VERBATIM RECORD OF THE SIXTEENTH MEETING (PUBLIC)
Held at the Y.M.C.A. Building
Friday, 4, July 1947, at 9:30 a.m.
CHAIRMAN: I declare the Sixteenth Meeting open.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
Will you come to the table here, Mr. Ben Gurion
(Mr. Ben Gurion, representative of the Jewish Agency, took a seat at the table.)
I recognize Mr. Ben Gurion,
Ben Gurion (Representative of the Jewish Agency): Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, first of all I wish to congratulate your Committee on the procedure you have adopted in conducting your inquiry, of seeing things for yourselves before hearing oral evidence. While the limited time may have prevented you from seeing more, I believe that direct contact with realities in Palestine will help you more than anything else to understand at least a part of the problem which you have to study. On behalf of the Jewish people I wish to express our sincerest wish that your mission may be successful in reaching the full truth of the problem you have been set and a maximum of justice in its solution.
We have had a rather long and disappointing experience of numerous commissions of enquiry which were sent to Palestine by the Mandatory Government to enquire into things perfectly well—known to everybody and to make recommendations which remained on paper. This explains why many people here are rather sceptical about the value of all these enquiries. We are still baffled by what happened to the Anglo—American Committee of Inquiry last year, which was publicised beforehand as a tremendous achievement by the present Government in London, and whose unanimous recommendations were later-shelved contemptuously by the same Government. And if, in spite of all that we heartily welcome this new inquiry, it is not because we have any reason to believe that on this occasion the Mandatory Government will respect your views any more than those of your predecessors. The official statements made by spokesmen of the Mandatory Power whether in the House of Commons or in the Special Assembly of the United Nations in May this year, do not encourage such a belief overmuch.
We welcome this inquiry committee because it has been sent by the United Nations. It is fitting that this highest international forum in the world should deal with those twin problems of the Jews and Palestine, as they both are international in their character. There is hardly a country in the world, perhaps with the exception of the countries in the Far East from India to Japan, which has no direct concern with the Jewish problem and Palestine is certainly not a matter for England alone, which is here only as temporary trustee to carry out an international mandate under specific conditions and with a specific purpose. The Settlement of these twin problems is perhaps the supreme test of the United Nations, a test both of their freedom and ability to deal with an issue involving as it does a conflict between a small, weak people and a powerful world empire; to deal with it not as a matter of power politics and political expediency, but as a question of justice and equity, as far as these are attainable in human affairs, and in accordance with the merits of the case.
The United Nations in our view embody the most ardent hope and the most vital needs of the peoples of the world — a hope and a need for peace, stable and lasting peace which is possible only if based on justice, equality and cooperation between nations great and small; a hope and a need for a comprehensive international system establishing relations between peoples on the rule of right instead of might, on mutual help instead of competition, on freedom, equality and good will instead of oppression, discrimination and exploitation. The Jewish people, no less than any other people in the world, is deeply anxious for these ideals to prevail, and that for two reasons — because of our spiritual heritage and tradition, and because of our unique position in the world.
The gospel of lasting peace, brotherhood and justice as between nations was proclaimed thousands of years ago by the Jewish prophets in this country, perhaps in this very city, the .eternal city in which you are now holding your inquiry. More than 3,300 years ago, when our ancestors were on their way from the house of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land they wore taught by our lawgiver and the greatest of our prophets, the supreme command for men on earth —"thou shalt love thy fellow-man as thyself", and that if "a stranger sojourn with you in your land....that stranger shall be unto you as one home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt".
The prophets who followed Moses — Isaiah, Hosea, Micah and others — proclaimed the gospel of social justice and international brotherhood and peace. They left us the vision of a future when the people "shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The teachings and ideals of our prophets together with the peculiar nature of our country, the uniqueness of its structure and its geographical position, all shared the character of our people and its civilization, and made us perhaps the most exclusive and the most universal of nations, since ancient times up to the present when we were still living independently in our country we clashed with the civilizations of great and powerful neighbours, first Egypt and Babylon, then Greece and Rome, who tried to crush our individuality and assimilate us among them. With an indomitable obstinacy we always preserved our identity. Our entire history is a history of continuous resistance to superior physical forces which tried to wipe out our Jewish image and to uproot our connections with our country and with the teaching of our prophets. We did not surrender, we never surrender to sheer physical force deprived of moral validity. We paid a dear price for our resistance. We lost our independence. We were dispossessed of our homeland. We were exiled to strange lands. The pressure against us in the Diaspora was even stronger and still we persevered.
In almost every country of our dispersion and in every generation our forefathers gave their lives for "Kiddush Hashem", which literally translated means "The Sanctification of the Name". They gave their lives out of fidelity to their religious, national and human ideals. In this resistance the soul of our people was forged, and this gave us strength to survive until now. There were two main things which enabled us to survive all these persecutions -- our faith in Zion, faith in our national revival, and our faith in the vision of our prophets for the future, and our faith in a new world of justice and peace. That is why we are so anxious, for the success of the United Nations. But it is not only our spiritual heritage, but also our peculiar position in the world which makes us attach so much value to the United Nations and its aims and aspirations.
We are a small, weak, defenceless people, and we know that there can be no security for us, either as individuals nor as a people, neither in the Diaspora nor in our Homeland, even after we become an independent nation in our own state, as long as the whole human family is not united in peace and good will.
The case before you is rather a complicated one. It involves, first, relations between Jews and Gentiles; second, relations between the Jewish national home and the Mandatory Power; third, relations between Jews and Arabs.
On the first point I shall confine myself to a few remarks. You are faced with a tragic problem, perhaps the tragic problem of our time and of many generations, of a people which was twice forcibly driven out of its country and which never acquiesces in its dispossession, and although it was its bitter destiny to wonder in exile for many centuries it always remained attached with all its heart and soul to its historic homeland. It is a unique fact in world history, but it is a real, living, incontestable fact. During your short visit in this country you have seen, I believe, some manifestations of this deep attachment. You have seen Jews from all parts of the World — the call of the homeland brought then here — who with passionate devotion to the soil of their ancestors are endeavouring to regenerate a people and a land. An unbroken tie between our people and our land has persisted through all these centuries in full force .because of the fundamental historical facts: first, this country has remained largely desolate and waste while possessing great potentialities of development, given the need, skill, means and devotion for their realization. Second, Jewish homelessness and insecurity in the Diaspora, which is the underlying cause of all Jewish suffering and persecution. Jewish misery may vary from time to time, it may become more or less acute, but it never ceases. Jewish insecurity originates in three fundamental disabilities of Jews throughout the world; they are deprived of statehood, they are homeless and they are in a minority position everywhere. Unless and until these three disabilities are completely and lastingly remedied, there is no hope for the Jewish people, nor can there be justice in the world.
The homelessness and minority positions make the Jews always dependent on the mercy of others. The “others" may be good and may be bad, and the Jews may some time be treated more or less decently, but they are never masters of their own destiny, they are entirely defenceless when the majority of people turn against them. What happened to our people in this war is merely a climax to uninterrupted persecution to which we have been subjected for centuries by almost all the Christian and Moslem peoples in the old world.
There were and there are many Jews who could not stand it, and they deserted us. They could not stand the massacres and expulsions, the humiliation and discrimination, and they gave it up in despair. But the Jewish people as a whole did not give way, did not despair or renounce its hope and faith in a better future, national as well as universal.
And here we are, not only we the Jews of Palestine, but the Jews throughout the world — the small remnant of European Jewry and Jews in other countries. We claim our rightful place under the sun as human beings and as a people, the same right as other human beings and peoples possess the right to security, freedom, equality, statehood and membership in the United Nations. No individual Jew can be really free, secure and equal anywhere in the world as long as the Jewish people as a people is not again rooted in its own country as an equal and independent nation.
An international undertaking as given to the Jewish people, some thirty years ago in the Balfour Declaration and in the Mandate for Palestine, to reconstitute our national home in our ancient homeland. This undertaking originated with the British people and the British Government. It was supported and confirmed by 52 nations and embodied in an international instrument known as the Mandate for Palestine. The Charter of the United Nations seeks to maintain "justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law." Is it too presumptuous on our part to expect that the United Nations will see that obligations to the Jewish people too are respected and faithfully carried out in the spirit and the letter?
This brings me to the second phase of the problem, the conflict between the Mandatory power and the Jewish people. It is a very sad and very painful conflict for us. It is a conflict of two unequal parties.
On the one hand a great world power, possessing tremendous military, economic, territorial and political resources, linked in a community of interest and alliance with a great number of large and small peoples, enjoying, deservedly, great moral prestige for the heroic part it played in the last war, wielding unlimited power in this country, backed as it is by large military forces on land, at sea and in the air.
On the other hand, a stateless, homeless, defenceless, small people with nothing but the graves of six million dead, hundreds of thousands of homeless and displaced persons, having to rely only on its own constructive will and creative effort, on the justice of its case and the intrinsic value of its work, on its natural and historic right to its ancient homeland, where the first foundations have already been laid for a regenerated Jewish Commonwealth. What is the nature of the conflict?
Palestine is not a part of the British Empire. Great Britain is here as a mandatory to give effect to the internationally guaranteed pledges given to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration.
It will be to the everlasting credit of the British people that it was the first in modern times to undertake the restoration of Palestine to the Jewish people. Jews in England were and are treated as equals. A British Jew can be and has been a member of the Cabinet, a Chief Justice, a Viceroy, and can occupy any other place in the political and economic life of the country. Only those who in such a way could respect the rights of Jews as individuals could also recognise the rights of Jews as a people. The Balfour Declaration was in the first place a public recognition of the Jews as a people, in the second place a recognition of the Jewish people’s right to a national home; in the third place, of a national home not merely for Jews, but for the Jewish people in its entirety.
The Balfour Declaration did not come out of the blue, British statesmen and thinkers had long taken a great interest in the national revival of the Jews in Palestine. In 1902, the British Government set up a Royal Commission to enquire into the question of aliens in England. Dr. Herzl, whose book on "The Jewish State as the only solution of the Jewish problem" was epoch-making in our history and who became the founder of modern Zionism, was invited by His Majesty’s Government to give evidence before that Commission. His statement at the hearings that "the solution of the Jewish difficulty is the recognition of the Jews as a people and the finding by them of a legally-recognised home, to which Jews in those parts of the world where they are oppressed would naturally migrate" fell on fertile soil, and met with deep sympathy in the British Government. Palestine was then still part of the Ottoman Empire, so Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, offered Uganda to the Jews. While our people was deeply grateful for such an unprecedented offer, it was rejected by us, for the simple reason that it was not our historic homeland, it was not the Land of Israel. It was Russian and East European Jews who were mainly responsible for the rejection, in spite of the fact that the plight of our people in many countries and especially in Czarist Russia was at that time desperate. The British Government offered then the Zionists an alternative, a large area on the border of Palestine known as El Arish, which had been detached from Ottoman rule. This plan, too, came to nothing because of lack of water, and it was only the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the first world war which gave the British an opportunity to restore Palestine to the Jews.
The Balfour Declaration was not the first of its kind, just as this is not our first return. After the destruction of our first commonwealth by the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Persian King Cyrus the Great in the year 538 B.C. made the first "Balfour Declaration", as we are told in the Book of Ezra:
"In the first year of Cyrus King of Persia, that the world of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus King of Persia, that he made a proclamation to the Jews throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 'Thus saith Cyrus King of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord, the God of heaven, given me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all His people -- his God be with him -- let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord.'" The Iranian representative will excuse me for using the word "Persia" but-that was the use in the Bible.
2,455 years after the Cyrus Declaration, another one was issued by Mr. Balfour on behalf of His Majesty's Government on November 2, 1917. I can safely assume that all of you are acquainted with the text of that document, but I must draw your attention to the first and last sentences, which are sometimes omitted when that document is quoted. The opening is this: "Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty’s Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet." And the last sentence reads: "I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation." The text of this declaration had been submitted to President Wilson and had been approved by him before its publication. The first people after Britain and America to associate itself with this declaration was Yugoslavia, or as it was then called, Serbia. Then came the confirmation of France, Italy, China and many others. Emir Feisal representing the Arabs at the Peace Conference on behalf of his father) the Sherif of Mecca, gave it his blessing.
"The field in which the Jewish National Home was to be established was understood at the time of the Balfour Declaration to be the whole of historic Palestine", stated the Royal Commission for Palestine of 1937. That is to say it included Transjordan. The meaning of the national home was at that time made abundantly clear by the authors of the Declaration. Mr. Lloyd George, who was Prime Minister at the time, testified: "The idea was, that a Jewish State was not to be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty it was…contemplated that…if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity and had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth." The Royal Commission for Palestine, which examined the records bearing upon the question, stated in its report that "His Majesty’s Government evidently realized that a Jewish State might in course of time be established, but it was not in a position to say that this would happen, still less to bring it about of its own motion." The Commission goes on to cite the authors of the Declaration. President Wilson, Lord Robert, General Smuts and Sir Herbert Samuel and others spoke or wrote in terms that could only mean that they contemplated the eventual, establishment of a Jewish state.
There are also records pointing to the numerical size of the National Home. George Adam Smith, a great scholar whose book the "Historical Geography of the Holy Land" is a classic on the subject and as far as I know is the best book on Palestine in any language, published in 1918, when the first world war was still in progress, a pamphlet on "Syria and the Holy Land". Discussing (on Page 46) the nature of the Jewish desire to return to Palestine he wrote:
"Towards the fulfilment of a national restoration Zionists reckon, not without reason, on the migration of millions of Jews to Palestine. However Jewry may be divided in opinion as to the shape which that restoration should take, there is little doubt that, given freedom to return and possess land under their own laws, Jews would resort to Palestine in sufficient number to form a nation. Moreover, there is room for them in the country; from what we have seen, its capacity to support them is not to be denied, nor, as their colonies have shown, can we doubt their ability to develop this."
Mr. Winston Churchill, in a statement published on the 8th of February, 1920, said:
"If, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown which might comprise three or four millions of Jews, an event will have occurred in the history of the world which would from every point of view be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the trust interests of the British Empire".
And what is perhaps especially significant in this respect is the agreement concluded between the Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann on January 3, 1919. Article 4 of the agreement lays down that:
"All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil".
In 1922, before the Mandate for Palestine had been approved by the League of Nations, the first White Paper on Palestine, the so-called Churchill White Paper (Command Paper No. 1700) was published. It contains correspondence between His Majesty’s Government, the Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organization and a statement on policy in Palestine. In a letter to the Arab Delegation dated March 1, 1922, it is stated, "The position is that His Majesty's Government are bound by a pledge (the Balfour Declaration) which is antecedent to the Covenant of the League of Nations, and they cannot allow a constitutional position to develop in a country for which they have accepted responsibility to the Principal Allied Powers, which may make it impracticable to carry into effect a solemn undertaking given by themselves and their lies".
The statement points out that the Jewish National Home in Palestine does not mean "the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing community with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world...in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection…”
The Royal Commission, in examining that statement, declared,
"This definition of the National Home has sometimes been taken to preclude the establishment of a Jewish State. But, though the phraseology was clearly intended to conciliate, as far as might be, Arab antagonism to the National Home, there is nothing in it to prohibit the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State, and Mr. Churchill himself has told us in evidence that no such prohibition was intended."
On July the 24th, 1922, the Mandate for Palestine was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations. The Mandate embodied the Balfour Declaration and it added a meaningful amplification. After citing in a preamble the text of the declaration it added, "recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish People with Palestine and to the ground for reconstituting” — not constituting" — their national home in that country."
In commenting on the Mandate, the Royal Commission made the following observation:
“…Unquestionably, the primary purpose of the Mandate as expressed in its preamble and its articles, is to promote the establishment of the Jewish National Home."
In 1936 large-scale Arab riots broke out which later received the help of the Axis partners. A Royal Commission was then sent out to "ascertain the underlying cause of the disturbances, to enquire into the manner in which the Mandate is being implemented, and to ascertain whether Arabs and Jews have any legitimate grievances" against "the way the Mandate is being implemented."
The Commission found "that though the Arabs have benefited by the development of the country owing to Jewish immigration, this has had no conciliatory effect. On the contrary, improvement in the economic situation in Palestine has meant deterioration of the political situation" (Report of Palestine Royal Commission, chapter 19, Paragraph 2). The Commission thought that "the obligations Britain undertook towards the Arabs and Jews some twenty years ago have not lost in moral or legal weight through that has happened since, but the trouble is that these obligations proved to be irreconcilable. The Mandate is unworkable..." They reached therefore the conclusion that the only solution lay in the partition of the country into two states, a Jewish and an Arab State.
The main advantages, according to the Royal Commission, of partition to the Arabs are: (1) they will obtain their national independence; (2) they will finally be delivered from the fear of what they call being "swamped" by the Jews. The advantages of partition for the Jews are, in the view of the Commission: (1) it relieves the National Home from the possibility of its being subjected in the future to Arab rule; (2) it enables the Jews in the fullest sense to call their national home their own: for it converts it into a Jewish State. "Its citizens will be able to admit as many Jews into it as they themselves believe can be absorbed. They will attain the primary objective of Zionism — a Jewish nation planted in Palestine, giving its nationals the same status in the world as other nations give theirs."
The Zionist Congress which assembled after the publication of the Royal Commission's report considered its proposals, which had been approved by His Majesty's Government. A considerable minority was for rejecting the plan in principle, as inconsistent with the obligations to the Jewish people, its historic rights, and its vital interests. The majority was opposed to the concrete proposals of the Commission mainly for two reasons: that the Negeb, the unsettled and uncultivated part of southern Palestine was excluded, as well as Jerusalem. Everybody admitted that the Holy Places ought to be internationally safeguarded and that the Old City of Jerusalem required a special regime. But there were very grave objections to the exclusion of Jewish Jerusalem from the Jewish State. At the same time the majority decided to empower the Executive to negotiate with the Government, and if a satisfactory plan for a Jewish state emerged it would be submitted to a Congress to be elected for decision. I want to add that last year when the so-called Morrison Plan was discussed, the Jewish Agency Executive decided that it could not accept that plan as a basis for discussion but it was ready to consider an offer for a viable Jewish State in an adequate area of Palestine. The same attitude was maintained last winter after the last Congress in our oral discussion with the Government in London.
Meanwhile Mr. Chamberlain's Government changed its mind and sent out another Commission [Woodhead] which reported against partition. A year later, in May 1939, an entirely new policy was inaugurated, which actually scrapped the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate. The policy of the White Paper of 1939 which can be briefly summarised in the following three principles:
1. Jews to remain a permanent minority not to exceed a third of the population.
After the admission of another 75,000 immigrants over the next 5 years, ”no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it."
2. Jews not to be allowed to acquire land and to settle except in a very limited area of Palestine.
3. Within ten years an independent Palestine state to be established in such treaty relations with the United Kingdom as will provide satisfactorily for the commercial and strategic requirements of both countries in the future.
In February, 1940, in pursuance of the new policy a new Land Ordinance was promulgated which established three zones in Palestine: Zone A comprising 6,415 square miles, 63.1% of the total area of Western Palestine, where a Jew is prohibited from acquiring land, water, buildings, trees, or any interest or right over land, water, buildings or trees by purchase, lease, mortgage, charge or any other disposition. Zone B, comprising some 3225 square miles, 31.8% of the total, is the restricted zone: there special permission in. writing from the High Commissioner, which he may at his unfettered discretion grant or refuse, is necessary if a Jew wants to acquire lands, buildings, trees, etc., from an Arab. The third Zone, where the Jews are free to buy land, is only 5% of the area of Palestine.
When the White Paper Quota of 75,000 immigrants was exhausted at the end of the war, the present Government fixed a political maximum of 1,500 a month, in keeping with the terms of the White Paper of 1939, that the Jewish population should not exceed approximately a third of the total.
In the memorandum presented to you by the Government of Palestine on the "Administration of Palestine under the Mandate" you are told that the two measures under the White Paper, the prohibition of Jewish settlement on land and the arbitrary limitation of immigration, have been bitterly resented by the Jews who have represented that they are contrary to his Majesty's Government's obligations under the Mandate. This is one of the half-truths in which that document abounds. It is quite true that the Jewish people, as stated by the Jewish Agency on 17 May 1939, the day that the White Paper was issued, "regard this breach of faith as a surrender to Arab terrorism. It delivers Great Britain's friends into the hands of those who are fighting her. It must widen the breach between Jews and Arabs, and undermine the hope of peace in Palestine. It is a policy in which the Jewish population will not acquiesce. The new regime announced in the White Paper will be devoid of any moral basis and contrary to international law. Such a regime can only be set up and maintained by force". But it is not quite accurate, as the memorandum seems to indicate, that it is merely a Jewish assertion that the White Paper violates the Mandate.
The Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, the only international institution which was asked by the Mandatory to consider the proposals of the White Paper, declared unanimously that “the policy set out in the White Paper was not in accordance with the interpretation which in agreement with the Mandatory Power and the Council of the League of Nations the Commission had always placed upon the Palestine Mandate”. The majority of the Commission, the chairman, M. Orts, from Belgium, the vice-chairman, Professor Rappard, from Switzerland, Baron van Asbeck from Holland and mademoiselle Dannevig from Norway, declared that the very terms of the Mandate and the fundamental intentions of its authors ruled out any conclusion that the policy of the White Paper was in conformity with the Mandate.
But it was not only the Permanent Mandates Commission which condemned the White Paper. In a debate in the House of Commons in it May, 1939, Mr. Herbert Morrison, now Lord President of the Council in the Labour Government, declared bluntly on behalf of the Labour Party, "We regard the White Paper and the policy, in it as a cynical breach of pledges given to the Jews and the world, including America". Mr. Clement Attlee, the present Prime Minister said then, "The action of the Government” — of Mr. Chamberlain — in making themselves the judge of their own case, in taking action contrary to the Permanent Mandates Commission's decision and in disregarding the Council of the League of Nations, will cause very wide feeling that instead of acting on their obligations under the Mandate they are flouting the policy of the League and international law.
The Labour Party at its annual conference in Southport in 1939 accepted a resolution to the same effect. Mr. Winston Churchill was not less outspoken in his criticism of the White Paper. He said: "I regret very much that the pledge of the Balfour Declaration, supported as it has been by successive Governments, and the condition under which we obtained the Mandate have been violated by the Government's proposals." To whom was the pledge of the Balfour Declaration made? It was not made to the Jews of Palestine; it was not made to those who were actually living in Palestine. It was. made to world Jewry and in particular to the Zionist associations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in the House of Lords pointed out -that the White Paper imposed a minority status on the Jews in Palestine. "They" -- the Jews – he said,v "shall return in their National Home to that minority status which has been their lot through long centuries in every part of the world… "Whatever a …National Home may have 'meant…it surely cannot have meant that".
When the Land Regulation of 1940 was discussed in the House of Commons, Mr. Philip Noel-Baker, the present Secretary of State for Air in the Labour Government, introduced on behalf of the Labour Party a motion which reads as follows:
“That his house regrets that, disregarding the express opinion of the Permanent Mandates Commission that the policy contained in the White Paper on Palestine was inconsistent with the terms of the Mandate, and without the authority of the Council of the League of Nations, His Majesty’s Government have authorized the issue of regulations controlling the transfer of land which discriminates unjustly against one section of the inhabitants of Palestine".
In his speech, Mr. Noel-Baker stated "A year ago, the Arab delegation .told the London Conference that there were 19 million dunums of land in Palestine which they could not cultivate. The Jews have already begun to show that they can cultivate it. This will have to stop because it is the prohibited zone.” And he gave economic, political and moral reasons against the racial discriminations.
Seven years have passed since then; Hitler has been destroyed and the Nuremberg Laws are abolished in the whole of Europe. Palestine is now the only place in the civilized world where racial discrimination exists in law. Even if there were no National Home we should not acquiesce in such discrimination, We should not acquiesce in being deprived of the elementary right of citizens, the right of free movement and settlement in the county in which we live, of being deprived of equality before the law. But this is our National Home. Eighty generations lived and died with the hope of Zion. A great people and the entire civilized world recognized our right to reconstitute our National Homo here. And now the same Government that was charged with that sacred trust of promoting the Jewish national Home has put us into a territorial ghetto, condemned us to live as in Czarist Russia in a pale of settlement. In our long history we have suffered many cruel persecutions, but to be locked up in a ghetto in our own country, to be debarred from our own ancestral soil, lying derelict and waste, such cruel torment even we have not hitherto experienced. Is it conceivable that the United Nations should allow those racial laws to exist in the Holy Land for a single day after the matter was referred to them? The Anglo-American Committee headed by two judges, one English and one American, unanimously requested "that the Land Transfers Regulations of 1940 be rescinded". That decision was published on 20 April 1946. The racial land law still exists.
The racial law is not merely a flagrant breach of international obligations under the Mandate. It gravely endangers the status of Jews throughout the world. If the Mandatory Government can enact racial discrimination against Jews in their own homeland, why should not other Governments, who are not bound by such international obligations, be allowed to enact similar racial laws against Jews everywhere? The racial boycott which the Arab League has proclaimed against Jewish goods is not entirely unconnected with the racial land law enacted by the Mandatory Power. And even before an Arab State has been established in Palestine, and the Arab League have requested that not only should the existing racial land restrictions remain in the new Palestine State, but that the constitution should provide that this discrimination cannot be removed even by a majority in Parliament, but only by a majority of Arab members of the Legislative Assembly. This is the civic education given to the non-Jewish inhabitants in Palestine and to the Arab people in the neighbouring countries by the Mandatory Power.
I shall now turn to the second restriction, that on immigration. When the. White Paper was introduced in 1939, Mr. Churchill said that this was a mortal blow to the Jewish people. I am sorry to say, he did not exaggerate. The White Paper, in closing the gates of Palestine to Jews in the hour of the greatest peril, is responsible for the death of tens of thousands, perhaps of hundreds of thousands of Jews who could have been saved from-the gas-chambers had Palestine been open to them. Just before the war we applied to the Colonial Secretary for permission to bring over 20,000 Jewish children from Poland and 10,000 youth from the Balkan countries. Permission was refused and those 20,000 Jewish children and the 10,000 youth were put to death. There were times when Jews could still escape from Nazi-occupied territories, but the gates of their National Home were closed by the Mandatory Power and they were sent to their death in Dachau and Treblinka. I do not know whether you remember the case of the "Struma". It was a small ship which left Roumania at the end of December 1941, with 769 refugees. Roumania was then under Nazi occupation. The position of Jews there, as in other Nazi-occupied countries, was desperate. Jews, old and young, women and children, were herded into goods-trains and dispatched to unknown destinations, which meant death in gas-chambers somewhere in Poland. On many occasions, they were collected in the streets and machine-gunned on the spot. In the city of Jassy alone 8,000 Jews were assembled in the market-place and machine-gunned in cold blood. Whoever could do so tried to escape to the sea. The "Struma" was a cattle-boat which had originally been built for navigation on the Danube. The 769 refugees who managed to reach it did not care very much about the amenities of sea-travel; to get to Palestine or not meant life or death. The trip from the port of embarkation in Roumania to Istanbul took four days. The passengers wore not allowed to land in Turkey, as they had no visas either for Turkey or for their final destination. All the efforts of the Jewish Agency to get permission from the Government for them to enter Palestine were of no avail. The Agency was not even allowed to allot certificates in their possession to these unfortunate people, the reason given being that they were enemy subjects. The agony dragged on for more than two months. On 18 February, the Government agreed to allow children below the age of 11 to land, but it was already too late. The boat had to leave Istanbul. On 24 February, the “Struma” went down with 764 passengers. The refugees of the "Struma” were not the only direct victims of the White Paper, nor did all the refugee victims who came in ships die by drowning.
Some of them were killed by His Majesty's Forces, A few were killed on the eve of the war, on September 1, 1939, when the boat "Tiger Hill" reached the shores of Tel-Aviv and was fired on. More recently, in May 1947, three refugees were killed on the ship the "Theodore Herzl" which was intercepted by His Majesty's Navy.
In a debate in the House of Lords on April 23 last, a noble Lord, Lord Altrineham (formerly Sir Edward Grigg), who had been British representative in the Middle East during the war, expressed his horror and disgust at illegal immigration into Palestine. His Lordship called the desperate attempts of refugees in the camps of Europe to reach their homeland "a traffic carried on under conditions which really resemble the old slavetrade across the Atlantic". He knew that "the human cargoes do start out borne up by hope, but that hope is doomed to end in the most terrible disillusionment". He calls this unauthorised escape to Palestine an "inhuman process, disgusting and disgraceful".
I happened to be in London in the darkest hours of the war for England, when France had collapsed and Belgium surrendered, when England stood alone and the small remnant of the British Army on the Continent was desperately trying to get back through Dunkirk. They did not wait for the luxury of the "Queen Mary" and the "Queen Elizabeth", nor did they care about the seaworthiness of the ramshackle, filthy, little boats which assembled from all parts of England to save that valiant remnant. All the British people were proud of Dunkirk, and rightly so. It was a great military disaster turned into a greater moral triumph. We suffered a greater disaster in Europe than the British Army. Not a few thousands, not tens of thousands, but millions, six millions were put to death. Can anybody realise what that means? What that means to us? Can one realise a million Jewish babies burned in gas-chambers? A third of our people, almost as many as the whole population of Sweden, murdered.
Not all Jews in Europe were exterminated: out of 9,270,000 Jews who lived in continental Europe in 1939 — some 3,000,000 have remained alive '(including Jews in U.S.S.R.). Out of 3,250,000 Jews in Poland - 150,000, out of 850,000 in Roumania — 300,000, out of 360,000 in Czechoslovakia — 33,000, and so on. Hundreds of thousands of these survivors are still in camps, in that same Germany, surrounded by the murderers of their people; surrounded by the hatred as under Hitler. In a Gallup Poll recently taken by the American Military authorities in the American Zone of Germany, 60% of the Germans approached approved of the massacre of the Jews by Hitler, 14% condemned the murders, 26% were "neutral". The Jews do not want to stay where they are. They want to regain their human dignity, their homeland, they want a reunion with their kin in Palestine after having lost their dearest relatives. To them, the countries of their birth are a graveyard of their people. They do not wish to return there and they cannot. They want to go back to their national home, and they use Dunkirk boats. And here, as the noble Lord said in the House of Lords, “their hope is doomed to end in the most terrible disillusionment", as on the seas leading to their land they are hunted by the powerful navy of the Mandatory, and forcibly sent back to live in concentration camps again, this time in Cyprus.
And we were told by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. MacNeil, in the House of Commons on May 5, that "vigorous, extensive and varied measures are being taken" against immigration of Jews into Palestine unauthorised by the White Paper authority, meaning that pressure, economic, military and diplomatic, is being exerted by the British Government on the governments of other countries in Europe and America, to blockade the Jewish victims of the Nazis in Europe, to close all frontiers against them for transit and exit, to keep them forcibly where they are in order to preserve the sanctity of the White Paper. Even the machinery of the United Nations is used for that inhuman purpose.
Viscount Samuel spoke the mind of the entire Jewish people when, referring to so-called illegal immigration in answer to Lord Altrincham in the House of Lords, he said, "When the noble Lord denounces with so much vehemence the horrible conditions in which these immigrants are coming in and says that we must uphold the law, the governments of the United States and other governments are inclined to ask, ‘How dare you shut out these Jews and stop this immigration in defiance of the very spirit of the Mandate which you purport to administer?’". He continued, "The Government says, ‘We have passed an ordinance that is the law.' The Zionist Organisation says, ‘The law you have passed is itself an infringement of the law, an international law approved by the League of Nations.’"
When the war was over the war in which a million Jewish soldiers took part in the Allied Armies, including 30,000 volunteers in Jewish units from our country, when the appalling extent of our disaster became known, we made an application for the first 100,000 refugees to be brought to Palestine. There was an acute shortage of labour here. But it soon became clear that peace came not for Jews, and that Hitler had not been defeated — as far as Jews are concerned. He may have perished at the hand of the allied armies, but his venomous doctrines against the Jews still stand. The peoples of Europe were liberated — but not European Jews. Displaced persons of every nation could go back to their countries, where they found a government of their own people to care for them. But the home of the Jewish displaced person was closed, and strong forces of air, sea and land were mobilised to guard the gates. Then, even the might of the British Navy did not suffice, so the whole pressure of Great Britain — economic, political and diplomatic — was brought to bear "vigorously, extensively and variedly" in Europe and the Americas, to keep the Jews where they were.
Even the unanimous recommendation of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry to admit at once 100,000 refugees was turned down. Similarly, the finding of the Anglo-American experts that the country could absorb 100,000 refugees within a year had no effect.
The White Paper policy proved to be superior to all humanitarian considerations, to all the economic needs of the country, to all obligations and requirements of the Mandate. Such a policy could only be carried out by force and the Government embarked on a system of oppression which turned Palestine into a police state. All civil liberties known to English law were not merely limited but for all practical purposes abolished. Orders can be made for the detention of any person for any period or "during the High Commissioner's pleasure" without any process of trial. Thousands were in fact so detained and many have been kept in detention for years. Even persons convicted by the Courts were detained after having served their sentences.
Unrestricted rights of arrest, search, confiscation of movable and immovable property, detention and deportation have been reinforced by the wide powers given to Military Courts to impose the death sentence for the use and the mere carrying of firearms, explosives, etc. Liability to the same punishment is incurred by every member of a group if such an offence is committed by any other member. Searches of agricultural settlements, whether allegedly for arms or for persons engaged in defence training, or for "illegal" immigrants, have been increasingly numerous from 1943 onwards; settlers attempting passive resistance lost their lives on more than one occasion. On the 29th June, 1946, large army forces occupied 25 settlements and the premises of Jewish national institutions in the towns. Jewish elected leaders were arrested and detained for four and a half months without trial. An unprecedented house-to-house search of Tel-Aviv from 29th July to 2 August, 1946, involved over twenty-thousand troops. The imposition of "statutory martial law" in March 1947 deprived 240,000 Jewish inhabitants of all the ordinary mechanisms of social existence for over two weeks.
Apart from those peak phases of military activity, the month in month out regime in Palestine for years now has been one of press censorship, house curfews, road curfews, police and military searches, patrols and identity checks, accompanied by the shooting of curfew-breakers and of persons who failed to answer challenges. Whether so intended or not, this regime has regime has been in fact one of repeated collective punishment of the entire community.
Parallel to the official measures, there have been over the years recurrent unofficial assaults by police and military on the civil population — in the prisons, in detention camps, in the streets.
I should be the last person to make wholesale accusations; on the contrary, I must record numerous occasions when British soldiers and sailors carried out the painful duties of searches, arrests and expulsion of refugees with disgust and tears in their eyes, and tried as far as was consistent with their position to help the victims of the oppressive regime. There were cases of soldiers and sailors risking their lives to save refugees from drowning, and considering the spirit of the regime and the virtual lawlessness which it has established in this country, it is a matter of surprise that the unofficial assaults were so few It is not the soldier or the policeman who is to blame — it is the regime, the White Paper policy, the breaching of pledges, the violation of the Mandate, in short, what Mr. Churchill called the “squalid war against the Jews”.
(At this point, at the request of Mr. Ben Gurion, a brief recess was declared by the Chairman. The meeting resumed at 11:15.).
At the special assembly of the United Nations last May the British representative, Sir Alexander Camogan, candidly admitted the failure of the mandatory in Palestine. The Palestine Government has recently published a memorandum on the “Administration of Palestine under the Mandate” to explain the reasons for that failure. It tries to achieve the impossible — to justify the White Paper of 1939, to show that that policy was inherent in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate from the beginning. There is no need for me to refute such a contention. Again, instead of telling us what the Administration did to implement the Mandate, the memorandum tells us why the Administration disliked it. In this sense it is a revealing document. For the first time the Administration has openly confessed its hostility to the mandate in an official document. For the sake of truth I must say that this self-indictment is rather excessive. The memorandum is supposed to cover not only the period of the White Paper of 1939, but the whole period of the Mandate since 1922. It is not correct to say that the whole Administration was hostile to the Mandate all the time, as the authors of the memorandum seem to imply. There were people in the Administration who tried to carry out their duties faithfully without any personal bias. I could mention several names, but shall mention only Field-Marshal Lord Plumer, High Commissioner in 1926 and 1927, who as far as I know was neither pro-Jewish nor pro-Arab but only pro-duty, and he carried out his job honestly and simply as a straightforward soldier without fear or favour. When there was Arab unemployment he tried to find work for Arabs; when there was Jewish unemployment he tried the same fore Jews. There were people like him before and after. I could even name some among those who are serving in the Administration today, but I am afraid they will be embarrassed if I do so.
But it is true that, on the whole, this memorandum reflects the general attitude of the Administration in Palestine, as well as in some other places in Middle East and in London, which were biased against the Mandate and the National Home from the beginning, and did everything they could to obstruct the Mandate until they succeeded in superseding it by the White Paper of 1939.
A full and detailed analysis of this memorandum will be published in time and presented to the United Nations. Here I shall make only a few observations.
First of all, on the so-called duel obligation. While we still maintain that the primary purpose of the mandate was the establishment of the Jewish National Home, we readily admit that this was not the only obligation which was incumbent on the Mandatory. Even if there were not a single word in the Mandate about the non-Jewish population in Palestine it would be the duty of the Government as a Government to promote the wellbeing and advancement of all the inhabitants without distinction, Mandate or no Mandate.
If there are any complaints against the Government it is not that they have done too much for the population, but that they have done almost nothing for the National Home and very little for the inhabitants of the country. In our view, it is a fallacy to regard the duty of the Government to the population as a whole as in any way conflicting with its other duty, whether primary or not, to promote the establishment of the National Home. Even this memorandum does not deny that the Jewish effort “benefited the Arab as well as the Jewish section of the population” that the progress of the country as a whole was materially assisted by development and that the increase in the country's prosperity which resulted from Jewish enterprise facilitates the financing of measures of general development.
But the memorandum makes a great point of the disparity between Jews and Arabs in Palestine; a disparity there is, in mentality and social outlook, in public spirit, in dynamic power, and in many other things. There is also a disparity between people living in the twentieth century and those living in the fifteenth or some even in the seventh century. But in stressing the point of disparity the memorandum is rather one-sided; it brings it up as an accusation against Jews and gives it as a reason for curbing their progress. Now, if a disparity between Jews and Arabs is a defect which ought to be remedied by the Administration, then the Government should mention all the disparities between Jews and Arabs and try to remedy them all.
I shall mention only a few. There is the disparity in numbers. There are some 600,000 Jews in Palestine and some 1,100,000 Arabs. There are no reliable figures in this respect. There is an even greater disparity than that. The Arabs own 94% of the land, the Jews only 6%. The Arabs have seven states, the Jews none. The Arabs have vast under-developed territories — Iraq alone is three times as large as England with less than four-million people — the Jews have only a tiny beginning of a national home and even that is begrudged them by the Palestine Administration. The most glaring disparity perhaps is that the Arabs have no problem of homelessness and immigration, while for the Jews homelessness is the root cause of all their sufferings for centuries past. Some of these disparities were summed up by the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in 1939 when they said: "It should be remembered that the collective sufferings of Arabs and Jews are not comparable, since vast spaces in the Near East, formerly the abode of numerous populations and the home of a brilliant civilization, are open to the former; whereas the world is increasingly being closed to settlement by the latter".
Perhaps the most amazing statement made in that memorandum is the representation of the Jews as a privileged group as against the Arabs, who are shown as hewers of wood and drawers of water. It would be interesting to know what are the special privileges accorded to Jews in Palestine. Is it that, as His Excellency the High Commissioner has mentioned the other week, that the Jews pay 70% of the taxes while the Arabs get approximately 70% of the services? But the real mischief of that statement lies rather in the second part of the sentence, denying as the privilege of being "hewers of wood and drawers of water;" we. consider this as a great, true privilege. It was denied to us in many countries and many generations, when we were forced to live only in the cities, and in the cities we were confined to a limited number of occupations. We were forcibly divorced from work on the soil, and if there was an ideal, in addition to the love for our country, which animated the tens of thousands of Jewish youth who came to Palestine, it was the ideal of becoming hewers of wood and drawers of water, to do all kinds of hard physical work with their own hands, to live by the sweat of their brow. What distinguished the Jewish community in Palestine from Jewish communities in the Diaspora, is precisely that fundamental change in our economic structure, that the great majority of our people here are people who are doing hard manual work in the fields, in the factories, at sea and on the roads. In a Jewish community of some 600,000 there are more than 170,000 organised workers, men and women: that means more than one organised worker for every four persons, including the aged and babies. It is the pride of the Jewish Labour Movement in Palestine, that it raised the dignity of labour in a country where work is despised.
I had my first conflict with a High Commissioner in this country on that very question. Then I was not representing the Jewish Agency but the Jewish Labour Federation, and I came to see Sir John Chancellor, who was High Commissioner from 1928 to 1931, to ask that Jewish workers be given a share in Government road works. Sir John, who had come from Rhodesia, tried to convince me that the most suitable system for this country would be the one existing in South Africa, that the primitive, hard, unskilled work should be left to the “native," while the Jews should concentrate on skilled, better paid jobs. He was very much surprised when I told him that this was precisely the status which we could in no circumstances accept in our country. We were not here to form a superior class leaving the rough and hard work to others. While we are willing to use our brains we must and want to use our hands and do every kind of work which is necessary for the maintenance of society.
We had the same discussions with some Jewish employers among them the great benefactor of Jewish colonisation in Palestine the Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who set out to drain swamps and who for that job brought over workers from Egypt. We offered to do the work ourselves, and when he objected on the ground that that kind of work was unhealthy, we said that that was an additional reason why we should do it ourselves.
I could not understand this contempt implied in the, memorandum for hewers of wood and drawers of water. We believe that there is no more valuable and important work in this country, or in others like it, than drawing water. You have perhaps seen something of this work in the Negev. It is unfortunate that we could not do very much as hewers of wood, because many invaders and conquerors for the last eighteen centuries have ruined the forests of this country. But we delight in being hewers of rocks and stones, which still abound here. Nothing would antagonise us more than an attempt to deprive us of the privilege of being hewers of water, as the Government is trying to do. We believe that the homeland cannot be bought nor conquered. It must be created, and created by hard work.
Another complaint made in the memorandum is that the very purpose of the National Home has prevented it “from having a character other than Jewish and…prevented the assimilation of the culture of the Jewish Community with that of the Arab population." We plead guilty. We are Jewish and we are determined to remain so. We refused to assimilate even with highly civilised European peoples. Jews in Germany, speaking better German than Hitler, were not saved by their assimilation. We shall be as Jewish as an Englishman is English. We do not need any justification. We are developing our own civilization, our Hebrew language. We shall arrange our life and organise our notions and needs, beliefs and ideas. But this will not hinder — on the contrary, it will stimulate — our seeing in the Arab a fellow-man; a neighbour whose fate is bound up with ours and whose advancement is as vital for us as it is for him. Perhaps it may take him a little longer because of the age-old disparity of standards and other differences, but we shall do everything we can to help him reach the same economic, social and cultural level as ours. We are not the Government of this country, unfortunately, and while we are made responsible we have no power. We can only assist Arab advancement by our example and by our conscious private efforts, and this we are doing. But nothing can be farther from us than any idea of assimilation. We reject the implication that a conscious Jew who cherishes his beliefs and language cannot cooperate with a conscious Arab who cherishes his beliefs and his language. Even when we differ on political issues, we do not see why we cannot cooperate in daily life. There is cooperation between Jewish and Arab workers, Jewish and Arab peasants, wherever an opportunity presents itself.
In paragraph 8 of the memorandum we are told of the "anti-racial feeling which was shown in the riots of 1920, 1921 and 1929, and Jews were murdered for being Jews during the 1936 rebellion. In the countries frequently held out by the Arabs as exemplary in the matter of Arab-Jewish relations outrages against the Jews as such occurred: in Iran in 1941; in Egypt and Tripoli in 1945.” I hold no brief for the Arabs and I shall certainly not condone Arab riots against Jews, but there are two instructive omissions in that statement. One is the failure of the Administration -- here is the finding of the Royal Commission of 1937:
"’The first of all conditions necessary for the welfare of any country is public security’…Today it is evident that the elementary duty of providing public security has not been discharged. If there is one grievance; which the Jews have undoubted right to prefer it is the absence of security. Their complaints on this head' were dignified and restrained."
The second point is that it is not fair to make the whole Arab population of Palestine responsible for these riots. Not all the Arabs took part in them; on the contrary, very large numbers of villagers, especially those near Jewish settlements rendered valuable assistance to their Jewish neighbours, by giving them information about the Arab terrorist gangs. In these riots, especially in those of 1935 to 1939, more Arabs than Jews were murdered by Arab terrorists. All the Arab victims of Arab terrorism were from the political opponents of the Ex-Mufti.
In paragraph 11 of the memorandum there is a curious explanation of why the land policy required by the Mandate was not carried out by the Government. Two articles in the Mandate are concerned with land — one is Article 6, which requires the Government to encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes. The other is Article 11, which charges the Government with the introduction of a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, having regard among other things to the desirability of promoting the close settlement and, intensive cultivation of the land.
For the 25 years of the Mandate both articles have been entirely neglected. Now, for the first time, the memorandum reveals the hidden reason why the land policy of the Government was "retarded". It is due according to the memorandum to the specific mention of the Jewish Agency in relation to settlement on the land, because such mention makes the Arabs suspicious of Jewish agricultural development and this suspicion causes the land policy of the Government to be retarded. But is this the true position? The Mandate, as you know, applied until recently to both Eastern and Western Palestine. Article 25 authorised "the Mandatory to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions." In accordance with this Article all the provisions referring to the National Home and the Jewish Agency were made inapplicable to Transjordan in 1922. Moreover, Jewish immigration and settlement were entirely excluded from that part of Palestine. But Article 11 remained in force in Transjordan, and one may ask what was none by the Government to advance its land policy in that part of the mandated territory in which that curious excuse of the Jewish Agency did not exist. Why is it that Transjordan was even less, very much less developed than Western Palestine? Why is it that Transjordan is incomparably poorer and completely undeveloped? Why is it that in Transjordan the population has remained stationary for the past 25 years, and even now when it is made an independent kingdom it can hardly support itself. Again, we have another neighbour, Iraq, where that convenient scapegoat called the Jewish National Home and the Jewish Agency cannot be produced. For more than 20 years there has been a national Arab Government there and still the country is less developed than Western Palestine -- 95 percent of the population is illiterate, the mortality of children is over 50 percent, the sanitary conditions are at an appallingly low level and the Iraq worker lives on a far lower standard than that of the Arab worker in Palestine. The memorandum does not conceal the fact that Arab progress in Palestine has been much assisted by Jewish settlement here. But it is careful to explain that both Arab and Jewish progress is due to the Administration. Again one must ask, why are these beneficial results of the Administration not evident in the other part of the mandated territory, in Transjordan? The eastern part has remained almost as it was before the British Mandate, the western part has been entirely revolutionised both in the size of its population and in the state of its development, the only difference being that on one side of the Jordan you have the National Home and the Jews, and on the other side they are absent. I do not want you to feel that it is our view that the country has not benefited at all from the Mandatory Administration. They have carried out works of which no administration need be ashamed, for example Haifa Port and many excellent roads. I would especially point out the relief from the heavy agricultural taxes which oppressed the rural population in Turkish times, I would mention the Government health and educational services, although they serve only the Arabs. But all this does not change the fundamental fact that the Mandate for Palestine has not been implemented, its primary purpose has not been carried out and was very often obstructed even before the White Paper. The Mandatory in Palestine failed not because Jews and. Arabs did not cooperate, but because the Mandatory refused to cooperate with the Mandate.
The White Paper in destroying the Mandate has removed the moral and legal basis of the present regime in Palestine. It is an arbitrary rule based on force alone. It is contrary to the wishes of the entire population of the country, it causes untold sufferings to our people, it threatens our national. existence. It is incompatible with international obligations and good faith.
Now the question, the main and fundamental question arises: What should be the future regime of this country? It does not matter so much what name is given to the regime, whether you call it Mandate, International Trusteeship, Palestine State, National State, Arab State or Jewish State. Neither does it matter very much that the formal constitution would be. You have countries with good constitutions on paper and with bad governments in practice, and you have the reverse. Life does not follow paper constitutions.
I will give you an example of a name which can cover different purposes: the term or name "bi-national state”. I know at least two projects for a national state in Palestine which are diametrically opposed to each other. One based on the very denial of Zionism and the National Hone whereas the other is a full blooded Zionist scheme.
The anti-Zionist bi—national state is the White Paper of Mr. Malcolm Macdonald, who claims that his policy envisages neither a Jewish nor an Arab State, but a bi-national one. Although the Jews will form one—third of the population, the state will not be Arab, but will be shared by both peoples, and shared in such a way that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded. It even promises to protect the special position of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. This is a bi-national state which prohibits Jewish immigration, condemns Jews to remain a permanent minority and perpetuates the homelessness of the Jewish people
And there is another proposal for a bi-national state advanced by important labour left-wing group in Zionism, the Labour party "Hashomer Hatzair.". It is a project to settle from two to three million Jews in Palestine in the next 25 years. For that period Palestine would be placed, according to that plan, under the administration of a special Development Authority, the specific objective of which would be:
When independence had been achieved after some twenty to twenty-five years, the Permanent Supervisory. Commission would continue to execute some powers of general supervision until the United Nations decided that the new constitution was working well and that Palestine was ready for membership of the United Nations.
Jews and Arabs would be organised in two national, autonomous communities; when Palestine became independent, it would be constituted as a federation of these two communities. The Central Government would consist of four members, two Arabs and two Jews, elected by a State Assembly, composed of the two National Councils of the Jewish and Arab communities and of the State Council with half Jews and half Arabs.
You can easily see that, although these are both called bi-national state plans, they mean in reality two contradictory things. The question of the future regime in Palestine is really not so much a question of legal, constitutional arrangements, but a more fundamental question of the desired future structure of the country, the make-up, size and composition of the population and the nature of the development of its resources. The most crucial question is immigration. Here you are faced with two possible lines of action: the anti-Zionist line, which is that the constitution of the country should preserve the status quo, freeze the size and the growth of the present population, arrest the development of agriculture and industry, stop immigration and turn Jews into a statutory minority.
And there is another line — the Zionist line — that the regime of the country should be designed to realise the maximum development of all the potentialities of Palestine; to cultivate as many millions of dununs as possible out of the 18 million dunums which are at present uncultivated; to irrigate instead of 400,000 dunums as at present, at least 4,000,000 dunums; to increase the size of the population to three or four millions and afford full opportunities for the Jewish people to rehabilitate themselves, while raising the standard of the Arabs to the same level, and in this way to create a living example for the Whole Middle East, where Jews and Arabs will cooperate and work together as free and equal partners.
I venture to submit that the second line was envisaged and adopted by the statesmen — British, Arabs and Jews — at the end of the "first world war when a general desire for a new social order and new international relations stirred humanity. It was felt that the time had come to redress the ancient wrong committed against the Jewish nation and to give it a chance to restore its ancient commonwealth.
It was part of a larger arrangement which gave the Arabs their national freedom after many centuries of Turkish oppression. It is wrong to regard the problem of Jewish-Arab relations only in the framework of this little country. The statesmen who were responsible for the Balfour Declaration did not envisage merely the restoration of the Jewish nation alone. At the same time they provided for the liberation of the Arab people and they achieved this on a much larger scale and in a more effective way. The Arabs gained their freedom in an area of 1,250,000 square miles, 125 times as large as the area of Western Palestine with a population of some 15 to 16 million Arabs — about the number of Jews living then in the world.
This was the real two-fold arrangement made with the Arabs and the Jews. The freedom of the Arab people in their countries — the restoration of Palestine to the Jewish people.
The representative of the Arabs saw and acknowledged this twofold arrangement, as can be seen from the following preamble to the Feisal-Weizmann agreement:
While realising that the aspirations of the Jews and Arabs would be fully met — those of the Jews in Palestine, those of the Arabs in the Arab countries — the statesmen then were not unaware of the existence of Arabs in Palestine, nor were they unmindful of their interests. But these interests were limited to civil and religious rights, and did not comprise political aspirations which were fully met in the Arab countries.
This was the underlying idea in the agreement between the Emir Feisal and Dr. Weizmann. It contemplated an Arab State on one side — and a Jewish Palestine on the other. While it was stipulated that measures should be taken to protect and assist the Arab peasant in Palestine it was understood that Palestine should be a Jewish State.
All the promises made to the Arabs were fulfilled, most of them at once, others after some delay. The Arab political problem has been solved completely, and the Jewish people, not less than anybody else, congratulate the Arabs on achieving their full independence.
The promise given to the Jews has not yet been fulfilled. There is no doubt what the promise meant: Not a Hebrew University, not a cultural centre, not a community of 600,000, not a minority. British and Arab statesmen at that time knew perfectly well what the promise given to the Jews meant. The original intention of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate could have been achieved and the Jewish Commonwealth would have been an accomplished fact before the Second World War — if the Mandatory had implemented its mandatory obligations resolutely and consistently. I ask you, gentlemen, to imagine for one second that there were two or three million Jews in the Jewish State of Palestine before the outbreak of the last war. Do you believe that the disaster which overtook our people in Europe would have happened? Hitler oppressed and enslaved all the peoples whom he conquered: Dutch, Czech, Yugoslav and others — but there was only one people which he singled out for complete extermination, the Jewish people, because this was the only people without a land of its a government of its-own, a government of its own, a state of its own, which was able to protect, to intervene, to save and to fight.
And now I put the question to you: Who is prepared and able to guarantee that what happened to us in Europe will not happen again? Can human conscience, and we believe that there is a human conscience, free itself of all responsibility for that catastrophe? There is only one safeguard: a Homeland and Statehood! A Homeland, where a Jew can return freely as of right. Statehood, where he can be master of his awn destiny. These two things are possible here', and here only. The Jewish people cannot give up, cannot renounce these two fundamental rights, whatever may happen.
The problem of Jewish-Arab relations is not merely the problem of Jews and Arabs in Palestine. It is the problem of the relations of the Jewish and Arab peoples as a whole. Their national aspirations in that broader sense are not only compatible but complementary.
Nobody can seriously claim that a Jewish Palestine could in any way endanger or harm the independence or unity of the Arab race. The area of Western Palestine is less than 1% of the vast territory occupied by the Arab States in the Near East, excluding Egypt. The number of Arabs in this country is less than 3% of the number of Arabs who have gained their political independence. The Arabs in Palestine, even if they were a minority, would still be a part of that large Arab majority in the Middle East. The existence Of Arab States to the north, east, and south of Palestine is an automatic guarantee, not only of the civil, religious and political rights of the Arabs in Palestine, but also of their national aspirations.
But a Jewish Palestine, a populous, highly-developed Jewish. State has something of great value and importance to offer, not only to the Arabs in Palestine, but to those in the neighbouring countries as well. Even the small beginnings of the Jewish State, where Jews have occupied and developed only a small fraction of the country, have already had a marked effect on the advancement of the population in Palestine. Even now the position of the Arab peasant and farmer in Palestine is superior to that of the Arab peasant and farmer in Arab States. Our national aim cannot be achieved without great constructive work, agricultural, industrial, material and cultural, and this must, by its nature, raise the economic and social standards of all the inhabitants of the country.
We cannot fully utilise the water resources of Palestine, which are now being wasted, without providing larger irrigation possibilities for the Arab fellah as well. We cannot introduce modern methods of cultivation without the Arabs learning from that example. We cannot organise Jewish labour and improve conditions of work without similarly organising the Arab worker and improving his conditions.
As long as the government is in foreign hands, the impact of our development on Arab advancement is small. The theory of holding the balance between Jews and Arabs, which in practice meant muting and obstructing our work, was not only injurious to us but to the Arabs as well.
One may rightly ask: Why is it that a million Arabs can be safely left in a Jewish State and why should not a million Jews be left in an Arab State? If the Jews and the Arabs who are in Palestine were all the Jews and all the Arabs that exist in the world, this would be a very logical and conclusive argument. There would then be no reason whatsoever why one should prefer an Arab to a Jew or a Jew to an Arab, and only numbers would count. But one cannot ignore the fact that both communities living in Palestine are merely fragments of larger communities living outside, and both of them belong to these larger units and their fates are inextricably bound up with the larger units. By depriving the Jews in Palestine of a national home, by preventing them from becoming a majority and attaining statehood, you are depriving not only 600,000 Jews who are here, but also the millions of Jews who are still left in the world, of independence and statehood. In no other place can they have the desire or the pre[rest of word UNREADABLE] of attaining nationhood.
In depriving the million Arabs of the same prospect, you do not affect the status of the Arab race at all. An Arab minority in a Jewish State would mean that only a certain number of individual Arabs would not enjoy the privilege of Arab statehood, but it would in no way diminish the independence and position of the free Arab race. The Arab minority in Palestine, being surrounded by Arab States, would remain safe in national association with their race. But a Jewish minority in an Arab State, even with the most ideal paper guarantee, would mean the final extinction of Jewish hope [word(s) not readable] not in Palestine alone, but for the entire Jewish people, for national equality and independence, with all the disastrous consequences so familiar in Jewish history.
The conscience of humanity ought to weigh this: Where is the balance of justice, where is the greater need, where is the greater peril, where is the lesser evil and where is the lesser injustice?
The fate of the Jewish minority in Palestine will not differ from the fate of the Jewish minority in any other country, except that here it might be much worse.
We are against the continuation of a mandate, whether a British mandate or a United Nations mandate. Twenty-seven years ago England undertook, and I believe sincerely undertook, the task of settling large numbers of Jews in Palestine, sufficient to build a Jewish State. She failed in her task. It was a difficult task; it required great effort, it met with no light obstacles, and the Mandatory refused to make these efforts and to surmount all these difficulties. It was not a vital need for the Mandatory. e, too, encountered difficulties, even greater difficulties than the Mandatory. We met not only with Arab opposition, we met difficulties inherent in the nature of the country, we were handicapped by lack of experience and by lack of means. We had to collect pennies from the poor Jewish masses in all the countries, for the rich Jews, with few exceptions, were indifferent to our work and refused to assist us. We persevered. We could not retreat because we stood with our backs to the wall; we had no choice, it was a matter of life or death for us. Would a mother be deterred by .obstacles when saving the life of her child?
This is why we succeeded and the Mandatory failed; not because we excelled in ability, knowledge or experience — on the contrary — but because it was a vital, dire necessity for us; we simply had to do it!
What a single Mandatory cannot do, a joint trusteeship will be able to do far less. Intensive development and larger-scale immigration require a dynamic administration, constant initiative, quick decisions and continued action. An administration taking directives from different governments can hardly perform a task of this nature.
Nor can the problem be settled by setting up a bi-national state. A bi-national state, if it has any meaning at all, can only mean parity, either parity of population or parity of government. Parity of population is biologically and politically impossible; nobody can devise means to equalise the numbers of Jews and Arabs and keep that parity constant. Parity in government means permanent deadlock. For those who are satisfied with maintaining the status quo and freeing the development of the country, such a government may be satisfactory. But if development and immigration are the objects, a regime of this nature is utterly unsuitable.
Only by establishing Palestine as a Jewish State can the true objectives be accomplished: immigration and statehood for the Jews, economic development and social progress for the Arabs. With the liberation of the Middle Eastern countries from the decadent Ottoman Empire, the Arab race achieved its political aspirations. It is still very far from economic, cultural and social liberation. Formal political independence is not enough, and the more far-sighted people among the Arab leaders realise this very well. Unless the Arab peoples advance socially, economically and culturally, their independence is an empty shell.
When the Arab race was liberated, the Jewish people too was promised national restoration. The Jewish political aspirations have not yet been attained, but a great deal has been achieved in the economic, social and cultural fields. The historic interests and aspirations of the Jews and Arabs are not mutually exclusive — they are complementary and interconnected. Each one of them has in abundance what the other needs.
Cooperation between Jews and Arabs will prove the truest blessing for both peoples. Such a cooperation can rest only upon — equality. Nothing will further the Jewish-Arab alliance more than the establishment of the Jewish State. The present tension and unrest, once the main problem is finally settled, will give place to a new orientation among these two Semitic peoples.
The United Nations possess the necessary authority to undertake that great act of statesmanship, which would change the face of the entire Middle East and free the energies of the Arab and Jewish peoples for a great constructive effort.
You will achieve your mission successfully when you restore freedom to Palestine, give justice to the Jewish people and stability, progress and prosperity to the Middle East.
These three objectives can be accomplished by the immediate abolition of the White Paper, the establishment of a Jewish State and the promotion of a Jewish-Arab alliance.
CHAIRMAN: Under what heading is the evidence from the Jewish side to fall?
Mr. BEN GURION: Now, a Member of the Jewish Agency, Rabbi Fishman, will make observations on the religious groups of our movement and work.
CHAIRMAN: And what will follow after that?
Mr. BEN GURION: if you will prefer, questions to the first two witnesses.
CHAIRMAN: I should like to hear under which headings the following evidence is to be given because I do not know if we have all the necessary material on which to base our questions on the chapter which has just ended. Though you term this conflict as primarily one between a small meek people and a powerful world Empire, that it is to say between the Jewish people and the British Empire, do you still say that the case is a "complicated one?" It involves first, you say, "relations between Jews and Gentiles; second, relations between the Jewish National Home and the Mandatory Power; third, relations between Jews and Arabs." I have the impression that you have treated here more the relations between the Jewish National Home and the Mandatory Power, and that a further development about the relations between Jews and Arabs is still to come.
Mr. BEN GURION: Yes, that was the last section of my address -- about the Jewish-Arab relations.
CHAIRMAN: Yes, but is there no further development still to come?
Mr. BEN GURION: There will be, sir, in the evidence given on the economic development of the country, and if you will raise the questions which I did not cover then you will be given all the material, information and explanations.
CHAIRMAN: Yes, but I want to avoid putting questions now which might be answered in the next chapter.
Mr. BEN GURION: Well, it is left to you, sir, to arrange the work of the Commission.
CHAIRMAN: If a further development about the Arab and the Jewish relations is still forthcoming, I think it would be wise to put off the questioning until we have also heard that chapter.
Mr. BEN GURION: As you like.
Mr. GARCIA GRANADOS (Guatemala): Mr. Gurion, I think that the Agency has a competent staff of lawyers. I should like to put some questions during the next meetings about regulations in Palestine, especially emergency regulations. As it would be possible that the representative of the Agency would say he does not know exactly or that he does not have the legal knowledge to answer these questions, I should like you to bring here ore of the members of your staff of lawyers in order that he can advise you on those questions.
Mr. BEN GURION: We will do it gladly, sir.
CHAIRMAN: I recognize Rabbi Fishman.
(Rabbi Fishman took his place at the table)
Rabbi FISHMAN: Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, is the representative of religious wing of the Zionist Movement on the Executive of the Jewish Agency, I would begin by recalling the eternal bond between the Jewish People and this country -- the Land of Israel. There is an indissoluble bond between the People of Israel and its Torah (religion), and there is similarly a strong and enduring. Tie between our People and this land, the like of which is not to be found elsewhere.
About eighteen hundred years ago -- a century or so after pagan Rome had robbed us of our country – a Jewish sage said that Palestine had been given to the Jewish People because it was preeminently suited to its nature and character. The peculiar features and characteristics of this country and its geographical position, surrounded as it is by sea, desert and mountains, made it indeed a fit home for a people of distinctive outlook and spiritual traditions. Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, who lived over eight hundred years ago, and was one of the greatest Jewish figures of the Middle Ages, a physician, philosopher, and poet, perhaps the most Hebrew spirit since the days of the Prophets, was wont to stress the unique character of this attachment. The period in which he lived was one of prosperity for the Jews of Spain, where he was born. They enjoyed full civic and political rights. Nevertheless he insisted that the Jewish People in the Diaspora was a body without a heart and a soul. He wrote: "Neither in the East nor in the West is there a place of assured hope for us." There was only one cure he could prescribe for his dispersed people: to return and settle in the Land of Israel.
The bond between the People of Israel and the Holy Land was maintained throughout the ages and lands of our exile. It was upheld by the leaders of the Nation in successive generations: the Sages of the Talmud and Midrash, the rabbis of Helakhic and Midrashic literature, the Jewish pilgrims and travellers who recorded their experiences and impressions of the Holy Land. Sermons were preached in the synagogues and houses of study concerning the sanctity of the ancestral homeland. Legends and traditions were handed down embodying ancient memories and historical associations. In every age the leaders of the Jewish People in every land were busily engaged in activities for the benefit of the Jewish population of the Holy Land. There were many movements of re-immigration to Palestine, among the most notable being those of the Jews expelled from Spain and, about 150 years ago, of the Jews of Lithuania, Poland and the Ukraine. All these helped to strengthen the spiritual tie between the Jewish People and its historic homeland, a tie that will never be sundered.
Permit me to dwell on some aspects of this unbreakable attachment.
It was in the Prophetical Books that mention was first made of "Erets Israel" (the "Land of Israel"). This, and not Palestine, is the historic name of the country. It has been known as such to the Jews from the times of the Prophets to the present day. The Books of the Prophets convey a picture of our country in all its aspects. They describe its boundaries, districts and cities; they recount its history from the days of Joshua's conquest to the return, from Babylon in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. It is from these sources that archaeologists and historians derive their basic knowledge. Often Jews, reading in distant lands the story of the country and its historic places, have reconstructed in their imagination forgotten episodes from bygone happy days. As in a vision the ancient places would become real to them, and they would be seized with an ardent yearning to make the ascent to the Land of Israel and kiss its soil.
From the time of Joshua to the present day, for a period of 3,318 years -- I am only stating here what is known to every historian -- Jews have lived in the Land of Israel in unbroken sequence. After the destruction of the first Temple by Babylon, and again after the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans, Jews continued to dwell on this sacred soil. Those who were exiled to foreign lands strove at all times to strengthen the Jewish population of Palestine materially and spiritually, and to extend it and ensure its continuance. I would also point out that, since the ancient Jewish Commonwealth was destroyed Palestine has never been an independent State.
After the advent of pagan Rome, which persecuted Christianity as well as Judaism, and which destroyed the Jewish kingdom, our nation was rendered homeless and was scared all over the globe. To the world at large the Jewish people after its terrible fall appeared like a scattered flock of wandering sheep. Such would, indeed, have been their fate had it not been for their great past in this country and their unquenchable hope of a coming restoration. This unique past lived on in the heart of the people and encompassed it on all sides. Every Jew whoever and wherever he was, heard in the pages of the Holy Writ the mighty voices of the past, the voice of the Almighty issuing from the lips of the Prophets, and beheld the ancient sites of his Holy country. From these he derived his hope and. unshakable faith in the future.
In another three weeks our people throughout the world will again mournfully recollect the destruction of our Commonwealth and our Sanctuary. On that day the ninth of Av we observe year after year an annual fast of twenty-four hours, assemble in our Synagogues and mourn the destruction of our land and people. On that day we give ourselves up to weeping and yearning for our homeland. Our people sit with bowed heads on the floor of the Synagogue reciting the Book of Lamentations. They are a timeless reminder of a tragedy the impact of which is felt to this day.
But this age-long mourning is not merely an agonised cry of dejection uttered by a people bereft of hope and a prey to despair. There is in it also a strong note of protest against the civilized world which has failed to extend a helping hand to our martyred people.
The memories of the Zion of the past have implanted in our hearts the hope of the Zion of the future. Zion, the home of the Prophets and the center of Jewish creativeness -- has been our guiding star throughout our wanderings in the lands of our martyred people.
The memories of the Zion of the past have implanted in our hearts the hope of the Zion of the future. Zion, the home of the Prophets and the center of Jewish creativeness — has been our guiding star throughout our wanderings in the lands of our exile. From the days of Daniel during the Babylonian Exile the present day —that is to say a period of 2,300 years — every Jew saying his prayer has turned his face towards Jerusalem. Three times a day, in the course of his religious devotions he stressed the connection between himself and his ancient home, praying for the return of his exiled people. The hope of a revival of Jewish independence in this historic land was the corner-stone of his faith. It was an essential of his spiritual life.
There are numerous religious precepts which can be properly fulfilled only in this Holy Land, and even those precepts which we are enjoined to observe in exile cannot there be carried out as they should be. The alien environment inevitably exercises a profound effect upon ourselves and our children. The life of the Jews in the Dispersion cannot be one of action, as in the life of any free nation moulding its affairs according to its own spirit. Living amid strange environments the Jew has been compelled to adapt himself to the standards and the spirit of others. In spite of himself he had to accept their values and suppress his own national and spiritual characteristics.
In a renewed Jewish national life in Palestine such adaption to others will not be necessary. There the Jews will live an independent, natural and Hebrew life, free from the coercion of foreign rulers aid the pressure of alien cultures.
Throughout their exile, Jews have steeped themselves in memories of their homeland.
For hundreds of years religious Jews have observed the practice when building a house, of leaving a patch one all square unwhite-washed, in memory of the destruction of their country. Throughout the exile every Jew has a. handful of earth from Palestine placed in his grave so that even in death he may be united with his ancient land.
To go and settle in the Land of Israel has always been considered by the Jews as a most meritorious deed.
Throughout the ages we find Jews making efforts to reach the land of Israel. The spiritual leaders of the people were among the first to translate that ageless yearning into positive action. On reaching the land of their desire they would write to their people in the lands of their origin, telling them of the beauties of Palestine and urging them to follow in their footsteps.
Up to a few generations ago the journey to the Holy Land was fraught with hardships and danger. Travellers would spend many travelling in rickety carts, on ill-paved roads and in unseaworthy sailing craft. Many would leave their homes and property, their families and friends, to wander from country to country in an attempt to reach the Holy Land. They were exposed to persecution and mockery, an easy prey to robbers and cut-throats. Yet they willingly risked all these privations to accomplish their hearts' desire and for the many who perished on the way the Holy Land was their dying thought. Those who were fortunate enough to reach their destination arrived for the most part utterly destitute. They lived in great poverty and frequently in fear of their very lives, for conditions were most insecure. It was only because of their great love for the country, because of their conviction that by settling in the Land of Israel they were obeying a major precept of the Torah and hastening the redemption of the land and the people, that they were able to hold out. They accepted the tribulations bound up with life in Palestine in those days with love and it was they who paved the way for the pioneers of the national revival in modern times.
In our view it is the duty of every Jew to come and live in Palestine; and any regulation restricting the fulfilment of this commandment is not only devoid of legal authority, but positively sinful. This land was once ours and by the grace of Heaven it will be ours again and a new Jewish Commonwealth will arise in it. No power in the world can stop us from returning to this our land. To make war on Jewish immigration is to make war not only against the Jewish people but also against what we believe to be a precept of our creed. Since the dawn of political Zionism, which was created by Herzl, many leading rabbis, including the great Rabbi Samuel Mohilever, have lent their support to the new movement. A distinctive religious grouping, known as the Mizrachi, was formed within the Zionist Organization, and it was my privilege to be among its founders forty-five years ago. The Mizrachi Organization, which is wholly religious in character, has been enabled, largely by virtue of its labour section -- the "Hapoel Hamizrachi" -- to take part in the reconstruction of the country. Dozens of villages, including collective settlements, have been established upon the sacred soil by "Hapoel Hamizrachi", to the glory of our nation and the Torah. We have founded scores of elementary and secondary schools, where our children are brought up according to our religious traditions, and where they also receive a broad secular education. These schools are scattered throughout the country, and they are exercising a most profound influence.
The religious grouping within the Zionist Movement — it numbers tens of thousands of members — calls for the establishment of the Land of Israel as a Jewish State for religious as well as for political reasons. In its view, the revival of our Religion and the observance of its commandments in their entirety are possible only in an independent Jewish Palestine free from foreign control. Religious Jewry wants to .see the new Jewish life in this country built up on the eternal foundations of the law of Israel. We do not however refuse to cooperate with non-religious Jews in the building up of the country. The precept to reclaim and rebuild this land is so holy, that whoever engages in the task, even if he is not religious, becomes sanctified thereby. We firmly believe that the holy character of this effort will also influence the non-religious builders, and that eventually they or their children will proceed along the path of the revealed Law and Jewish tradition. Such is our hope.
Here I wish to make it clear that this hope of ours does not entail the establishment of a theocratic State in Palestine in the sense in which the term is generally used. The Law of Israel is a law of life. It was vouchsafed equally to prophet and priest, to the leaders and the masses of the people. It was granted both to the individual and the community that all might study it and live according to it. We must make provision in our State for all its inhabitants whether they are of our faith or not. We must see to it that all have a livelihood, and that all are able to live in their own way. At no time have we wished —— nor do we wish it now — to compel other peoples, even if they live in our midst as a minority, to accept our creed. We want our fellow-Jews to live according to our Law and tradition. But we cannot cast off those of our people who do not observe the precepts of their religion: the basic principle was long ago formulated by our sages, who said: "An Israelite who sins is still an Israelite." Our attitude is clear: the entire people, including all movements and parties, whether they obey the commandments of the Almighty or not, are members not only of one religion, but of one nation. They constitute a single, united nation. We exist not only by virtue of our religion, but also by virtue of our natural inheritance passed down from father to son, by virtue of our homeland, lineage and race. As a nation we have been persecuted; and as a nation we demand the restoration of our homeland, the Land of Israel.
In conclusion, let me state a simple truth. We cannot and do not want to adapt ourselves to an alien life. We cannot and do not want to trade our soul and spirit for civic rights or for all the rights in the world, quite apart from the fact that we do not believe we shall ever achieve complete equality in foreign countries. We do not wish to forego our right to exist as a nation in our own land in accordance with our on traditions. It is utterly absurd to query the existence of a Jewish nation, oven if we do speak a variety of languages and are scattered throughout many countries. We have only one homeland in the world—the Land of Israel. We shall never have any other. This is our country, and ours it shall be with the help of Him who chose Zion.
CHAIRMAN: We have heard the address of Rabbi Fishman. Does any Member wish to put any questions arising out of the statement?
CHAIRMAN: I understand that Mr. Horowitz is to follow. May I ask if a written statement of your speech has been distributed?
Mr. HOROWITZ (Jewish Agency): It is contained in the book I have supplied to the Committee, and is based on that book, "Trend of Economic Development in Palestine."
In my address, which will deal with the economic aspect of Palestine,
I would like to establish two main points.
First that the economic capacity production of Palestine is adequate to solve the problem of large-scale Jewish immigration with which we are confronted. Secondly, that the process of absorption of Jewish immigration and transplantation of the Jewish people into Palestine has had and will have a favourable effect on the economic condition of the Arabs in this country.
The first question with which we will have to deal is what is economic capacity of absorption. It certainly is not an arithmetical concept. There is no such thing as a fixed, constant, rigid economic capacity of per se inherent in any country. The economic capacity of absorption is a function of material and human forces. Space, natural resources, the quality of population, skill, knowledge, capital, productivity of labour and a number of imponderabilia such as the determination of the people or the necessity to strike roots in a certain country.
With the progress of the machine age and the development of managed economy, the material factors are decreasing in importance, in their effect on the economic capacity of absorption, while the human factors, such as application of capital, skill and knowledge and the determination of the people to reconstruct a certain economy are gaining importance. They are both developing in inverse ratio. The utilisation of resources becomes more important than the availability of resources. The economic capacity of absorption is being created.
I would like to exemplify that statement with several instances.
Palestine has an area of some 10,000 square miles. Approximately 2,000,000 people are living in this area. Sicily has exactly the same area and supports a population of 4,000,000 people; Lombardy, of the same area, supports some 6,000,000 people, in Belgium 8,000,000 people live on the same area. On the other hand, TransJordan has an area three times more than Palestine and supports only a population of 350,000. Had Iraq an area similar to that of Palestine it would support, according to the present population of Iraq, only 200,000. In Europe, which has an area only half as large again as the United States of America, the population is four times as large. Czechoslovakia has an area of 140,000 square kilometres and supports a population of 15,000,000, whilst Bulgaria 103,000 square kilometres, supports only 5,000,000 people.
This variation of density of population cannot be exclusively explained by natural resources. It stands in inverse ratio to natural resources and depends mainly on the quality of the population, on the economic effort, on all the resources of skill and capital, which are human and not material. Thus any definition of the economic capacity of absorption of a certain country per se as inherent in the country itself — any such limitation would be both far from the reality of the situation and highly wrong. There is no such concept as a static, constant, rigid, fixed economic absorption.
I would like to exemplify that point with another historical instance. A few years after the discovery of America, Sir Walter Raleigh led a few hundred people to what is now the most densely populated and richest part of America. They stayed there for about one and a half years, and were taken back to England by Sir Francis Drake on one of his voyages around the world. They did not find in the United States of America, in that area, sufficient economic capacity of absorption for supporting these few hundred people. The natural resources were certainly available, the area was tremendous, but there were other conditions necessary which were lacking in that particular effort.
The relativity of that concept of capacity of absorption is brought into relevance by the fact that that area, on which a few hundred could not exist, now supports millions of people on the highest standard of life on the globe.
That same fact is brought out by some instances nearer Palestine. There is a certain immigration of Arabs into Palestine. It is a controversial point whether the immigration is very extensive or only a. small trickle, but there is no question that there is immigration of Arabs into Palestine and no emigration from Palestine to other countries. Where do these Arabs come from? They come from Syria and Lebanon. These countries have a density of population 2.7 times less than Palestine. They come from TransJordan, which has a density of population fifteen times less than Palestine.
There is another phenomenon which shows to the same extent that these particular forces are much more important than natural conditions, these other forces being social development the ability of the population and capital.
There is an internal migration in Palestine. That fact was stated in 1931 in the Census of Palestine by the Palestine Government, a very competent and one of the best comments on Palestine prepared by Mr. Eric Mills.
He stated in that survey that there is without any doubt a migration of Arabs to the coastal plain. The coastal plain is the most densely populated part of Palestine. They come from sparsely populated areas to the coastal plain because Jewish development takes place in that area. Again, the human factors were more important than the natural conditions or resources of availability of space.
I would like to follow up that question of absorption and see by what instruments this preponderance of the human factor is becoming established. Let us take agriculture first. Probably agriculture should be more dependent on natural conditions and on space than any other branch. There are three main factors in the transformation of agriculture to modern methods. One is transformation of uncultivable land. Other members of the Committee have had the opportunity to see some of that work of reclamation. They have seen how areas have been cleared of stone, drained swamps, land other methods of amelioration of the soil. There is no such fixed, rigid concept as cultivable or uncultivable land. Uncultivable land can be turned into cultivated land if methods of reclamation are applied. We have seen land reclaimed and now serving as a basis for thriving, prosperous agricultural communities.
There is a second method — increased productivity —rotation of crops, rational systems of fertilization, cross breeding, improvement of breeds. All those serve to increase the unit of production, the unit of productive capacity. I shall explain that further and exemplify with some figures.
Jewish dairy farming, which yields 4,000 to 4,500 litres of milk per cow, per year, against something like 600 to 800 litres of milk per cow in Arab primitive economy. The average yield of the Jewish breed of hen is 140 to 160 eggs as against 60 from the Arab hen. The wheat crop of 120 to 180 kilos per dunum as against 70 to 80 in Arab farming is another example. Also the quantity of 900 to 1200 kilos of grapes in Jewish production as against 300 to 400 kilos in Arab farming.
These instances could be multiplied, and form a very serious and formidable proof that productivity can be raised by effort, by knowledge, by application of capital and by application of different imponderabilia which have a very important bearing on the economic absorption capacity. the determination to make good, the determination to grow roots in a country.
There is a third method -- the most important of the three -- of turning agriculture into a more productive branch of expanding its capacity for colonization of workers and its capacity to produce income. That is the shift from less valuable to more valuable processes. It is mainly the problem of irrigation. The problem of capacity of absorption of agriculture for new settlers is not the problem of arithmetic. It is not a question of area. The relation is quite irrelevant in that case. What is important is the income-producing facilities, the income-producing capacity of a certain area. We know that about one dunum -- one acre, for that matter -- is equal in income-producing capacity to five dunums of other land, and then irrigation becomes a very decisive factor.
I would like to illustrate the development of irrigation in Palestine on this chart (Diagram 23)*. We see a certain increase of the population. These blocks represent areas of irrigated land in various parts of Palestine. If you observe the extent of development you will see a very rapid increase of the irrigated areas of Palestine, which was much more rapid than the increase of the total population. The irrigated area of Palestine increased in that period about fourteen times, while the population increased by 144 per cent. That is, per head, of the Jewish and Arab population a five-fold increase in irrigated areas.
The shift from less valuable to more valuable crops is this: we distinguish in agriculture between two kinds of products. One is the product of extensive farming, the second is the product of intensive farming. The first is that defined as energy-producing food, which is mainly grain, cereals, etc, produced under extensive farming. The second is called protective because it protects the tissues of the body. That is a biological term, and these products comprise dairy farming produce, vegetables, fruits, poultry-raising, etc.
There is a general shift in the world consumption from energy producing to protective foodstuffs, which means a transition from extensive to intensive agriculture. Now intensive agriculture provides more facilities for settlers and can support more people on a smaller area at much higher standards. This irrigation process enabled us to effect a transition from extensive to intensive farming, from farming that supports few people on a low standard of life to farming which supports many people on enough standard of life, from a production of energy-producing to protective foodstuffs.
I would like to illustrate that with the following diagram (Diagram 20). We have here four main lines. The red line represents citrus exports. Citrus is a product of intensive farming, a protective foodstuff. We see a steady, permanent and increasing trend up to the war. Then the exigencies of the war interrupted. There was a blockade in the Mediterranean and the citrus could not be sent abroad. Now we see again the same rising curve, a steady increase in production of citrus fruit.
A second protective foodstuff and the product of intensive farming is vegetables. We see a spectacular increase in the vegetable crops of this country.
Then we have wheat crops. That is an energy-producing food. It is stationary -- it is represented by the yellow line -- there is no change. It depends only on weather fluctuations.
This development of citrus crops and of vegetable crops and wheat crops which remain stationary reflects that process of transition from extensive intensive farming which enables us to settle tens and thousands on the same area without detracting anything from the possibilities of the existing population, as I shall prove my analysis later on.
All that is correlated to the blue line, which shows the steady increase of the share of the Jewish population within the total population of this country from eleven per cent to thirty—two per cent today. Is that a pure coincidence? My reply is that it is not. The development of intensive farming is entirely dependent on the expansion of markets, and the Jewish population of Palestine created these markets for both Jewish and Arab farming and thus the capacity of absorption was tremendously increased by transition from extensive to intensive farming, from the production of energy-producing to the production of protective foodstuffs.
I would like to show the results of this process (Diagram 24) Here we have these blue and red blocks. The blue blocks represent the value of production of agricultural produce. The red blocks represent the area on which they were produced. Here we have Jewish farming. On 7.7 -- let us say 8 for simplicity’s sake — on 8 per cent of the cultivated -- not cultivatable -- cultivated area of Palestine over 28 per cent of the whole agricultural produce of the country was produced. Of course, that transition was very quick in the Jewish area.
In the Arab area of 92 per cent, only 71 per cent was produced.
That does not mean that the Arab farmer could not establish the same standards. Probably he could do so by application of skill, knowledge and capital. That will be the process in the course of time, as I shall show later on. But this shows how, on a smaller area, much larger vegetation can be crested, how the capacity of agricultural production does not depend on the arithmetical gauge of the area available but on what crops are produced and by which methods they are produced.
The next diagram, Distribution of Land and Population (Diagram 19), shows us the area occupied by the Jewish population of Palestine. The land area occupied by the Jewish population is shown in the brown block, that is, 6.9 percent. The Jewish population — that is the green block -- is 32 percent of the total; while 93 percent of the land and 68 percent of the population is the Arab share.
How could we establish 600,000 people, a third of the population, on 7 percent of the land? Of course, that area of land is insufficient. Someone might say, they probably live on agricultural produce, either imported or bought from the Arabs. However, the calculation shows us the following two facts: First, that 50 percent of the consumption of foodstuffs of this 32 percent of the population is covered by that area. 50 percent of the foodstuffs produced in that area is consumed in that area. In addition, this area grows a certain quantity of citrus, which is exported abroad and provides the necessary cash for the purchase of other foodstuffs. So, this 32 percent of the population is about 75 percent self-sufficient in foodstuffs. Of course, we must take into account also the export of foodstuffs from an area of something like 7 percent of the land of Palestine. Again a proof of how elastic the capacity of absorption is and how vastly it can be increased.
We pass to the second important point -- industry. Here the dependence on natural factors and conditions is even less pronounced than in agriculture. In ancient times, industry was mainly based on proximity of raw materials. This period passed a long time ago. The development of transport has made the importance of local raw materials almost negligible. I would like to support that radical statement by some facts. Let us take the cotton industry of the world. It is concentrated in England, on the continent of Europe, in Japan and in other countries. But in these three territories, certainly, there is a big cotton industry. None of these countries has cotton. There are two countries rich in cotton, India and Egypt. India has a certain cotton industry, but it certainly cannot compare with any of these territories. Egypt has a negligible cotton industry. One of the most important centers of production of machines is Switzerland, which has neither coal nor metals. Of all the countries of the world, Switzerland -- Belgium being the first — with the highest proportion of people engaged in manufacturing processes, 44.4 per cent -- Switzerland is certainly one of the countries which is the poorest in raw materials.
I would like to recall a personal experience. In 1940, I was invited by one of the heads of a department in the Government of Palestine to advise him, before his departure for the Delhi Conference. The Delhi Conference was convened to coordinate and intensify the war effort against Hitler, in 1940, by the whole Middle East and Far East. He told me that he was in a difficult position. What could he offer in Delhi as our contribution? This was the beginning of the war. We are a country poor in raw materials -- nearly none. What can we offer in the desperate situation in which the Allies are now placed? 'My reply to him was much more optimistic. I told him we had one very important and very valuable raw material which may prove decisive in our war effort. He eagerly asked what that raw material was, and I replied “brains [UNREADABLE word(s)] “. That statement might have been, at that time, presumptuous, but subsequent events have proved that Palestine was really the most important force in the economic and industrial war effort in the whole Middle East. That fact has been recognized.
Industry here is based not on availability of raw materials but on import of skill and knowledge and a determination to make good out of despair. History has shown that industries were established in that way many times. The wool industry was established by Flemish refugees. The Huguenots brought their industries all over the world with them. The Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia established the clothing industry in the United States of America.
The very economy of the growing population provides to industry the most important asset -- and that is markets -- gives a filip, a stimulus to that expansion of industry. Industry expanded in correlation with the Jewish immigration: the number of employees, 6 times; capital, 10 times, while population in the same period increased 69 per cent. Net output, 6 times; consumption per head, 258 per cent. That is per head, not for the whole population. This is shown in these two diagrams (diagrams 25 and 26). The green line shows the increase of the Jewish population. You can see the tremendous increase from next to nothing, shown in these three blocks which represent persons employed, capital and gross output, to this tremendous increase shown here, 6 times against 69 per cent of the population as a whole. This process of industrialization exceeded by far the increase of population. It is clearly shown here. Of course, it is done according to different scales. What is important here is the gradient. You see a very slow, slight gradient in the total population and in the Jewish population, and a very rapid increase in these three indications, capital, number of workers and gross output of industry. Here is shown the Jewish population and the number of Jewish enterprises. Against this is shown how industry kept pace and exceeded the growth of the population. Thus the capacity of absorption in industry was greatly increased.
I would like to emphasize again that the very growth of the population creates a basis for expansion of industry. Each industry has a certain technical, economic minimum. Man cannot establish a factory for ten thousand people, but the same factory may be established for one hundred thousand people. Otherwise, it would not pay. You need to establish it on a large scale to cover all your overhead expenses, and so on. Even today, one cannot establish an automobile factory in Palestine. Fifteen years ago it would not have paid to establish a glass factory in Palestine, but today, we have such a very prosperous concern. In the meantime, the population has increased and the very increase in the population has provided the marketing facilities. In modern, managed economy, the difficulty is not so much the technical process of production as the finding of facilities for the marketing, of the new product. And the broader the expansion of population, the broader the basis of industry by establishing various technical minima in new branches of industry.
Again we have a diagram (diagram 27) showing the increase of Jewish population and gross consumption of Jewish products. Not only did the consumption keep pace with the increase of population but the consumption per head of industrial products increased in that way.
Here we have increase of productivity during this period 1922-1936 and 1937, exemplified and reflected in these blue blocks.
I am aware that this whole process must have raised certain doubts and certain problems in the minds of the Members of the Committee. One of them, an important one, mentioned by almost every one who analyzes Palestine economy, is the trade balance of the country. How can it be that Palestine imported before the war to the tune of same fifteen million pounds and exported to the tune of some five million pounds? I would like to call your attention to this diagram (diagram 3) in which I have tried to explain that whole process. We have here three main factors reflected in these diagrams: The black one is the net trade deficit of Palestine; the red one shows the Jewish capital import; the third one is the Jewish capital investment. It is not the same; one can import capital without investment, but the yellow one shows Jewish capital investment. Now, if you look at these three indications, you will find an exact correlation between the three factors in their development. If Jewish capital import rises, the net trade deficit rises and the Jewish capital investments increase, and vice versa. It would be fallacious to say that capital import covers the net trade deficit. Capital import causes the net trade deficit, and that is obvious. What can be the material form, the substance of capital import?
Let us say that capital is imported for planting of orange groves. It takes the form of pipes and pumps. Capital is imported for the establishment of textile factories. It takes the form of spindles, looms and motors. Or, if we are to establish a metals industry, we bring lathes, shaping machines, and so on. Of course, this tremendous import of one hundred fifty million pounds during that period since 1922 must have taken that shape. Otherwise, it would have been very bad, had it not been accompanied by a tremendous import of capital goods, because that import of capital goods, which is the cause of the net deficit in the trade balance, serves the development of the country and the final balancing of the trade account. Because, when these orange groves for which pipes and pumps were brought over, bear fruit, they increase the export of the country. If a textile factory starts producing its yarns or materials, it will either decrease the import of textile goods into the country or increase the export of these goods abroad. So that the very net trade deficit is an expression, a material, substantial expression of the development of the country. It is not covered by capital import. It is created, caused by capital import, and it is shown exactly by that correlation of the three indications of Jewish capital and investment, Jewish capital import, and net trade deficit that it is not a coincidence. There is a wholesome connection between the three.
As a matter of fact, it is not a phenomenon peculiar to Palestine. Australia, New Zealand, the Argentine, and the United States of America had, for a long period of time, an adverse trade balance because they were developing. That was the material expression of their development.
Of course, in the first period, capital goods, means of production, must be brought into the country. A new community starts with production of consumer goods and not capital goods. No country with no industry will start producing looms and spindles. It will produce textiles. So, the first period is import of capital goods which must create a trade deficit. Of course, from one point of view, we are in a more fortunate position than all these young countries were in their period of development. There, also, the deficit in the trade balance was a concomitant of development, but they had afterwards the difficult legacy of that development. They had to repay the borrowed capital, because that capital was not invested in the country, at least not in a great proportion. The bulk of it was borrowed and they had to pay amortization and interest charges, which were a heavy burden on some of these countries, a very heavy burden, and created very serious and grave problems. We shall not have to deal with that problem because the capital brought into this country is not borrowed capital at all. It is refugee capital, or capital raised, for the express purpose of the development of the Jewish national home, by Jewish people all over the world. So, we will be more fortunate in that we will not have to contend with that legacy of quick and rapid development, repayment of borrowed capital.
Now, another problem with which the Members of the Committee are confronted. How does this rapid influx of immigrants in the 'thirties bear on the employment situation in the country? In this diagram, Diagram 5, we see two curves: The black curve represents the number of Jewish immigrants; the red curve, the number of Jewish unemployed. This diagram proves that paradoxically, at least on the face of it, they are in inverse ratio. The larger the immigration the less unemployment. Immigration seems to create employment. Of course, we cannot rely entirely and exclusively on that empirical evidence that there is an inverse ratio in development. We have to try to analyze it from the point of view of economic theory. And that was done quite convincingly and adequately by some English economists in their analysis of unemployment in the 'thirties. They proved that the usual notion of the man in the street that there is a fixed volume of employment and that if you bring in more people they are bidding for the same volume of employment, competing with one another, is entirely erroneous. That theory is called "Lump of Labor Theory". That was disproved completely, because each man added to the population is not only a worker, an employee, a producer, but he is at the same time a consumer. As economic crises in our modern economy are mainly crises of marketing, crises of supply and demand, and not of difficulty of production. So that with increased population a great filip, a great stimulus is given to development of agricultural and industrial production. We have witnessed that in Palestine that unemployment must decrease. Immigration created employment. Unemployment was always in inverse ratio to immigration. That is proved by the inverse ratio in figures and facts in these two factors, and also by economic theory.
I would like to touch on another problem. How was the government revenue and development of government services affected by this immigration? This is very important. New population requires new services, new communications. It imposes a certain burden on the Government. The question is how can the fiscal system of the Government keep pace with this new immigration. We have here in this diagram (Diagram 28) two curves. One is a red curve which represents Government local revenue. In this case, "local”, means not grants and aids from the British Government but what is raised here on the spot in Palestine in the form of revenue from the local population. It does not mean help to the local Government.
Here we show Jewish immigration. I think the correlation between these two curves is unmistakable. It shows how immigration produces not only employment but revenue for the Government. As immigration increases, revenue increases; as immigration decreases, revenue decreases. All the time, without the slightest exception, the correlation is absolute and consistent.
We have another problem which was touched upon by Mr. Shertok in his evidence, the question of the occupational distribution of the Jewish population. We brought into the country a population which was mainly urban, a population which had to be adapted to new conditions, and which we intended to establish on a sound and hearty basis of an occupational distribution which would be similar to that of modern, developed countries. The Jewish population in the world had the following occupational distribution: 3 percent agriculture, 36 percent artisans and manufacturers, and 61 percent in what are called tertiary services of production, services of commerce and all kinds of subsidiary occupations. This picture, in itself, shows a very unbalanced occupational structure. The facts were much worse than are reflected in this diagram, (Diagram 4). The 3 percent in agriculture and the 36 percent as artisans did not represent real agricultural workers but entrepreneurs. Here our primary industry is agriculture, and the secondary industry is manufacturing. We had to carry into effect a transformation of our occupational structure. We can see that transformation on the other blocks. Here we have Palestine, occupational distribution of Jews: 19 percent in agriculture, 27 percent in industry, 54 percent in tertiary occupations. These are not entrepreneurs; these are real workers. We have effected in one generation this complete transformation of the occupational structure.
The present occupational structure compares very well with the structure in other countries. For instance, in the United States of America there is 19 percent in agriculture -- the same as we have here --. 31 percent in industry -- a little bit more than we have here -- and 50 percent in tertiary occupations. In Australia, there is 24 percent in agriculture, 29 percent in industry, and 46 percent in the tertiary stage. Great Britain has 6 percent in agriculture, 43 percent in manufacture, and 50 percent in tertiary stages.
I do not want to tire you with these figures. I think it is sufficient to say that the point is illustrated by these blocks in this diagram. The occupational distribution of Palestine Jewry very much resembles the occupational distribution of countries with very healthy and sound economies, the United States of America, Australia, Switzerland and other countries. Our present occupational distribution is in complete contradiction to the occupational distribution which we had all over the world among the Jewish population.
Now I shall try to prove the second thesis of my evidence; that this process of transplantation of the Jewish population of Palestine and immigration into Palestine has had a most favourable effect on the economic conditions of the Arab population. I have here a diagram, Moslem Expectation of Life at Birth, Jewish Share of Population and Jewish Immigration, Diagram 7. The green blocks represent the expectation of life at birth. We see that in 1925, the first year for which we have reliable figures, in the first block, males and females, that the expectation of life at birth was 37. All my figures are based on Government statistics. Even if in some cases we consider these statistics controversial, for the sake of uniformity, we have taken all the figures on the basis of the Palestine Survey submitted by the Palestine Government to the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry. As I said, the life expectancy in 1925 was 37, for males and females. In 1945, the life expectancy was 49 for males and 50 for females, an increase in the life expectancy at birth by 33 percent.
At the same time, the share of the Jewish population in the total population of Palestine increased from 11 to 32 percent. I shall not go into the analysis of the cause and effect of this correlation, for the time being. I shall only show the correlation, the concurrent development between the increase in the Jewish share of the population and the general improvement and progress of the Arab population and Arab economy. Later on, I shall try to show that there is a close link between them. But, for the time being, we see only this coincidence, this simultaneous development, this steady and consistent increase in the share of the Jewish population and the total population and the increase of expectation of life at birth in the Moslem population by 33 percent. It is illustrated here: the red curve represents the increase of the share of the Jewish population; the green blocks represent the increase in the expectation of life at birth.
Now, we have worked out Moslem Expectation of Life at Birth. We have taken the whole period of time and analyzed the dynamic development in that period. Now we shall try to do the same in space, to compare Moslem expectation at birth in Palestine in comparison with that of independent Arab States. We have here that diagram. (Diagram 8) The important blocks are the three uppermost. That is the expectation of life at birth in Iraq. In Egypt it is slightly larger. These are the Moslems of Palestine, and to the extent that Iraq and Egypt has other populations than Moslems it rather colors the picture against my argument. I mean if there are Christians they have longer expectations of life, so that if you would have Moslems separately for Egypt, probably their expectation of life would be even shorter than here. But, as we do not have reliable statistics, I take the whole population of Iraq and Egypt -- even then we see a tremendous difference between development, the increase of expectation of life by 33 percent which is concurrent with the share of the Jewish population within the total population, brought the Palestine Moslems far away from the usual level of expectation of life in the Middle East.
The next diagram, Jewish Share of Population, (Diagram 9) shows a definite gain. If you look at the blue curve you will see an increase from eleven percent to thirty-two percent in round figures. That is the blue. Now the black line shows Moslem Infant Mortality in Palestine. Now, if we look at these two curves we see that they develop in inverse ratio. They tend always to increase in their discrepancy. It is a kind of opening scissors. The larger the Jewish share in the total population of Palestine the lower the Moslem Infant mortality. It decreased from 186 per thousand in 1922/24, a three year period which was used in order to eliminate any accidental factors, to 100 per thousand in 1944/46, a. decrease of 46 percent. This opening of the scissors is indicative of a certain concurrence. In the analysis of infant mortality, which is considered all over the world by experts as the most conclusive and clearest indication of the economic condition, progress, and cultural level of a population, a new system is now applied. It is the system of regional statistics. It was first applied in England and it showed a very close correlation between poverty and infant mortality, poverty and general mortality. The so-called "depressed areas" were proved to have a high in of sickness. The increasing infant mortality was most accentuated. In the most prosperous districts it was much less than that. Now we have tried to apply to Palestine that method, and I must say concurrently, the Government Statistician did it on the one hand and we on the other hand, not knowing one from another. And if you read in the "Survey of Palestine" the chapter on the standard of life of the Arabs you will find an excellent corroboration of my thesis here. It states exactly the sane thing, namely that it cannot be a coincidence that the highest rates of infant mortality are in those districts in which there is no Jewish colonization at all. It is most pronounced that the lowest is in the Jewish colonization. The lowest rates are in Jaffa. You see that in Jaffa (Diagram 10) this brown color shows very dense Jewish settlement. In Jaffa it is 81.4 per thousand, and in Haifa it is 117.7 per thousand. The two most Jewish districts, where the Jews form the largest proportion of the population, have developed the lowest infant mortality. The highest is in Bethlehem, 176.4 per thousand, where there are no Jews at all. In Ramallah it is 171.5 per thousand.
Mr. FABREGAT (Uruguay): Would you mind repeating the number please?
Mr. Horowitz: Ramallah is 171.5 per thousand, Bethlehem is 176.4 per thousand, almost double that of in Haifa and Jaffa areas. There are no Jews there, none at all. The middle districts with mixed population show almost in exact correlation. It is an exact correlation but in inverse ratio the larger the share of the Jewish population the lower the Moslem infant mortality.
Now on this new diagram, the Development of Arab Economy, (Diagram 11) I would like to show the development of the condition of the Arab working class in this country. We have figures only since 1939 for the Arab as published by the Government. We see these three blocks. The yellow block represents the cost of living. The green block represents Arab daily earnings in agriculture.
The red block represents the Arab daily earnings in building. Now if we follow up the yellow blocks we see a certain increase in the cost of living. But then, particularly since 1943, we see suddenly that wages in building and agriculture far exceeded the increase in the cost of living. That means that real wages, not nominal wages only but real wages of Arab workers throughout the agricultural industry increased in a very pronounced way, far above the increase in the cost of living. Here you see the development of the condition of the Arab working class as reflected in their real wages, an increase in wages in comparison with the increase in the cost of living in the two most important branches of the Arab economy — agriculture and building. The increase in agriculture was approximately five times as much, and in building it was about five aid a half times as much. Now we shall again apply our previous methods. We have shown something in the category of time. Now we will take again space. This diagram, (Diagram 12) shows the Average Weekly Wages in Industry in Egypt and the Arab Industry of Palestine. This is based on Government statistics. The Egyptian Government has published a special book on the development of wages in industry. Here it is a little bit against Palestine because at the time these statistics were taken the cost of living in Egypt was 291 and in Palestine 262. That means the difference is much more pronounced if we also take into account that their cost of living index was higher in that period of time. In January 1946 the difference is more pronounced. The red blocks are various industries, food, beverages, tobacco, etc. The red blocks represent Arab wages in Arab Palestine, the blue blocks in Egypt. I think the indications are unmistakable. Always bear in mind that the factual picture is more pronounced. Of course their cost of living increased more than ours in that period of time.
Here is an illustration of a similar development in agriculture in the non-Jewish sector. This diagram (Diagram 15) shows the Indications of Agricultural Development Crops in the non-Jewish sector, and he growth of the Jewish population. The tremendous increase of crops is correlated to the increase of the Jewish population. As the Jewish population increased, the crops, fruits and vegetables, fruit being violet and vegetable being green, increased tremendously while wheat remained stationary. Of course that is not a coincidence. [UNREADABLE WORD] it is the same thing. They started on the same way of transition, from extensive to intensive farming -- the Arabs from the production of energy-producing foodstuffs, which supports fewer people on a lower standard of life, to production of produce of intensive farming, vegetables, fruits, and so on, which support the agricultural cultivation which is much denser and on a much higher standard of living. That is not a coincidence. There are many Jews Who appear as buyers in the market and by so doing have enabled Arab agriculture to affect that tremendous and spectacular increase in their production of intensified farming.
I now show you a diagram entitled Indications of Agricultural Development (Livestock) in the non-Jewish sector and the growth of the Jewish population (Diagram 16). This diagram shows exactly the same as the last another fashion. It concerns livestock, fowls, cattle, sheep, and goats. Again there is a spectacular increase in cattle, which is green, and poultry which is red. There is very spectacular increase in the crops of the Arab farming coincident with the development of the Jewish population. Not so sheep and goats. They remain stationary, like wheat, because that is extensive. They produced for the Jewish market, and so they were enabled to raise their standard of life, and to improve their farming by the development of these urban markets. Again there was a close link between the two phenomena.
In this diagram we have Some Economic Indications in Palestine and Middle East Countries (Diagram 17). Again we apply our Method of checking our results by an analysis in time and by an analysis in space. We have Palestine red; TransJordan, blue; Egypt, yellow; Lebanon, violet; Syria, green; Iraq, brown. Import of Agricultural Machinery — that is Palestine. Imports of Industrial Machinery (mils per head) – they are heads of the population. Government Revenue, red. Health Expenditure, Foreign Trade -- all these indications are quite unequivocal. There are others which show the :inverse ratio. Palestine is lowest in Infant Mortality. In Government Revenue, in import of Agricultural Machinery, in Imports of Industrial Machinery, in Health Expenditure, and in Foreign Trade it is always the largest of all. In Infant Mortality it is always the lowest. In Number of Inhabitants per Tractor it is the lowest. In Number of Motor Vehicles it is the highest. So that if we can check our results in space, the results which we have gained by the analysis in time, we arrive at exactly the same conclusions. The Arab population of Palestine is in a quite different position from the Moslem Arab population in neighboring countries, and that these coincidences must appear curious if they were the only coincidences.
I now introduce the diagram on Jewish Anti-Malaria work in Palestine (Diagram 14). Here I approach the analysis of the causal link between these factors. This covers the territory in Northern Hulch area, Southern Huleh area, and the Boisan area. There is the incidence of sickness here in the last year and in the first year. If you look at these blocks there is a descending line. You will see one of the facts which must have affected the Arab population as well. We have the statistics only for the Jewish population for incidence of disease. But, obviously, the swamps destroyed the people without giving heed to race, creed, or, nationality.
This new diagram is entitled Some Economic Indications in Cyprus and non-Jewish Palestine (Diagram 18) This is the last diagram before I come to the final explanation. This is a diagram which shows another country under British administration, having no Jews, or nearly no Jews, and it shows the development in this country in various indications which resemble very much those in Palestine. I am referring to Cyprus. I do not want to contend, of course, that the past administration had nothing to do with this progress. But, I would like to emphasize that the main factor in this very rapid development was Jewish colonization, Jewish reconstruction, and Jewish development. We have (in red) Health Expenditure Per head of Population. Red is Palestine and blue is Cyprus. In red from 1930 to 1938 we see a very pronounced increase. At the same time we see a decrease in Cyprus. In Education expenditure Per head of Population there is a very pronounced rise in Palestine and stationary or slightly decreasing in Cyprus. But what is more important is the development of the population itself. We see the total increase in Palestine and the total increase in the same area in Cyprus. Now the natural increase was larger in Palestine due to the decline of Infant Mortality. But even more pronounced is the Migration. While Palestine, according to Government figures, had in the Arab population an increase of some two percent by immigration, there was a decrease of the Cyprus population by migration from Cyprus by eight percent which had to be deducted from the twenty per cent of their total increase, so that their increase really was about thirteen per cent. The natural increase in Palestine since 1931 for the Arab population is thirty-six per cent -- of that thirty-four per cent was a natural increase and two per cent was due to Arab immigration. In Cyprus the total population increased in that period by thirteen per cent. It is true the natural increase was also twenty-one per cent, but there was a migration from Cyprus of eight per cent.
Now we have seen the series of diagrams and indications. It seems to me that the very fact that so many curves and blocks converge in the same direction proves that it cannot be a coincidence, particularly if we check it by our results in comparisons in space and time, checking one another, and by analysis of another country which is also under British administration. Now, what bearing does Jewish colonization, Jewish development, and Jewish reconstruction have on the condition of the Arab population. Every economist will say that the import of 150,000,000 pounds into such a small country cannot remain confined to one community, You must have a percolation of that capital, a transfer of part of that capital into the other communities. There are various channels for it. The one is purchase of land at exorbitant, fantastic prices. Of course it would be quite unreasonable for an Arab to buy land for himself at the price of, let us "say, eighty pounds per acre in an Arab part of Palestine. He can get the same land at a tremendously cheaper rate either two kilometers east or north of Palestine. For the Jews that is the only place in which they can settle, so they are obliged to pay these exorbitant prices. That is one of the most important channels of transfer of Jewish capital from the Jewish settlement to the Arab settlement. Of course Jewish agriculture cannot develop for natural reasons as quickly as the Jewish population can, also for lack of space. The Jewish population buys extensively Arab agricultural produce and will continue to buy it. That is a most important factor for the population, two-thirds of which are farmers. For the farmer the market for his primary produce is the most important factor. Moreover, he produces building materials, stone, and like, all of which you have seen, Everywhere you see stones being (grinded) in the mills and worked by Arabs. There are new employment facilities created by the Jews.
And last, but not least the contribution of one-third of the population of the country to the revenue of the Government is, according to Government admission, two-thirds of the whole revenue, while the benefits (I do not say at the moment that I challenge that policy, I state only the facts) are distributed in inverse ratio. That is a factor which must have led to the development of the Arab economy. It was aided, assisted by the very fact of an example of such a model development by Jews: reclamation, new health services, all that, also to some extent directly assisted by health services. But that is a secondary factor and is not as important. The important point is the indirect effect, the provision of means and the provision of ways and a model of development. All these comparisons between the Arabs and the Jews explain the tremendous effect of Jewish economic development on Arab production and standard of life measured by both their standards since the extension of Jewish colonization work and that of the Arabs in the neighboring Arab States.
I would like to summarize now my evidence and emphasize the Salient points. The dynamic development which creates new economic capacity of absorption; the establishment of an economy of growing population which stimulates expansion of production and investment; the interchangeability of space and skill; the art of substituting space by capital and skill, which makes it possible to utilize on a much larger scale and more efficiently the natural resources of the country: all are shown and reflected by these analyses of the economic factors acting and self-propelled in this country. Thanks to the impact of these factors on the economy of Palestine, facilities for new economic capacity of absorption were and will be created in the future, leading concurrently to a further rise in the standard of life and to a further improvement in the condition of the Arab population.
CHAIRMAN: I think it is time that we adjourned this hearing. The hearing is adjourned until Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. (The hearing was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.)
*Mr. Horowitz made use at this point and subsequently of colored wall-charts corresponding to the diagrams, to which references are given in each case set out in "Trends of Economic Development in Palestine” (Jewish Agency for Palestine, May 1947).
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