Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
League of Nations
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
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
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 it is bounded by Egyptian and Saudi Arabian territory, 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 described as follows:--
--From a point west of Rafa on the Mediterranean to a point two miles west of Aqaba in the Gulf of Aqaba.
--From a point two miles west of Aqaba in the Gulf of Aqaba up the centre of the Wadi Araba, the Dead Sea, and the River Jordan, to the junction of the latter with the River Yarmuk, thence up 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 eastwards to Metulla and across the upper Jordan valley to Banias, thence to Jisr Banat Yaqub, thence along the Jordan to the Lake of Tiberias on to El Hamme station on the Samakh-Deraa railway line.
--The Mediterranean Sea.
The Permanent Mandates Commission has asked what action has been taken on the declarations by the representatives of France and the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Council of the League of Nations held on 30th June, 1932, regarding the western section of the frontier between Syria and Palestine.
A letter from His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom was addressed to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations on the 15th February, 1934, simultaneously with a similar letter from the French Government, communicating for the approval of the Council of the League a copy of the agreement concluded on the 7th March,
, between the French Government and His Majesty's Government.
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 to 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
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 at 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 people are predominantly Arab, though there is a large Jewish element; Tel Aviv is an entirely Jewish township of 120,000 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, 1934.
8. Mr. M. A. Young, C.M.G., vacated the office of Chief Secretary to Government on appointment as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Barbados. In his place Mr. J. Hathorn Hall, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C., a Principal in the Colonial Office, assumed the duties of Chief Secretary in August.
Mr. M. T. Dawe, O.B.E., Director of Agriculture, Cyprus, was appointed to be Director of Agriculture and Forests in Palestine, succeeding Mr. E. R. Sawer, O.B.E.
Mr. C. E. de Biden, Deputy Auditor, Gold Coast, took up the office of Colonial Auditor in May.
Air Commodore W. R. Freeman, C.B., D.S.O., M.C., was transferred from the command of the Royal Air Force in Palestine and Trans-Jordan, in September, and has been succeeded by Air Commodore R. E. C. Peirse, D.S.O., A.F.C.
Lieutenant-Colonel C. A. Shute, C.M.G., C.B.E., Indian Army, completed his period of command of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force, and was succeeded by Major (local Lieutenant-Colonel) C. H. Miller, 13/18th Hussars.
Mr. L. Andrews, O.B.E., Assistant District Commissioner, has been appointed Development Officer with charge of the Department of Development.
Mr. C. G. Eastwood, Private Secretary to the High Commissioner, returned to duty at the Colonial Office in December, and has been replaced by Mr. M. Foster.
Lieutenant R. Stockley, Northumberland Fusiliers, was succeeded by Lieutenant D. Lennox-Boyd, Scots Guards, as Aide-de-Camp to the High Commissioner.
9. Arab discontent on account of Jewish immigration and the sale of lands to Jews, which has been a permanent feature of political opinion in Palestine for the past ten years, began to show signs of renewed activity from the beginning of
, developing in intensity until it reached a climax in the riots of October and November. Actually in the first eight months of
, 16,000 Jewish immigrants entered with permission, compared with 10,000 in twelve months of 1932 and 4,070 in 1931. This increase found its origin mainly in the favourable economic conditions of the country, due to a large extent to influx of Jewish capital and to consequent creation of new openings for employment.
A campaign against Jewish immigration began in the Arab Press about the end of August, and rapidly developed in intensity. The general purport was that the Government was flooding the country with Jews regardless of its absorptive capacity with the object of displacing the Arabs from the land and depriving them of their employment. It was also alleged that a mass immigration of Jews was being allowed and encouraged by Government so that when the Legislative Council was introduced the Jews would be in a majority.
At the beginning of September, the President of the Arab Executive Committee delivered a speech on the subject at the Moslem festival of Nebi Rubin and telegraphed to the High Commissioner demanding the immediate stoppage of immigration. After the festival, the agitation was fostered by means of the Press and public meetings, organized by the Independence Party, by the Moslem Young Men's Association, and by the Moslem Christian Association. Arab spokesmen found material to hand in Press reports of arrivals of Jewish immigrants at the ports: the Jewish Press displayed no reticence in the publication of this kind of news, and at the Zionist Congress at Prague immigration was discussed in such terms as to inspire alarm in the minds of the Arab population.
The hostile feeling against Jewish immigration was intensified by knowledge of the recent settlement in Palestine of a large number of Jews, estimated at some 10,000, without permission. The Arabs argued that these circumstances revealed the inability of Government to control immigration, and consequently exaggerated the number of those arriving; and they further contended that, even if they accepted selected immigration under Government authorization, which they should not, the entry of 10,000 unselected and unsuitable, or perhaps undesirable, persons was altogether more than could be borne.
Wherever opportunity offered, the Government made it clear that there had been and would be no change in the policy by which immigration into Palestine is regulated in accordance with the economic capacity of the country to absorb new arrivals.
The Arab Executive, however, bitterly attacked during the campaign in the Arab Press for apathy and inertia, adopted a resolution to declare a general strike on Friday, the 13th October, and on the same day to demonstrate in procession in Jerusalem from the Haram esh Sharif to Government Offices against Government's policy in the matter of immigration. Government made it clear to the responsible leaders personally and to the public by proclamations and through the Press that no procession, which would be likely to endanger the peace, would be allowed. In defiance of Government's prohibition a procession was held on the appointed day and the Police were obliged to disperse an unruly crowd by baton charge. Towards the end of October and in November, a train of similar causes led to serious rioting in various towns of Palestine, and it was necessary for the Police to use their firearms to restore order. Troops, however, were not required to intervene. A detailed account of the disturbances and the events immediately preceding them and of the precise nature and sequence of those events is given in the Report of the Special Commission of Enquiry which was appointed for the purpose and which sat in Palestine during December under the Chairmanship of Sir William Murison, K.C., formerly Chief Justice in the Straits Settlements. Printed copies of the Report have been sent to the members of the Permanent Mandates Commission.
A strike of Arab shopkeepers was almost generally observed throughout Palestine between the 27th October and the 3rd November, while the state of disorder and tension lasted. In view of the false or exciting reports which were published after the outbreak at Jaffa on the 27th October, a censorship of the Press was imposed under the Defence Order-in-Council, 1931, which had been proclaimed some days earlier as a precaution in case of an unfavourable development of the situation. The censorship was maintained for five days. The Arab Press went on strike as a protest against the imposition of this censorship and for six days no Arabic newspapers appeared. The Palestine Government for that period distributed an official bulletin containing a report of the events of the day and other items of general interest concerning governmental activities.
In Jerusalem, on the 13th October, the collision of Arab demonstrators with the Police resulted in five constables and eleven civilians being slightly injured. The total casualties in the subsequent rioting in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nablus were one constable and twenty-four civilians killed or died of wounds, twenty-eight constables and two hundred and four civilians wounded.
10. There was some echo of these troubles in Trans-Jordan and minor demonstrations of sympathy took place; but thanks to the helpful influence of His Highness the Amir, the Trans-Jordan Government by their firm attitude prevented any repercussions which might have proved embarrassing to the Palestine Government.
11. While Palestinian Arabs were impelled to demonstrate against the policy of the Palestine Government in regard to Jewish immigration, as being unduly generous and inconsiderate of Arab interests, dissatisfaction with that policy by Jews on the ground of its niggardliness and severity to themselves was equally expressed, at least on one occasion, in the form of an illegal procession. This happened at Tel Aviv on Saturday, the 11th December, following a protest meeting arranged by the Revisionist Organization; in the resulting clash with the Police, who were compelled to make baton charges against a shower of stones, eleven police officers and eight civilians were injured.
12. The Permanent Mandates Commission enquired as to the reason for the scheduling of 206 villages in the Northern District to the Collective Punishments Ordinance.
The explanation is that these villages comprise the Tulkarm Sub-District in which, as previous Reports have indicated, the crime of tree-cutting is prevalent.
The District Commissioner was satisfied that nothing short of scheduling all the villages in the Sub-District would provide the means to deal promptly and effectively with this form of destruction of property.
The scheduling of a village to the Ordinance makes it possible for fines to be imposed upon it, if it offends, after due enquiry and after confirmation of sentence by the High Commissioner.
The results of the special action taken in the Sub-District are already visible in a sensible diminution of the incidence of agrarian crime.
On the whole, agrarian crime was less prevalent than in 1932; indeed the reduction is in the neighbourhood of 50 per cent.
Disputes over pasturage, squatting or boundary rights between Jews and Arabs were also less frequent. In case of necessity possessory orders were made by the District Commissioners under the Land Disputes (Possession) Ordinance (see 1932 Report, page 4, paragraph 11) so as to remove the source of friction pending judgment of the Courts.
13. Abu Jilda, an outlaw of the Nablus sub-district, earned an unenviable notoriety during the year by the murder of two policemen and several acts of brigandage. In August, special police measures were taken against him with the result that, although he himself managed to escape, his activities were checked.
14. One crime calls for special mention, the murder of Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, political member of the Palestine Executive of the Jewish Agency, at Tel Aviv, on the 16th June. Two young Jews were arrested on suspicion in this case and were under examination by a British magistrate at the close of the year. The loss of Dr. Arlosoroff was very deeply felt not only by the Jews for whom he had laboured with such devotion and success, but also by the High Commissioner and the officers of the Administration with whom he had established mutually helpful relations of trust and esteem as the spokesman of the Jewish Agency.
15. The improvement in the Intelligence Service of the Department of Police and Prisons noted in the 1932 Report (see page 4, paragraph 13) has been maintained, and the Branch is thus increasingly helpful to the Police in the prevention and detection of crime. As for the Police themselves, their behaviour in most trying circumstances during the rioting in Jerusalem, Jaffa and elsewhere was admirable in its patience and restraint as well as resoluteness.
16. In accordance with his statement at Geneva in November, 1932, the stages leading up to self-government in Palestine were once more declared by the High Commissioner, in interviews with members of the Arab Executive and with Arab Mayors in October and November, to be: first the introduction of unofficial members to administrative committees, next the holding of elections for municipal councils under the Municipal Corporations Ordinance, and then the establishment of a Legislative Council. The first stage was in being; the second had not yet been reached because opposition on the part of those consulted in regard to certain clauses of the Municipal Corporations Bill had involved delay but it would be reached in the near future. The Secretary of State took the opportunity of his radio-telephonic speech from London at the opening of the Haifa Harbour to restate the policy of the Mandatory. The following is a passage from his speech:
"Thirteen years ago Great Britain accepted the Mandate of Palestine. The Mandate carries with it a clear duty to Arabs and to Jews. That duty will be discharged fully and fairly without fear or favour. There is under the Mandate the obligation to facilitate the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine, but at the same time there is an equally definite obligation to safeguard the rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine. Both obligations will be most carefully observed. It will be a constant aim of British policy to foster and help on the well-being of all Palestinians."
17. The Municipal Corporations (formerly entitled the Local Government) Bill is to be enacted in January, 1934; and copies of it have been supplied to the members of the Permanent Mandates Commission.
18. Specific references are contained elsewhere in this Report to the questions of policy affecting Jewish immigration into Palestine and the claim of Jewish labour to a share of employment on works which fall to be financed out of public funds. So far as concerns immigration, the Palestine Government is anxious to establish a closer relation between the number of new arrivals and the true economic absorptive capacity of the country on the long view; and to put a stop to illegal settlement which vitiates all attempts to determine that capacity with precision.
19. In 1930, the Parliament of the United Kingdom was informed of the intention of His Majesty's Government to guarantee a loan for land development in Palestine, and to provide as a grant-in-aid the interest on that loan for a period of years. In consultation with the High Commissioner, His Majesty's Government have reviewed the position in the light of financial conditions both in the United Kingdom and in Palestine, and have decided that in present financial circumstances it is impossible for the British Government to make a contribution to land development in Palestine such as was envisaged in 1930. The financial position in Palestine is, however, sufficiently satisfactory to enable it to finance its own requirements, and the Government of Palestine has recently initiated an extensive programme of public works and other measures which have the full approval of His Majesty's Government, and which they are satisfied are of substantial value, will produce considerable revenue, and are necessary in the general interest of the country.
It is proposed that these works and the resettlement of displaced Arabs shall be to a large extent financed by means of a loan of £P.2,000,000. It is proposed that as in the case of the £4 1/2 million loan which was raised by Palestine in 1927 this loan should receive the formal guarantee of His Majesty's Government, and legislation will in due course be introduced for this purpose.
20. The provisional loan programme, which is designed to meet the essential economic interests of the country and to benefit all sections of the population, includes new water supply and drainage schemes for Jerusalem and Haifa, and a water supply for Hebron; a survey of underground water resources and provision for the improvement of village water supplies; a new post office and telephone exchange for Jerusalem; provision for the capital cost of school buildings and for the construction of an oil export dock in Haifa Harbour. Provision will also be included for the participation of the Government of Palestine in a scheme for increasing facilities for long-term agricultural credit, Arab and Jewish, with a special appropriation for loans to Arab cultivators in hill districts. The cost of urgently needed improvements at the port of Jaffa will in part at least be defrayed out of the balance of Palestine's existing loan of £4 1/2 million.
21. The Reports drawn up by Mr. Lewis French, C.I.E., C.B.E., formerly Director of Development, in December, 1931, were published by His Majesty's Government in June of this year; and the Permanent Mandates Commission is in possession of copies. His Majesty's Government approved the recommendations of the High Commissioner thereon made after review of the comments of the Arab Executive and the Jewish Agency to whom the reports were communicated. A full statement was made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the House of Commons on the 14th July,
; this statement is reprinted as Appendix V.
22. The tribunal which was appointed to investigate claims decided to admit as entitled to resettlement Arabs who have been displaced from the land which they occupied in consequence of those lands having passed into Jewish hands, and who have failed to obtain other holdings on which to establish themselves or equally satisfactory occupation, subject to the following exceptions:--
(1) Persons who have themselves sold their land, that is, owners who of their own free will have sold their lands;
(2) Persons who own land elsewhere;
(3) Persons who have found and are now cultivating as tenants land other than that from which they were displaced;
(4) Persons who obtained land after the sale of the land from which they were displaced, but have since ceased to cultivate it on account of poverty or other reasons;
(5) Persons who were not cultivators at the time of the sale, for example, ploughmen and labourers.
His Majesty's Government concurred in this decision, and the High Commissioner has been authorized to proceed with the resettlement of displaced Arab tenants in accordance with the findings of the tribunal.
Of the proposed new Palestine Government Guaranteed Loan of £P.2 million, £P.250,000 will be allocated for the resettlement of landless Arabs; and expenditure is already being incurred on this account, from the surplus balances of the Palestine Government, in the interval until the Loan is raised.
23. Up to the 31st December,
, the Development Officer had received 3,225 applications for admission to the register of landless Arabs.
So far, 652 Arab heads of families have been admitted to the register. There were 2,541 claims disallowed, and 532 claims were still under examination at the end of the year; the Jewish Agency was allowed to examine each claim with reference to its own records of the purchases of lands. The difference between 652 (admitted) and 821 (estimated) represents future claims from Arabs at present still cultivating lands which have passed into Jewish ownership but who will in the course of the next few years be obliged to leave those lands as the Jewish owners undertake their settlement.
24. Considerable addition was made in
to the area of land acquired by Government for the purpose of resettling landless Arabs (see 1932 Report, page 6, paragraph 20); and at the end of the year it had reached a total of 14,869 metric dunums, in the Baisan and Jenin sub-districts, costing £P.64,000.
25. The Development Officer issued an invitation to all registered Arabs to take up holdings upon Government estates in Baisan and Jenin sub-districts. The Wadi Hawareth Arabs rejected the invitation; of the remainder only 146 declared their readiness to accept.
To deal with this modified situation, an experimental scheme has been formulated for the settlement of a group of fifty landless families, as far as possible of homogeneous local origin, upon a portion of the estate which was purchased for the Wadi Hawareth Arabs. If the scheme should succeed, further parties will, it is hoped, be settled in the same way on other parts of the estate.
26. It had been hoped, at the outset, that in some cases landless Arabs might be absorbed into existing villages or given permanent occupation, and eventually holdings, by large Arab landowners. A detailed survey of these possibilities made by the Development Officer disclosed a dearth of accommodation for newcomers in the villages, and a disinclination on the part of landed proprietors to enter into the proposed contracts of service or tenancy.
27. The Permanent Mandates Commission at its Twenty-Third Session in June,
, asked if the Government of Palestine intended to adopt the Five Feddan Law of Egypt. This law which deals with mortgage and not with purchase is not appropriate to Palestine conditions. The rights of tenants-cultivators in this country are now adequately safeguarded by a law which was enacted in August,
, extending the protection given to certain cultivators by the Protection of Cultivators Ordinance, 1929, and its subsequent amendments. The new enactment creates a class of statutory tenants and provides that any such tenant who has occupied and cultivated a holding for a period of not less than one year shall not be ejected therefrom except in given circumstances. The principal change is that if the tenant has paid his rent and has not grossly neglected his holding no order for his eviction can be made unless he has been provided with a subsistence area approved by the High Commissioner. The Ordinance defines "subsistence area" as such land as will enable the statutory tenant to maintain his customary means of livelihood in any occupation with which he is familiar; the land must, as nearly as circumstances permit, be in the vicinity of the holding from which the tenant is ejected. Expeditious means have been devised for deciding disputes between landlord and tenant; and it is laid down that in proper cases the landlord may resume possession of the land for purposes of development. It is believed that the Ordinance will prevent the creation of further landless Arabs by the eviction of agricultural tenants without adequate provision in land for their subsistence, while at the same time it places no obstacle in the way of the buying and selling of land where the transfer of ownership will not adversely affect the tenant.
28. The number of observation stations established in the coastal plain between Ras el Naqura and Rafa on private and municipal wells (see 1932 Report, page 9, paragraph 29) has been increased to thirty-four. These stations, which are yielding important information as to the seasonal fluctuation of the level of the underground water table, are so placed that a check can be kept on subterranean conditions in their relation to annual increase in the area under citrus culture. Regular readings have also been taken of the discharges of the Jordan, Auja and Rubin Rivers. Gauges have been erected on several springs in the Acre sub-district and the lower Jordan Valley. An experiment is being carried out in the conservation of flood water in the Beersheba District by means of a dam across a wadi: if this experiment in the Negeb proves successful, it may be the forerunner of a series of undertakings which will bring vast stretches of waste land under cultivation.
29. A water resources survey has been instituted for the examination of the available water resources of the country. This survey will co-ordinate and complete the various disconnected studies of available water supplies which have been pursued in the last few years. Moreover, an Irrigation Ordinance has been drafted with the object of securing the economical and beneficial use of available surface waters at present largely dissipated owing to an abuse of water rights incompatible with the progress of modern intensive irrigation.
30. Reference is made elsewhere to the improvements which are being effected to the domestic water supplies of villages and settlements: at the same time, deep boring plant is being employed for the discovery of new sources that might be harnessed to irrigation purposes.
31. Mr. C. F. Strickland, C.I.E., who had reported on the co-operative movement in Palestine in 1931 (see the 1930 Report, page 15, paragraph 39), was invited by the Government to pay a second visit early in
to advise as to the first practical steps to be taken for the formation of Arab societies and the improvement and promotion of the extensive Jewish co-operative movement already in existence. Largely on the basis of his recommendations, a comprehensive new Co-operative Societies Ordinance was enacted in December, which, it is hoped, will answer the needs equally of Arab as well as Jewish farmers. Special legislation had previously been enacted providing exceptional facilities for the registration of Arab credit and thrift societies in villages before the sowing season began; and of these facilities due advantage was taken.
32. The Registrar of Co-operative Societies undertook a tour of the principal centres of the co-operative movement in Europe and in Egypt before entering upon his duties; and is to travel through Ceylon and India at the beginning of 1934 for the same purpose.
A vigorous and extensive campaign has been conducted in Arab villages and town centres to bring home to the population the advantages of co-operation and to explain the process of forming credit and thrift societies as well as other societies for economic and social purposes. One hundred and thirty meetings were held; and lectures were delivered at conferences of teachers, to units of the British and Palestine Police, to District Officers attending monthly conferences and to students and teachers at the Tulkarm Agricultural School. The campaign in rural areas was restricted to seventy-four carefully chosen villages but many meetings were attended by representatives from neighbouring villages. District Officers invariably accompanied the Registrar on his tours and were given an opportunity to become familiar with the principles of co-operation. The response of the rural population to the ideas of co-operative organization was most satisfactory. The Arab Press also welcomed this activity and with few exceptions lent ready assistance to the campaign by giving the lectures and tours considerable publicity.
33. As a result of these preparatory steps, within the brief working period of the year under review, fourteen credit and thrift societies were formed in the three Districts, starting with a membership of 264 all told, who subscribed to a share capital of £P.1,330, £P.266 being paid up at the date of formation. Arrangements were made with Barclays Bank to supply the requirements of these societies in additional funds and a sum of £P.3,369 was accordingly obtained by them in the form of short term loans bearing interest at the rate of 7 per cent.
34. Government is arranging to utilize the sum of £P.20,000, representing the funds of the Ottoman Agricultural Bank in liquidation which are held on deposit, for the purpose of making advances to co-operative societies through the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, at a minimum rate of interest of 5 per cent. per annum, with a view to the societies, in their turn, making loans to their members.
The Government is satisfied that this source of credit, judiciously distributed, will assist in establishing on a sound basis many of the Arab co-operative societies now being registered under the new Co-operative Societies Ordinance. In no case will advances be made by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies where he is satisfied that a society can be otherwise financed by a commercial bank. The maximum term of the loan will be three years and the maximum amount of the loan not ordinarily in excess of £P.500.
This method of utilizing the funds of the Ottoman Agricultural Bank is in accordance with the principal purpose for which the Bank was originally founded, namely, to lend money to cultivators against mortgage or goods guarantee. The proclamation by the High Commissioner in March, 1921, directing the liquidation of the Bank, provides that the assets resulting from the liquidation shall be disposed of as the High Commissioner shall direct, regard being had to the purposes for which the Bank was founded.
35. The preliminary activities of the newly-formed societies are closely superintended; the Arab inspector attends their first meetings, supervises the issue of loans to members and instructs the committees in the methods of accounting in books and forms especially printed for them by the Registrar.
36. In the towns, eight Arab transport societies were registered and a society of master lightermen was formed at Jaffa.
37. Efforts were made to organize co-operative societies among Arab orange growers in the Southern District, banana growers at Baisan, weavers at Majdal and tanners at Jaffa as well as fruit fumigation societies at Acre, and while for a variety of causes no definite progress can be reported in these cases it is felt that the advantages of co-operative organization have been brought home and results may be expected in the coming years. In one case, at Athlit, Arabs and Jews have formed a co-operative society together.
38. The Jewish movement has been making steady progress and one hundred and nine new societies were registered in the year. The Registrar gave ready assistance to the organizers in formulating rules and in pointing out possible dangers or errors.
39. Much time has been given to the review of cases of Jewish societies which seldom or never submitted a balance sheet and which are seldom or never audited; and at the end of the year balance sheets had been submitted by 215 societies out of a total of 304 societies from which returns were due.
40. The Registrar was instrumental in setting up an informal advisory council of the leaders of the Jewish co-operatives: all important questions relating to Jewish societies are discussed by him and his officers with this council and its advice and assistance have been most valuable. The members of the council were also consulted throughout in connection with the revision of the Co-operative Societies Ordinance, Regulations and Model Rules.
41. Classification of societies, number of their members and capital (approximate figures) at the 31st December,
Total number of societies: 534.
Credit and Thrift Societies.
Industrial produce and service societies
Garden cities and communal housing societies
Mutual insurance societies
. During the year, negotiations went forward for the establishment of an Agricultural Mortgage Company in Palestine and all preliminary arrangements have now been completed. The capital of the Company will be £P.400,000 subscribed by Barclays Bank, the Anglo-Palestine Bank, the Ottoman Bank, the Palestine Economic Corporation, the Palestine Corporation of America and by the Prudential and Guardian Insurance Companies of Great Britain.
Steps are now being taken with the object of including the Arab Bank of Palestine among the participants and provision has been made also for the subscription of some share capital by the Jewish Farmers Federation of Palestine.
Government assistance of the Company is to take the form of an advance made to the Company (from funds set aside for the purpose in the proposed new Government Guaranteed Loan of £P.2,000,000) for the establishment of a guarantee fund to secure debenture issues.
Jewish immigration into Palestine.
42. Illegal settlement in Palestine, mostly of Jews, has caused the Palestine Government much concern, and was one of the subjects upon which the High Commissioner made a public statement in February,
. The High Commissioner said, "I am distressed that many immigrants have entered Palestine without the permission of Government. I can assure you that I am anxious to stop in the future this immigration without permits. Palestine has long frontiers and it is obviously not very easy for Government to stop illegal immigration altogether. None the less the measures that Government are now taking have already greatly diminished the number of persons entering without permits and I shall endeavour to see that every month this number further diminishes."
43. In 1931 special facilities were granted to persons in the country without permission to regularize their presence, and some six thousand in all were registered. Many more, however, have since been added to the population, largely travellers remaining after the validity of their visas had expired, but also not a few who had evaded the frontier controls originally. It was estimated that the number of these unauthorized settlers had reached a total of 22,400 in the last two years. Apart from the consideration that the Government cannot allow the law to be thus set at naught, the welfare of Palestine as a whole requires that immigration shall be adjusted to economic needs in respect of quality as well as of numbers, but these illegal settlers were unselected in both respects so that their coming might involve disproportion and overcrowding in professions and callings, and did in fact upset the calculations upon which is based the periodical assessment of the number of openings for working men and women under the labour schedule.
44. Measures were accordingly taken in November to check this undesirable practice. Save in exceptional cases, persons who overstay their leave as tourists, having failed to apply for or having on application been refused prolongation or permission to remain permanently, are deported, as are all those who enter the country illegally without a visa. Travellers, other than those in the first class, must each deposit £P.60 as guarantee that they will not without authority remain in Palestine beyond the period which their visas permit; the deposit being forfeited in case of default. Visas are not granted as a rule to holders of temporary travel documents. All applicants for visas are now handed a printed warning of the consequences of illegal settlement in Palestine. In addition to these measures designed against individual offenders, the High Commissioner will, if necessary, deduct from any labour schedule which he may decide to grant, a number representing the illegal settlement adjudged likely to take place during the period of the schedule, having regard to the figures of such settlement in the preceding periods. A system has been devised of checking arrivals and departures of travellers, to provide the statistics whereon this deduction may be calculated.
45. To relieve the plight of German Jews, the Palestine Government, without infringing the principle of economic absorptive capacity, granted a number of administrative concessions: it issued three thousand Immigration Certificates in
, in advance of publication of labour schedules, for distribution in Germany, and applications from settlers in Palestine for the admission of their near relatives were treated with special consideration. In addition, immigration of capitalists and skilled artisans from Germany was facilitated.
46. The Palestine Government has under consideration for the future the formation of a statistical office and the taking of measures to establish a closer relation between immigration and the absorptive capacity of the country.
47. In the Immigration Ordinance,
, the opportunity was taken to render more effective certain provisions of administration and control, particularly in order to regulate entries from Russia. Otherwise, the Ordinance does not introduce any change in the
policy by which immigration into Palestine is administered, but merely serves, as a matter of administrative convenience, to consolidate, with minor amendments, all pre-existing legislation on the subject. The policy remains unchanged.
48. The disturbances of October and November, and the Arab strikes of that period are illustrative of the Arab attitude towards the Government. The Arab Press lost nothing of its virulence in inveighing against the Mandate and its chief manifestations, immigration and the transfer of land to Jews; and several warnings had to be administered to newspapers under the Press Ordinance,
, for publications of which the continuance appeared likely to disturb the public peace.
49. The Arab leaders have been more outspoken and less compromising in their hostility; their attitude appears to have crystallized in the concept that the so-called pro-Jewish policy of the Mandatory is but a screen for oppressive imperialism and an excuse for withholding from the people of Palestine their elementary right of independence.
50. In March a meeting of Arabs was held at Jaffa, when a resolution of non-cooperation was passed. Generally speaking this resolution has been carried out, but Arab leaders have continued to make representations, oral and in writing, to the Government and to seek audience of the High Commissioner; and with rare exceptions Arab members of Government Boards have not faltered in their attendance.
51. Haj Amin al Husseini, President of the Supreme Moslem Council, undertook an extensive tour through Iraq and India with the object of raising funds for the construction of a Moslem University in Jerusalem. The measure of success which attended his mission is not yet known.
52. The Arab Fair (see 1932 Report, page 13, paragraph 57) was well attended and sales at the various exhibits of local, Syrian and Egyptian products were extensive: Jewish participation was discouraged.
53. There have been indications of a rapprochement between the official Jewish Community and the Central Agudath Israel. The claims of the Agudah for immigration certificates on behalf of its adherents in Europe are being satisfied to some extent by the Jewish Agency's Offices from the Agency's quota under the labour schedules, and further accommodation may be expected in this direction. The General Council (Vaad Leumi) of the Jewish Community in Palestine has made overtures to the Agudah with a view to arranging provision for the stricter requirements of Agudist Jews in matters, for example, of personal status and female franchise. Given good will on both sides, of which there is now evidence, it should be possible to establish a separate system of rabbinical courts within the community for the Agudists so that they may not be compelled to resort either to a civil court or to a Jewish Rabbi unacceptable to them; and to secure representation of the Agudah upon the councils of the community without extending the franchise to its womenfolk.
54. At the instance of the Vaad Leumi, the Government has recommended the amendment of Jewish Community Regulations, 1927, so as
) to extend in proper cases the term of office of a local communal committee from one to three years;
) to vest the Executive Committee of the Vaad Leumi with juristic personality.
55. The Religious Communities Organization Ordinance of 1926 is being amended in order that the Vaad Leumi may be empowered to raise loans: and, by the good offices of Government, the Vaad Leumi will then receive an advance of £P.26,000 under these powers from Barclays Bank. This sum is to be applied to liquidating the debts outstanding in respect of Jewish educational services for the period from October, 1932, to March, 1934, mainly as arrears of salaries to teachers.
56. The arrest and examination of two young Revisionists on suspicion of being concerned in the murder of Dr. Arlosoroff has embittered the feelings of Zionists generally and of Jewish Labour in particular against the Revisionist party. Rightly or wrongly the crime is ascribed to Revisionist preachings against what that party is said to regard as the timorous methods of the Jewish Agency; by its method of terrorism and direct action, Revisionism is charged with betraying the Jewish cause. From acrimonious polemics in the Press, this bitterness passed to the streets and fields, where Jewish labourers and Revisionist sympathizers have on occasion come to blows.
57. In the orange-picking season, trouble again developed owing to the insistence of the Jewish Labour Organization upon the exclusion of non-Jewish and non-Union workmen. The bounds of peaceful picketing were sometimes overstepped and overt intimidation took place. The Government proposes to amend the law so as to allow peaceful picketing only where the issue arises from causes unconnected with the race, religion or language of employees.
58. Tension between Revisionists and General Zionists, accentuated by the charges and counter-charges arising out of the murder of Dr. Arlosoroff, dominated the proceedings of the Eighteenth Zionist Congress which was held in Frague during August.
As a result of the deliberations of the Congress a new Executive of the Jewish Agency was elected comprising representatives of Zionist parties and of non-Zionists, in the following distribution:--
Dr. Arthur Ruppin, General Zionist.
Dr. I. B. Berkson, Non-Zionist.
Dr. Werner Senator, Non-Zionist.
Dr. Maurice B. Hexter, Non-Zionist.
Mr. Yits-haq Grunbaum, General Zionist.
Mr. David Ben Gurion, Labour.
Mr. Moshe Shertok, Labour.
Mr. Eliezer Kaplan, Labour.
Dr. Nahum Sokolov.
Professor Selig Brodetsky, General Zionist.
Mr. Berl Locker, Labour.
Dr. Victor Jacobson, General Zionist.
Mr. Louis Lipsky, General Zionist.
59. Two members of the General Council (Vaad Leumi) of the Jewish Community were co-opted temporarily on the Executive after the death of Dr. Arlosoroff, pending the new election by Congress.