Geneva (Dec. 5)
The representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency again had occasion to see the text of the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in the final printed form in which it will be submitted to the League’s Council at the meeting in Rome on December 8.
The final text of the report differs very slightly, only in its wording and not in its substance, from the original draft which was published November 21 by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The report of the Permanent Mandates Commission makes no reference to the report of the Jewish Agency as submitted to it by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, nor does the final form of the report refer to the Jewish reconstruction work in Palestine and its achievements in the last seven years.
The final text places more emphasis than the original draft on the problem of immigration, which it describes as the dominant issue in the present situation of Palestine. The report contains the phrase used originally in the draft with regard to Jewish immigration into Palestine and says, “The stream of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe provides Palestine with a new population which, however great their ardor, Zionist zeal and their desire to contribute toward the establishment of the Jewish National Home, they are as a general rule not prepared either by training or family tradition for manual work, especially agricultural work, of which Palestine is in greatest need at the present time.”
A slight change was made in the final report in describing the conflict between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine. While the original draft described the situation as “a clash of interests which inevitably brings Zionism and the majority of the Arab element into conflict on the subject of immigration, etc.”, the final report reads as follows: “The divergencies which bring Zionism and the majority of the Arab element into conflict, etc.”
The report in its slightly changed form goes on to say, “If the discontent in Palestine and this state of affairs cannot be denied, the Commission wishes to state expressly that it is not attributable to the representative of the mandatory power in Palestine, who faithfully discharges the two-fold duty which was imposed by the Mandate.”
The final form of the Mandates Commission report on Palestine dwells at greater length on the immigration question and states that “immigration into Palestine has been going on, not always in accordance with the proportion, the capacity and the country’s possibilities for economic absorption. The immigrants have not always been allocated with regard to the agricultural, commercial and industrial needs of Palestine. The Commission, therefore, desires to receive in the next report of the Mandatory Power full information with regard to the number, race, vocations and places of origin of the immigrants and particularly figures which will show what occupations have been adopted by the immigrants of the preceding year.”
A new feature in the final form of the Commission’s report on Palestine is its reference to the petition of the Executive of the Christian Moslem Association of Palestine, commonly called the Palestine Arab Executive. The petition of the Arab Executive is, in fact, the only petition mentioned in any report on the mandate countries which were examined at the last meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission.
With regard to this petition of the Arab Executive, the final report of the Permanent Mandates Commission states, “It contains two kinds of complaints which it is necessary to saparate clearly. It alleges, first, a great number of facts, which, if found accurate, are abuses of the Palestine Administration. Secondly, the petition protests against the terms of the Palestine Mandate itself, which the Commission does not feel competent to discuss. Regarding the first category the Commission, after hearing the explanations of Sir Herbert Samuel, who contended that the facts in the Arab petition were inaccurate, is of the opinion that there is no need for it to recommend the League Council to take any action in the matter. If, however, the petitioners wish to raise any specific point the commission will be ready to consider it,” the report concludes.
The representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns that the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission is not the final text of the report which will have to be received by the Mandatory Power. According to the arrangements of the mandates system, the Council of the League of Nations may make any alterations which it deems necessary.
The petition of the Arab Executive submitted to the Permanent Mandates Commission concluded with the following:
“The Palestine Arabs met this oppressive policy with patience. Their opposition has been conducted on constitutional methods. But this attitude of theirs has been both misrepresented by the Government and misunderstood by the Mandatory. The daily slight frictions between Arab and Jew, whose ideas, principles, customs and modes of life take diametrically divergent lines cultivate and solidfy haired between both communities, and there must come a time when it will accumulate to such a degree as to defy all moral or political restraints. It is a gross error to believe that Arab and Jew may come to an understanding if only each of them exchanges his coat of extremism for another of moderation. When the principles underlying two movements clash, it is futile to expect their meeting halfway.
“The Arab demand may be summed up in the following words. The establishment in Palestine of a National Constitutional Government in which the two communities, Arab and Jewish, will be represented in proportion to their numbers as they existed before the application of the Zionist Policy.”