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VERBATIM RECORD OF THE TWENTY-NINTH MEETING (PUBLIC)
Held at the Y.M.C.A. Building, Jerusalem, Palestine, Sunday, 13 July 1947, at 9.30 a.m.
Mr. SANDSTROM, Sweden, (Chairman)
Mr. HOOD, Australia
Mr. RAND, Canada
Mr. LISICKY, Czechoslovakia
Mr. GARCIA GRANADOS, Guatemala
Sir ABDUR RAHMAN, India
Mr. ENTEZAM, Iran
Mr. BLOM, Netherlands
Mr. GARCIA SALAZAR, Peru
Mr. FABREGAT, Uruguay
Mr. BRILEJ, Yugoslavia
Mr. Hoo, Assistant Secretary-General
Mr. GARCIA ROBLES, Secretary
CHAIRMAN: I call the meeting to order. The agenda for today's hearing contains two items: Public Hearings of Representatives of the Communist Party of Palestine, and the request of the Ashkenazic Jewish Community to postpone their hearing until one day next week. Do you adopt this agenda?
Hearing of representatives of the Communist Party of Palestine
CHAIRMAN: The agenda is adopted. I understand that for the Communist Party of Palestine the following are going to speak: Mr. Mikunis, Dr. Ehrlich, and Mr. Vilner. Will these gentlemen please come up to the platform.
(At this point, Mr. Mikunis, Dr. Ehrlich, and Mr. Vilner, Representatives of the Communist Party of Palestine, took their seats at the table).
CHAIRMAN: I recognize Mr. Mikunis.
Mr. SAMUEL MIKUNIS (Secretary of the Communist Party of Palestine):
Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the Commission, many Inquiry Commissions have visited our country since the British occupation at the end-of the First World War. With every new commission, the trust of the inhabitants of this country in their usefulness diminished, till they were no longer taken seriously. In the meantime, the political and economic situation in Palestine went from bad to worse, until matters reached the present climax.
The reason for this changing attitude on the part of the peoples of Palestine is to be found in the fact that all these commissions were biased commissions-commissions set up by British imperialism. Their task was not to advise and assist our country and its enslaved peoples towards liberation; their task consisted in investigating and proposing measures to the British Government to consolidate its rule and strengthen its strategic and economic positions in Palestine. More than that their task consisted in increasing by the methods of their work and proposals, the political tension and furthering the imperialist policy on "divide and rule".
Since the end of the Second World War, with the smashing of the fortress of German-Japanese fascism and imperialism on the field of battle, with the-powerful growth of the forces of democracy and peace throughout the world and the strengthening of the national liberation movement in the colonies conditions have changed.
Owing to the pressing claims of the peoples of for freedom, the British Government was no longer in a position to continue unaided its "investigations" and the further consolidation of its position in Palestine. It was compelled to call for American assistance. Thus, the Anglo-American Inquiry Commission was called to life at the end of 1945 behind the back of United Nations. This Commission was the expression of the political as well as economic penetration of the U.S.A. into Palestine. This was a common Inquiry Commission of the two principal Imperialist Powers, and the role it played was therefore similar to that played by the various British Commissions preceding it. Its recommendations, in consequence, were also rejected by Jews and Arabs alike, as they did not contain even the shred of a just solution of the Palestine problem.
In a different spirit altogether you, the UNSCOP, are welcomed" by us. The masses of this country, struggling for freedom and independence, are welcoming you with open hearts. You have been sent by the highest world organization by the United Nations to whom all freedom-loving peoples in the world over turn their eyes in the hope that it will give a lasting basis to the peace and freedom for which millions shed their blood in the Great Anti-Fascist War. Already your presence in this country, as the representatives of the United Nations, is an achievement for us, the peoples of Palestine; it signifies a higher stage in our struggle for the solution of our problem by the only internationally authorized body. Your presence symbolizes that the endeavours of the Jewish and Arab masses to take their problem out of the hands of Imperialism have to some extent succeeded.
The Communist Party of Palestine has the right to state before this forum that it has had a considerable part in this development towards the intervention of the United Nations in our problem. We were the first and most consistent fighters in this country for the mobilization of the masses of the people in the struggle for the transfer of the Palestine problem to the United Nations. In this we had the assistance of world forces striving for peace and democracy. This does not imply that we have failed to notice, or have failed to warn the people of this country of the dangers of the many intrigues carried on inside and outside the United Nations, of the imperialist endeavours to detract from your importance by declarations reserving beforehand the right of acceptance of non-acceptance of your proposals. And the most significant success of these Imperialist intrigues has been the staying away of the representatives of the Arab people of Palestine from the internationally-constituted forum.
But we, the peoples of Palestine, are going forward, forward-in spite of everything. And firm is the resolution of our peoples to keep up the struggle until the full realization of independence and the freedom of our country will come true.
We regret that for Imperialist reasons-namely, to prevent the participation of the Soviet Union in this Commission-the Governments of Britain and the U.S.A. have, at the United Nations session of May 1947, brought to fall the proposal to include the big powers in the present Commission.
This has rendered your task more difficult. But we can assure you that with some measure of goodwill on the part of all concerned-above all, on the part of the Arab and Jewish peoples of Palestine-the way for a just solution will be found. For you should not forget that the peoples of our country do expect from your work and your decisions the outcome of a just and final solution at the September session of UNO.
Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the Commission, British imperialism has maintained its hold over Palestine for 30 years, ruling our country on the lines of a Crown Colony. These have been years of oppression, of political, economic and military domination over the entire population of Palestine-Arab and Jewish alike. Years of misery, unemployment, outrages by army and police forces, planned and conscious effort by imperialism to preserve the economic, social and cultural backwardness of our country.
These have been years of terror and oppression directed against the upsurging National Liberation Movement and the peasantry, against anti-Imperialist and patriotic forces; years of imprisonment and deportations, collective fines, police terror and martial law. A bloodstained colonial regime of oppression, of encouraging and preserving tension and antagonism between Arabs and Jews, denial of elementary civil liberties and of exploitation of the people. Poverty in agricultural areas, sweated labour in towns and villages, poor conditions in citrus plantations, an appalling housing situation with no efforts on the part of the Government to clear the slums at the outskirts of the major towns and villages. Prisons instead of schools, concentration camps instead of hospitals!
During World War I, the British posed as liberators of the Arab peoples, promising independence to all Arab countries-Palestine included. At the same time they were making promises to Zionist circles for the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish People. Since then, nearly 20 different committees have visited our country.
The Anglo-American Commission marked a "new" phase of combined Anglo-American action in favour of continuing the colonial rule, based on the "fact" of Arab-Jewish antagonism, presenting the problem of Palestine not as a problem of the liberation and independence of the country from foreign domination, but as a problem of Arab-Jewish rivalry.
This was followed by a committee of experts, whose recommendations were rejected by the British Government. Then-the Morrison Plan, or the Federal Plan, or the fourfold partition of Palestine, and afterwards the Bevin Plan for Canonization under British rule, called "Trusteeship"all these plans mark only additional steps in the general plan to perpetuate Imperialist rule. After all these Committees and Declarations one thing has remained-British rule and Arab and Jewish enslavement.
Though Palestine is but a small country in the geographic sense, it is of sufficient strategic and economic importance for British imperialism to have made it into a formidable military base. This base is directed not only against the inhabitants of Palestine, but against all the colonial and semi-colonial countries of the Middle East. But the huge military base which the British Government has been building up in Palestine greatly surpasses any needs even of a colonial army of oppression directed against the people of Palestine and the colonial and semi-colonial countries of the Middle East.
The British manoeuvres, held some time ago in the desert adjoining Palestine, where troops were made to fight an imaginary Red Army that had invaded the Middle East, give a clear indication against whom British reactionary circles intend to direct these military preparations in Palestine.
About the intentions of British imperialism regarding the future of Palestine, information can be gathered from the book Great Britain and Palestine, published in 1946 by the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London. There it says: "Whatever be the regime in Palestine, from the point of view of the British imperial lines of communication, it is as important as Egypt. From the strategic standpoint this is an advanced position in the East against any potential threat to the Suez Canal. It is the terminus of the oil pipe line from Kirkuk; it is a landing on the international air route to India and farther on, and the starting-point of the high road through the desert to Iraq".
The vast resources of oil in the Middle East are obviously one of the principal reasons why the imperialist powers wish to retain their hold over the countries of the Middle East. Palestine occupies a key position as an outlet of oil pipelines and as the place of one of the largest refineries in the Middle East. Palestine is also of the highest importance for the mineral wealth of the Dead Sea. In addition to this it offers an attractive market for the exporting industries of Britain and the U.S.A.
To retain its hold over a freedom-seeking population, the British Government has introduced a military and police rule in our country, so ruthless as in few other colonial countries of the world.
Military and police forces in Palestine have been increased to such an extent that there is now one soldier or policeman to every 13 citizens; yet, with the increase of the so-called "security measures", insecurity has increased.
According to official Government figures, expenditure on the "Maintenance of Law and Order" for the period 192045 amounted to £143 million while expenditure on all other services totalled £96 million including £22 million expenditure on special measures arising out of the war. According to the budget for the year 194748, estimated expenditure will be about £24.5 million. Of this, the principal item of expenditure refers to Police and Prisons, and amounts to £7 million or 30 per cent of the total budget.
The police and military rule in Palestine is expressed not only by the magnitude of police and prison establishments, but also by the orders and regulations giving every policeman and soldier nearly unlimited power over every citizen. The Defence (Emergency) Regulations 1945, published in the Supplement to the Official Gazette of 27.9.45, have abolished the last remnants of personal freedom, freedom of conscience, speech, press and assembly.
The methods of such "defence" rule have made the citizens of Palestine completely defenceless against police cruelty. Special British squads are reported to have kidnapped Rubowitz and nothing has been heard further of the victim. Our comrade, Sjoma Mironjanski, has not been seen again after he fell into the hands of the police on 7 July, 1941. Before the war anti-fascist political refugees were deported to fascist countries on suspicion of being communists.
Court Martial against soldiers who have committed murder or robbery, if they are taken up at all, usually end with the acquittal of the accused.
It is obvious that, in the circumstances described above, there is no such thing as civil rights existing in Palestine. The inhabitants of Palestine take no part in responsible governmental work. "The senior officials both in the central departments and in the districts were British"says the Peel Report.
Jews and Arabs alike are barred from any legislative work of the Government. Censorship of the press was imposed from the beginning and renewed from time to time. Press Ordinance 1933 prohibited even the keeping of a printing press without a permit.
The political life of Palestine, after twenty-nine years of British rule, is characterized by the absence of all democratic legislative or executive institutions. British rule has prevented the democratization of the country, sabotaging even the most elementary initial measures.
Even the Advisory Council established in 1936 is comprised exclusively of British officials.
All power is vested in the High Commissioner. The system introduced by the British military administration after the conquest of Palestine is still in force today.
The executive is composed entirely of colonial officials. Likewise, all higher government posts in the central as well as in the district administrations are filled by offers of the Colonial Administrative Service. Palestinians are excluded from all higher administrative posts.
Nor are the municipal and local council areas governed democratically. The franchise is subject to various qualifications, including rate-paying requirements; in the majority of municipal and local council areas, the right to vote in the election of councillors is vested solely in the propertied classes-at the last Jerusalem elections held in 1935 only approximately 7,000 our of 70,000 adults had the right to vote. In Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and in almost all smaller towns and villages, women are disfranchised.
The High Commissioner may appoint mayors and deputy mayors from among the councillors against the majority vote of the Municipal Council-as has been done in Tel-Aviv. The High Commissioner is free to dismiss a mayor, a deputy mayor, or a whole elective municipal council as has been done in the case of Jerusalem and nine other municipalities.
Existing municipal, local, and village councils have very limited powers. They are not allowed to expend even the smallest item without the written consent of the British District Commissioner.
Elections to municipal councils are postponed by the Government time and again in order to keep reactionary majorities in power; in most municipalities no elections have taken place for the last twelve years.
Only recently a further retrogressive measure in the administration of Arab rural communities was introduced by the Village Administration Ordinance of 1944, abolishing council elections.
As in any colonial country within the Empire, the British Government uses the people and resources of Palestine as objects of the grosses* exploitation. The principal economic positions of the country are in British hands, such as the Dead Sea and electricity concessions, oil refineries and pipelines, insurance companies, large banks.
The mineral wealth of the Dead Sea-the most important raw material of Palestine-instead of being used to finance the improvement of the conditions of the people of Palestine, their health, education and standard of living, is extracted solely for the benefit of the British shareholders of the Palestine Potash Company. No tax is levied on the Company, nor has the Company to pay customs duties on imports. Major control in the Palestine Potash Company is in the hands of I.C.I.
The oil refinery at Haifa (The Consolidated Refineries Limited) is a foreign concern exempted from all payment of customs duties.
Monopoly concessions have been granted to the Iraq Petroleum Company and to the Trans-Arabian Oil Company. These concessions include the right-free of royalties, taxes, import duties or other payments, charges or compensations-to lay pipelines through any part of the country, to expropriate land, to seize any wood, stone, water and other local materials required, to import cheap labour regardless of existing immigration laws, to pass freely the border of Palestine, to build and use their own harbours, railroads, aerodromes and wireless stations, to exact port taxes for harbouring and loading, and to keep their own police force. The population of Palestine does not derive even cheaper oil and petrol from these concessions, granted by the Government without any consultation of the people.
Monopolistic concessions have been granted to two foreign concerns for the supply of electricity in Palestine. The concessionaires have the right-without payment of any royalties and taxes-to exploit the water power of Palestine and to fix exorbitant rates. They have to pay no import duties on machinery, nor any other import duties until a tax-free dividend of eight per cent is secured to their shareholders. No steps are taken by the government against them, when failing in their obligations to supply the public with electricity-as in Jerusalem.
The power of foreign monopoly capital can be gauged from the fact that in 1943 two companies, the Palestine Electric Corporation and the Palestine Potash Company, owned over forty per cent of the total industrial capital investments in Palestine.
The British Government uses Palestine as a market for British goods and, in the interests of British trade, it hinders the development of competitive local industries.
War conditions compel the Government to permit an expansion of certain local industries within the limits of war requirements. But since the end of the war, the Government does everything in its power to strangle industrial development through an import and control policy maintaining inflationary conditions in this country which heavily burden the masses of the consumers. The means employed towards this end are:
1) Restrictions on the import of modern machinery. For example, during 1946 out of total imports amounting to £70 million, only three millions were spent on machinery.
2) Restriction on the import of raw materials, combined with a licensing policy directing the purchase of raw materials for Palestinian industries towards the most expensive sources. An outstanding example is offered by the present crisis in the textile industry. It emanates from the high cost of production, the causes of which can be traced to a great extent to the high prices of raw materials allocated to Palestine. When a bundle of yarn costing £40 in Italy reaches this country, its price comes to £130-that is, over three times the export price.
3) Maintenance of a high cost of living by a policy restricting imports of cheap foodstuffs f from so-called hard currency areas, closing of cheap Empire sources of foodstuffs to Palestine f consumers. Maintaining a purchase monopoly for certain foodstuffs from countries with inflationary price levels; restricting the import of cheap building materials with the purpose of creating a high level of rents for workers' flats and industrial premises; and enforcing a large number of unsocial measures burdening the masses of the population.
A few examples illustrate the supply policy of the Government. Wheat flour has been bought by Government at a price of £68 per ton, while similar flour is obtainable from Australia at £27 per ton.
Sugar is sold at exorbitant prices. In Australia jam manufacturers pay £16-18 for one ton of sugar; in Britain, £20-20.5, while the Palestine Government sells sugar to jam manufacturers for £64 per ton. But even this price is only on paper; actually the black market price at which most of the sugar is sold has reached £300 per ton, that is, five times the official maximum price. This fact also illustrates the lack of effective price control on the part of Government.
All these facts can lead to but one conclusion, namely, that Government has no intention whatsoever to import low-priced goods into Palestine, which would reduce local prices, but is interested in an inflationary price level that will ensure an open market for British export goods.
The importance of the agrarian problem in Palestine is indicated by the fact that the majority of its inhabitants live on and from the land.
As in other colonial and semi-colonial countries under British rule the British Government in Palestine does not support the development of a well-balanced agricultural economy, supplying the requirements of the local market, but directs its policy towards an excessive expansion of a mono-cultural products-citrus-which renders the country dependent on the metropolitan market, and the large planters subservient to British interest. The complete neglect of general agriculture is illustrated by the allocation for agriculture of a mere 4 per cent of the total budgetary expenditure.
During the thirty years of British domination, the Department of Survey has not "succeeded" in completing its work and in presenting a clear picture of the land conditions in Palestine. This is in line with the policy of the Government to conceal the gloomy picture of the life of the broad masses of the peasantry; to conceal its agrarian policy of preserving the backward agrarian system in Palestine, thus enabling exploitation and eviction of the tenants.
No legislation exists for the protection of tenants against eviction. No institutions of assistance for agriculture, for obtaining interest-free loans (among Arabs, interests on loans amount to 30 per cent; among Jews, to 11 per cent), modern equipment, fertilizers (chemical fertilizers cost 2 1/2 times more in Palestine than abroad), and means of irrigation. All these problems of the daily life of the village are as burning today as they were before the war.
The large banks-Barclays, Anglo-Palestine and other institutes representing foreign banking interests-heavily burden local agriculture with exorbitant interest rates. Through this policy, the Government has strengthened the position of usurers in their dealings with tenants and small farmers.
The Government does not support any irrigation schemes. The import modern agricultural machinery is restricted by an unsympathetic import policy. During the war, the-import of fodder was handed over to a private monopolist who drew huge profits from poultry and dairy farmers. There are no Government laboratories for undertaking research in agricultural problems. The Budget, dictated by the Government without consultation of the population, is characteristic of the colonial policy of exploitation and repression-as regards both revenue and expenditure.
More than 50 per cent of the revenue is obtained by indirect taxation, such as customs duties for imported articles and excise duties on local products. From year to year, indirect taxes are growing relatively and absolutely, burdening the masses of the population. Only a quarter of the total revenue is derived from direct taxation. Capital taxation or death duties to be borne by the propertied classes do not exist, while on the other hand such taxes as animal tax are still in force.
Income tax-only recently introduced-burdens particularly the small taxpayer, since inflation of prices has drawn a large number of workers and employees into the orbit of income tax payment, while the large incomes are relatively little affected. The huge incomes of the foreign concessionaires, extracted from the resources of the country, are not subject to income or other taxes and duties. Local companies pay a flat rate of 25 per cent on declared profits.
Of the huge sums extorted from the masses of the people of Palestine, hardly anything is spent towards economic, social, educational, or hygienic improvement. Over 30 per cent of the total expenditure is used to finance the oppression of the people-police and prisons.
On education, health, and other social services, the Government spends about 8 per cent of the total budget. The disgraceful state of education in Palestine illustrates this side of colonial policy.
Among the Arab population, only 32 per cent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 are accommodated in schools. 23,000 Bedouin children do not receive any schooling at all. After 30 years of British rule in Palestine, 70 per cent of the Arab population are completely illiterate.
Even among the Jewish community, which greatly contributes towards its own educational system, about 10,000 children do not receive any school education. 30 per cent of children at the age of 10 years, 40 per cent at the age of 11 years, 55 per cent at the age of 12 years, and 65 per cent at the age of 13 years do not attend school.
The small number of professional schools and agricultural institutions existing in Palestine, have been established by private means without Government assistance.
Only 445 beds in seven hospitals serve the Arab population. 800 Arab villages have only 21 Government clinics, 41 sanitary clinics and 30 infant and temporary welfare centres-that is all for the Arab population. The Jews have two beds for every thousand of the population, while in England there are 8 beds for every thousand.
The non-existence of a progressive labour legislation in Palestine, which seriously affected workers in the past, has made itself felt even more during the last few years, when owing to the industrial development during the war, the working class greatly increased in numbers.
The few laws for the protection of women 3 and children introduced in 1927, and the amendments of 194445, are insufficient, all the more as they have remained on paper, the Government having taken no steps to enforce them.
Elementary rights, such as the right of forming trade unions, the recognition of trade unions, the right of assembly and strike, the limitation of working hours, minimum wages, compensation in case of discharge, payment for absence due to sickness, annual leave and leave on public holidays, are not even mentioned in the labour legislation of the country.
In many industries and factories child labour is still common. The Government itself employs children from the age of 10 on at extremely low wages in road-making, building, etc., especially in Arab districts in southern Palestine.
It is clear that such a foreign policy State could not be run against the united will of the two peoples of Palestine.
Therefore the British Government has made every effort to divert the attention of the peoples from the main problem of their oppression and arouse and strengthen chauvinistic demands against one another. While extreme nationalist propaganda was never suppressed in Palestine by the C.I.D. created for "Law and Order", efforts of Arab-Jewish rapprochement were either eliminated behind the screen or openly destroyed.
In June 1930, a society called Workers' Brotherhood was founded in Palestine with the object of organizing Jewish and Arab workers in common trade unions. The manifest of this society was signed by Arab and Jewish workers and progressive Zionist intellectuals. (One of the last mentioned. Dr. Bergman, was the Director of the Hebrew National Library.) The paper of this society and the society itself was suppressed and prohibited.
The Government reaps its political fruits from the policy of "Divide and rule" and its support from reactionary forces among both Arabs and Jews in that it has not to face a united struggle of the Arabs and Jews in Palestine for the abolition of colonial rule, independence and democratization of the country; instead, the Government has succeeded in fomenting hostilities on national lines around such problems as immigration, fear of national domination, purchase of land, employment in Government service and public works, import policy, industrial and agricultural development, taxation, education and health services.
A striking example of this policy is the keeping of Jewish quarters on the common border of Jaffa-Tel-Aviv in the Jaffa Municipality, thus inciting Jews against Arab, and at the same time inciting the Arabs against the Jews by including an Arab village in the Tel-Aviv Municipal area.
The Government has succeeded in making the reciprocal boycott propaganda of the Jewish and Arab reactionary leadership a characteristic feature of the political and economic life in Palestine, thereby furthering not only its own political end, but also the sale of British products to the detriment of local production.
The boycott called by the Arab League in Cairo against goods of Jewish production has lasted for nearly two years. During this period the initiators and executors have helped considerably to incite the political atmosphere and deepen national antagonism in the country. Throughout this period the Government has not lifted a finger in an attempt at prohibiting racial propaganda and activities and has not interfered in the Arab boycott, just as previously the Government did not put an end to the Jewish boycott of Arab foods and labour.
Until the declaration of boycott on Jewish industrial products on the part of the Arab League, followed by the reaction of the Association for Jewish Products calling on a counter-boycott on Arab agricultural products, economic relations between Jews and Arabs were normal and satisfactory. The Jews offered an important market to Arab agricultural production. In 1945, Jewish purchases from Arabs amounted to £2.5 million, or three times as much as in 1936. On the other hand, Arabs purchased from Jews industrial products to the amount of £850,000 in 1935, and £3 million in 1943.
Government agents encourage the mutual boycott which results in an increased volume of British exports to the Middle East, as illustrated by the record of the British Food Ministry which states that in 1946 British exports to the Middle East increased fivefold. During January-September 1946, British exports to Syria and the Lebanon rose from £686,726 in 1945 to £3.518,199. The above facts clearly show who derives the benefit from the deterioration of economic relations between Jews and Arabs.
Here is another example of the "Divide and Rule" policy. A few weeks ago the High Commissioner delivered a speech at Lydda, declaring that his words were "not political". Nevertheless, he found it necessary to devote the crux of his speech to communal provocation by stating that 70 per cent of the Government income came from Jewish pockets, whereas 69 per cent of the expenditure was directed for the benefit of the Arabs.
With these words the High Commissioner revealed his real aim of increasing national tension during the visit of the United Nations Special ;« Committee on Palestine to this country. Thus he tried to conceal the simple truth that the majority of taxes flow from both Jewish and Arab pockets into the Government Treasury, to be spent on building prisons, promoting police activities and strengthening the British strategic bases in this country.
The Government's latest intrigue is the Benzine Tax. The tax imposed on benzine in the beginning of July 1947 is the latest example of Government's policy of "divide and rule". This tax is intended to provide Arab reaction with material for anti-Jewish provocation"Jews blow up and Arabs pay"and Jewish reaction with material for anti-Arab provocation"the surplus income will be spent on developing Arab areas at the expense of the Jews". The truth is, that from the material point of view, both the Jewish and Arab masses have to bear the cost of the tax, since they are forced to pay higher prices for benzine, while the Government, together with its partners among the oil company owners, derives material as well as political benefit from the large sums extracted from the population, and from the communal antagonism being fostered and intensified.
Before concluding this part of my address, I deem it necessary to add a few words about the question of immigration into Palestine. Imperialism has greatly exploited the people's interest in this question. This is one of its important "secret weapons" to divert the peoples of this country from their fight for freedom and incite them instead against each other.
Imperialism well knew when to allow a certain amount of immigration to serve its purpose and when to stop it altogether. In the first instance, Imperialism incited the Arabs against the Jews, in the second, the Jews against the Arabs. Imperialism knew to exploit for its own purpose both the disaster of persecuted Jews, and the misery of the oppressed Arabs, both of which peoples desire nothing but peace and freedom. Imperialism was assisted in this game by reactionary forces among the Jews and the Arabs.
It must be plainly understood that the overwhelming majority of the Jews who immigrated into Palestine, did not come to find an easy and comfortable life in this country-this is not to be found here-neither did they come for political reasons. They came to this country, as well as to other countries, as a result of anti-Semitic and fascist persecutions. Without the policy of Imperialism and that of "conquest of the country" of the Jewish Agency, the question of immigration would never have acquired its present character.
Everybody knows that for long periods there has not existed any hatred of rivalry between Jews and Arabs and we are confident that the two free peoples-the Jews and the Arabs-in a free independent Palestine will find a just and democratic way to offer fraternal help and a home to persecuted persons, as befits free peoples.
However, even under the particular circumstances of today, Imperialism endeavours to use and utilize the immigration problem for its own ends. On the one hand, it is Imperialism that is responsible for the detention of hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews in camps, preventing them from entering other countries and finding there a new life, home and hope. On the other hand, the Government tracks down those who come to the shores of this country, and deports them to Cyprus.
The terrible tragedy of the Jewish people is generally known. Millions of persons of different nations have been annihilated by the fascist criminals. But there is no people whose blood has been shed so much as that of the Jewish people. However, a quarter of a million of those who have survived this horrible destruction, is still pining away-two years after the end of the war-in camps under terrible conditions. This fact in itself, is a disgrace and a mark of Cain on the forehead of those who like to talk so much about "Western Culture" and who open the door of their countries wide to fascists and Nazi collaborators, while they keep them firmly shut before the Jewish victims of fascism.
While Jews in Eastern Europe take their part in a normal and productive life, they are, in the British and American zones of Germany, detained in camps as Displaced Persons.
Nobody can think of the plight of the Jewish people without burning memories of Majdanek and Belsen arising in his mind, without a feeling of profound horror at the crimes committed by the fascists against European Jewry. It is imperative to liquidate the camps in Western Germany, Austria, Italy and Cyprus, where hundreds of thousands of Jewish victims of fascism are still suffering.
It is an urgent duty of the United Nations' Organization to provide every help and opportunity to those displaced Jews, to enable them to live a normal and productive life. Immediate liquidation of the camps is an absolute necessity.
The United Nations Organization should provide every facility to displaced Jews desirous to return to their countries of origin where democratic regimes have been established, as well as to those interested in emigration to other countries including Palestine, taking into consideration the desire to join relatives. This is the way to solve this urgent problem, and to eliminate the "Divide and Rule" speculations of imperialism.
To sum up: this is, in short, the history of the British Mandate, a history of colonial oppression and exploitation. This is the picture of Imperialist interests in Palestine and of the constant endeavour to subjugate the Arab and Jewish peoples of our country to serve its purpose. This is the history of military and police terror, of colonial administration and economic strangulation. This is the gloomy picture of the manner in which the "Divide and Rule" policy has been applied in the specific conditions of our so much suffering country. It is a self-explanatory history covering about thirty years. It is the severe accusation put before you by both peoples-Arabs and Jews alike-against the Mandate, against its Imperialist patrons!
British Imperialism had to face the resistance of the masses of the people against its domination, from the very beginning. The Arab and Jewish masses have never submitted to the yoke of dependency and foreign rule. They have struggled-on many occasions and in many ways for the removal of the Imperialist domination and for their national freedom. During disturbances or open revolts, as well as in the tense intervals, the masses of the people have been doggedly fighting for their independence and peace.
All British Commissions tried to underline and to emphasize the Arab-Jewish animosity, making it a cause, instead of an outcome of the Mandate policy. The Mandatory tried always to distort the problem of Palestine, representing it as an Arab-Jewish rivalry and not as a struggle of Arabs and Jews for their liberation from Imperialist rule.
But, of course, the integrity of this "theory" is doubtful, as the working masses of the Arab and Jewish peoples have been undermining it periodically. The striking facts of Arab-Jewish cooperation in the economic as well as in the political fields-intensified during the last two years in spite of unfavourable political tension-have created a serious gap in this Imperialist front of traditional argument.
Both peoples of our country-Arabs and Jews-claim the abolition of the Mandate and the termination of British rule!
The demand for evacuation of the British Army from Palestine is a common demand of both the Arab and Jewish masses.
People understand now very well that those two demands are but one, as nothing is gained by the abolition of the Mandate, if foreign troops remain in our country. Both the Arab and Jewish peoples of Palestine fight for their just elementary rights for national independence, for an independent, free and democratic Arab-Jewish Palestine. This just and elementary demand must be fulfilled.
Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the Committee: various sides have tried to present the relations between the Arabs and Jews in the worst possible light. Too many prominent leaders-Arabs and Jews-the so-called traditional leaders, advocate a theory that Arab and Jewish aspirations could not be reconciled. This would, of course, be in line with the Imperialist interest in the partition of Palestine.
Nothing can be further from the truth than such a theory. History, even that of recent years, teaches us that many peoples living in one country can very well march together and cooperate, provided there is no foreign domination and intervention creating division and antagonism. As a example we may take the new Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc.
Put an end to the Mandate, evacuate the British troops, proclaim the independence of Palestine and the two peoples of our country will unite and work together for the realisation of a prosperous Arab-Jewish democratic state.
We emphatically reject the idea of partition, as it is contrary to the economic and political interests of the two peoples. We advocate the plan that Palestine should be constituted as an independent, democratic, bi-unitarian state, which means, a single state inhabited and governed by the two peoples, Jews and Arabs,, having equal rights.
The termination of British rule and evacuation of troops will create the preliminary conditions, essential for free negotiations between the two free peoples, in order to arrive at a decision on the future political structure of the country in their best interests. Under such conditions of free Arab-Jewish collaboration and removal of the artificial obstacles from the way of the democratic forces, Arabs and Jews will be free to decide on the character of the independent state, built on a bi-national or a federative settlement.
Only the abolition of the Imperialist Mandate, the complete evacuation of the British Army and the opportunity for Palestine of free economic development, the setting up of democratic governing institutions, hand in hand with social reform, and the consolidation of the national and civil democratic rights of the peoples-Arab and Jewish-will secure the complete independence of Palestine.
I come now to our Requests for immediate action.
Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the Committee: The British policy is fraught with great danger for the peace of Palestine. The situation is grave. You are commissioned by a world authority of great importance, by the United Nations Organization. And all of us, the peoples of Palestine and world public opinion, are justified in expecting your assistance to release the tense situation of Palestine.
We raise our woke of protest against the colonial terror and lawlessness maintained by the British Police and Army of oppression. And we present our requests, which are the requests of the masses of the people whose immediate implementation the United Nations Organization . should demand from the Mandatory Government:
The meeting is adjourned until nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
The meeting adjourned at 2.05 p.m.