J.D.B. News Letter

(By Our Geneva Correspondent)

–The observations made by the British Government in reply to the memorandum from the Zionist Organization which it transmitted to the last session of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations held here in June, are contained among a number of documents which have just been deposited in the Library of the League.

On the question of the settlement of Jews on State lands in accordance with Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate, the British Government says that the Palestine Government are not unmindful of their obligations under Article 6 of the Mandate, and as recognized in the letter from the Zionist Organization, they are endeavoring to arrive at some satisfactory arrangement in regard to the Reisan lands. As the Mandates Commission will recall from their consideration last year of a petition in regard to the Barrat Caesarea lands, it proceeds, the pre-war inhabitants of Palestine still regard with considerable suspicion any act of the Palestine Government on matters pertaining to the position of State lands. It is therefore the duty of the Palestine Government to discharge their obligations under Article 6 of the Mandate with the caution which is clearly essential to the peaceful order of the country without which the Jewish National Home cannot be established on sure foundations.

Regarding the Beisan lands, the Government states that claims arising out of that agreement have been and are being investigated by a Special Commission, which has made considerable progress. In addition, attention has been given to the possibility of enabling individuals and bodies concerned with agricultural development to acquire land from beneficiaries under the Beisan agreement on the conditions on which those beneficiaries held the land. This possibility is still being considered and while. His Majesty’s Government are hopeful that a satisfactory conclusion may be reached, they wish to point out that the matter is one in which it is necessary to proceed with caution in order to guard against the landless class of the present beneficiaries under the agreement thus unllifying the object of that instrument.

As regards paragraph 3 of the memorandum from the Zionist Organization. (urging that lack of capital alone should not constitute a bar to immigration, provided that the intending settler possesses personal capacities which would be likely to make him an asset to the country, and further that the amount of capital necessary to secure admission for an immigrant as a person of “independent means” should be fixed in accordance with a suitable sliding scale, and should not be left to the arbitrary decision of the Immigration Officer), the Government explains that the Chief Immigration Officer acts under the explicit directions of the High Commissioner and does not exercise any arbitrary powers in regard to the admission to Palestine as immigrants of persons of independent means.

As regards paragraph 31 of the memorandum. (drawing attention to the inadequacy of the contributions made from public funds to Jewish health work, and asking, in view of the fact that the main burden of Jewish health services continues, as in the past, to be borne by the Jewish organizations, that some contributions be made to assist the Tel Aviv Municipal Hospital and help be given to provide more suitably for the Jewish insanc), attention is invited to the fact that the Palestine Government have provided funds amounting to £3,800 for the completion of the Tel Aviv Hospital, that they are contributing £2,000 towards its equipment and propose to ensure a contribution of £3,000 for three years by the aid of the Council’s finances. Proposals to provide additional accommodation for insane patients are under consideration.

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