Palestine Government Describes Development of Jewish National Home in Report to League

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The view of the Palestine government on the developments of the country and the conditions of the Jewish National Home were presented in the report of the government submitted to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations.

The report, which constitutes the reply of the mandatory power to the annual questionnaire of the League, made known here yesterday, states:

The past year in Palestine has been one of tranquility, of administrative consolidation and increased prosperity. Public security has been maintained, despite the disturbed conditions on the northern frontier and the entry of thousands of refugees from Syria. Public health conditions were good throughout the year. The Anti-Malarial Commission of the League of Nations, which visited Palestine during the year, was favorably impressed.

Because of the problem of public security and the preoccupation of the government due to the Syrian events, the political organization of the country did not advance. The legislative council cannot be revived as long as the Arab leaders are maintaining an opposition to the fundamental principle of the Palestine mandate. The communities ordinance will open an avenue for discharging many cultural functions of the local government and enable the Moslems, Christians and Jews to conduct separately their own communal affairs, leaving to the municipalities those enterprises where Arabs and Jews can profitably combine on the basis of common interests. On the extension of this principle politically and economically, the realization of the peaceful, prosperous Palestinian state depends, the report declares.

The improved finances of the country, as a consequence of greater prosperity of the inhabitants, was shown by the increased receipts of the revenue department. The surplus of the year totalled &1,069,576 which were used to finance works of a capital nature in anticipation of the raising of the Palestine government loan, the report continues.

With regard to the development of agriculture, the government report declares that the year has not been unfavorable to agricultural cultivators. They have realized good prices; thirteen new Jewish agricultural settlements with a capital investment of £250,000 were established.

Commercial activity has been increased, particularly in the building industry which is a new industry. This was due almost entirely to Jewish capital and the entry of an immigrant class with money. Thirty-three thousand eight hundred and one Jewish immigrants entered the country during the year, a number nearly three times as great as the number which entered during 1924. While this immigration unquestionably confers benefits on the country, it introduced new problems. The ready absorption into the economic life of a small and unproductive country, of men and women of various types and capacities is a difficult matter, which required all the energy and resources of the Zionist Organization to deal with satisfactorily. Many immigrants are desirous of becoming farmers, but agricultural settlement is a slow and costly process. Although Jewish agencies and individuals have acquired, during the year 1924, 129,366 dunams of land, the government has been unable to put state and waste lands at the disposal of new settlements and consequently a large proportion of immigrants gravitate to the towns. Most of the new industries find development retarded by the high cost of living and costly production. The government has granted custom facilities on raw materials and is assisting the development of the export trade, utilizing local products. In connection with the industrial developments, labor questions are becoming important. The Jewish workmen are well organized and are demanding conditions similar to those in modern states, the report declares.

The steady reaction from the trade depression which prevailed in 1923, continued during the year. Many immigrants brought in considerable sums of money and the cost of living rose by 4.4%.

Answering the question in the League of Nations’ questionnaire: what measures have been taken to secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home as provided for in the mandate, the government reply states that “The policy has remained unchanged. The visible results of this policy have been tranquility, increased Jewish immigration, the progress of Jewish agriculture settlement and expansion of industry.”

Replying to the question concerning the realization of the Jewish Agency, the government report states that it has “nothing to add” to its reply of 1923. The Palestine Zionist Executive and the head office of the Zionist Organization were given special opportunity for expressing their views on the question of immigration ordinances and on the question of organization of the communities.

Concerning the cooperation of the Jewish Agency with the Palestine administration, the government report declares that the 1924 reply “holds good.” The Jewish Agency controls in Palestine 132 schools with an expenditure of £63,000. The Jewish Agency advises the immigrants, grants loans to industrial enterprises, to public works and has contributed substantially to the Ruttenberg concession works.

With regard to the extension of the Jewish Agency to include non-Zionists, the report of the Palestine government quotes the resolution of the Fourteenth Zionist Congress in Vienna, constituting the final action of the Zionist body on that question.

Replying to the question concerning the safeguarding of the rights of other sections of the population in Palestine, the government report replies that “the new immigration ordinance is framed on the basis of the principle that immigration must be regulated by the economic capacity of the country to absorb the settlers and to safeguard the position of the existing population. Seven hundred and thirty-one immigrants, including 534 Jews, were rejected by the Palestine port authorities during the year 1925, the report states.

With regard to the cooperation of the Palestine government with the Jewish Agency to encourage close settlement of Jews on the land, the government report replies that 32,500 acres were purchased by Jews during the year. The area of land in Jewish ownership now amounts to 200,000 acres. The report also observes that little change has occurred during the year in the relative distribution of the Jewish population in urban and rural centers.

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