Commission raised the question as whether the time had not come to institute a constructive agrarian policy, and asked for information on the subject in the Report for 1936. Minutes, page 143.
The Palestine Government has, in fact, consistently followed an active policy of development, designed to increase the quantity and quality of crops and livestock and to encourage the intensification of farming by the adoption of improved irrigation and technical methods. This policy will be described in detail under the following heads:--
(i) Research and Demonstration.
(ii) Direct Assistance to Farmers.
(iii) Protective Legislation for Crops and Livestock.
(iv) Land Policy.
(v) Fiscal Measures.
Research and Demonstration.
Six agricultural and nine horticultural stations have been established for research and experiment. At these stations, experiments are carried out to determine the optimum quantities and kinds of fertilizer to be applied under varying conditions, the most suitable periods of sowing, and the advantages of modern implements over the local primitive implements. Depth of ploughing and sowing, and dates of various cultural operations, are also studied. Horticultural research is primarily confined to investigations as to tree crops and methods of cultivation best suited to different altitudes and soils.
The results obtained at the agricultural and horticultural stations are then demonstrated by officers who visit villages and settlements in order to encourage the rural population to adopt improved farming practices and better systems of rotation with a view to increasing productivity, especially of lands where yields have fallen to the lowest limit of fertility.
In cooperation with leading farmers, a large number of demonstration plots have been laid down throughout the country, which also facilitate the dissemination of improved seed, and fruit demonstration plots have been established for the demonstration of the best methods of fruit culture and the most suitable kinds of fruit trees.
At the central stock farm a comprehensive series of breeding experiments is in progress, for which a variety of animals of different breeds have been imported with a view to the improvement of the local livestock.
Two agricultural schools were established, one for Arabs in 1931 and one for Jews in 1934, under the bequest of the late Sir Ellis Kadoorie. School gardens have been established in 192 Arab villages and at 100 Jewish schools. Weekly talks to farmers on agricultural subjects are now an established feature of the Palestine Broadcasting Service, and the farmer is further reached by the Department of Agriculture through a simply-worded pamphlet issued monthly as an Agricultural Supplement to the Palestine Gazette.
The work of the various branches of the Department of Agriculture and the agricultural research and education facilities of the various unofficial organizations are co-ordinated by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries in his capacity as Chairman of the Central Agricultural Council. This Council was established in 1931 to advise Government on agricultural economics and marketing, horticulture, plant protection, agricultural chemistry, citrus fruit, irrigation, animal husbandry, agronomy, and agricultural education.
Direct Assistance to Farmers.
At agricultural stations, large quantities of improved seed particularly of barley and wheat, are raised for distribution to farmers. Twenty-five small portable grading machines have been purchased for use in the villages so as to enable injurious weed seeds to be eliminated and seed grain to be graded.
Local inferior types of vegetables are gradually being replaced by superior imported varieties, of which millions of seedlings are raised at, and issued from, agricultural stations.
Farmers are encouraged to grow new crops and vegetables and are issued with improved seed, vegetable seedlings, fruit trees, bud-wood, and pedigree poultry. They are taught how to apply organic manure and fertilisers to the best advantage; they are taught the care, management, and feeding of animals and poultry, and no opportunity is lost to impress upon them the necessity for growing more fodder crops and for making silage. The treatment of pests and diseases, and the dipping of sheep, goats and cattle, is practised and demonstrated.
Five plant nurseries are maintained to raise and distribute thousands of fruit trees yearly.
Ten poultry stations and apiaries have been established throughout the country for the issue of large numbers of hatching eggs, day-old chicks and six-weeks old pullets and cockerels at low prices. Modern hives are also issued in replacement of native hives.
Inferior male stock are castrated and pedigree sires are imported, bred, and loaned to villages for the service of female stock. Milk recording has been started. Pedigree poultry are imported, bred and distributed, and sugar is imported free of customs duty and sold at cost price to beekeepers.
A Registrar of Co-operative Societies was appointed in 1932 for the primary task of organizing co-operative societies among Arab farmers with the purpose of improving Arab methods of marketing.
Good progress has been made year by year, in the construction of roads, particularly in the citrus belt, to facilitate the transport of fruit to the ports and railway stations.
A fruit inspection service is maintained in the interests of the citrus industry for the examination of citrus fruits destined for export.
Grants are also made to the Research Institute of the Jewish Agency for citrus research, the results of which are made available to the industry as a whole.
Protective Legislation for Crops and Livestock.
Stock-owners are encouraged to report contagious or infectious diseases. Fourteen land frontier quarantine stations are maintained to prevent the introduction of animal diseases. A staff of qualified veterinary surgeons is employed to control and suppress animal diseases in the country. A veterinary laboratory has been established to diagnose diseases and prepare vaccines and sera for use in the field. Life histories of injurious insects are studied in order that the most efficacious methods of combating pests and diseases may be involved.
All imported plants are inspected to prevent the introduction of injurious pests and diseases. A Locust Destruction Ordinance was enacted in 1932 to enable prompt and efficacious measures to be adopted in the event of locust attacks. The output of good types of plants in private nurseries is controlled. The spraying and fumigation against Red and Black Scale of citrus trees is supervised, and steps are taken to induce farmers to combat the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and other pests.
Under the procedure of land settlement, an impetus is given to the partition of land held in common; with security of title, a definite stimulus is afforded to individual effort and to the improvement of private land holdings. The Protection of Cultivators Ordinance was enacted in 1933 with the purpose of giving a greater measure of protection to agricultural tenants and ensuring for them security of livelihood independent of changes of ownership.
A Department of Development was created in 1931 to initiate and supervise development measures generally and to supervise the re-settlement of landless Arabs, for which a sum of £P.250,000 was set aside. About £P.40,000 has been spent since 1933 for the improvement of water supplies in Arab villages and Jewish settlements, and a sum of £P.17,000 has been expended on boring machines for water-boring investigations.
Swampy areas have been reclaimed. At the end of 1934, the Huleh Concession was transferred from the former Concessionaires, who had carried out no drainage works to the Palestine Land Development Company which has larger funds at its disposal. The total area to be drained is 57,000 dunums, of which 16,000 dunums have been set aside for Arab cultivators in the area, and will be drained and irrigated by the Concessionaires free of charge to the cultivators. The remaining 41,000 dunums will be available for development and settlement by Jews. The question of financial participation by Government in this scheme is under consideration.
Irrigation and duty of water experiments are carried out to ascertain the most economical use of water. Underground water resources have been surveyed and a water table compiled. The irrigation system at Jericho has been reconstructed by Government and experiments have been made to conserve winter flood water in dams. Two Ordinances designed to protect and secure the better employment of surface water and wells have been drafted.
Fiscal Measures and other forms of Assistance.
The Rural Property Tax has been instituted in replacement of Tithe and Werko. This measure was designed to assist the poorer farmers, since it provides for a graduated tax on various categories of land, the category being determined by productivity. The three lowest categories are wholly exempt, and the tax bears lightly on the ground crop land of the poorest cultivators. A sum of £P.50,000 has been set aside for long-term development loans to villagers and settlers in the hill districts. An Agricultural Mortgage Company has recently been formed; its offices were opened in Jerusalem in October, 1935, and the first applications for loans were received in January, 1936. This Company was formed at the instance of Government with the object of issuing long-term loans, on the security of first mortgages, for agricultural development. The issued capital of the Company is £P.335,000, of which £P.234,500 was called up during 1936. During 1936, 74 loans aggregating £P.66,750 were issued to Arab landowners, and 132 loans aggregating £P.72,219 were issued to Jews. The comparatively small number of loans issued to Arabs is explained by the fact that the issue of such loans was postponed during the period July to November, 1936, on account of the disturbances. These loans were required, as far as could be ascertained, for various works of improvement or conservation, building packing-sheds and dwelling-houses, purchasing pumps, engines and pipes, planting, development and fencing of new citrus groves or other fruit trees, and the payment of debts incurred in such works. It has recently been decided, on the advice of the Advisory Committee, that loans for planting new citrus groves should not ordinarily be granted, but that loans for the development of already planted groves may be continued in approved cases. Owing to the uncertainty of the law with regard to mortgages on leaseholds, no loans are at present granted on this security. All applications for loans after having been examined by the General Manager are inspected and valued by the Valuer and then submitted to the Advisory Committee who advise whether the loan should be granted, the amount and the period of repayment, which in most cases is 20 years. The rate of interest is 8 per cent.
Since 1930 the Government has assisted cultivators by the remission of taxes to an extent of nearly £P,600,000 and has granted agricultural loans amounting to £P.169,000, and forage loans amounting to £P.21,000.
Fiscal measures which have been taken with the object of maintaining prices and encouraging local agriculture include the stabilization of wheat and flour at £P.9 and £P.12.500 per ton respectively and the licensing in the interests of the local grower and miller of imports of wheat and flour in order to avoid a surplus on the markets. Tomato cultivation has increased from 7,000 tons in 1931 to 17,000 tons in 1935, and with a view to encouraging the further development of this important crop the customs duty of £P.2 per ton was increased to £P.4 in 1936 so as to discourage imports. Similarly, potato cultivation has been encouraged under the stimulus of a high import duty of £P.3 per ton, which is effective during the seasons when the local crop is on the market; production, which was negligible before 1930, had increased to about 7,000 tons by 1936.
124. The news of the death of His Majesty King George V on the 20th January, 1936, was received with deep sorrow throughout Palestine. In Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv flags were flown at half-mast and on the 21st January many shops and places of entertainment were closed. On the day of the funeral, memorial services were held in Jerusalem at Talavera Barracks and St. George's Cathedral at which the High Commissioner was present. Similar services were held in the Anglican Churches in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, and Nablus and also in the churches of most of the other Christian communities in Palestine and also in most of the synagogues.
Both the Arab and the Hebrew Press published appreciations of the late King's personality and ability; and messages of sympathy were sent and visits of condolence were paid by many persons to the Administrative Officers in various parts of the country.
125. On the 16th January, Rabbi Amiel, formerly of Antwerp, who had recently been appointed Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, arrived in Palestine to take up his appointment.
126. On the 14th February the High Commissioner unveiled a signed portrait of His late Majesty King George V in the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce.
127. On the 24th February on the invitation of the High Commissioner, the Members of the Jerusalem Municipal Corporation met His Excellency at Government House. His Excellency congratulated the Mayor and Corporation on the work of the past year, and in reply the Mayor pointed out how much the Corporation was indebted to Government for valuable assistance, both financial and otherwise.
128. On the 23rd February the High Commissioner formally opened the Municipal Museum in Tel Aviv, the building for which had been presented to the town by the Mayor, the late Mr. Dizengoff.
129. On the 25th February the High Commissioner opened the Agricultural Land Experimental Station Laboratory in Rehovoth which he himself had presented to the Station, and unveiled a tablet commemorating the gift.
130. In March, the appointment of Mr. M. Haskel as the first Honorary Commissioner for the Union of South Africa in Palestine was announced.
131. On the 14th March the Austrian Consul-General inaugurated the Forest of Nazareth which was dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Dolfuss. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Palestine Government.
132. On the 30th March the opening ceremony of the Palestine Broadcasting Service took place at Ramallah, near Jerusalem, where the Transmitting Station had been established. The High Commissioner formally opened the station. All speeches were broadcast in the three official languages, as was a telegram from the Chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation in London in which he conveyed to the Palestine Broadcasting Service the good wishes of the Corporation for the success of their new enterprise. The ceremony was largely attended.
133. The Third Cruiser Squadron under the command of Admiral G. D. Lyon established its base in Haifa during the disturbances. Units of the fleet undertook the patrolling of the coast to prevent arms smuggling, and on shore the naval ratings cooperated with the land forces in many activities notably as supernumerary engine-drivers on the Palestine Railways and in charge of armoured trains patrolling the track. Reference has already been made in a previous section (Public Security) to their valuable assistance during the threatened harbour strike at Haifa during August.
134. The Levant Fair was officially opened on the 1st May by the High Commissioner, and though the attendance was adversely affected by the disorders, it attracted a reasonable number of visitors.
135. Early in May, following the general strike in Jaffa Port, permission was given by Government to land cargo on the Tel Aviv foreshore near the Levant Fair grounds. A jetty with loading apparatus was later constructed and a Customs House established by Government. It September a start was made to create a lighter basin just south of the jetty, with quays and warehouses. Work continued through the autumn and in December lighters were able to use the basin although the full scheme had yet to be completed. A considerable amount of cargo was handled in the Port, particularly after the opening of the orange season. The cost of these developments has been met by a private Jewish Company--the Marine Trust Company --whose appeal for funds met with a ready response.
136. On the 24th September Mr. Meir Dizengoff, who had celebrated his seventieth birthday in March and had been Mayor of Tel Aviv since the creation of the Municipality, died after a long illness. The body lay in state in the great Hall of the Museum which he himself had presented to the town, and many thousands of persons filed past the bier to pay their last respects. General mourning was observed throughout the Jewish community in Palestine, and his funeral, at which the High Commissioner, the Chief Secretary and the Southern District Administration were represented, was very largely attended. In October Mr. Rokach, the Deputy Mayor, was appointed by the High Commissioner to succeed Mr. Dizengoff as Mayor.
137. On the 27th October, the High Commissioner inaugurated the new hospital of the Jewish Federation of Labour Sick Fund at Petah Tikvah.
138. The progress of the inquiry by the Royal Commission, which began on the 16th November and was still incomplete at the end of the year, is described in a previous section of this Report (Policy).
139. On the 1st December the elections to the Chief Rabbinate of Palestine--a body consisting of a Rabbinical Council of six members and of two Chief Rabbis--took place. Three Sephardi Rabbis and three Askenazi Rabbis were elected to the Rabbinical Council; the Chief Rabbi Ya`akov Meir was re-elected Sephardic Chief Rabbi; and Rabbi Dr. Herzog, who was then Chief Rabbi of the Irish Free State, was elected to the post of Chief Rabbi of Palestine. The ceremony which took place in Jerusalem, was attended by the officers of the District Administration, and a message of greeting from the District Commissioner on behalf of the Government was read.
140. On account of the disorders the tourist trade practically ceased, but there were signs of a slight revival at the end of the year.
I.--JEWISH NATIONAL HOME.
1. The affairs of the Jewish community during 1936 were almost entirely dominated by the disturbances which broke out in April and the results of which are described elsewhere in this Report.
2. The economic situation of the Jewish community showed a slight improvement at the beginning of the year and hopes were entertained that with the conclusion of the Italo-Abyssinian conflict and the consequent relaxation of tension in Europe there would be a gradual return to the prosperous conditions that had prevailed in Palestine until the summer of 1935. These hopes however were not realized. The political unrest in the country, culminating in April in serious disturbances and in the Arab general strike, retarded the initiation of new enterprises and the development of existing activities, and there was a general contraction of investment in building, industry, and agriculture. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties caused by the prolonged disorders, the efforts made by the Jewish community to maintain its existing activities were in a large measure successful and, save in mixed Arab and Jewish quarters in the towns, commercial life remained almost normal amongst the Jewish community.
3. To assist in the protection of Jewish settlements, Government authorized the enrolment of a large force of Jewish supernumerary police and special constables, in the recruitment of whom the Jewish Agency co-operated. Government contributed towards the cost of maintaining this force at first in the proportion of about one-third, which was later increased to one-half; the balance was borne by the Jewish settlements and quarters concerned. Government provided the arms and equipment.
4. Jewish transport companies maintained passenger and goods traffic on the roads throughout the disorders. Special measures were taken by the police and military authorities to protect these transport services.
5. During 1936, 29,727 Jews were registered as immigrants of whom 6,981 were working men and women, 5,780 (including dependants) were of the capitalist category (persons with £P.1,000 and upwards), and 9,495 were dependants of residents in Palestine.
The Jewish population at the end of 1936 was estimated to be approximately 384,000, equivalent to about 29 per cent. of the total settled population of the country.
6. During the year, 18,146 dunums of land were purchased by Jews from non-Jews at a total cost of £P.158,826, as compared with 72,903 dunums at a total cost of £P.1,699,121 in 1935. There was vigorous Arab agitation against the sale of land to Jews, and Arabs accused of facilitating the transfer of Arab lands to Jewish ownership were denounced in the Press, at meetings, and in the mosques.
7. Government granted a long-term lease of 460 dunums of State Domain south of Jaffa for the purpose of a workmen's housing scheme on a co-operative basis sponsored by the General Federation of Jewish Labour. Government has also under consideration the grant of a lease of an area of State Domain north of Tel-Aviv and of the River Auja for a privately financed workmen's housing scheme, which is being planned in conjunction with the Municipality of Tel-Aviv, and for the erection on a portion of the land of a proposed new power station by the Palestine Electric Corporation, Ltd. The housing schemes should eventually assist considerably in relieving the housing shortage in Tel-Aviv and in bringing about a reduction in rents.
Government has approved the grant of a long-term lease of a part of the State Domain north of the village of Mughar in the Southern District (amounting to about 800 dunums) to the Jewish Farmers Federation for the establishment of a farm labourers' settlement in which it is proposed to accommodate about 100 families.
8. The following grants-in-aid by the Palestine Government towards the expenditure of the Jewish community upon various services of a public character have been approved for issue during the financial year 1936-7:
Grant-in-aid to the schools of the General
Council (Vaad Leumi) (recurrent services)........................
Capital grant in respect of capital expenditure
on new schools (non-recurrent services) .........................
Capital grant towards the construction of a
trade school by the Mizrahi organization ........................
Tuberculosis hospital, Safad
Infant welfare work
Tel-Aviv hospital (recurrent service)
Grant to Hebrew University for anti-malarial research.............
Agriculture and Forests
Grant for citrus research by the experimental
station of the Jewish Agency ....................................
Grant to Jewish Agency experiments on fruit
growing at Hillside Station, Kiryat Anavim ......................
Grant to Jewish Agency for intensive farming experiments .........
Grant to Jewish Agency for research ..............................
Grant to Hebrew University for field mice investigations .........
Grant to Hebrew University for spirochaetosis research ...........
9. The Levant Fair, 1936 (the seventh of the series of Fairs held at Tel-Aviv), was officially opened by the High Commissioner on the 30th April as originally planned, notwithstanding difficulties caused by the Arab strike in the clearance from the Jaffa docks of materials for the exhibits. On the occasion of the opening ceremony a message to the Fair was broadcast from London by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the course of which he said:--
"It gives me very real pleasure to participate in the opening ceremony of the International Levant Fair which is once more, after an interval of two years, opening its doors at Tel-Aviv to the markets of the Near and Middle East.
The growth of your remarkable city has been startlingly rapid and that of the Levant Fair itself hardly less so. It began in 1925 as a small exhibition of local produce. Within the short space of nine years, thanks to the hard work, enthusiasm, and the constructive imagination of those responsible for its inception, it has developed into an institution which any great city of the world might properly be proud of . . ."
There were six additions to the national permanent pavilions in the Fair established by the Governments of the Lebanese Republic, Norway, Roumania, Switzerland, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. Sixteen countries had official displays at the Fair, 11 of which now possess permanent pavilions. Austria, Holland, Norway, and Turkey were represented at the Fair for the first time. The Palestine Government exhibit, representative of various fields of Government activity, was enlarged in scope and attracted much public interest. A notable feature of the Fair was the Agricultural Exhibition which was held as a separate unit in the Fair and at which a comprehensive display of agricultural produce was shown by the Government Department of Agriculture.
The attendance at the Fair (which totalled 320,000) was seriously affected by the disturbances, and there were fewer visitors from abroad than at previous Fairs.
10. Owing to the closure of Jaffa roadstead through the strike of lightermen and port workers, permission was granted by the Palestine Government in May for the construction by the Harbour and Communications Council which was formed by representative commercial interests in Tel-Aviv, of a jetty at Tel-Aviv for the off-loading of various categories of goods by lighters and for the establishment of bonded warehouses at the Levant Fair grounds. The Council raised £P.70,000 by voluntary subscriptions for this purpose. Subsequently the work was taken over by a Company known as the Palestine Marine Trust Limited, which was formed to provide facilities at Tel-Aviv for importing and exporting goods. The Company has since invited subscriptions to shares for an additional sum of £P.100,000, to which there has been a ready response by the Jewish public. A lighter port is now under construction which will provide a shelter for lighters during rough weather and will facilitate the on and off loading of goods.
A Customs house was also opened at Tel-Aviv railway station during the year to deal with imports by rail from Egypt and Syria.
11. Additional facilities were provided for the transaction of business by the population of Tel-Aviv with Government Departments within the boundaries of the city. Offices were opened by the District Administration, the Department of Migration, and the Police for the issue of licences under the Road Transport Ordinance; and a District Court now sits in Tel-Aviv as a division of the Jaffa District Court.
A branch sub-district office was also established at Nathanya in the Tulkarm sub-district under a Jewish District Officer to serve the needs of Jewish settlements in that neighbourhood.
12. The budget of the General Council (Vaad Leumi) of the Jewish Community of Palestine for the year ended the 30th September, 1936, provided for an estimated revenue of £P.146,185 and an estimated expenditure of £P.145,792, the principal heads of expenditure being Education £P.122,002. Health £P.10,833, Social Service £P.6,975 and Administration £P.5,738. An Order of the Elected Assembly prescribing the rate of fees to be levied by local committees on their members and the methods of assessment was approved by the High Commissioner.
13. The term of office of the Elected Assembly expired in 1934 without its having proved possible to hold fresh elections owing to technical difficulties which the General Council (Vaad Leumi) had experienced in completing the annual register of adult Jews of the community. To regularize the position of the Elected Assembly and of the General Council (Vaad Leumi), a validating Ordinance was enacted in October which provides that these bodies shall continue in office until such time as they are dissolved by Order of the High Commissioner. It is intended to hold new elections to the Elected Assembly early in 1937.
To assist the General Council in overcoming the difficulties experienced in compiling annually the register of adult Jews under the Jewish Community Rules, 1927, the Rules have been amended at the Assembly's request so as to provide
) the periodicity of elections to the Elected Assembly shall be four years instead of three years;
) the publication of the register of adult Jews shall be at four-yearly intervals instead of annually;
) the term of office of Committees of local communities shall be extended from one to four years.
The amendments do not affect the rights and position of those Jews who have opted out, or who desire to opt out, of the official Jewish Community.
14. The elections to the Rabbinical Council of the Jewish Community were held in December under the Regulations made under the Jewish Community Rules, 1927. Interest was chiefly centred on the choice of an Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi to succeed the late Chief Rabbi Kook. Rabbi I. H. Herzog, Chief Rabbi of the Irish Free State, was elected to the post. The veteran Sephardic Chief Rabbi Jacob Meir, who has occupied that position since 1921, was re-elected unanimously. The newly-elected Rabbinical Council consists of eight Rabbis including the two Chief Rabbis, equally distributed amongst the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish communities. Chief Rabbi Herzog was enthusiastically received by the Jewish community on his arrival in Palestine to take up his duties.
15. As a result of the disorders, the Jewish community was faced with the problem of assisting refugees who had evacuated their homes in the mixed quarters of Jaffa, Hebron, and Beisan.
The Tel-Aviv Municipal Corporation organized a Relief Committee for the purpose of assisting refugees from Jaffa from funds provided by the Municipal Corporation and private subscriptions. At the beginning of the disturbances, approximately 9,800 of these refugees who were unable to return to their homes were quartered in synagogues, private houses, and camps in Tel-Aviv. To these funds Government contributed to the extent of half the initial cost of the issue of blankets, etc., and half the cost of maintenance, at 20 mils a day per person, actually defrayed by the Committee. The number of refugees thus provided for decreased gradually to about 4,500 in the middle of June. Government reduced its grant in successive stages, schemes being worked out meanwhile by the General Council (Vaad Leumi) for the rehabilitation of refugees in Tel-Aviv and the neighbouring colonies. Government participated in the schemes by the grant of half the actual cost of rehabilitation of refugees accommodated in refugee camps, and half the actual cost of maintenance of certain of those refugees pending rehabilitation.
The Government grants on account of Jewish refugees in Tel-Aviv amounted to:--
Initial contribution for blankets ..................
Maintenance grants .................................
Rehabilitation grants ..............................
Funds for isolation and treatment of infectious
Government also gave assistance in the form of maintenance grants for the Jewish refugees whom it had been found necessary to evacuate from Hebron and Beisan to Jerusalem and Tiberias respectively.
The total expenditure on these relief measures for Jewish refugees was:--
Jewish refugees in Tel-Aviv from Jaffa and
Jewish refugees in Jerusalem from Hebron .....
Jewish refugees to Tiberias from Beisan ......
16. Further developments have taken place in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The academic and research staff now comprises 110 members and the number of students is over 600.
In the Faculty of Humanities, new major study subjects have been established in Archaeology, Jewish History, Arabic Language and Literature and Semitics. The esta- blishment of a Chair of English Literature and Institutions has been undertaken by a Committee in England with the intention of commemorating the name of Sir Moses Montefiore.
In the Faculty of Sciences, a laboratory of meteorology and climatology has been established, the equipment of the institute of physics has been developed to allow of systematic research in certain fields of experimental physics, and the study of chemistry for beginners has been arranged. Important steps have been taken towards the establishment of the post-graduate medical school of the University. Construction has begun of the building to contain the medical laboratories of the University, which with the projected buildings of the University Hospital and the nurses' school of the Hadassah Medical Organization will form a University Medical Centre. A University club-house has been erected, providing a refectory for students and a large hall for public gatherings, and the buildings of the laboratory of bio-climatology and of additional chemical laboratories have been completed.
17. A considerable number of local industries which are entirely or largely in the hands of Jewish manufacturers were assisted by the grant of exemption from import duty on raw materials and by the increase of import duties for protective purposes on manufactured articles.
These included protective duties on cast-iron manufactures including enamelled cast-iron baths, manholes, manhole covers, gratings, grating frames, gully grids, and hydrant boxes; iron buckets and pails; chain springs and hooks used in making bedsteads and upholstery; crown corks; rice meal, clean rice, broken rice and rice flour; flushing cisterns; iron nails; envelopes; paper napkins; wire netting; electric light fittings; various articles of furniture of wood, iron, and steel; perfumery; primus stoves and burners; sauerkraut; and various silk and artificial silk goods and items of wearing apparel.
The raw materials exempted from import duty included lead ingots, zinc ingots, crude vegetable turpentine, paraffin wax, raffia, hot rolled mild steel wire and strip imported in coils, and nickel rivets and silver solder discs used in the manufacture of artificial teeth.
In paragraph 6 of the corresponding Chapter of the Annual Report for 1935 (page 34) it was stated in error that Government had granted exemption from import duty on handwritten talismans (Mezuzot), phylacteries and Scrolls of the Law used for Jewish ritual or liturgical purposes. In fact Government has imposed a protective tariff of 20 per cent.
on these articles at the request of the Jewish Authorities to protect the local Jewish industry.
1. The proposals for the establishment of a Legislative Council, referred to on page 13, paragraph 23 of the Annual Report for 1935, are dealt with in paragraphs 45 to 48 of the introductory chapter of this Report.
2. The activities of all Municipal and Local Councils, with the exception of Tel-Aviv, which is a wholly Jewish Municipality, were hampered by the strike declared by many municipal corporations in sympathy with the general strike which prevailed during the period of disturbances from the 19th April until the 12th October, 1936. During this strike, essential municipal services were maintained in most municipal areas without the direct intervention of Government, but it was found necessary to make use of the powers vested in the High Commissioner by the Municipal Corporations Ordinance, 1934, to appoint municipal commissions at Haifa and Hebron in order to ensure the performance of essential municipal services. With the exception of Tel-Aviv, those municipalities, which did not take part in the strike, did not display any noticeable activity and, during the six months of disturbances, no municipal rates or taxes were collected.
3. After the cessation of the strike, the Municipal Councils resumed their normal activities and displayed considerable energy in the way of collecting the arrears of rates which had accrued during the disturbances and in repairing the damage which was caused by six months' stagnation.
4. The following Municipal By-laws were issued by the different Municipal Corpora- tions during the year:--
General By-laws (Safad) Licensing of Bicycles and Tricycles
Licensing of Bicycles and Tri- (Gaza)
cycles (Beersheba) Licensing of Bicycles and Tricycles
Licensing of Bicycles and Tri- (Haifa)
cycles (Beisan) Regulation of Stationary Vehicles
Prevention of Noises (Jaffa) (Gaza)
Town Planning (Jerusalem) Market (Jerusalem)
Town Planning (Haifa) Preservation of Streets (Jerusalem)
Town Planning (Tiberias) General By-laws (Shefa Amr)
General By-laws (Haifa) Regulation of Stationary Vehicles
Slaughter House (Jerusalem) (Tel-Aviv)
Prevention of Noises (Haifa) Road Transport (Tel-Aviv)
Rateable Value of Buildings General By-laws (Beisan)
(Tel-Aviv) Town Planning (Jaffa)
Water Supply (Beersheba) Street Trades (Beersheba)
Licensing of Bicycles and Tri-
The following by-laws were issued by Local Councils:--
Closing of Shops (Ramat Gan) Closing of Shops (Rishon-le-Zion)
General By-laws (Ramat Gan)
5. Mr. I. Rokach has been appointed Mayor of Tel-Aviv in succession to the late Mayor, Mr. M. Dizengoff. Mr. Rokach was for many years the Deputy Mayor of Tel-Aviv.
6. The Mayor of Hebron died in August and the election and appointment of a new Mayor is at present under consideration.
7. The following new Local Councils were established during the year 1936:--
Elections for the constitution of these Local Councils are now taking place.
8. The Local Councils Ordinance, 1921, has been amended so as to enable the setting up of Local Councils in urban and rural areas and gives power to such councils, when formed, to levy rates, including educational rates, upon owners or occupiers of properties.
9. The Petah Tiqva Local Council is being now raised to the rank of Municipal Corporation.
10. Except during the period of the disturbances, the administration of the mixed Municipalities was generally satisfactory and they have on the whole displayed a fair sense of financial responsibility. A marked improvement has been observed in the working of Municipalities since the enactment of the Municipal Corporations Ordinance, 1934.
11. A Municipal Auditor who has been able to give material assistance in advising the Municipal Councils as to the proper organization of their accounts was appointed.
The representations of the Jewish Agency in regard to Government proposals for legislation concerned chiefly the Safeguarding of Public Water Supplies Bill, 1936, the Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 1936, the proposed establishment of a Legislative Council, and the proposed restrictions on land to prevent the sale of subsistence areas owned by smallholders.
The Agency urged that provision should be made in the Safeguarding of Public Water Supplies Bill 1936 for reasonable notice to be given of the High Commissioner's intention to declare any area to be a public water supply area, specifying the locality and purpose for which the water is to be used, so as to enable landowners and others to submit their views; that the proposed legislation should be made to apply equally to water supplies under the control of private companies which had been approved as public utility companies; and that machinery should be provided for assessing compensation for landowners and other water users in the area.
The Agency's representations, together with other observations on the Bill, have been referred by the Government for consideration in the first place by the Irrigation Sub-committee of the General Agricultural Council, on which the Jewish Agency is represented.
The Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 1936, was chiefly criticized by the Jewish Agency on the grounds that it is inequitable that in any prosecution for illicit entry and settlement, the onus should be on the accused person to show that he is lawfully in Palestine, even though a
case had not been made out to show that an offence had been committed; and that this might impose an intolerable burden on citizens and new immigrants alike. After careful consideration, Government reached the conclusion that the provision is justified in the special circumstances of illicit immigration into Palestine, in order that attempts at evasion of the immigration law may be more effectively dealt with. Promulgation of the Bill has however been deferred pending the recommendations of the Royal Commission in regard to the manner in which immigration into Palestine shall be regulated in the future.
The Jewish Agency reiterated their opposition to the proposals for the establishment of a Legislative Council and submitted questions regarding certain details of the proposed measure.
In regard to the proposal to enact legislation to prevent the sale of land by landowners below a minimum area sufficient as a means of subsistence to the landowner and his family, the Jewish Agency made representations to the effect that the proposed measure was not warranted by the facts of the situation; that it was contrary to the Mandate and to the terms of the Prime Minister's letter to Dr. Weizmann of February, 1931; and that, so far from improving the position of smallholders, the measure would, if enacted, tend to restrict credit facilities and thus prevent the introduction of more intensive forms of cultivation and the improvement of agricultural methods.
Further action in both these matters was suspended owing to the disturbances and to the subsequent investigation by the Royal Commission whose report is awaited.
2. After consideration of applications by the Jewish Agency, the following labour immigration schedules were authorized by the High Commissioner:--
) 4,500 certificates for the period April-September, 1936, the Jewish Agency having applied for 11,200 certificates;
) 1,800 certificates for the period October, 1936--March, 1937, the Jewish Agency having applied for 10,695 certificates.
3. The General Council (Vaad Leumi) of the Jewish community made representations to Government on the subject of the computation of the grant-in-aid to Jewish schools, urging a return to the earlier formula based on the proportion of the Jewish to the total population of the country instead of the proportion of Jewish children of school-age to the total number of children of that age.
Government did not, however, see fit to accede to these representations, for the reasons that the total population formula had been abandoned by agreement with the Jewish Agency as not representing a fair division of expenditure on education between the two communities and that the school-age population formula represented a just and equitable division.
The General Council also made representations to Government in regard to assistance in obtaining a loan for the erection of school buildings.
4. Government was unable to accept the demand of the General Council (Vaad Leumi) for an increase of the Government contributions to Jewish Health Services, for the reason that these demands were not in accordance with the formula agreed upon in 1932 with representatives of the Jewish Agency as to the basis of the respective grants, and they would have resulted in the reduction of the provision for other services which in the opinion of Government must have priority.
5. The Jewish Agency submitted applications for the exemption of certain raw materials from import duty and for the imposition of protective tariffs on competing imports (see Chapter I, paragraph 17); and also made representations for certain modifications in the Syria-Palestine Customs Agreement, which are under consideration by a special sub-committee set up by Government for the purpose.
6. Representations were also made by the Jewish Agency in regard to the increasing of the employment of Jews in public works and in the railway and port services.
The share of Jewish labour in public works during the year amounted to 30 per cent. of the total wage bill of the Public Works Department.
Amongst other works Government entrusted to Jewish labour the construction of a section of the Jaffa-Haifa road, the by-pass road from the Affulah-Nazareth road to the Nazareth-Haifa road via Ginegar and Nahalal, and the Affulah-Shatta section of the Affulah-Beisan road, which were undertaken as an emergency measure for public security purposes and on which about 1,000 Jewish workmen found employment.
In December, arrangements were made to allot a section of Government porterage work in Haifa port to Jewish labour at contractors' rates. About 100 Jewish porters are thus employed. In addition about 50 per cent. of the port labour privately employed in Haifa port is Jewish.
The proportion of Jewish employees on the railways rose from 6 per cent. in 1935 to 8.4 per cent. in 1936.
7. The Jewish Agency submitted representations during the disturbances in regard to questions affecting the protection of Jewish life and property. The Agency continued to co-operate with the authorities concerned in all matters relating to the defence and security of Jewish settlements, and in the latter stages of the disturbances, when additional troops were brought into the country, the Agency assisted in securing accommodation for the forces in Jewish settlements and quarters. Jewish lorry drivers and guards were placed at the disposal of the military authorities.
Government authorized the enrolment by instalments of a large force of Jewish supernumerary police and special constables for the protection of the Jewish settlements, in the recruitment of which the Jewish Agency co-operated.
IV.--IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION.
1. The numbers of persons in the several classes recorded as having entered or left Palestine during 1936 and distributed by "racial" or "national" declarations are as follows:--
(a) Residents returning after a
period exceeding one year ....
(b) Residents returning after a
period not exceeding one year.
(c) Immigrants ...................
(d) Exempted persons .............
(e) Temporary visitors ...........
(f) Transit travellers ...........
(a) Residents departing for a
period exceeding one year ....
(b) Residents departing for a
period not exceeding one year.
(c) Temporary visitors ...........
(d) Transit travellers ...........
Net increase of population due
to recorded migration ..........
2. The numbers of persons recorded as having entered Palestine during 1936 and arriving by the several means of transport are as follows:--
Total arrivals ...............................
Temporary visitors ...........................
Residents returning after a period exceeding
one year ...................................
Residents returning after a period not ex-
ceeding one year ...........................
Transit travellers ...........................
This information was requested by the Permanent Mandates Commission when examining the 1935 Report (page 142 of the Minutes).
The numbers of persons recorded as having departed from Palestine during 1936 and leaving by the several means of transport are as follows:--
Total departures .............................
Temporary visitors ...........................
Residents departing for a period exceeding
one year ...................................
Residents departing for a period not ex-
ceeding one year ...........................
Transit travellers ...........................
3. Of the persons who entered Palestine in 1936 as travellers, 2,284 were registered as immigrants. Of these, 1,817 were Jews and 467 were non-Jews.
Including exempted persons, the total number of immigrants during the year was thus 31,671, of whom 29,727 were Jews and 1,944 were non-Jews.
4. The recorded volume of Jewish immigration and emigration in 1936 and previous years is as follows:--
1920-1924 ... ... ... ...
1925-1929 ... ... ... ...
1930-1934 ... ... ... ...
1935 ... ... ... ...
1936 ... ... ... ...
Total ... ...
The records begin in September, 1920.
** No figures are available for Jewish emigration in 1920, 1921, 1932, 1933 and 1934, and the census taken in 1931 revealed that the actual number of Jewish emigrants was larger than that revealed in the migration records.
Births, Deaths and Infant Mortality, 1936.
Estimated population on
30th June, 1936 ...
Deaths ... ... ...
Death-rate per 1,000 of
population ... ...
Births ... ... ...
Birth-rate per 1,000 of
population ... ...
one year ... ...
per 1,000 births ...
Natural Increase per
1,000 of population .
*Not including nomadic Bedouin population numbering 66,553 at the date of the Census, November, 1931, and His Majesty's Forces.