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League Council in Private Session Considers Possibility of Rewording Mandates Commission Report

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This also is directly contrary to the facts, as they are known to every resident in the country. With respect to the particular instance mentioned, the Jerusalem-Jericho Road has always been patrolled. There are police Posts at Jericho itself, Nebi Musa, Khan Saliba and at the Allenby Bridge.

6.-It is stated on page nine that the burden of taxation per capita of the population is£3½.

This figure treats as taxation, however, the gross receipts of the Railway Department and of the Post Office, which are almost wholly spent upon the services rendered by those Departments, and which are non-taxed revenue, and also Municipal rates, which are in payment of local services rendered. The actual taxation upon the people is in fact £1,750 per capita or precisely half the figure stated in the memorandum.

7.-It is stated that farmers give, in the form of tithe and land-tax about 15 per cent on the produce of their land.

This statement is not accurate, the figure being not more than 13 per cent.

8.-It is stated that salaries of Government employees, particularly the highest, ought to be reduced, seeing that they were fixed “four years ago when the cost of living was three times as much as it is now.”

No facts whatever can be deduced to indicate that the decline has been anything approaching this figure.

9.-“The Governor’s office in Jerusalem occupies a huge building which would have been capacious enough to hold all the departments of the ex-Government,” your memorandum states.

Your Committee must be fully aware that the building in question is accommodating not only the governor’s office but the offices of the High Commissioner of the Secretariat, the Attorney General, the Treasury and Audit Department.

10.-It is stated that Hebrew “is spoken by less than one-half of one per cent of the population.”

This would mean that Hebrew is only spoken by four thousand persons; as the total Jewish population is now approaching one hundred thousand this statement is wholly inconsistent with fact that are common knowledge.

11. “Wine, which is exclusively manufactured and exported by Jews, has been exempted from exportation tax contrary to all other products,” your memorandum states.

The fact is that the export duty on wine was abolished many years before the British Occupation; the only concession, so far as export of wine is concerned, and one which all local manufacturers alike enjoy, is that the excise duty is charged in accordance with the Ottoman Law only to the extent of about one-quarter upon wine exported.

12.-“All new roads and railway extensions built after the war were from or to Jewish Colonies,” it is stated.

This also is contrary to fact. One branch railway line was built to Petach-Tikvah. A financial arrangement with the colonists was made which secured the Government against loss, and the line was largely constructed from advances provided by them. The only other railway extensions have been built to the military camp at Sarafand paid for from Army funds, and to the quarry at Beit Nabala. Main roads that have been made or re-constructed since the war have included roads from Nazareth to Tiberias and Safed, from Afuleh to Nazareth and Haifa, from Tulkarem to Kalkilieh. In fact, no high roads have been made at all to any Jewish colonies, except one from Beit Dagan to Richon and on to Rechovoth. This road is designed to be continued as the high road adjoining Gaza with the main road system. In addition about 200 kilometers of secondary roads have been constructed by village labor in various parts of the country under the auspices of the Government. One of these roads at present leads to a Jewish Colony; but it is by no means for its exclusive service and follows an old track used by the adjacent Arab villages.

13.-The Kabbara concession “was secretly granted (1921) to a Jewish land company to use for several purposes and cultivate an extensive area of land lying on the coast between the two ports of Jaffa and Haifa, for a period of 200 years against a nominal yearly rental. The one hundred and seventy families who still live on that land and who cultivate parts of it and own it were treated as a negligible lot. This concession which, until recently, was a Government secret, is now being enforced by Government influence and armed forces,” your memorandum states on page twelve.

This Concession, which is for the draining and reclamation of a malarial area, was originally approved by the local authorities under the Turkish regime, but had not been endorsed by the Government at Constantinople before the war. In its original form, it provided for the sale of the land at a low price. The new Concession provides for a lease (except in respect of a small area of 2,500 dunams) and for a rent to be paid, which is by no means a nominal one and which is subject to revisions at intervals of thirty years in accordance with the ascertained value of the land.

The interests of the 170 families referred to, far from being treated as a negligible quantity, were most carefully considered by the Government, as well as by the Concessionaires. Under the arrangement which has now been made, they have been glad to accept an area of 3,500 dunams in a neighboring district as their absolute property in exchange for the 2,500 dunams over which they had previously exercised grazing rights. In addition they are receiving a sum of money for their expenses of removal. No disorder has taken place, and the reference to enforcement by the Government armed forces is purely imaginary.

In referring to these thirteen instances of misstatement, it must not be assumed that the High Commissioner accepts as accurate the remaining, allegations in the memorandum. Most of them, however, are questions of opinion, and the minor errors of fact which they include, are not of sufficient importance to require attention here.

Signed, RONALD STORRS, Acting Chief Secretary.

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