Moscow (Jul. 2)
(By Our Moscow Correspondent)
An account of the present state of business relations between Palestine and neighboring countries with Soviet Russia was given here by L. A. Gleizer, formerly manager of the Arcos, who was deported from Palestine because of his attempts to spread Communist propaganda.
Writing in the “Ekonomicheskaya Jizn,” Russian paper devoted to economic questions, Mr. Gleiser complains of the rudeness with which anything Russian is treated by the British and the native authorities.
The Palestinian Arcos Office, Mr. Gleizer said, was opened at Jaffa in 1923. It tried to re-establish the old trading connections between Palestine and the Russian market.
Three-quarters of the post-war trade of Palestine consisted of imports. This was characteristic of a country in a state of colonization, which was able to exist only by importing from abroad. Palestine did not pay for her imported goods with her own natural resources; it paid with capital which it received from abroad. Palestine had her deficit made good by foreign capital without which it could not exist.
A quarter or even more, of all the imports into Palestine consists of food products, and more than half (about $15,000,000 worth) of other products of industry. In pre-war days Russia carried on a brisk trade with Palestine. In 1912 Russia imported into Palestine through the port of Jaffa alone $500,000 worth of goods, and exported from Palestine goods to the value of $225,000. This was at a time when the annual turnover of the port of Jaffa amounted to only one million sterling in imports and three-quarters of a million sterling in exports. The consuming power of Palestine has now increased greatly. It has imported goods to the sum of about $35,000,000. and the amount is continuing to increase. This change in the trading situation in Palestine has opened for Russia great possibilities of exporting goods into Palestine.
In the two years that Arcos was established with its branches in Palestine, Russia had obtained a sound footing in the Palestinian market, and at present a regular business is being carried on between the two countries. The Palestinian office of Arcos did not limit its activities to Palestine; it carried them on also in Syria and Egypt.
Russian imports in these countries in 1925 amounted to $1,000,000. Of this $400,000 worth of goods went to Palestine, $80,000 to Syria, and $500,000 to Egypt. Official figures showed an increase of Russian imports into Palestine from $110,000 in 1923 to $400,000 in 1925. The chief articles of import from Russia to Palestine were timber, cement, grain products. fish products, potatoes, and, lately also oil products.
For some time past open “influence” has been brought to bear by the British authorities upon the local authorities in the Mandated countries to retard and hinder the development of Russian trade, he says.
A conference was held of the police authorities of Palestine. Syria and Egypt and steps were decided on to put a stop to the activities of Arcos in the East. As a result of this conference, Mr. Gleizer declares, the visas of the representatives of Arcos in Egypt were withdrawn; then an order was issued not to admit Arcos representatives to Syria, and a few months later the Palestine representative was deported.