American and European Commissioners Recommend Five-year Program for Jewish Agency Work in Palestine
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American and European Commissioners Recommend Five-year Program for Jewish Agency Work in Palestine

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The Jews of the United States, irrespective of their affiliations, Zionists and non-Zionists alike, were pledged to raise annually a minimum of $3,000,000 to make up for the next five years the million pound annual budget for the rebuilding of Palestine as a Jewish National Home in accordance with the terms of the Mandate of the League of Nations entrusted to Great Britain.

An equal amount is to be raised annually by the Jews of Europe and other countries to enable the extended Jewish Agency, including Zionists and non-Zionists, to carry out a program of re-organization and extension.

The British Government as the mandatory power for Palestine must assume the role of a guardian towards a ward in its interpretation of the terms of the Palestine Mandate which impose upon the government of Palestine a greater share of responsibility and cooperation with the Jewish endeavors than has hitherto been the case. The attitude of the United States of America toward its dependencies is cited as evidence in the interpretation of the international law.

These are the direct recommendations of the Jewish Agency Commission which was set up last year as the result of a pact between Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing the Zionists and Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee representing the non-Zionists, and which was in session since June 9 at the country estate of Baron Alfred Melchett and Landford, near Southampton. The Marquis of Reading, former Viceroy of India, participated in the sessions.

The conclusions of the American and European Commissioners, Felix M. Warburg, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Oscar Wassermann and Baron Melchett, are based on an extensive report of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, which included many experts in different fields among whom were leading specialists in the service of the United States government and from Europe. The Commissioners, after studying the experts’ report, formulated a five-year program of work in the fields of finance, labor, education, public health, industry and agriculture. The findings were submitted in a memorandum signed on June 18 and delivered to Louis Marshall and Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

The text of the Commissioners’ memorandum, which was made public today through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, contemplates a thorough reorganization of the work carried on by the Zionists in Palestine for the establishment of the Jewish National Home. In introducing many changes of method and administration, the Commissioners’ recommendations set up a complete machinery for carrying on the work which, it is declared, will be “a just source of pride and satisfaction to all members of the community.” The Commissioners also express their opinion that the contemplated budget of one million pounds sterling, annually can and should be raised. If this sum is provided, the establishment of the Jewish National Home and its maintenance over a number of years could be proceeded with and brought to a satisfactory conclusion. In the transition period, pending the final establishment of the enlarged Jewish Agency, Jews of all shades of opinion are urged to strengthen the position of the Zionist Funds now in operation, the Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund.

For the present, the Commissioners recommend that “unless more funds are forthcoming, no new enterprises can be undertaken.” As conditions for this cooperation, the exercise of strict economy, the utilization of the monies provided for the necessary reorganization and the “frank acceptance” by Zionists of the Jewish Agency are set forth.

“If these conditions are complied with, the Commissioners appeal to the entire Jewish world to make the necessary sacrifices to establish an ideal which will be a just source of pride and satisfaction to all members of the community, to be regarded by the world as a worthy effort on behalf of Jewry for the re-establishment of the country of their origin.

“The Commissioners themselves undertake to use their own personal endeavors towards the success of the appeal which they are putting forward with the confident hope of success,” the Commissioners declare concluding their report.

As regards the reorganization of the work in Palestine, the Commissioners recommend many thorough-going changes. The abandonment of the further establishment of communal colonies, known as Kvuzoth, is demanded. Those already in existence are to be given full equipment; those which were begun recently should be reorganized and converted into individualistic cooperative settlements or be used as centers for training new settlers. Individual agreements are to be signed between the settlers and the colonizing agency, so as to insure repayment of the advances made to or for them in their transmigration. Settlers who will fail to meet the conditions of the colonizing agency are to be replaced by those who will. The principle of private ownership and the creation of conditions which will enable the settlers to acquire the land as their property is to be encouraged.

The practice in some of the Zionist colonies of prohibiting the colonies to hire outside labor is to be abandoned. Instead a clause is to be inserted in the contracts between the colonizing agency and the settler, guaranteeing a minimum fair wage to hired labor.

Extensive provisions are made in the recommendations for the settlement of labor disputes both in agriculture and in industry. The creation of a Joint Council of employers and employees and the selection of an impartial chairman, following the example set in American industries, is recommended. The Commissioners express their sympathy with the aspirations of the Jewish workers in Palestine to better their social and economic conditions, adding that they acknowledge the efforts of the Jewish labor organizations in Palestine in the fields of agriculture, immigration, health and cultural activities.

A wide-flung plan for popularizing Palestine products and setting up, with the cooperation of the Palestine government and the respective chambers of commerce, banks, producers and consumers, machinery for marketing Palestine products in various parts of the world is outlined.

The continuation of the education and public health work is contemplated, although the government of Palestine is urged to assume a greater share in the maintenance of this work.

The employment of modern devices, including the use of artificial fertilizers, to better the condition of agricultural farms in Palestine with a view of making the settlers self-supporting as speedily as possible and to extend the area of cultivable land is recommended.

Separate departments for the various phases of the work, which will aim at coordination and consolidation, eliminating overlapping of activities, is proposed, as the result of the enlarged Jewish Agency.

A special feature of the Jewish Agency’s work is to be the establishment, with the cooperation of the Palestine authorities, of an information service to advise prospective immigrants as to the conditions prevailing in the country and to inform Jewish manufacturers in Eastern Europe who intend to transfer their plants to Palestine, of the prospects for such industries in the Near East. The conclusion of customs agreements opening up Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and the Hedjas, as natural markets for Palestine products is advocated. Reduction of freight rates on Palestine railways, is one of the demands made by the Commissioners’ report in this connection.

A special land reserve is to be created by the Jewish Agency to provide opportunities for individual settlers who wish to acquire their land as private property. This is done in view of the fact that the provisions of the Jewish National Fund, which purchases the land as the inalienable property of the Jewish people as a whole precludes the acquisition of the farms by those who settle on the National Fund’s land. “All soil purchases should be preceded by thorough soil analyses and water surveys and the price should not exceed the fair value of the land,” the Commissioners prescribe.

The report of the experts Commission will be submitted to the Palestine government, it was stated today.

The full text of the Commissioners’ report will be found on the following pages.

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