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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: League of Nations
31 December 1931


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




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 1931.



1. The term of office of Sir John Robert Chancellor, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., D.S.O., High Commissioner for Palestine and Trans-Jordan, came to an end on the 31st October, 1931. He was succeeded by Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, K.C.B., C.M.G., C.I.E., D.S.O., formerly General Officer Commanding, Northern Ireland.

2. Mr. Norman de Mattos Bentwich, O.B.E., M.C., vacated the office of Attorney- General in October, 1931; and Mr. H. H. Trusted, Attorney-General, Cyprus, has been selected in his place. Mr. Drayton, Solicitor-General, has been appointed Legal Draftsman to the Palestine Government; and Mr. L. I. N. Lloyd-Blood, Assistant Attorney-General, Nyasaland, will be appointed Solicitor-General to succeed him.

3. The Jerusalem Division has been elevated to the status of a District, and now includes the Sub-District of Hebron. Major J. E. F. Campbell, O.B.E., has been appointed District Commissioner of the new District. Mr. C. F. Colvile, C.M.G., District Commissioner, Northern District, retired on grounds of ill health.

4. Colonel E. R. Sawer, O.B.E., Director of Agriculture and Forests since 1920, also retired on grounds of ill health during 1931.

5. On the transfer of Mr. A. S. Mavrogordato, Commandant of Police and Prisons, to Trinidad as Inspector-General of Constabulary, Mr. R. G. B. Spicer, M.C., Commissioner of Police in Kenya, was appointed to succeed him in Palestine.

Public Security.

6. There were no serious disturbances, but the excitement caused by articles in the Arabic Press, on the subject of the establishment of sealed armouries in isolated Jewish settlements, led to a demonstration on the 23rd August by the townspeople of Nablus. Stones were thrown at the police, and the officer in charge and several of his men were hurt. The police made several baton charges to disperse the crowds, and one small party of policemen was obliged to fire. There was no loss of life. Eleven of the demonstrators were injured in the baton charges, and three were struck by bullets. Only five rounds of ammunition were fired by the police.

7. The facts in respect of the so-called arming of Jews were announced in a Government communiqué on the 5th August in the following terms:--

8. In accordance with the scheme decided upon after the disturbances of 1929 (see paragraph 3 on pages 6 and 7 of the Report for 1930*) 74 sealed armouries were installed in Jewish settlements, equipped with Greener shot-guns. All settlements are linked by road and telephone to the main centres of reinforcement and some are equipped also with Verey-light apparatus for signalling. There are posts manned by British police in the larger colonies, and in the strategic centre of each group of smaller settlements.
*Colonial No. 59.

9. Towards the end of the year there was an outbreak of highway robbery in Palestine under the leadership of a gang of escaped convicts from Amman, Trans-Jordan, and several occupants of motor cars were held up on the main roads at dusk and robbed. By the end of the year, the gang was scattered and most of its members were captured.


10. Following upon the discussions between the Jewish leaders and His Majesty's Government referred to in paragraph 25 on page 12 of the Annual Report for 1930, a letter was addressed by the Prime Minister to Dr. Weizmann, dated 13th February, 1931, the text of which has already been communicated to the Permanent Mandates Commission. The object of this letter was to remove certain misconceptions and misunderstandings which had arisen as to the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to Palestine, as set forth in the White Paper of October, 1930 (Cmd. 3692).


11. The Director of Development, Mr. L. French, C.I.E., C.B.E., formerly Chief Secretary, Punjab Government, took up his duties in August. The following is the text of a despatch dated the 26th June, 1931, from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in regard to the Development Scheme:--


"As you are aware, I have recently had under consideration the initial steps to be taken to give effect to the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to agricultural development and land settlement in Palestine.

"2. The need of a more methodical agricultural development was made apparent by Sir John Hope Simpson's Report on Immigration, Land Settlement, and Development in Palestine (Cmd. 3686). The Statement of Policy (Cmd. 3692) issued simultaneously with that Report, gave (in paragraphs 21 to 25) a brief outline of the policy to be adopted by His Majesty's Government in this matter, and the policy was further explained in paragraphs 9 to 13 of the Prime Minister's letter to Dr. Weizmann, dated 13th February, 1931. It is the intention that the funds required for this purpose should be found by means of a loan which Parliament will be asked to authorize His Majesty's Government to guarantee.

"3. I have already been in correspondence with you in regard to the initial steps to be taken for carrying out the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to agricultural development and land settlement. As a result of this correspondence, the outline of a scheme was drawn up, in consultation with yourself, which was communicated to the representatives both of the Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive for such comments as they might desire to offer.

"4. I have since had the opportunity of discussing the question orally with you during your recent visit to England. After full consideration of your views, and of the comments received from the quarters mentioned above, I have approved the revised proposals set out in the following paragraphs.

"5. (i) His Majesty's Government will take steps for the appointment at an early date of a Director of Development and a nucleus of staff. The Director will be subordinate to the High Commissioner but will be independent of existing Government Departments in Palestine, though in carrying out the work of development he will be in liaison with them.

"(ii) The Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive will be invited to nominate one member each to assist the Director in an advisory capacity.

"(iii) The Director of Development will proceed to carry out the following preliminary work.

"(iv) The Director will submit his Report or such Interim Report as can be completed, not later than 31st December, 1931. The High Commissioner will take the Report into consideration and will, before submitting recommendations to His Majesty's Government, invite the observations of the Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive upon the practical proposals of the scheme, and will afford them an opportunity of making representations regarding such proposals as have not already received the concurrence of the Jewish and Arab Advisers.

"(v) The Report or Interim Report as above mentioned will be transmitted by the High Commissioner along with any representations of the Jewish Agency or the Arab Executive thereon to His Majesty's Government who will decide whether effect should be given to the Report and its recommendations, or to which of them and in what manner.

"(vi) The Bill for the guarantee of the development loan will not be settled until the Report or Interim Report as above mentioned of the Director of Development is received and considered along with the representations, if any, to be made as provided for.

"6. I am taking the necessary steps for the selection at an early date of an officer for the post of Director of Development and will address you further upon the subject as soon as I am in a position to do so.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient, humble servant,


High Commissioner,
Sir J. R. Chancellor, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., D.S.O., etc., etc., etc."

Agriculture and Land.

12. For the first time in four years, Palestine was free from any serious plague of locusts. The farmers in the south, however, suffered from shortage of rains and there was a recrudescence of field mice in the north which caused considerable damage to standing crops.

13. It is interesting to record the spread of modern methods of agriculture among the Arab rural community; the increasing frequency of applications by fellahin to the Government Department for selected seeds and seedlings, for pedigree stock, and for advice generally in up-to-date husbandry is evidence that Arab conservatism in agriculture is being broken down by the realization of the benefits attending scientific farming.

14. In 1931, several further important measures were introduced for the benefit of agriculturists. First, the Protection of Cultivators Ordinance which ensures that no tenant of, or possessor of beneficiary rights over, land shall be dispossessed unless the High Commissioner is satisfied that he is adequately provided for on other land or in other occupation. Secondly, the Law of Mortgage Amendment Ordinance preserves the status of tenants in the case of the sale of land in foreclosure of mortgage: hitherto tenants' rights were deemed to be extinguished by forced sale of the landlord's estate. Thirdly, the oppressive Ottoman Law as to imprisonment for debt, which weighed heavily upon the fellahin, was replaced by an Ordinance which requires proof of means to pay, before imprisonment is ordered, and reduces the maximum term of imprisonment from 91 to 21 days.

15. In Beersheba, where the fellahin were impoverished by the drought of 1930, a sum of £P14,000 was made available for short-term loans to enable them to buy seed for the summer sowing. Further substantial remissions of commuted tithe in respect both of 1930 arrears and 1931 dues were granted, owing to the continued fall in the price of agricultural products, and as compensation for losses from the ravages of field mice. The total revenue thus relinquished by the Government in 1930 and 1931 was nearly £P300,000.

16. In the north, district authorities were empowered to postpone collections of arrears of tithe and werko and of instalments of agricultural loans, in any case of genuine inability to pay. This relief was of special application to the Jewish settlements.

17. An official Committee was appointed in December to consider the replacement of the present commuted tithe and werko by a single land tax.

18. Arrangements are also being made through a Commission of Government officers to classify comprehensively outstanding arrears of tithe, werko, and agricultural loans, with a view to consideration of the possibility and desirability of writing off arrears which are evidently irrecoverable or reducing indebtedness in cases of real hardship.

19. Progress in the fiscal survey has been maintained and lands in 95 villages, covering an area of 1,165,780 metric dunums, were divided into fiscal blocks and the land in each block was valued.

20. The Commutation of Tithes Ordinance, 1927, is in force throughout the country except for two Bedu areas in the extreme south of Beersheba, and two villages in the north of Palestine which were ceded by Syria and Trans-Jordan respectively in 1930. The annual redistribution of the commuted tithe was carried out during the year.

Commerce and Industry.

21. The stability of the economic structure which has been built up in Palestine in the short space of ten years is shown by the steadiness with which the country resists the universal depression. The falling off in invisible exports, remittances and investments by foreign charitable organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, and by Zionist enterprises, is naturally reflected in a diminution of purchasing power which again shows itself in a decline in receipts from Customs. On the other hand, real progress is to be recorded in the principal industries, citrus, cement, and oils; activity in building is being displayed on an unwonted scale in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv; the business of the Post Office on the whole increases uninterruptedly and showed a profit in 1931 of nearly £P62,000; the harbour at Haifa is now so far advanced that large steamers find shelter within the main breakwater; construction of the pipe line from Mosul to Haifa is imminent, the first shipload of materials being expected in the spring of 1932; and the survey of the Haifa-Baghdad Railway is complete.

The new Government House, on an eminence to the south-east of Jerusalem, was occupied in March.

22. The Imperial Airways, which already maintain an aerodrome at Gaza, instituted during the year a junction at Lake Tiberias-Samakh on the air route to India. Passengers are brought by sea-plane from Athens to the lake, and continue their journey from the Samakh landing ground.

23. The Palestine currency, based on sterling, has been subject on foreign exchanges to the fluctuations of the pound; but there has been no untoward sign of inflation of prices locally.

24. The motor transport industry has been a source of concern during the year. Owners and drivers complained that the industry was called upon to bear an undue burden of taxation, in the form of import duty on petrol, motor cars, spare parts, tyres, and tubes, and in the form of licence fees. To call attention to their grievances, a peaceful one-day strike was declared by the Union of Owners and Drivers on the 6th-7th August. Their principal grievance related to the licence fee on motor cars, representing a periodical commitment of a substantial amount, which could only be met with the greatest difficulty from the daily earnings of drivers, as these barely sufficed to cover day-to-day expenses for petrol, oils, accessories, and repairs. Indiscriminate competition by unorganized drivers tended to depress fares to an uneconomic level.

25. The Government therefore introduced an appreciably lower scale of licence fees, as an immediate measure of relief, with effect from the 1st July, and appointed a Board to enquire into the situation of the motor transport industry and to devise means towards its efficient organization with a view to giving proper and economical service to the public whilst assuring a reasonable livelihood to those occupied in the industry.

26. For financial reasons the Government found itself unable to accept the recommendations of the Board that licence fees should be waived with effect from the 1st July. The Union of Owners and Drivers, in consequence of this refusal, declared a second strike, which began at midnight on the 2nd-3rd November and lasted until noon on the 11th November. No incidents occurred, and the behaviour of the strikers was good.

27. As a result of proposals formulated by the Government of Palestine on the basis of the Board of Enquiry's other recommendations, the following changes in taxation were brought into force in the interests of the motor transport industry.

Scale of Licence
Fees on 1.1.31
Scale of Licence Fees on 1.7.31
Scale of Licence Fees on 1.1.32
Private and Public.
Private and Public.
Private or public vehicles:
Having a seating capacity not
exceeding seven persons including
the driver.
Over seven persons................

Commercial vehicles:
Where the carrying capacity does
not exceed 1,000 kilograms.
Where the carrying capacity does
not exceed 1,500 kilograms.
Where the carrying capacity
exceeds 1,500 kilograms.
Motor-cycles ....................
Motor-cycle combinations ........
According to
horse power
£P20 plus
£P1 per
seat over 12




According to
horse power
£P20 plus
£P1 per
seat over




£P4 plus
£P1 per
seat over




£P4 plus
500 mils
per seat
over 7




28. The import duty on motor cars was increased from 15 to 25 per cent. ad valorem with a view to limiting the introduction of new vehicles and so tempering competition. At the same time the import duty on tyres and tubes was reduced from 60 mils to 50 mils a kilogram.

To make good the loss in revenue from these reductions the excise duty on tobacco was increased from 250 mils to 350 mils a kilogram.

29. At the end of the year steps were being taken to set up the permanent Central and District Advisory Boards, composed of official and non-official members, which will advise Government on questions affecting the motor transport industry.

30. Reports on the working of the Jordan Hydro-Electric, Jerusalem Electricity and Dead Sea Concessions will be found in Section XXVI (Public Works, Geology, and Mining--paragraphs 27-29 and 38-39) of this Report. Negotiations with the Power Securities Corporation which has taken over the Mavrommatis (Turkish) Concession for the supply of water to Jerusalem are still proceeding; and in the meantime it was found necessary to expend £P8,600 on supplementing the existing sources by an installation at Ain Fawwar, a syphonic spring north-east of Jerusalem.

31. The Tiberias Hot Springs Company failed to raise the required capital of their undertaking by October, 1931, and the agreement for the grant of a Concession (see Annual Report for 1930,* page 230) accordingly lapsed. It is proposed to grant the company a contract for the management of the Baths for five years, on the condition that it spends £P1,500 on their repair and pays the Municipality an annual revenue of £P2,250; the company will be allowed at any time during that period to take up, if it so wishes, the larger scheme on the terms expressed in the original agreement.
* Colonial No. 59.

32. The revenue in 1931 amounted to £P2,333,895 and the expenditure to £P2,374,866, leaving a surplus balance of £P585,139 at the 31st December. The receipts from Customs
totalled £P921,945.
Financial Commission.

33. In the early part of the year a Financial Commission visited Palestine for the purpose of examining and reporting on the revenue, expenditure, and general organization of the Palestine Administration.

34. The Commission consisted of Sir Samuel O'Donnell, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E., formerly Secretary to the Government of India, Home Department, and Mr. H. Brittain, a Principal on the staff of His Majesty's Treasury. The Report of the Commission was printed in July as a confidential document. On the basis of its recommendations, many officers, British and Palestinian, have been retrenched, a number of Departmental services have been circumscribed or abolished, and the programme of maintenance and extraordinary works over a period of years has been curtailed.

Jewish Affairs.

35. The Zionist Congress was held at Basle in June. Mr. Nahum Sokolow was elected President of the Jewish Agency, and a new executive of the Jewish Agency was appointed, consisting of five Zionists and four non-Zionists but, on the principle of parity, the five Zionists exercise only four votes. The Zionist element is a coalition of two members of the Labour Party, two of the Central or General Party, and one Mizrahi (Orthodox). The Jerusalem Executive, drawn from the general Executive, consists of three Zionists and three non-Zionists.

36. The Jewish community in Palestine, in the face of world-wide depression and the interruption in the flow of new Jewish capital and contributions, was for the most part preoccupied with its own economic affairs, which were conserved with a success that speaks highly for the degree of independence of external support already attained by the community.

37. The Central Agudath Israel has applied for the separate recognition of its congregation under the Religious Communities Organisation Ordinance, 1926, with power to tax its members and compulsory powers over them in matters of personal status. The Government has not been able to grant this application, and is satisfied that there is nothing in the Jewish Community Regulations (see Section III of the Report for 1927*) which infringes the rights or liberties of the members of the Central Agudath Israel or prevents them from carrying out their communal services in their own way subject to the requirements of good order.
*Colonial No. 31.
Moslem Congress.

38. Any apprehensions which might have been entertained that the holding of a Moslem Congress in Jerusalem would lead to disorders proved to be unfounded.

The Congress took place from the 6th to the 16th December under the chairmanship of Haj Amin eff. el Husseini, President, Supreme Moslem Council, and it was attended by 145 delegates, including visitors from Trans-Jordan, Egypt, Syria, `Iraq, North Africa, and India.

39. The original purpose of the Congress was to promote the establishment of a Moslem University in Jerusalem to attract Moslem students from abroad and so assure the place of Jerusalem as a principal centre of Moslem religious and intellectual development.

In fact, the discussions ranged over the following subjects:--the Moslem Holy Places and the Buraq (or Wailing Wall) in particular; the restoration of the Hejaz Railway to the Moslems; and the preparation of an Organic Law for the Moslem Congress, as a permanent body.

It was resolved that a Congress should be held every two years in a different Moslem centre, but that it might be convened at any time in case of need.

Religious Matters.

40. In 1931 it became necessary to appoint an Armenian Patriarch, following the death of His Beatitude Elisée Turian in 1930.

The electoral rules which were in force under the Turkish regime were found to be inapplicable in certain instances.

A General Assembly of the Armenian Congregation was therefore convened and the rules were duly amended so far as to permit of the election taking place, further revision being left to the new Patriarch if he thought fit. The amended rules were approved by the Palestine Government. The election was held in June, resulting in the choice of the Most Reverend Thorgom Kouchagian, Lord Archbishop of the Armenian Community in Egypt. The election was confirmed by His Majesty, and the Royal Commission of Appointment was formally presented to His Beatitude by the High Commissioner on the 1st September, 1931. On the same day His Beatitude was enthroned in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

41. His Beatitude Damianos, Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, died on the 14th August, after a tenure of office that had lasted, with a brief interruption, for 34 years. Keladion, Metropolitan of Ptolemais, was elected locum tenens. The Executive Committee of the First Arab Orthodox Congress, representing the Lay Community, at once demanded of the Government that the recommendations in the Bertram-Young Report (Oxford University Press, 1926) for the amendment of the Constitution of the Patriarchate should be put into force before the election of a new Patriarch. No amendments to the law governing the election of a Patriarch were, however, proposed by the Patriarchate, and the Government did not deem it advisable to intervene during the interregnum. The locum tenens issued the notice required by law, inviting the lay members of the Church to elect parish priests to represent them at the election. The laity refused to participate in the election unless their demands were satisfied, and the election proceedings were postponed, while the parties endeavoured to find a solution of their difficulties. The Patriarchal Synod, on the ground that it was unable to commit the future Patriarch, refused to give any assurances that the reforms sought by the laity would be introduced after the election; and the extreme elements of the Orthodox Arabs demanded the election of an Arab Patriarch, going so far as to propose the formation of a separate Orthodox Arab Church. A compromise was therefore impossible. The Confraternity of the Holy Sepulchre accordingly proceeded, without the co-operation of the representatives of the laity, to the first stage of the election, consisting of the nomination of persons deemed suitable to occupy the Patriarchal Throne. The law provides for the attendance of lay representatives at this stage but not for their participation in the proceedings. A list of candidates was submitted to the Government, in accordance with the law, in the form of a procès verbal, recording that the Synod had questioned the eligibility of three names on the list, on the grounds that they were not, as required, subject to the Patriarchal Throne of Jerusalem, and had concluded by a majority of sixteen to seven that these candidates were ineligible.

42. The High Commissioner decided not to exercise the power vested in Government of excising any name from the list, and approved of the election being held. Before it could take place, however, the Executive of the Arab Orthodox Congress applied for an order from the High Court requiring the locum tenens to show cause why he should not be ordered to stay the election on the ground that it was not being carried out in accordance with the law. The matter was still pending at the end of the year.

43. The Report of the Wailing Wall Commission was presented in December, 1930, and published as a Colonial Office publication. Copies of that publication have been forwarded by His Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations. The findings were brought into force in June by means of the Palestine (Western or Wailing Wall) Order in Council, 1931, of which the text is set out in Appendix I to this Report. The findings were received without enthusiasm by Moslems and Jews alike, but except for formally- recorded protests on the part of the Supreme Moslem Council and discussion at the Moslem Congress, there was no significant public comment, unfavourable or otherwise. No serious difficulty has been experienced in administering the regulations prescribed in the Order in Council.

In accordance with the findings of the Commission, the Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem have appointed a representative to deal with matters appertaining to the Wall.

A police post is established at the Wall under the charge of a British officer with British and Palestinian constables.

Press Bureau.

44. In March, 1931, Mr. R. A. Furness, C.B.E., was temporarily appointed to reconstitute the Press Bureau of the Government. As a result of his recommendations, a self-contained Press Bureau has been established, as an organ of the Secretariat, under the
direction of a Junior Assistant Secretary.

The principal objects of this reorganization are to secure a close contact between the Government and the Press, to co-ordinate the administration of the Press Law by District Commissioners, to ensure a stricter and more punctual scrutiny of newspapers, and to furnish editors with information and guidance. So far as has been observed in the short period during which the Press Bureau has been operating, the tone and standard of accuracy of the newspapers show some improvement, and editors use and appreciate the facilities which have been placed at their disposal for obtaining authentic information.

A new Ordinance is under consideration, designed to replace the Ottoman Press Law.


45. A Labour Legislation Committee has been set up with an official chairman, and with official and non-official members, to enquire into existing labour legislation in Palestine and to make recommendations for its amendment, if necessary. In accordance with the suggestion of the Permanent Mandates Commission, the Committee will consider in particular the question of the application to Palestine of International Labour Conventions.

46. Reference to the Wadi Hawareth lands case appears on page 88, last paragraph, of the Minutes of the Twentieth Session of the Permanent Mandates Commission. It has not yet been possible to resettle the displaced Arabs of the northern section of that tribe on land elsewhere, but every effort is being made to effect a satisfactory solution of this problem. Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency has co-operated with Government in a temporary solution of the difficulty by arranging a 22 months' lease for the Arabs of an area of 3,200 dunums belonging to the Jewish National Fund in the Wadi Hawareth. The Government is the lessee of this area, and will sublet it to the Arabs.

47. The second Census of Palestine was held on the 18th November, and the total population was provisionally declared on the following day to be 1,035,154. The distribution by religions was, 759,952 Moslems, 175,006 Jews, 90,607 Christians, and 9,589 others. Further information regarding the census is given in Section XXII of this Report.

48. The Urban Property Tax was applied to the towns of Safad, Nazareth, Beersheba, Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Bait Jala, and Hebron. It has been applied also to Haifa and Acre, where it will come into force on the 1st April, 1932.


1. The measures which have been taken since 1920 to place Palestine under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of a Jewish National Home were fully described, and the policy which the Mandatory and the Palestine Government follow in this respect was defined in Section I of the Report for 1930.*
*Colonial No. 59.

2. Details of the measures taken in 1931 will be found in the Sections of the present Report dealing with the activities of the several Departments of the Palestine Government. The following facts may be mentioned here.

3. Four thousand and seventy-five Jewish immigrants were admitted to Palestine, of whom 850 were working men and women authorized under Labour Schedules. A special relaxation of the conditions governing the registration of persons of independent means was granted to facilitate the registration as permanent settlers of the many Jews who were in the country without permission. More than 3,000 Jews, who were responsible for 5,000 dependants besides themselves, took advantage of this concession.

4. The census taken in 1931 shows that the Jewish population of Palestine has increased from 65,570 to 175,006 or by nearly 170 per cent., an unexampled advance in the course of eleven years in a country of new settlement which in itself indicates striking progress in the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

5. The Customs exemptions of particular interest and advantage to Jewish industry included the following:--fibres of sisal, jute, hemp and manila for textile manufacture, soda ash for soap boiling, cut paper for manufacture of envelopes, ground-nuts for oil-crushing, galvanized or coppered wire for netting, anhydrous ammonia, and sugar to be used in the manufacture of fruit juices for export. The import duty on carbonic acid and that on burnt gypsum were rendered protective on the application of Jewish firms.

6. The Government is assisting in many ways the Levant Fair to be held in the spring of 1932 at Tel-Aviv; Departmental exhibits are being arranged and various facilities have been extended to the Jewish promoters of the Fair, and to exhibitors, in matters of Customs and immigration formalities and railway fares.

7. Jewish labour is particularly interested in the review of labour legislation which is being undertaken at present by a Government committee.

8. Government again purchased a large number of plants for afforestation from the Girls' Farms of the General Federation of Jewish Labour.

9. The determination of the Jewish share of employment on public works, taking into account the Jewish contribution to revenue, is being discussed between the Executive of the Jewish Agency and the Government Treasury, with a view to devising an applicable formula. For this purpose all relevant financial statistics have been supplied by the Treasury to the Executive.

10. At the Haifa Harbour Works over a hundred additional Jews were engaged; the comparative figures at the 31st December for 1930 and 1931 were 183 and 340, respectively.

11. Work on the construction of the Haifa-Acre and Jaffa-Haifa roads was assigned in part to Jews at rates higher than those which were paid to Arabs for the same labour; and most of the work at the Kadoorie Agricultural School at Mt. Tabor is in Jewish hands. Representatives of the Executive of the Jewish Agency and of the General Federation of Jewish Labour were recognized by Government for the special purpose of recruitment of Jewish labour as required by Departments.

The principal employer among the local authorities of Palestine, in so far as concerns areas with mixed Arab and Jewish populations, is Jerusalem. The permanent staff of the Public Works branch of this Municipality consists of 194 persons, of whom 63 are Jews. The amount of work done during 1931 in terms of men-days, was 10,067, of which 2,935, or approximately 32 per cent., were allotted to Jews.

12. The figures for Jaffa at the 31st December, 1931, were, as regards recurrent municipal works, 35 Arabs and 6 Jews, and as regards extraordinary works, 35 Arabs and 8 Jews. The bulk of Jewish municipal labour in the Jaffa District is, of course, engaged in Tel-Aviv.

13. A Treasury officer is advising the General Council (Vaad Leumi) of the Jewish Community in revising its financial system and preparing its budget for the coming year.

14. The Jewish township of Tel-Aviv was assisted by Government in raising temporary bank accommodation in connexion with the relief of local unemployment; and the Government Treasury is assisting the Local Councils of Rishon-le-Zion and Petah-Tiqva in reducing their long-outstanding debts.

15. The Government Geological Adviser has advised Jewish settlements with regard to water-supplies; and the Government drilling plant is placed at the disposal of the settlements for testing the possibilities of underground water.

16. Government road rollers are lent, at nominal charges, for internal road construction in Jewish as well as Arab villages.

17. There is now a complete network of roads and telephone routes connecting the Jewish settlements with the principal centres of administration for defensive purposes; Verey lights are provided in some cases as an additional form of signalling; sealed armouries with shot-guns have been installed and selected colonists instructed in their use; and British police are stationed in every important colony and in the strategic centre of each group of smaller settlements.


1. The Local Government Bill (vide paragraph 4 on page 30 of the Report for 1930) is still under consideration.

2. Elections to the Municipal Council of Safad took place in January, 1931: four Moslems and three Jews were elected. By-elections were held at Acre, Haifa, and Jaffa to fill the places of Arab Councillors who died or resigned.

3. Orders were made by the High Commissioner under the Determination of Areas of Municipalities Ordinance, 1925, fixing the limits of Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Bait Jala, Beersheba, and Jerusalem. By-laws were approved by Government dealing with road transport, control of noises, begging, and sale of intoxicating liquors in Acre, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberias, Lydda, Ramleh, Tel-Aviv, and Jaffa.

4. Outline Schemes for the urban section of the Town Planning Area of Jaffa and for the Haifa Town Planning Area were prepared and provisionally approved by the Central Town Planning Commission. Schemes for the new and old cities of Tiberias were also approved.

In Jerusalem three schemes for major suburbs and a number of small schemes were approved. These schemes involve the detailed planning of areas covered by the Outline Scheme for the city.

Several small schemes for the Tel-Aviv section of the Jaffa Town Planning Area were also approved.

The Central Commission were also concerned with the preparation of a detailed scheme for the area at Haifa which will be reclaimed when the new harbour is complete and for the important commercial area adjacent to the coast.

5. The Local Council at Tireh in the Northern District was abolished on grounds of inefficiency.

6. The electoral rules of the Jewish villages of Rehovot and Ramat Gan were amended, and the Arab village of Tarshiha was granted further powers of taxation.

7. The Government sanctioned a number of by-laws for Jewish Local Councils in respect of road transport and closing hours of shops.


1. During the year under review, the Jewish Agency was consulted by the Palestine Government in regard to various matters, including immigration and the census. A nominee of the Agency was appointed to be a member of the Labour Legislation Committee, and a representative of the Agency appeared on several occasions before the Government Standing Committee for Commerce and Industry as adviser and spokesman of Jewish applicants for customs and other facilities.

2. As regards Immigration, the Agency advised the Palestine Government, on the basis of its survey of the existing economic conditions, that there was a reasonable prospect of absorbing 1,415 new Jewish workers, men and women, in the half-year beginning at the 1st April. A Labour Immigration Schedule of 500, including 200 women, was authorized by the Government on this application.

3. A second application for 1,720 workers was made by the Agency in respect of the half-year beginning at the 1st October, 1931, but the Government found itself unable to authorize a Labour Immigration Schedule of more than 350 as, after full consideration of the Agency's application and conferences with its representatives, the Government came to the conclusion that the economic situation did not justify a larger schedule.

4. The Agency made representations to the Government for a reduction of the financial qualification of immigrants of independent means, and for exclusion of certain classes of adult dependants from the Labour Immigration Schedule.

5. It was instrumental also in preparing and submitting applications for registration as immigrants under the special Order mentioned in Section IV, paragraph 2, on behalf of Jews who were in the country without permission.

6. The Agency submitted representations, oral and written, to the Financial Commission (see Introductory Section, paragraph 33) on general questions of administration.

7. The Agency renewed its representations to Government for an increased grant-in-aid to Zionist Schools, and for a larger participation by the Government in the expenditure on Jewish Health Services. Financial stringency has not allowed the Government to meet these demands, but arrangements are being made to extend the hospital facilities provided by the Government in the Northern District, in view of the curtailment of the activities of the Hadassah (Jewish) Medical Organization in that District.

8. The Jewish Agency co-operated most helpfully with the Palestine Government in finding a temporary solution of the problem of the Wadi Hawareth Arabs, referred to in paragraph 46 of the Introductory Section of this Report. Among the other matters in which the Agency co-operated were the campaigns against field mice and cattle disease, and the recruitment of Jewish labour as required for Government Departments.

9. The Agency is directly interested, as a shareholder, in the public utility concessions for hydro-electricity and irrigation (Palestine Electric Corporation) and for extracting minerals from the Dead Sea (Palestine Potash).

10. Government officers attend the meetings of the Education Department of the Jewish Agency, which receives a block grant of £P20,000 from the Government towards the cost of maintaining the Jewish Public School System in Palestine.

11. During the year 5690 (1st October, 1930--30th September, 1931) the Jewish Agency, the Emergency Fund for Palestine, and the Hebrew University expended £P797,000 on social, cultural, and economic services. The income was derived from the following sources:--
Keren Hayesod (through the Jewish Agency) ...................
Hadassah Medical Organization ...............................
Women's International Zionist Organization ..................
The Palestine Emergency Fund ................................
The Hebrew University .......................................
Total ........797,000
In addition, the Sick Fund of the General Federation of Jewish Labour expended £P52,500, towards which the Keren Hayesod granted £P3,000.

12. The Keren Hayesod Funds were assigned to the following purposes:--
Agricultural Colonization (including the Experi-
mental Station) ...........................................
Education ...................................................
Investments in Land and Buildings ...........................
Immigration and Public Works ................................
National Communal Institutions ..............................
Public Health and Sanitation ................................
Urban Colonization ..........................................
Religious and other "Mizrahi" Institutions ..................
Administration and Miscellaneous ............................
Total ........318,044

13. In the year 5691 (1931-1932) the Jewish National Fund acquired 9,978 dunums of rural land, which brings the area in its possession to 288,605 dunums. The Fund has completed the drainage works in Haifa Bay, and has installed water-supply and irrigation systems in several settlements. Afforestation of hills and swamps was continued. The Fund has, in all, afforested 6,000 dunums with 1,250,000 trees.

14. The Jewish Agency carried out irrigation works at a cost exceeding £P20,000, which will permit the cultivation of 4,200 dunums of grapefruits, vegetables, and forage in the plain of Esdraelon and in the Jordan Valley; and has constructed farm buildings in many colonies.

15. The Agency has now concluded contracts with its settlers for repayment of colonization advances. Generally, repayment is to begin five years after the completion of settlement, with interest, for the first ten years, at 2 per cent. on the outlay. The capital, with that interest, is to be paid off during the 40 years following. For colonies in the Maritime Plain, the period of repayment is 27 years and the interest 4 per cent., but the capital debt has been written down by 35-45 per cent.

16. The Women's International Zionist Organization has maintained its training farms and has opened a new farm in Ness-Zionah, near Jaffa, where 30 pupils are already at work.

17. Since its establishment, the Central Bank of Co-operative Institutions has advanced £P1,062,000 for agricultural and credit purposes, and £P125,000 as long-term loans for development of orange-groves and establishment of auxiliary farms.

18. Mortgage loans for construction of buildings and workers' suburbs in the villages are granted by the Palestine Mortgage and Credit Bank.

19. With the organization of the Jewish community, steps have been taken to transfer to local communities the responsibility for the hospitals hitherto maintained by the Hadassah Medical Organization at Tel-Aviv and Haifa, and for some 30 rural dispensaries.

20. The Hadassah Medical Organization continues to supply the greater part of the budget for these institutions; and the Government makes a grant in respect of the Tel-Aviv hospital.

21. There were 10,003 patients admitted to Hadassah hospitals during 1931 and 80,000 out-patients were treated in dispensaries; 28,000 school children were under the supervision of the Hadassah Department of Hygiene.

22. The Sick Fund of the Jewish Labour Federation has a membership of 37,000 (including dependants of members).

23. There are 22,533 children in the schools conducted by or affiliated with the Department of Education of the Agency. This figure exceeds two thirds of the number of all Jewish school children in Palestine. The expenditure on these schools in 5691 (1931-32) was £P185,072, towards which the Agency contributed £P75,720 and the Government £P20,000, the balance being made up by tuition fees and grants of Jewish communities.


1. Financial stress abroad adversely affected the collection of funds from Jewish sources for the settlement of immigrants in Palestine; opportunities for the employment of labour have consequently been less and the need to introduce additional workers has been small. On the other hand, the difficulty in finding satisfactory investments for capital in other countries has induced some small capitalists to look towards Palestine.

The general tendency of such persons has, however, been to leave their money behind, transferring it only when they are ready to turn it into land or, as in most cases, into buildings. Investment in orange plantations has slackened, and not many new merchants or shopkeepers of any consequence established themselves during 1931.

Immigration into Palestine has on the whole remained relatively constant during the past five years. 5,533 immigrants, of whom 4,075 were Jews, received permission to settle in Palestine in 1931. The average for the previous four years is 4,920 (3,771 Jews).

2. Steps were taken to regularize the position of a large number of persons in Palestine who, having originally entered as travellers, or without permission, had succeeded in establishing themselves on a reasonably sound economic basis in the country and were completely absorbed into its economic life. This action was considered to be desirable on general grounds, and also in view of the possibility that the persons concerned would otherwise be deterred from registering at the Census by fear of prosecution for the offence of illegal presence in the country.

For this purpose an Order was made in the summer under the Immigration Ordinance, 1925, empowering the Chief Immigration Officer to register as immigrants of independent means persons possessing a capital of less than £P1,000. The Order applied only to persons already in the country on the date of its publication; and remained in force until the 31st December. The great majority of those who took advantage of it were Jews. Altogether 3,258 applications, affecting nearly 8,000 individuals, were made for registration and granted.

3. Of the 5,533 immigrants registered during the year, 269 with 338 dependants belonged to the class of capitalists with means, including long-term loans, amounting to £P1,000 per family and upwards. 1,896 with 620 dependants were members of the working class; 1,058 were near relatives and dependants of residents in Palestine; and 507 were men and women in religious occupations, elderly dependants of residents abroad, orphans, and students. Among these classes were the following Jews:--233 capitalists with 286 dependants; 1,603 working men and women with 569 dependants; 813 dependants on residents in Palestine; and 57 men and women in religious occupations, elderly dependants of residents abroad, orphans, and students.

Of the Jewish working men and women 850 were authorized under half-yearly Labour Immigration Schedules: 200 men and 300 women for the period from April to September and 150 men and 200 women for the period from October to March, 1932. The second Schedule was authorized to provide mainly for working-class relatives of residents in Palestine and Zionist refugees from Russia.

The Schedules are considered by Government after the details have been the subject of consultation between the Director, Department of Immigration, and representatives of the Executive of the Jewish Agency at Jerusalem.

4. The long-term loans which are in certain cases regarded as part of the capital of immigrants of independent means are those granted by responsible institutions such as the Zionist Organisation, the Jewish National Fund or the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association.*
*Minutes of the Twentieth Session of the Permanent Mandates Commission, page 87.

5. 54,764 travellers and 31,617 returning residents were recorded as having entered Palestine during the year, and 52,790 travellers as having left. Among the returning residents are many Palestinians who emigrated to America some years ago and are now compelled by industrial depression to return home.

As recorded, 5,533 immigrants (2,293 men, 2,323 women, and 917 children) were admitted, including 4,075 Jews (1,604 men, 1,863 women, and 608 children). Among these immigrants were 1,580 persons who were in Palestine illegally (Jews 939, Christians 502, Moslems 137, Druzes 2) but received permission to remain permanently in the country. 2,701 of the immigrants came from Europe east of a line drawn from Danzig to Trieste, 1,146 from North Africa and Western Asia including `Iraq, Persia, and Afghanistan, 341 from Central Europe, 382 from the United States of America, and 546 (including 197 British Police) from the British Empire (apart from Aden, which is included in Western Asia).

401 prospective immigrants who failed to comply with the Immigration Regulations were refused admission.

6. 282 Palestinian citizens (138 Jews, 88 Christians, and 56 Moslems) and 1,064 aliens (528 Jews, 485 Christians, and 51 Moslems) were recorded as having left Palestine permanently. Of these emigrants, 895, including 443 Jews, had settled in Palestine since 1920; 182 were members of the British Section of the Palestine Police who left the country on termination of engagement.

The figure of emigration is the lowest yet recorded. The following table illustrates the downward trend in emigration so far as new countries of emigration are concerned. Emigrants to other countries are for the most part persons returning to their countries of origin or to Syria and Egypt.
South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.

The census of the population of Palestine taken in November disclosed an unrecorded emigration of not inconsiderable dimensions, consisting of residents who, on leaving Palestine, declared their intention of returning shortly. The number of these unrecorded emigrants during the six years ending the 31st December, 1931, exceeds 15,000.

7. Forms of application for all of the services performed by the Department of Immigration are available in practically every town in Palestine; naturalization certificates are delivered wherever there is a District Officer and replies to personal applications are, wherever practicable, sent by post. An applicant need therefore appear in person only once at any Immigration Office.

8. Arrangements have been completed for relieving Police Officers of the duties connected with the reception and transmission of applications, which they had hitherto carried out on behalf of the Department of Immigration at certain places; and the Passport Control work on the Northern Frontier is to be performed in future by Customs personnel.

9. The institution of a junction at Tiberias-Samakh by Imperial Airways on the air route to India has necessitated the establishment of a new Passport Control; and the increasing overland traffic with Egypt has made a similar control necessary at Beersheba.

10. Close settlement by the Jews on the land is one of the subjects covered by the instructions to the Director of Development, see Introductory Section, paragraph 11.

Palestine (Western or Wailing Wall) Order in Council, 1931.

The 19th day of May, 1931.


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