Jerusalem (Nov. 23)
The attempt to fasten upon the Palestine Government proof of its favoritism toward the Jews, as a result of a pro-Zionist policy was continued yesterday afternoon at the session of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry.
With H. C. Luke, Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government, still in the witness chair, Aouni Bey Abdul Sadi, a secretary of the Arab Executive, who is acting as Arab counsel, sought to draw from his statements that through land grants, civil service positions and relief subsidies, the Jews were being benefited while the Arabs were neglected.
Aouni stated yesterday afternoon that the Palestine Government had earmarked on hundred thousand pounds for the compensation of victims of the recent disturbances. Luke agreed that such a sum had been allocated but denied that any compensation had yet been paid out.
The Arab counsel then asserted that the Arabs had failed to receive their share of the ten thousand pounds allocated by the government for immediate relief, adding that Sir John Chancellor was surprised to hear that the Arabs had received no benefits.
To half the questions placed by the Arab counsel, Mr. Luke replied he did not know, the questions being put with an obvious intention to receive just such an answer.
The question of employment in the Civil Service was again raised yesterday. Luke agreed with Aouni’s assertion that there were more Jews in the Civil Service than Arabs, in proportion to the population. He said he was not aware that many educated Arabs, who had served under Turkey, were now unemployed. It is possible that there are some Russian Jews among the government officers, but there is no discrimination against Moslems. He hopes, he said, the cultural advancement of the Moslems will make them eligible for public service. The disproportionate number of Jews in government service, he further accounted for by the fact that many Jewish officials were technically qualified in certain fields, where the Moslems were not qualified.
Not satisfied with the answer. Aounisingled out the case of Dukhan., a Jew, Assistant Director of the Land Department of the Palestine Government, insinuating that there are hun-
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(Continued from Page 1) dreds of Arabs just as qualified as he is.
The Arab counsel insisted upon having produced the government circular instructing officials to assist in the Jewish relief measures, on the ground that the language of the circular was such that the Commissioners might be prejudiced against the Arab case.
Mr. Luke declined to answer whether the Government favors the sale of land to the Jews, and stated that he is uninformed whether the majority of Jewish settlers are ignorant of agriculture. He declared his belief that the number of the proletariat exceeds the number of farmers among the Jewish immigrants and explained that Chalutz means pioneer, whether he be a laborer or a farmer. He said he thought Jewish agriculture was more expensive than Arab. To the question whether it was desirable that the Arabs should be replaced by Jewish fellaheen, he said he did not know. Sir Walter Shaw answered: "That is obvious."
Luke denied that the Jewish National Home must be erected irrespective of the prejudices of the Arabs. At the same time, he stated, the old established Jewish colonies have unquestionably benefited the whole country.
He said he was unaware that 915 Arab cultivator families in the Emek had been dispossessed.
Aouni suggested that the increase in crimes was due to the dispossession of the Arabs. Luke explained that the government is not obliged to assist evicted cultivators, beyond the limits set forth by the Tenants’ Protection Ordinance. Shaw suggested that the Mandate which undertakes to safeguard the civil rights of the Arabs might save the Arabs from dispossession. R. Hopkin Morris, another member of the Commission, suggested that no question of civil rights is involved since the terms of land sales are carried out. Merriman added that the law provides compensation for any Arab evacuated. Stoker intervened to quote Article 6 of the Mandate which promises state and waste lands to the Jews, asserting that this is a hardship to the Arabs. He failed to state that the Jews have not been given a single acre of land under this provision.
Aouni referred to the purchase of land in Wadi Hawara, south of Hedera, by the Jewish National Fund with the $1,000,000 fund provided by the Canadian Zionists. He alleged that the police are now trying to evict the Arab squatters. Luke stated that an Arab deputation from Tulkarem had applied to him for an interview concerning this matter, while Shaw remarked that the tion.
Commission yesterday had received a telegram complaining against the evic.
That the Jewish colonies are in continuous difficulties and that their morals are displeasing to the Arabs, was charged by Aouni. Sir Henry Batterton, at this point, requested Aouni to bring his own evidence to prove his allegations. Aouni replied that his case is to show that the Zionists prejudice the Arab position.
Answering the question of whether or not the Jewish immigration is responsible for the higher cost of living, Luke read a section from the 1927 report of the Palestine Government. The report stated that increased immigration has caused a general rise in values particularly in movable property. R. Hopkin Morris read another section of the report which stated that the cost of living had fallen nearly twenty-seven percent.
Returning to the question of unemployment in 1927, when the government spent £66,000 in unemployment relief, Aouni charged that although unemployment prevailed, the government allowed new immigration in 1928. Luke replied that the return of prosperity enabled the renewal of immigration. He was unaware, he stated, that the Jewish immigration had caused Arab unemployment.
Aouni harped on crime statistics, to the amusement of Sir Walter Shaw and R. Hopkin Morris. The greater number of Arab prisoners, the Chief Secretary of the Palestine Government testified with some exasperation, may perhaps be accounted for by the new legislation classifying new offenses. He denied that the collective punishment ordinance was designed to benefit the Jew against the Arab. Shaw impatiently interrupted the Arab counsel to ask how the legislation caused the recent disturbances.
Turning to the Wailing Wall dispute and the recent outbreaks, Aouni attempted to produce the address of Chief Rabbi Kook on August 18th, but was checked by Sir Walter Shaw. Merriman assured the Commission, however, that Rabbi Kook would be called.
Aouni again introduced the statement of the Moslem leaders, deploring "every drop of bloodshed in the Holy Land."
Luke said he did not recollect hearing a rumor that the Jews had bombed the Mosque of Omar, and was reminded by Aouni that the Palestine High Commissioner had asked the Arab Executive to deny these accounts in Iraq.
Evidently dissatisfied with the Arab interpreter, Merriman announced that he has arranged for an interpreter of his own.