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Jewish Agency Submits First Report on Palestine Development to League of Nations Mandates Commission

From the time Palestine was first occupied by the British until today not less than $27,000,000 were invested in the country by Jews, including the Zionist Organization, the Keren Hayesod, the Jewish National Fund and private Jewish investments, it was stated in the first report submitted by the Zionist Organization acting under Article IV of the Mandate as to the Jewish Agency, to the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in its Firth Session here today.

The report, which represents the most unique-document in Jewish as well as international history since the conquest of Palestine by Titus, begins with reference to Article IV of the Mandate of the League of Nations given to Great Britain under which the Zionist Organization is recognized as the Jewish Agency. A picture of the Zionist movement and the position of the Jews in Palestine before the war and before the Balfour Declaration was issued is given in detail. The changes which have been brought about by the Mandate and its effect upon the political situation of Palestine and how the Mandate works are described. A brief history of the Zionist movement and an outline of the Zionist Organization preceeds a detailed narrative of the efforts made by the Zionist Organization to secure the co-operation of other Jewish bodies for the up-building of Palestine as the Jewish National Homeland and the forming of an enlarged Jewish Agency.

“The second part of the Balfour Declaration stating that ‘it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’ is looked upon by the Zionist Organization as not less inviolable than the first part of the same declaration stating that ‘His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.'” The Zionist Organization and the Jews of Palestine are eager to maintain the friendliest relations with their neighbors in Palestine and with the adjacent countries, the report emphasizes.

“The Jewish population of Palestine is now over 100,000. From the beginning of the British occupation to September 1924, 38,000 Jews entered Palestine, including 5,000 returned pre-war residents,” the report says, and describes the various stages of Jewish immigration into Palestine during the last few years. In the year 1920 the Zionist Organization asked the Mandatory Power to allow a larger Jewish immigration into the country. It was then authorized to introduce 16,500 immigrants as the first annual quota. However, in 1923 Jewish immigration into Palestine was suspended owing to the disturbances in the country at that time. Immigration was resumed later, but under limited regulations which reduced the number admitted to a minimum.

187,000 acres of Palestine land are now in possession of Jews, as against 100,000 acres which were in Jewish possession before the war. The Jewish National Fund alone has enlarged its land holding by 20,000 acres since the British occupation.

Article VI of the Mandate says that the Administration of Palestine shall “facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish Agency, close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” The report of the Jewish Agency in quoting this article of the Mandate makes it clear that in spite of this point of the Mandate, the Government of Palestine has not set aside any appreciable area for Jewish colonization during the period covered by the report.

Particular reference is made in the report of the Jewish Agency concerning urban colonization in Palestine. The Zionist Organization has assisted and encouraged investments of Jewish capital in various Palestinian enterprises. Detailed reference is also made to the work of the Jewish labor organizations and the Hadassah, the American Jewish Women’s Organization, in the field of medical relief and sanitation in Palestine.

Considerable space in the report is devoted to the Hebrew educational system maintained in Palestine by the Zionist Organization, at an annual cost of 87,474 Egyptian Pounds. The system includes 65 elementary schools, 38 kindergartens, 5 secondary schools, 3 teachers training colleges, 4 technical schools and 5 manual training schools.

Since 1917 the Zionist Organization has collected £3,000,000, nearly all of which was expended in Palestine. During the same period other Jewish bodies have invested £ 1,500,000 in Palestine.

The report of the Jewish Agency in conclusion directs the attention of the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations to the numerous obstacles the Zionist Organization has encountered in the initial stages of the work of upbuilding Palestine as the Jewish National Homeland. It declares that signs are now visible that Palestine is reentering a period of sustained and many-sided development which will enable the carrying out of a larger and more rapid colonization of the country by Jews. The Zionist Organization, acting as the Jewish Agency, asks the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations that it be left free to employ to the fullest extent its resources for the economic reconstruction of Palestine and the establishment of the Jewish National Homeland. The report expresses its confidence in the continued goodwill of the Mandatory Power and the League of Nations.

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