U.S. Consul Reports to Commerce Department on Palestine Conditions

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The process of economic readjustment in Palestine, following the crisis of 1925, continued during 1927, according to the report of Oscar S. Heizer, United States Consul at Jerusalem, made public by the Department of Commerce.

Important developments during the past year, Mr. Heizer’s report stated, included the introduction of new currency and the conclusion of loans for various lines of construction work. Activity increased among the exporting industries, but low purchasing power tended to depress those producing for the local market. Building operations declined. Agricultural production was favorable and exports of oranges increased considerably. Work was started on the Jordan River hydro-electric project. Immigration declined sharply.

The orange crop, which constitutes the principal export item, totalled 2,214,000 cases during 1926-27, as compared with 1,515,000 cases in 1925-6 and 2,146,500 cases in 1924-5. There has been a steady expansion of the area under orange cultivation, especially around Jaffa and a large increase in the exports is expected. The situation has necessitated the development of new markets for oranges and during the year considerable progress was made in Germany, Denmark, Holland and Roumania.

Experiments were carried on during the year with a view to developing the export of grapes. A shipment was made to Great Britian and proved to meet the quality demand on that market. As a result regular trade in this fruit is expected to develop. The ## under melon cultivation, another important export item, was increased during the year. Cereal returns reported compared favorably with previous year, large increases being recorded for Durrah and Sesame and average returns for wheat and barley.

Credit conditions were not satisfactory during 1927 but certain important financial developments toward the end of the year had a favorable effect on the general situation. These included the introduction of the new Palestine currency and the flotation of a loan in London for construction work.

Work was started during the latter part of the year on the Jordan hydroelectric concession, which covers exclusive utilization of the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers for hydro-electric purposes and involves the construction of dams, reservoirs, canals, pumping stations, etc. This project is an important factor in the economic progress of the country since it will aid industrial development that is now handicapped by the necessity of importing all fuel.

A concession for the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the Dead Sea was agreed to in principle during the year. The mineral resources of the country have not been fully investigated, but preliminary surveys indicate that the Dead Sea deposits represent, at present the country’s most valuable mineral asset from the commercial point of view.

Building operations, which hitherto provided considerable employment in the cities, declined from the 1926 level. Approximately £P770,000 were spent on new construction during 1927 as against £P1,141,000 in 1926 and £P2.059,000 in 1925. The decrease was especially marked in Tel Aviv, which had previously been the center of greatest activity. Expenditures there totalled £P50,000 in 1927 against £P277,000 in 1926 and £P1,472,800 in 1925. In Jerusalem, investments totalled £P412,500 in 1927 as compared with £P403,500 in 1926 and £P237,800 in 1925. Expenditures in Nablus rose to £P85,900 in 1927 from £P14,560 in 1926 and £P13,130 in 1925. This increase, however, was largely rebuilding necessitated by the earthquake damages. In Haifa 210 building permits were issued in 1927 as compared with 486 in 1926.

The civil government spent approyimately £P234,900 in 1927 on public works and maintenance, as against £P164,700 in 1926 and £P101,500 in 1925.

Afar a tour over the United States, covering nearly 40,000 miles by authomobile. J. Schenkerman, cinculation representative of Jewish Daily Bulletin arrived in New York. He will ## his work in the Eastern States. The Jewish Daily Bulletin hopes that Mr. Schenkerman will meet with the same cooperation in the Eastern States as was accorded him in the Far and Middle West.

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