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Amery Outlines Situation in Palestine Before British Imperial Conference

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The present political situation in Palestine was taken up by the British Imperial Conference which is in session here.

The matter was presented by Leopold H. Amery, British Colonial Secretary. “As a result of the last five or six years of the steady and impartial administration, there has been a great improvement in the political situation of Palestine,” he said. “The Arabs, although they are still critical of the Balfour Declaration and opposed to the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as apparent from the utterances of their political leaders, have come to realize that their fear that we are embarking on a policy of displacing the native population of the country by bringing in a horde of Jewish immigrants is groundless. They are realizing, too, that the influx of Jewish capital and Jewish settlers with capital has contributed to the growth and prosperity of the Arab population in an equal measure as it has contributed to the growth and prosperity of the Jewish community,” he stated.

“Although the large immigration of Jews to the country has doubled the Jewish population in Palestine, the Arab population has also increased, due to better economic and sanitary conditions. The increase of the Arabs is actually greater than that of the Jews. I consequently hope that the attitude of non-cooperation on the part of the Arab political leaders, which has hitherto precluded the functioning of representative institutions in Palestine, will gradually end. Palestine today no longer receives any administration grant from the British exchequer, it is self-supporting and even more than self-supporting. Great Britain continues to pay for a small detachment of the air force stationed there. Great Britain also makes a grant jointly with the Palestine government for the Transjordanian force, but apart from that, Palestine asks for no defense from the imperial forces. Perfect tranquility was preserved in the country during the period of unrest in Syria.

“The agricultural developments of Palestine are remarkable. Oranges and tobacco are grown on a large scale. A number of industries have been established by the Jewish settlers. All these developments are due to a great extent to the policy of the first high commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, his immense industry, absolute impartiality and enthusiasm for the development of the country. The face of Palestine has changed entirely. From a little Turkish province it is developing into a little, contented and prosperous country,” Amery said.

The controversy between the League Council and the Permanent Mandates Commission on the questionaire was also taken up at the conference. Premier Bruce of Australia, speaking on the matter, declared while he admits that the Permanent Mandates Commission is responsible to the League for the manner in which the Mandates are being administered and while it is true that the mandatory power would not offer the slightest objection to giving the fullest possible report concerning the mandated territory, he thinks that the questionaire proposed by the Permanent Mandates Commission exceeds its jurisdiction.

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