(i) The Commission considers it as a matter of prime importance that civil servants of the Palestine Government should continue in the government service of Palestine. There can be no continuity in administration without continuity in the personnel and machinery of administration, at least until arrangements can be made for an orderly and progressive transfer to the successor authorities.
(ii) The Mandatory Power has advised the Commission that “His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would like to take this opportunity of making clear to the Commission its views as to the position of the Palestinian staff after the date of the termination of the Mandate. As the Government of Palestine, the present employer of all British and Palestinian staff, will cease to exist on 15 May, all appointments, contracts and agreements with that employer must, therefore, be terminated by that date. It will be open to the Commission or to any successor authority handing over to the Commission their former servants under any obligation, by the terms of their employment, to continue service with the Commission. In these circumstances, it is essential that the Commission should announce at an early date the terms which it is proposed to offer to Palestinian officers and also to those British officers who may decide to terminate their appointments with the British Administration so that the Commission may be given information as to what personnel are likely to be available in Palestine… If a British Civil Servant terminates his contract with the Government and leaves the British service, there would, of course, be no objection to his volunteering, if he wishes to do so. But I think that a good many of the officials there are members of the Unified Service and would probably, for the most part, be able to take service under His Majesty’s Government somewhere else. Consequently, it is not to be expected that very many of them would wish to terminate their service and volunteer. There may be some, but I don’t know.”
The Mandatory Power also advised the Commission that it was not able to second any British personnel of the Palestine Administration to the Commission.
With respect to the Arab employees of the Government of Palestine, who constitute some 62 per cent of the civil service, the Mandatory Power has advised that their was strong reason to believe that none of them would be prepared to serve the Commission.
As regards the British staff of the Palestine Police Force, a representative of the Mandatory Power pointed out that all personnel up to the rank of sergeant were contract officers whose employment would automatically come to an end with the termination of the Mandate. Some of the officers of the Palestinian Police Force were on contract. Most of them were permanent pensionable members of the Colonial Unified Police Service. Thus it would be quite impossible to absorb into other colonies all the police forces in Palestine. A number of them would have to have their appointment permanently terminated; that is to say, they could not be posted anywhere else and they also would be available.
(iii) On 6 February 1948, the Commission approved the following statement of policy regarding the continuance in service of the Palestinian official, to be circulated to all officers of the Palestinian Administration:
“In view of the changes in Palestine Administration consequent upon the termination of the Mandate and the implementation of the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the United Nations Palestine Commission states that it will be its policy to ensure the maintenance of existing conditions of employment for all employees of the Palestine Administration who continue in service after the termination of the Mandate”
The Chief Secretary’s Office in Jerusalem circularised the whole statement on 15 March 1948 with a request that the officers who wish to continue their service should in due course notify the United Nations Palestine Commission through Heads of Departments.
(iv) The Commission requested the Mandatory Power to defer any action on measures with regard to the payment of abolition benefits to civil servants in the Palestine Administration, in order not to prejudice the budgetary situation in Palestine at the time of the termination of the Mandate.
The Mandatory Power, reminding the Commission of the automatic termination of the contracts of employment after the surrender of the Mandate, stated that, in cases where the appointment of civil servants were not renewed on the same terms and with the same rights as those enjoyed under the Mandatory Government, there should be just terms of compensation for loss of office. Such employees would receive whatever retiring benefits accrue to them and such additional benefits in compensation for loss of career and office as offered by the Mandatory Power.
Recurrent payments (total pension commitment) were estimated by the United Kingdom Government at £P 935,000 yearly. The grand total of non-recurrent payments was £P 2,000,891.
The Commission his asked the Mandatory Power, if possible, to withhold the benefit payments for the time being,
(v) The Commission decided to issue a statement to the staff of the Palestine Administration explaining that the administrative policy of the Mandatory Power would remain unchanged under the Commission. The Commission approved, on 26 February, 1948, a communication to all the members of the Palestine Administration calling upon them to continue their service with the successor authorities in Palestine when the British Mandate was terminated, reiterating that it was United Nations Palestine Commission, as the successor authority, to maintain services on the same terms and with the same rights for employees as those enjoyed under the Mandatory Government.
At the same time the Commission requested all present employees of the Palestine Administration to inform the Palestine Government for communication to the Commission at the earliest possible date whether they would be willing to remain in the service of the successor administration under such terms.
(vi) The Palestine Administration has warned the Commission that most of the British employees may leave Palestine before the termination of the Mandate, unless their presence is required in Palestine for consultation with the Commission. The Administration has asked the Commission to indicate which departments the Commission intends to operate directly, in order that the officers in those departments may be retained until the termination of the Mandate, while the others, presumably, will be sent out of Palestine. The Commission obviously has been in no position to take such binding decisions, since it cannot go to Palestine until only two weeks before the termination of the Mandate.
(vii) The Commission from the outset; in accordance with the clear intent of the resolution, has considered itself as the successor authority in Palestine and has been duly acknowledged as such by the Mandatory Power, as entitled to inherit the framework of the Administration of Palestine including its structure, employees and physical assets.
The Commission wishes to record the fact that it has also received offers of service from several quarters Palestine. The Jewish staff of the Town Planning Department in Jerusalem has expressed its willingness to continue the United Nations Palestine Commission. The Jewish Agency for Palestine has informed the Commission that 4,500 Jewish Government officials in Palestine are ready to cooperate with the Palestine Commission. The Commission has asked for additional information regarding the grades of the officials in question and the branches of Government they were serving. Information has also been received that some at least of the Arab personnel of the Government may be willing to remain in the employment of the Commission. The Advance Party of the Secretariat of the Commission is engaged in further negotiations on the continuation in service of the employees of the Palestine Administration.