Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
League of Nations
31 December 1935
by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the
Council of the League of Nations
on the Administration of
for the year 1935
REPORT BY HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN
IRELAND TO THE COUNCIL OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF
PALESTINE AND TRANS-JORDAN FOR THE YEAR 1935.
Palestine lies on the western edge of the continent of Asia between latitude 30° N. and 33° N., Longitude 34° 30 E. and 35° 30' E.
On the south-west it is bounded by Egyptian territory, on the south-east by the Gulf of Aqaba, on the east by Trans-Jordan, on the north by the French Mandated territories of Syria and the Lebanon, and on the west by the Mediterranean.
The boundaries are as follows:--
--From a point on the Mediterranean coast north-west of Rafa, passing in a south-easterly direction to the south-west of Rafa, to a point west-north-west of Ain Maghara; thence to the junction of the Gaza-Aqaba and Nekl-Aqaba roads, from whence it continues to the end of the boundary line at the point of Ras Taba on the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.
--From Ras Taba, the Gulf of Aqaba to a point two miles west of Aqaba, thence up the centre of the Wadi Araba, the Dead Sea, and the Jordan, to the centre of the River Yarmuk to the Syrian frontier.
--The northern boundary was laid down by the Anglo-French Convention of the 23rd December, 1920, and its delimitation was ratified in 1923. Stated briefly, the boundary runs from Ras el Naqura on the Mediterranean east-wards to Metulla and across the upper Jordan valley to Banias, thence to Jisr Banat Yaqub, thence along the Jordan to the Lake of Tiberias and on to El Hamme station on the Samakh-Deraa railway line.
--The Mediterranean Sea.
AREA AND CLIMATE.
2. The average length of Palestine from south to north is about 160 miles and its extreme width from east to west is less than 70 miles, the total area being approximately 10,100 square miles inclusive of a water area of 261 square miles (the Dead Sea, Lake Tiberias and Lake Huleh). In size it is therefore comparable with Wales or Belgium.
3. The climate of Palestine, affected by the neighbouring deserts of Arabia and Nubia as well as by nearby temperate zones, is characterized generally by a dry, warm, but not excessively hot summer, and a mild winter with heavy periodical rainfalls accompanied by high, cold winds; frost is rare. But the typical climate is varied by the diverse topography of the country. In the south and south-west there are wide expanses of sand dunes and desert. The remainder of the country falls naturally into three longitudinal strips--the maritime plain, the mountainous regions (or central highlands), and the Jordan valley. Each of these strips, which are more closely described below, is climatically distinct.
The climate of the maritime plain is warm but equable; the heat of summer and the cold of winter are both tempered by the westerly winds from the Mediterranean. In the central highlands there is a greater range of temperature both daily and seasonal, and the maximum temperature is a few degrees lower than in the coastal plains. Snow and hail occasionally fall in Jerusalem and Hebron, and the winter storms are accompanied by penetrating winds which necessitate the use of clothing suitable for a cold English climate.
The Jordan valley is tropical. The high air pressure and the excessive heat in summer combine to produce most oppressive conditions, but the winter in this region is warm and balmy.
The maritime plain and the central highlands are both healthy, though the one, on account of greater humidity, is relaxing in its effects, while the other, through sudden changes of temperature, predisposes to chills and respiratory complaints.
4. The following records are typical of the three climatic zones:--
Mean daily maximum
Mean daily minimum
Absolute maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
69 per cent.
70 per cent.
55 per cent.
68 per cent.
51 per cent.
64 per cent.
5. Rainfall is of vital importance in Palestine and any reduction in its quantity arouses concern for the prospects of agriculture and water conservation generally. The mean volume of annual rainfall is roughly equal to that of the rainfall in the east of England.
There are two well-marked periods of precipitation. The "former rain" in October and November is not usually large; during December, January and February, the rainfall steadily
increases; in March it begins to abate, and it is practically ended in April. The characteristic winds are the moist west and south-west of winter and the dry north and north-west of summer. Desert heat is brought by the sirocco from the hot deserts of the south or east generally in April and May and occasionally in September and October.
6. Along the greater part of the western seaboard lies a stretch of fertile plain of sand and sandy loam soil. In the south this plain has an average width of about 20 miles, but it gradually narrows to the north until at Mount Carmel, near Haifa, the hills approach to within a few hundred yards of the sea. Beyond Carmel the plain widens again, but in this area it is marshy and malarial.
The second strip consists of two distinct mountainous regions divided sharply by the plain of Esdraelon. To the north of that plain are the mountains of Galilee extending beyond the Syrian frontier and rising to Jebel Jermak to a height of 3,934 feet above sea-level; to the south are the mountains of Samaria and Judea, which in places reach heights little less than those of Galilee. Most of this second strip of country is desolate and stony, but at irregular intervals there occur stretches of fertile land capable of deep tillage.
The plain of Esdraelon, which cuts so sharply through the mountain system of Palestine, is roughly triangular in shape. Though the soil is here of a heavier and more clayey texture than that of the coastal plain, Esdraelon is proverbially fertile and is especially suitable for cereal production.
The third and eastern strip of country is the Jordan valley, a natural depression which, starting from sea-level in the extreme north of the country, falls gradually to a depth of 1,300 feet below that level at the Dead Sea, about 100 miles to the south.
7. The capital of Palestine is Jerusalem, situated in the midst of the hills of Judea, and the principal towns are Haifa, with its modern harbour, in the north at the entrance to the plain of Esdraelon; Jaffa, a second port which lies some 40 miles west- north-west of Jerusalem; Tel Aviv, which is contiguous to Jaffa; and Nablus, the ancient Sichem, in the hills of Samaria. Jerusalem has a majority of Jewish inhabitants; in Haifa the Arab and Jewish elements are now approximately equal in numbers; Tel Aviv is an entirely Jewish township of 130,000 inhabitants. In Jaffa a large majority of the people are Arabs, and in Nablus, apart from a small community of Samaritans, all the people are Arabs.
Other important towns where the population consists of both Arabs and Jews are Hebron, 20 miles to the south of Jerusalem; Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee; and Safad, a remote town in mountainous country in the extreme north of Palestine.
The High Commissioner.
8. It was announced on the occasion of the New Year, 1936, that His Majesty the King had been pleased to approve the extension for a period of five years of the term of office of Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., C.I.E., D.S.O., as High Commissioner for Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
Changes in Personnel 1935.
9. Government lost the services of two valuable officers by death during the year, namely, Mr. F. G. Lowick, the first Registrar of Co-operative Societies, to whose zeal is due the successful establishment of thirty Arab Societies, and Mr. C. Lambert, a distinguished numismatist, who was the Departmental Assistant in the Department of Antiquities.
Major A. Saunders, O.B.E., M.C., Deputy Inspector-General of Police, was transferred from Palestine on promotion to fill the appointment of Inspector-General of Police in Nigeria.
Mr. A. Abramson, C.B.E., Commissioner of Lands, Mr. L. G. A. Cust, Assistant District Commissioner, and Mr. A. G. Turner, Chief Horticultural Officer and Citrus Fruit Specialist, retired from Government Service.
Mr. D. G. Harris, C.S.I., C.I.E., formerly Consulting Engineer and Chief Adviser to the Government of India and Provincial Governments on all matters relating to irrigation in India, was appointed as Irrigation Adviser in January.
Mr. Murray M. Jack, formerly Registrar of the Supreme Court of Kenya, joined the Palestine Service in July in the capacity of Chief Registrar.
Mr. W. H. Chinn, formerly Probation Officer at Birmingham, was appointed as Probation Officer in Palestine in April.
Mr. D. Edwards joined the Palestine Service as a Relieving President of a District Court, from Kenya.
Mr. R. O. Williams, formerly Assistant Director of Agriculture in Trinidad, was appointed Chief Horticultural Officer.
Mr. J. M. Taylor, formerly of the South African Citrus Exchange, was appointed Chief Fruit Inspector.
Mr. S. A. Cudmore, of the Canadian Government, assumed duty as Government Statistician.
Mr. H. Kendall, formerly in the service of the Federated Malay States, was appointed as Town Planning Adviser.
Mr. J. A. O'Connor, formerly of the `Iraq Government, was appointed additional Settlement Officer.
Mr. G. C. Kenworthy, formerly Director of the Marconi's Broadcasting Station at Nairobi, was appointed as Deputy Programme Director in September.
Mr. R. A. Rendall, formerly West Regional Programme Director to the British Broadcasting Corporation, was seconded to act as Programme Director and Adviser to the Palestine Broadcasting Service.
Mr. A. K. Barry, of His Majesty's Customs and Excise, was appointed as Drawback and Claims Officer.
Mr. G. E. L. Lord, formerly of the Gold Coast, was appointed as Assistant Auditor in July.
Miss S. M. Young took up duties in November as a Lady Medical Officer.
Mr. K. W. Blackburne, on transfer from Nigeria, was appointed Assistant District Commissioner.
Mr. G. T. Farley and Mr. C. M. Pirie Gordon were appointed Cadet Officers in the District Administration.
10. To the usual internal causes of political disquiet were added during the autumn certain external causes; so that, although public security has been well maintained, the latter part of the year has not been free from tension. The discontent among the Arabs arising from Jewish immigration and purchase of land has been constantly manifested in vehement speeches and strongly worded press articles; a certain restlessness was engendered by the Italo-Abyssinian War, and a new contagion of unrest came from Egypt.
The announcement by the High Commissioner at the end of the year of the intention of His Majesty's Government to establish a Legislative Council, though received unfavourably by Jews, was received with satisfaction by Arabs and exercised a tranquilizing effect.
11. Two breaches of the public peace arising from agrarian questions must be mentioned. In January tribal Arabs who were being evicted, by order of the Courts, from land at Hartiya near Haifa purchased by Jews attacked the Execution Officer and the party of police accompanying him with stones. The police were obliged eventually to open fire: one Arab was wounded and died a few hours later. In the same neighbourhood in August ploughmen working at night on disputed lands were interrupted by a party of Arabs, and in the course of the ensuing quarrel a Jewish watchman shot and killed an Arab with a shotgun. He was sentenced to ten years penal servitude, and three of his companions to two years imprisonment each.
12. A large quantity of arms and ammunition smuggled in a consignment of cement from Belgium was discovered in the course of removal from Jaffa Port in October. This discovery caused much alarm and agitation. It was assumed by Arabs generally (in view of the name of the consignee, who disappeared) that Palestinian Jewry was extensively arming itself, and their fears and indignation found an outlet in a vehement press campaign against the Government and the Jews, in representations to Government and excited speeches, and in a widespread one day's strike of protest on 26th October. At Jaffa the strike was accompanied by considerable feeling, and an Arab-Jewish clash was narrowly averted on the boundaries of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Another Arab strike, less general and of shorter duration, was declared on 13th November. This was mainly due to incomplete and misleading reports of speeches made a few days before at the Anglo-Palestine Club in London by the Secretary of State and the High Commissioner. There was also the usual strike on "Balfour Day."
13. Rumours of the formation of terrorist bands, inspired by political and religious motives, had been rife for some time, and on 7th November a police sergeant, following up a case of theft in the hills of Nazareth sub-district, was shot dead by unknown persons. This event quickly led up to the discovery of the existence in that neighbourhood of an armed band under the leadership of Sheikh Izzed Din al Qassam, a political refugee from Syria, possessing no little reputation as a man of religion, and already strongly suspected of being concerned in terroristic acts a few years ago. A few days later a police patrol fell in with one of the band, who, after an exchange of shots, was killed. On 20th November a sudden shot fired at a post of police searching the hills a few miles west of Jenin led to the discovery of the main band; in the ensuing fight four of them were killed and five captured, another being arrested some days later. One British constable was shot dead and another wounded. The band was well supplied with arms and ammunition. The funeral of Sheikh Izzed Din at Haifa was attended by a very large concourse, and in spite of the efforts of leading Moslems there to maintain order a certain amount of demonstration and stone-throwing occurred.
The death of Sheikh Izzed Din sent a strong wave of sentiment through political and other circles in the country, and the Arabic press united to pay him the tributes of a martyr in articles charged with patriotic emotion.
14. After a certain exacerbation of inter-party feeling in the first half of the year, efforts were made towards party union, and in the latter part of the year the five organized political parties, the Palestine Arab Party, the Defence Party, the Reform Party, the National Bloc, and the Arab Youth Party, were acting together.
15. On the occasion of the birthday of His late Majesty in June, the High Commissioner announced his decision to extend a generous measure of clemency to those still serving sentences of imprisonment as a result of the 1929 disturbances. Fourteen prisoners were immediately released, and life sentences on those who had been sentenced to death but reprieved were so reduced as to bring about their release in 1936. At the same time the High Commissioner remitted the whole of the outstanding amount of the collective fines imposed on account of the 1929 disturbances upon certain Arab villages and town-quarters in the Jerusalem, Gaza and Hebron sub-districts. General satisfaction was shown by Arabs and Jews throughout the country at these acts of clemency.
16. A number of minor accidents occurred in Tel Aviv in the summer and autumn in which passing Arabs were assaulted by Jews or Arabs forcibly prevented from working for Jews. The Municipal Council of Tel Aviv published an appeal to the populace to be of good behaviour and the General Federation of Jewish Labour co-operated. To these measures and to exemplary sentences passed by the Courts may be attributed the fact that there was a marked diminution in the number of these incidents.
17. Crime (other than agrarian crime) showed on the whole a distinct rise. In particular there was a large and disturbing increase of petty theft and housebreaking in Tel Aviv, and also in Jaffa. Three police officers of Tel Aviv were discharged during the year for aiding and abetting criminals or suppressing evidence of crime.
An Ordinance, entitled the Gaming Ordinance, 1935, was passed to replace the provisions of the Ottoman Penal Code on the subject of unlawful gaming and in particular to enable the authorities to control the growing tendency to instal "gambling machines" in hotels and cafés.
18. Thanks to the special measures taken to improve frontier control, illegal immigration has been considerably reduced. It was discovered that an organization for smuggling Jewish immigrants had accomplices in the Department of Migration, and appropriate action has been taken against them.
19. Agrarian crime diminished. The damaging of trees has long been rather a speciality of the Samaria District, but even there it is being gradually suppressed. The number of cases in 1935 was 230, compared with 340 in 1934, 559 in 1933, and 906 in 1932. The Police dogs have frequently been used in detecting the perpetrators of agrarian or other crimes, with an efficacy which has established their value as an aid in the apprehension of offenders and has created a very useful deterrent impression in the minds of villagers.
20. The Traffic Section of the Police Force has been considerably strengthened during the year and its system of road patrols extended. It has had the co-operation of the Automobile Association of Palestine, which has supplemented the road signs erected by the Department of Public Works. Crossing places and islands, particularly at dangerous turns, have done much to diminish road accidents. Both drivers and pedestrians seem to be learning to use greater care, but accidents are still too frequent. A by-pass from Tel Aviv to the Jaffa-Jerusalem main road has considerably decreased the congestion of the approach to Jaffa; and some relief has been given to the Latrun-Jerusalem section by the opening of a good second-class road from Latrun to Ramallah, which now takes part of the north-bound traffic from Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
21. Stimulated by a series of events in the autumn, the chief of which have been mentioned above, the Arabic newspapers reached during a period of two months an exceptional degree of vehemence. No newspapers were prosecuted during the year, but three Arabic and one Hebrew newspaper were suspended (for periods varying from one to three months) and two Arabic and one Hebrew newspaper warned, under the provisions of the Press Ordinance. Three foreign newspapers were excluded from Palestine for varying periods.
22. In last year's Report will be found the text of a declaration made by the High Commissioner in December of that year foreshadowing the presentation of proposals for the establishment of a Legislative Council. Before leaving for England in August he held a series of preliminary conversations on this subject, and during his leave continued the study and discussion of it with the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
By December the scheme had taken shape, and on the 21st and 22nd of that month the High Commissioner announced successively, and in detail, to the Arab and to the Jewish leaders Government's proposals for the Legislative Council. Those present on the first occasion were the representatives of the five organized Parties, namely Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, Jamal Eff. al Husseini, Ishaq Bey al Budeiri, Abdul Latif Bey Salah, Yakub Eff. Ghussein, Yakub Eff. Farraj, and Alfred Eff. Rok: and on the second occasion, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Mr. David Ben Gurion, Mr. M. Shertok, Mr. I. Ben Zvi, Mr. A. Almalech and Rabbi M. Blau.
The following is the text of the High Commissioner's announcement:--
"Before explaining Government proposals as to the establishment of a Legislative Council for Palestine, in accordance with the pledge given by His Majesty's Government, I wish to recall to your minds that ever since the statement I made at Geneva some three years ago, I have given much thought, and sought the opinions of others, before deciding the lines on which a Legislative Council should be formed.
"I said at Geneva that before forming a Legislative Council I wished to see the working of Municipal Councils under the Municipal Corporations Ordinance.
"These Municipal Councils are now, in my judgment, working satisfactorily, and I feel confident that if Government proposals for a Legislative Council are put into force, the Council will work for the general good of the people of Palestine.
"The intention of His Majesty's Government in amending the Constitution of Palestine by introducing a Legislative Council is, in accordance with its long established tradition and common practice, to secure the advice and assistance of the people of the country in carrying on the government of the country. It is, as you know, one of our obligations to secure the development of self-governing institutions.
"In order to secure these objects, we propose to throw open to the Council a wide field for debate and to impose on its deliberations such restrictions only as are essential to enable the High Commissioner to discharge his responsibilities and to fulfil the international obligations of His Majesty's Government.
"I feel convinced that the Council will approach its duties with a real sense of responsibility, and will appreciate the difficulties of many of the problems which will come before it.
"Consequently I am confident that the occasions for applying these restrictions will be rare, and will not detract from the fundamental motive underlying our proposals, namely, that of securing through the Legislative Council the welfare and advancement of the people of Palestine.
"Good order and security of person and property are essential to the welfare of every State, but goodwill is the basic element of well being: it is my belief that by means of this Legislative Council we shall find the road whereby good order may be ensured and goodwill enhanced.
"Much of the history of Palestine of the next few years may well depend on the statesmanship and sense of responsibility which you leaders show towards the working of this Council.
"In to-day's meeting I shall go through the main proposals which have been approved by His Majesty's Government.
"I shall ask your advice on certain points which still remain undecided until I have heard your opinion.
"As I go through the main proposals I shall be glad if gentlemen will raise questions on any matters which are not quite clear.
"If the answer is simple, I will give it to-day: otherwise I will send it in writing.
"The first matter which I will explain is the composition of the Council.
Composition of the Legislative Council.
"The Legislative Council will consist of 28 members made up as follows:--
11 nominated unofficial.
(including 1 Bedu).
"The allotment of the seats in the Council as among elected members is based upon the number of the different communities in the total population of Palestine: no revision of that distribution is contemplated within the five years' term of the Council.
"The person presiding over the deliberations of the Council will be called the
), and will be appointed from outside Palestine.
"In the event of an equality of votes a casting vote will be exercised by the senior official member.
"A quorum will consist of six members.
"The High Commissioner will have the right to open any session of the Council or may address the Council or send a message thereto.
"The normal life of the Council will be five years. The normal Sessions of the Council would cover three months and, if found convenient, may be divided into two Sessions of six weeks each, the Sessions being held at periods convenient for the discussion of public business.
"If any community refuses to take part in the Election, the High Commissioner will have the power to nominate either British officials or such persons as he may think fit, to their seats in the Council.
Powers of the President.
"The President will be some impartial person unconnected with Palestine, probably with judicial experience. He will neither debate nor vote.
Method of Election.
"Elected members will be elected by direct election. "The question whether the number of constituencies will be equal to or fewer than the number of the elected members will be settled by the High Commissioner in consultation with leaders.
Qualification of Voters.
) No literary test and no money test.
) Either Palestinian citizenship or legal residence in Palestine for two or three years preceding the date of registration as voters. This provision will apply to the first election and to any by-election of the first Council only. It is proposed that in any future elections only Palestinian citizens should be allowed to vote.
) 25 years of age.
) It is left for each community to decide whether it wishes its women to have the right to vote or not.
Qualification of Members other than Official Members.
) No person can be elected as a member of the Council who is less than 30 years of age.
) An elected member must be a Palestinian citizen.
Payment of Members.
"Members other than official members will be paid.
"The amount of the salary I suggest is £P.200 or £P.300 per annum.
Powers and duties of the Legislative Council.
"Subject to securing the fulfilment of the international obligations of His Majesty's Government and the High Commissioner's powers to maintain law, order and good government, the Legislative Council will have the following rights and duties:--
"(i) to debate on all Bills introduced by Government, to amend and to pass them for assent or dissent by the High Commissioner;
"(ii) to introduce Bills, except Money Bills, subject to the consent of the High Commissioner;
"(iii) to consider and debate on the annual budget; there would be a general debate and then the Estimates would be passed as a whole, after examination in Committee. There would be a limit set to the number of days during which the Estimates could be discussed. Any member moving a reduction of a vote would be required to state his reasons for doing so;
"(iv) to propose any question of public interest for debate, provided that no vote for the expenditure of public money or the imposition of taxation may be proposed except by the direction of the High Commissioner, nor any resolution which in the opinion of the High Commissioner is likely to endanger the public peace;
"(The Council will have an opportunity of debating when dealing with the budget or in reply to the Address or on resolutions);
"(v) to ask questions of the Executive relative to the administration of government.
The Powers and Duties of the High Commissioner.
"The powers and duties of the High Commissioner under the new Constitution must be of such a nature as to enable him to carry on the work of Government and to fulfil the international obligations of His Majesty's Government.
"After a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Council it will not become a Law until it has been assented to by the High Commissioner.
"If the High Commissioner shall consider that it is expedient in the interests of public faith or good government that any measure should have effect, then if the Council fail to pass any such measure within such a time as the High Commissioner may think reasonable and expedient, the High Commissioner may cause any such measure to be introduced, and, if it is not then passed within a time specified by the High Commissioner, he may declare that any such measure shall have effect. It shall thereupon be an effective law.
"If in the opinion of the High Commissioner urgent necessity shall arise when the Council is not sitting for measures to be taken for the maintenance of public order and security or for urgent expenditure or otherwise in the interests of good government, the High Commissioner in Executive Council may, with the approval of the Secretary of State, pass Ordinances directing the necessary measures to be taken.
"He will have the power to prorogue or dissolve the Council.
"The High Commissioner will also have the power in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of His Majesty's Government to postpone the holding of general elections after dissolution beyond the normal interval of twelve months.
"The determination of Labour immigration schedules will rest as heretofore with the High Commissioner; but it will be open to any unofficial member of the Legislative Council to move a resolution of objection or criticism in respect of any schedule.
"No resolution or amendment to a Bill shall be moved in the Council which, in the opinion of the President,
) calls in question the validity of the Mandate accepted by His Majesty in respect of Palestine or suggests that the Mandate should be abolished or ought to be disregarded; or
) would be offensive to the Ruler or the Government of any neighbouring territory, or any foreign State, in friendly relations with His Majesty.
will in the first instance be drawn up by the High Commissioner with the approval of the Secretary of State and thereafter may be amended by the Legislative Council subject to the approval of the High Commissioner.
"The draft Standing Orders are now with the Secretary of State and will be shown to you as soon as they are approved."
After some minor points had been elucidated by discussion, the Arab leaders said that they would deliberate upon the proposals and present their observations in due course. At the end of the year they still had the proposals under consideration.
The Jewish leaders made it clear that the proposals for the establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine had already been rejected by the Zionist Congress at Lucerne in August, and they were now resolved to reject the scheme uncompromisingly and to refrain from participation.
23. The Legislative Council proposals were critically received by the Arabic Press. Almost all the newspapers expressed dissatisfaction with the limitations of the scheme for a Legislative Council; arguing that too much power was left to the High Commissioner; that the proportion of nominated members was excessive and that of Arab members deficient. There are, however, strong indications that Arab public opinion is generally in favour of participation. The Hebrew press unanimously supported the attitude of the Jewish leaders, and it is probable that the contrary opinion is only held by but a few individuals in the Jewish community.
Jewish Immigration into Palestine.
24. A total of 61,854 Jewish immigrants was registered. Of these 6,309 were capitalist immigrants, whose dependants numbered 5,694, while the Labour Schedule accounted for 27,729. Government has continued to regulate immigration in accordance with the estimated economic absorptive capacity of the country.
25. Government has employed every means at its disposal, both through the agency of His Majesty's Consular Officers abroad and by the employment of a special preventive force on land and sea, as well as through the usual control arrangements at ports and frontiers, to prevent illicit settlement. Deductions corresponding to the number of illicit settlers who it is estimated will enter and remain in the country during the following period of six months are made from the number of certificates authorized for distribution by the Jewish Agency under each Labour Schedule.
26. One thousand five hundred and fifty-seven persons (including 565 Jews) who, having made their way into the country surreptitiously, were later detected, were sentenced to imprisonment for their offence and recommended for deportation. 1,079 such deportations were carried out in the year, including 245 Jews and 834 other persons. Twelve Jewish and two non-Jewish travellers were also deported for overstaying their period of permitted stay in the country. In addition, 1,354 persons, of whom 38 were Jews, were summarily deported to Syria and Egypt. Wherever possible bail is allowed on substantial security to illegal immigrants who have completed their sentence of imprisonment and are merely being detained until the arrangements for their deportation are complete. Often, however, they refuse to give particulars for identification and have to be detained until travel documents are discovered in one of the countries through which they passed on their way to Palestine. A number of women released on bail have quickly contracted marriages with Palestinian nationals and thus evaded deportation.
27. Several instances occurred among illicit immigrants awaiting deportation in prison of combined hunger strike, a method of protest introduced into Palestine by Communist prisoners by way of pressing their claims to preferential treatment. They were warned after three or four days that they would be artificially fed at the end of the next twenty-four hours if they continued to starve themselves, but except in one case the warning did not need to be carried out.
28. Jewish immigrants still gravitate for the most part to the towns, where they are attracted by higher wages and by urban amenities. But towards the end of the year unemployment increased in Tel Aviv and Haifa, and there was a slight movement of labour into the agricultural settlements. From September onward the following were the estimates of Jewish unemployment: September 2,600, October 3,500, November 5,050, December 6,000.
29. Success has attended the arrangements made by the special department of the Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews (see paragraph 29 of the 1934 Report, Introductory Section), for training Jewish children from Germany between the ages of 15 and 16 years in agricultural settlements and suitable educational institutions. 700 immigration certificates were issued for German Jewish children in 1933-34 and 1934-35, and on the application of the Jewish Agency, which accepts financial responsibility for these children, 200 certificates were granted at the end of 1935, and the grant of a further number of certificates is to be considered at a later date.
It is estimated that by the end of 1935, 30,000 German Jewish immigrants had entered Palestine.
30. The various Arab political organizations tended to crystallize during the year into regularly constituted Parties, of which there are now six in existence. These are:--
) The Palestine Arab Party under the leadership of Jamal eff. Husseini.
) The National Defence Party under the leadership of Ragheb Bey Nashashibi (formerly Mayor of Jerusalem).
) The Reform Party, with no president; of which one member of the Committee is Dr. Khalidi (Mayor of Jerusalem).
) The National Bloc under the leadership of Abdul Latif Bey Salah of Nablus.
) Congress Executive of Nationalist Youth, led by Yakub eff. Ghussein.
) The Istiqlal (Independence) Party under the leadership of Auni Bey Abdul Hadi.
31. The year opened in an atmosphere of rivalry between the parties as they then were.
At length a protracted Press attack on the party leaders for forgetting the national interest in the pursuit of their own quarrels resolved itself into appeals to them to sink their differences. Meanwhile the new parties were formed, and under the stress of public criticism, and more particularly of events which seemed to emphasize the unity of Arab interests in the country, sufficient harmony was established to enable the parties, with the exception of the Istiqlalists, to unite in approaching the High Commissioner with certain national demands.
32. The Istiqlal Party had for some time been inactive and disorganized; one of their principles was non-co-operation with the Mandatory Government. Such energy as they displayed was mainly individual, and consisted in attacking the other party leaders on the ground that they were self-seeking and unrepresentative; but towards the end of the year members of this party became more active, and associated with certain independent extremists, in denouncing, by means of speeches and newspaper articles, the acts of Government and the policy of the Mandatory Power.
33. The representatives of the united Parties were received by the High Commissioner on the 25th November, when they presented a memorandum setting out three main demands:--
(1) The establishment of democratic government in accordance with the Covenant of the League of Nations and Article 2 of the Palestine Mandate.
(2) Prohibition of the transfer of Arab lands to Jews, and the enactment of a law similar to the Five Feddan Law in Egypt.
) The immediate cessation of Jewish immigration and the formation of a competent committee to determine the absorptive capacity of the country and lay down a principle for immigration.
) Legislation to require all lawful residents to obtain and carry identity cards.
) Immediate and effective investigation into illicit immigration.
In the course of his reply the High Commissioner stated that he was intending in the near future to announce proposals for the setting up of a Legislative Council, which would have the effect of associating the people more closely with the government of the country; and that he would submit to His Majesty's Government the demands relating to the transfer of land and to immigration. Continuing, the High Commissioner said:--
"As we are here together, there is one other matter which I wish to mention. It is connected with that subject in which I have always taken the greatest interest, namely the well-being and good administration of the country people. The Local Government Bill as it affects the urban municipalities is now in working order. The second part dealing with rural administration will be published before very long and I shall value any considered views you gentlemen may have to suggest to Government now or later on. I have always been anxious to improve the welfare of villagers in Palestine and certain measures we have recently taken will help to that end. Two of these measures are the new rural property tax and the improvement of village water supplies. We have also lately decided to give every mukhtar a fixed annual salary. The title of village tax collectors will also be changed to that of village officers and we shall give these officers other duties in connection with the villages; so that they can help in the welfare of villages in co-operation with the District Officers. These may seem rather small changes but, collectively, I think they will be of great help to the country people and therefore are of great importance. Also I hope to go further and make the connection closer between Government and the rural population. For example, I think it might prove to be practicable to form committees among the elders of the villagers in each sub-district (or each half of every sub-district) to deal in conjunction with the District Officer with such questions as village water supplies and other matters that so deeply affect the welfare of villages. Just as I believe that the establishment of a Legislative Council will benefit the country as a whole, so I believe that the measures affecting rural areas which I have touched on this morning, and perhaps others by means of new legislation, will benefit the country people, and bring them into closer contact with Government. I shall be very glad if any of you gentlemen care to give me your opinions on the remarks I have just made on the subject."
34. The Palestine Arab Party made certain representations to the High Commissioner in May regarding the state of agriculture in Palestine, and the needs of the Arab peasantry due to repeated droughts and the absence of extensive schemes of irrigation. While expressing appreciation of certain activities of Government, they drew attention to the indebtedness of the Arab fellahin, and stated that Arab interests were inadequately represented in and served by the Department of Agriculture and the various Standing Committees concerned with agricultural matters. They asked for very large expenditure on irrigation, exemption from all taxation of land planted with trees, the free issue of seedlings to cultivators and loans on easier terms.
35. The High Commissioner in reply, while doubting the justification in any circumstances of so large an expenditure on irrigation in Palestine as that asked for, pointed out that the Government had recently appointed a highly-qualified Irrigation Adviser, with the intention of promoting irrigation development, and had made and was proposing to make further considerable grants, on extremely favourable terms, for the provision of water to villages all over the country. Tithes had on many occasions been remitted (to an amount of £P.130,000 in 1934 alone): and by recent legislation the rural population would be relieved of a considerable burden of direct taxation and the poorest classes entirely exempted: an Agricultural Mortgage Company had been formed and the co-operative movement had been encouraged and was spreading slowly but satisfactorily. Land newly planted with trees was now lightly taxed: numbers of forest tree seedlings were issued free of charge; and grafted and budded fruit trees in great quantities at cost price or less. The statement that the Department of Agriculture and the Standing Committees inadequately represented and served Arab interests did not, on close examination, appear to be justified.
36. A vigorous campaign has been conducted against Arabs accused of facilitating the transfer of Arab lands to Jewish possession. They have been denounced in the Press, at meetings and in Mosques as traitors to their nation, deserving boycott and excommunication. A number of small landowners have been persuaded to register their lands as family waqfs to save their falling into alien hands. In one case the sale of 5,000 dunums in the Ramallah district to Jews was cancelled at the instance of the Supreme Moslem Council.
37. A significant factor of the Arab national movement has been the promotion of Arab boy scout groups and sports clubs and generally the stimulation of organizations of young men under one name or another. Towards the end of the year the younger elements had evidently gained ground, and were becoming a factor which might challenge the influence of the older Arab leaders.
38. The establishment of an Arab Bureau in London to represent and propagate the Palestinian Arab cause was under discussion by the Arab leaders, but had not materialized by the end of the year.
39. An Arab athletic meeting was organized for the first time; it was successfully held at Jaffa on 14th July, some 200 competitors taking part.
40. Interesting economic developments among the Arab community are the progress of the Arab Bank, which increased its capital, and the formation of an Arab Agricultural Bank. Another bank was also formed for the exploitation of Arab land or its exclusion from alien purchase, with a capital of £P.60,000.
41. Negotiations continued during the early part of the year between the Vaad Leumi and the Agudath Israel with a view to the incorporation of the latter body within the recognised Jewish community. Some progress was made in an exchange of views and the finding of formulas, but conversations were interrupted by the sudden death of one of the Chief Rabbis of Tel Aviv and of His Eminence Chief Rabbi Kook of Jerusalem. The preoccupations of
the Zionist Congress then intervened and by the end of the year discussions had not yet been resumed. It is however expected early in 1936 to inaugurate further negotiations. Meanwhile, the differences between the two bodies have been notably less acute. The Agudath Israel has opened a school for girls in Jerusalem where Hebrew is the medium of instruction. There has been complete harmony between the two groups in the municipal elections and in the discussions and declarations of the Jewish community and the Jewish Agency in regard to the Legislative Council. Political and economic unity may without much difficulty be achieved between them. A
has been discovered in the matter of the immigration of Agudath members into Palestine. It remains to resolve the religious differences, which may perhaps be done by establishing a Religious Council within the Jewish community which will be responsible for administering all affairs of a religious character or bearing, such as the election of rabbis, ritual slaughter, burial, etc.; provided that the Council should be composed of and elected by observing Jews and without the participation of women.
42. In March a referendum was taken among the members of the General Federation of Jewish Labour (Histadruth) with a view to deciding whether the provisional accord which had been concluded between the Jewish Labour leader, Mr. Ben Gurion, and Mr. Vladimir Jabotinsky, on behalf of the Revisionist Organization, should be validated. The result showed a substantial majority against validation and this attempt at harmony has had to be abandoned. Nevertheless differences between the Revisionists and the Histadruth have been much less marked during 1935; nor have there been repetitions of the assaults upon Revisionists by members of the Labour Union which characterized the previous year.
43. The state of uneasiness regarding labour conditions which began with the orange-picking season of 1934 continued during the first few months of 1935. Party feeling in the Sharon settlements of Hertzliya and Kfar Saba continued to be high and to cause anxiety to the authorities.
44. The Zionist Congress took place at Lucerne in August and September. The discussions ranged over the topics of land sales, immigration, the grant of additional subventions from Government funds towards the cost of Jewish educational, health and other services and the increase of Jewish officers in Government service, and the adjustment of the tariff with a view to the encouragement of Jewish trade and industry. Reference was also made to the question of settlement of Jews in Trans-Jordan.
45. In brief, the resolutions of the Political Commission, which were carried unanimously, reviewed the adverse conditions of Jewish life in the Diaspora, considered that Jewish achievements in Palestine, the only country at present open to Jewish immigration on a large scale, had proved that immigration and settlement could proceed far more rapidly than hitherto, and proclaimed the firm resolve of the Zionist Organization to focus the energies of the Jewish people on the extension and acceleration of its re-settlement in Palestine. The Congress, while appreciating the part played by the Mandatory Power and re-affirming the readiness of the Zionist Organization to co-operate, appealed to the Government to fulfil its obligations by an active and systematic policy of furthering the Jewish National Home on a scale and at a pace demanded by the position of Jews in the world and possible with active Government assistance. Expressing its grave concern at the intention of the Mandatory Government to establish a Legislative Council, a step which it regarded as contrary to the spirit of the Mandate, the Congress re-affirmed its opposition to the establishment of a Legislative Council in the present stage of the development of Palestine, and reluctantly expressed its categorical rejection of the scheme. The resolutions further urged upon the Government to adopt a policy of systematic encouragement of local industries, and to facilitate the observance of the Sabbath and Jewish Holy Days as days of rest by Jewish officials and Jews employed on public works.
46. One hundred and ten thousand shekels were sold in Palestine as qualifications for voting in the election of delegates to Congress and 90 delegates were duly elected out of a total of 400. These represented in the order of majority of votes the Labour Party, General Zionists, Yemenites and Mizrahi. The following now form the Executive of the Jewish Agency:--
Dr. Ch. Weizman--President of the Zionist Organization and of the Jewish Agency.
Mr. D. Ben Gurion--Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem.
Mr. M. Shertok--Political Department.
Mr. E. Kaplan--Treasurer.
Dr. W. D. Senator--Department of Immigration.
Mr. I. Gruenbaum--Department of Labour.
Dr. F. Rottenstreich--Department of Trade and Industry.
Dr. M. B. Hexter.
Rabbi I. L. Fishman.
Prof. S. Brodetsky will continue to direct the Political Department of the Jewish Agency in London.
47. The Revisionist Party held separate elections and a separate Congress in Vienna in September.
48. The Conference of the Women's International Zionist Organisation took place in Tel Aviv on the 24th March. About 400 delegates representing 45 countries were present, and some 2,000 guests.
49. On the same date the General Zionist Conference opened its annual meeting in Jerusalem, when a lengthy survey of the situation was made by Dr. Weizmann.
50. On the 1st April was celebrated the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.
51. Beginning on the 2nd April the Maccabee World Organization held its games, with great success and amid much enthusiasm, in the Stadium of the Levant Fair grounds at Tel Aviv, under the presidency of Lord Melchett.
Soon after an athletic meeting was held by the local branches of the Hapoel Organization, which is the sports section of the General Federation of Jewish Labour.
52. In November the High Commissioner laid the foundation stone of a new theatre at Tel Aviv, which is to be devoted to the production of the Habimah group, famed for its presentation in Hebrew, in dramatic form, of biblical and mediaeval Jewish legend as well as of modern plays by Jewish and non-Jewish dramatists.
53. Dr. Weizmann, Chairman of the Executive and President of the Zionist Organization, has taken up his residence in Palestine where, in addition to his presidential duties, he is responsible for the Daniel Sieff Research Institute at Rehovoth. He has also undertaken the office of Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Hebrew University.
54. Chief Rabbi A. I. Kook, C.B.E., died on the 1st September at the age of 70. He had given a life of devoted service to his co-religionists and was a universally beloved minister noted for his kindness and erudition. His funeral in Jerusalem was attended by about 20,000 people.
55. Dr. Shmarya Levin died in June. He was a world famous preacher, propagandist and philosopher as well as an author, and high in the counsels of the Zionist Organization.
56. There was on the part of the Jews, particularly at Tel Aviv, a persistent campaign for the boycott of German goods and all shops displaying German goods for sale. Another manifestation of this feeling was the criticism launched against the Haavarah, which is a financial institution established under official Zionist auspices in order to facilitate the transfer of Jewish capital from Germany in the shape of German goods. The Revisionists were the mainstay of this campaign and of the slogan "Support Local Manufacture".