Jerusalem (Jul. 26)
(By our Jerusalem correspondent)
Political agitation, dormant for a while in the former provinces of the Turkish Empire now under French and British mandates, has again become rife in Syria, Transjordania and Palestine. Opposition to the Transjordanian-English treaty at Amman, the demands of the Syrian nationalists in Damascus and the renewed activity of the anti-Zionist Palestine Arab Executive in Jerusalem have this in common that Palestine, its status under international law and the form of administration it is to have in the future, are a prominent feature.
Scasoned political observers here do not attach too much importance to the renewed agitation. It is, however, indicative of the movement which has been created artificially by the group of Moslem Effendis and if not checked may again throw the Near East into a period of political turbulence.
In this connection the demands presented recently by the anti-Zionist Palestine Arab Executive to Lord Plumer, prior to his departure from the country, are of instructive interest. The memorandum, couched in typical Levantine style, stresses the desire of the Arab Effendis for “representative government.” For instance, the memorandum states:
“In 1922 the Palestine Order Council was put in force and instead of giving Palestine a Represenative Parliamentary Government, it deprived them of their natural established right which they enjoyed prior to the occupation. The said Order in Council was drafted and put in force without the consultation of the people of Palestine and did not in fact grant them their natural rights resulting ultimately in the unanimous refusal of he people of Palestine to participate in the semi-representative Legislative Council provided for in the said Order in Council, especially since their natural pre-existing rights were greatly diminished rather than receive their rights in full and gain their independence with the assistance of that great constitutional power, Great Britain.
Ever since, Palestine has been drudging under a system which is exactly in form as an absolute Colonial rule with no right of representation during the past ten years. We believe that such system has in fact failed absolutely whether politically, economically or socially.
“Your Excellency, the people of Palestine still remember the good words which were uttered by you when you first arrived to Palestine, in that you hoped that your work in Palestine will gain for you many friends in this country. The people had great hopes in the said statement and expected that Your Excellency will be the means to regain for them the natural rights which have been denied them. In spite of our great belief in your desire to help the people of this country to regain for them the lost rights, we still find the country run in the same absolute Colonial rule which existed when Your Excellency took your High Office.
“Your Exellency, one of the most astounding features of the present system of rule in Palestine is the joining of the Executive and Legislative Powers in one body. It is needless to say that is contrary to the well known principle of the separation of powers so highly and expressly adhered to by Great Britain, and provgled for in its constitution. We further submit that the present system of Government in Palestine in no way agrees with the world wide established principles of ‘no taxation without representation.’ It seems very strange that Great Britain, the foremost power in the world which guarantees and upholds the above two mentioned principles the world over, fails absolutely in promulgating same in Palestine and thus inflicts upon the people of Palestine the injustice of depriving them from being represented in their legislative and executive departments and compels them to submit to taxation without representation and further makes them submit to laws and regulations enacted by those who cannot be fully aware of the customs and usages of the people of the country without having a hand in framing and enacting their own laws to which they are subjected.
“Why should Palestine be deprived of the same rights enjoyed by Mesopotamia, Syria and Trans-Jordan when those countries cannot be considered in any way on a higher footing than Palestine and when they were in the same position as Palestine prior to the occupation? We believe that Palestine is just as entitled, if no more so, to enjoy the rights of parliamentary Government enjoyed by the neighboring Arab Countries.
“It has been argued that Great Britain is not prepared to grant Palestine a Parliamentary form of Government for fear this might interfere with their international undertakings. We believe that such argument is without basis, for the Arabs have never in past times even during the Turkish Regime persecuted the Jews in any way. In fact both Arabs and Jews enjoyed the same rights exactly with no differentiation between race or creed and have always lived peacefully together. Such policy which the Arabs exercised in the past towards the Jews will not be altered if the Jews do not plan or encroach on the political, economical and social rights of the Arabs.
“We believe that neither Great Britain nor the League of Nations can construe or interpret any undertaking that conflicts with the principle of equality between all inhabitants of the country and the prohibition on any of them ot encroach upon the rights of the others whether politically, economically, socially or otherwise. It would be a catastrophe to Jewish people themselves to use them as a means to usurp the rights of a peaceful nation.” the memorandum states.