Permanent Mandates Commission’s Reply to Memorandum of Zionist Executive and Vaad Leumi

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The memorandum of the Agudath Israel and the memorandum of the Zionist Organization and the petition of the Vaad Leumi to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations are dealt with in the report of the ninth session of the Commission just issued for distribution to the League’s Assembly which opens next month.

In the report of the memorandum submitted by the Agudath Israel, the Rapporteur, Mrs. A. Wicksell state:

“It is impossible for the Permanent Mandates Commission to judge whether the Waad Ha’ir Ashkenazi and the Agudath Israel are justified in their complaints until the separate regulations for the Jewish Community have been promulgated and put before it. As yet we do not know what powers. Under these regulations, will be given to the Central and Municipal authorities of the different religious communities, to what extent, if any, they will be allowed to legislate for them selves and so on. The little Ashkena### congregation protests against the more fact of being incorporated into an organization where women vote and where such public certificates as they may need are issued by authorities not belonging to their own special sect. It is the duty of the mandatory Power and the Permanent Mandates Commission to ensure to all inhabitants of Palestine complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals.

“In matters of family law, for example, there is a great difference between the very Orthodox Jews and the more progressive element, and if legislative powers in such matters are given to the community, the very orthodox section certainly may claim at least as much liberty to regulate their own life in Palestine as is accorded them in England. Under the very peculiar circumstances prevailing in Palestine, it may be necessary to take such an unusual and perhaps even dangerous measure as that of creating special religious states within the State. But the problem will be extraordinarily difficult, both with the Jewish community and the Christian community, which is split up into a still larger number of sects than the Jews. The Mandates Commission takes note of the memorandum and the observations thereon of the Mandatory and will bear them in mind when the proposed regulations have been put into force and placed before it.”

M. C. Yamanaka, in his report on the Memorandum from the Zionist Organization concludes that the Commission, having taken cognizance of the letter dated May 3, 1926, and the annexed memorandum from the Zionist Organization as well as the observations submitted on the subject by the Mandatory Power, will consider that the explanations furnished by the latter are satisfactory.

“The Memorandum from the Zionist Organization,” he states, “gives interesting information regarding its word in its capacity as the Jewish Agency for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine during 1925-26. The Memorandum is therefore of a purely documentary nature and I do not think it calls for any comments.

REPLIES TO FOUR COMPLAINTS OF COVERING LETTER

“In the covering letter, however, four complaints are made regarding the allotment of land, education, the incident at the Wailing Wall and the formation of a Frontier Defence Force.

“As regards the question of making State and waste lands available for colonization the Mandatory Power observes that the Government recently offered a certain tract of State land in the Beisan district to the Zionist Executive. The land, however, was refused as being unsuitable for the purpose in view. The Mandatory also explains that it will not be possible to ascertain what State lands will be available for Jewish colonization until the allotment of these areas to the native inhabitants who have title to them has been completed. I consider these explanations on the part of the Mandatory Power adequate.

“The Zionist Organization claims preferential treatment and priority in respect of the acquisition by voluntary transfer on the part of cultivators of State land on which purchase-annuities remain due. In this connection the Mandatory gives detailed explanations clearly showing the reasons which prevent the Government from complying with this request. I think the Commission will feel that these explanations throw sufficient light on the question.

“The question of the complaint with regard to the inadequacy of the Government’s contribution to the cost of maimaining Jewish schools, when considered in relation to the Jewish population and its contribution to the public Treasury, has already been dealt with by the Commission at its Seventh Session. Moreover the Mandatory points out that the amount of the Government’s contribution to the cost of Jewish schools is substantially increased in the financial estimates for the current year. The Commission may think it desirable to request the Mandatory to mention in its next report the results obtained by this arrangement.

“As regards the incident at the Walling Wall the Mandatory shares the Zionist Organization’s opinion that a solution can only be found by agreement. I am sure the Commission will be unanimous in hoping that such an agreement will shortly be reached.

“As to the hope expressed by the Zionist Organization that the Jewish population which was substantially represented in the disbanded gendarmerie will be represented in the same proportions in the Frontier Defence Corps, the reply of the Mandatory throws light on the situation and the principle of equality of treatment for all sections of the population seems to be satisfactorily recognized.

“Moreover the Zionist Organization contests the statement in the Report of the Mandatory Power for 1924 concerning certain infectious diseases which, it was alleged, affected only the Jewish population. The Mandatory Power observes that the statement in question might more properly have been to the effect that the incident of these diseases falls mainly upon the Jewish section of the population. The Commission may wish to note this.”

THE VAAD LEUMI MEMORANDUM

M. Freire d’Andrade reporting on the Memorandum of the Vaad Leumi states:

“The National Council of the Jews of Palestine states that the Mandatory Government has adopted a negative policy and a passive attitude with regard to the Jews in Palestine. If this were the case, the Mandatory Power would not be fulfilling the obligations imposed upon it by the Mandate. It must be recognized that the Mandatory Power has had very serious difficulties to contend with in establishing the Jewish Home in Palestine, owing to the opposition of the great majority of the Arab population, and that it has had to exercise much tact and judgement to achieve the results which have been obtained, without having recourse to violent measures which would have covered the country with blood and ruins. Very great progress has been made in the administration of Palestine and the wealth of the country has visibly increased. The opposition of the great majority of the population to the establishment of the Jewish Home has diminished and it may be hoped that the possibilities of an understanding which would be profitable to all concerned are now much more favorable.

“The Permanent Mandates Commission while recognizing that the Jews are justified in demanding the support for which provision is made in the Palestine Mandate, is of the opinion that the Mandatory Power has acted wisely in not precipitating events and in endeavoring to avoid serious conflicts between the two sections of the population.”

THE COMPLAINTS OF THE VAAD LEUMI

With regard to the separate complaints made by the Vaad Leumi M. d’Andrade states:

1. ‘Land.–The questions connected with land are those most calculated to arouse the passions of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine and must be treated with the utmost prudence. The Permanent Mandates Commission is of opinion that the policy of the Mandatory Power with regard to land has been wise, and hopes that it will continue more and more to encourage the close settlement of Jews on the land. If the Arab farmers have received larger plots than they cultivate it will be open to the Jewish organizations to acquire such surplus land. The Mandatory Power will certainly afford them every facility in accordance with the provisions of the Mandate.

2. “Education.–In regard to the complaint of the Vaad Leumi that the grants to the Jewish schools are insufficient, the Mandates Commission has been informed that they will be largely increased in the current year and hopes this will prove satisfactory to the petitioners. It must be pointed out that as the Arab population as a whole is the least advanced from an educational point of view, it has most need of the assistance of the Mandatory Power, especially as the raising of its educational level will tend to establish better relations between the two sections of the population.

3. “Labor.–The Commission considers that it would be helpful if the Mandatroy Power were to promulgate as soon as possible laws regulating the conditions of labor of men, women and children. The National Council complains of the unfavorable conditions to which Jewish workers are subject. It is clear that the Mandatory cannot give specially favorable treatment to the Jews, inasmuch as both Jews and Arabs should have the same rights and obligations.

4. “Public Health.–The Jewish hospitals and other health institutions have done good service in Palestine and are well developed. The Government recognizes this, but, according to the Vaad Leumi the Mandatory has refused to share in the expenditure of the Jewish health organization. The Jews like the rest of the population are entitled to all the advantages of the Government Health Services. The Mandates Commission considers that under the terms of the Mandate the Mandatory Power is not required to grant special subsidies to the Jewish Health Services.

5. “Industrial Development.–It is alleged that as regards the giving of official aid and protection for the development of industry the regime of the Mandatory is less liberal than the Turkish regime. The results of the administration of the Mandatory Power as shown by statistics of the economic position and public revenue do not support this allegation. The Mandatory should however, take into consideration certain of the desires expressed in the Memorandum of the Vaad Leumi and give such satisfaction as would appear both just and possible.

6. “Internal Organization of Yishub–As the question of the internal organization of the Yishub is dealt with in a separate report we would observe that when the regulations under the Communities Ordinance are published it will be easier to deal with the questions raised.

7. “Jewish Participation in Defence Force.–The Jewish Community exhibits uneasiness with regard to the manner in which the military or police forces are recruited. It states that the Defence Corps is composed mainly of Arabs. It should be noted however that in fact out of 475 soldiers of the Palestine section of the gendarmerie, 100 are Jews. Moreover the Administration makes no difference on the ground of race or religion in admitting candidates who desire to become members of the Defence Corps. It would appear therefore, that the complaint is without foundation.

8. “Hebrew Language.–The Vaad Leumi mentions certain cases in which Hebrew has not been regarded as official. The Commission considers that it is inevitable that in a country in which there are three official languages cases of this kind should occur.

9. “Local Government.–The Mandates Commission is convinced that the Mandatory Government will take the necessary steps in the direction of holding municipal elections as soon as it is possible to do so.

10. “Land Speculation.–The Vaad Leumi asks that a law should be ena###ed to prevent speculation in land. Although such speculation may be deter mental to the object which those who are working for the establishment of a Jewish Home in Palestine, have in view the Mandates Commission recognizes the difficulty of achieving the desired results by means of legislation. It would be grateful to the Mandatory if it would explain the reasons which have led to the annulment of the Ordinance for Land Transfer.

11. “Citizenship Rights.–In regard to the power of the High Commissioner to withdraw citizenship without trial and without appeal the Commission is of opinion that the Mandatory has demonstrated the necessity of conferring this power on the High Commissioner and it could have taken the complaint into consideration only if this power had been abused.

12. “Liberty of Conscience.–In regard to a complaint that Jews employed by the Administration are forced to work on the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish Feast Days the Commission in view of Article 23 of the Mandate draws the attention of the Mandatory Power ### this complaint.

“The Mandatory Commission hope that the understanding which appear to be forming among the various sections of the population will develop at rapidly as possible and promote the development and progress of the country.”

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