Jewish immigration of 100,000, and forty-four million dollars in liquid capital poured into the Holy Land in connection with Jewish enterprise during the past decade, have resulted in improving the conditions of the Arabs and in enlarging their prosperity to a degree which they had never before known, according to a survey of Palestine just issued by the Jewish Agency, which has been received by the Allied Jewish Campaign.
The survey, compiled by the Palestine Executive, the body of men entrusted with carrying out the Agency program, declares that Jewish immigration and the accompanying influx of liquid capital has quadrupled the value of the property remaining in Arabian hands; has increased the purchasing power of the Palestinian Arabs above that of those in other countries, has made taxes for the Arabian population lower than those in other Arabian countries; and has provided the government with new sources of revenue which have made possible valuable public improvements.
CONDITIONS BEFORE POST-WAR INFLUX
Describing conditions before the post war Jewish immigration, the report declares that the Arab population was 560,000 according to the 1922 census. It computes their entire property value at approximately $41,250,000 basing figures on the price of land which was 10 shillings per dunam in 1922 as compared to 3 pounds now; on the rentals of houses, the chief source of urban values, and on the value of livestock.
As evidence of present Arabian prosperity, the report cites the rise in land values, computing that the 11,000,000 dunams still in Arabian hands are worth now thirty-three million pounds on the basis of the present market price per dunam. The government has been enabled to pay off its pre-war debt by a lump-sum payment of 809.76 pounds, and also its debt of 206,541 pounds to the British administration incurred during the war; and has invested over 1,500,000 pounds in public improvements.
INCREASE IN PURCHASING POWER
The Arab population, the report says, imports at the rate of 4.5 pounds per head, as against 3.7 in wealthy Egypt, 3.5 in Syria. Pointing out that the imports vastly exceed exports, and that still the country has not run into debt, the report declares: “One could scarcely desire a clearer proof of the increase of material well-being and purchasing power among the Arabs.”
While prior to 1922 luxuries such as automobiles were practically unknown among Arabs, the survey states that today there is one motor car to every 352 inhabitants in Palestine against 506 in Syria, 650 in Egypt, 730 in Iraq, 1,908 in Turkey and 2,730 in India. Arab landowners, by selling part of their property to Jewish immigrants have been enabled to improve what remained to them, to the extent of planting 30,000 dunams of new orange orchards with a money value of 3,000,000 pounds, the survey states. Arab tenant farmers, selling their products to the new immigrants, have acquired the ability to purchase land themselves and thereby become free peasants on the soil.
JEWISH COLONIZATION RESPONSIBLE
Jewish colonization was responsible for this change in the condition of the native population, the report states, because “it has combined with an immigration of about 100,000 persons, or 15 percent of the population in 1920, a capital importation of about 44 million pounds, in other words, six to eight times the amount of the total capital already in the country. This immigration opened up to the government new sources of revenue. The capital in the shape of land which constituted by far the greater part of the national wealth and which through lack of prospective purchasers was immobile, has through the influx of such purchasers in sufficient numbers been rendered liquid and realizable at any time.”
The survey states that the government public works made possible by the new revenues and the Jewish colonies provided wage-earning opportunities for the Arabs, that Arab farmers found a rich market among the Jewish colonists for their food stuffs, and a large source of revenue in the urban districts by renting houses to Jews.
ARAB EMPLOYERS ADVERSELY AFFECTED
Classes affected adversely by the Jewish colonization, the report declares, are Arab employers who used to exploit their fellow-natives as cheap labor and can no longer do so in face of wages paid by Jewish farmers; land owners who used to exploit their lessors, now able to meet their debts by selling products to Jewish settlements; and the land speculator, who is now ruined by the tendency of the native farmers to claim for themselves the high prices paid by Jews without intervention of a middleman.
If Jewish immigration should shrink, the report declares, capital reserve which Arabs as a body possess in their ownership of land would be largely destroyed; those fellaheen who send their products to the Jewish market would have again to reduce their production; Arab house-owners would lose tenants; and the revenue of the government would greatly decline.