Details of $12,500,000 Palestine Development Scheme Made Public; Includes Register of Displaced Arab

The details of the $12,500,000 Palestine land settlement and land development scheme were made public today simultaneously in London and in Jerusalem. In London the scheme was outlined to the House of Commons by Dr. Drummond Shiels, under-secretary of state for the colonies, while in Jerusalem the plan was promulgated through the publication of the scheme itself together with a covering letter from Lord Passfield, colonial secretary, to High Commissioner Chancellor.

In brief, the scheme provides for the preparation of a register of such Arabs as can be shown to have been displaced from the lands which they occupied in consequence of the land passing into the hands of the Jews, and who have not obtained other holdings on which they can establish themselves, or other equally satisfactory occupation. In preparing the register the director is to have the assistance of the legal assessor, whose duty it will be to scrutinize claims and to advise the director as to the sufficiency of evidence in each case before the claim is admitted.

On the basis of this register, the director of development is to draw up a scheme for the resettlement of the registered, displaced Arab families, together with an estimate of the cost of such resettlement, which is to be carried out as quickly as possible, after the High Commissioner of Palestine has approved the scheme.

FOLLOWS MACDONALD LETTER

The director of development is also empowered to investigate the methods to be adopted to give effect, within the limits of the funds available, to the British government’s intention, (as promised in Premier MacDonald’s letter to Dr. Chaim Weizmann on February 13, as soon as possible to ascertain inter alia what state and other lands are, or properly can be made, available for close settlement by Jews under reference to the obligation imposed upon the Mandatory by Article VI of the Mandate.”

As explained by Dr. Shiels, this investigation is also to include the following items:

1. The feasibility and advisability of providing credits for Arab cultivators and Jewish settlers, and if so, the best methods to achieve this purpose.

2. Proposals for draining, irrigating and otherwise reclaiming land at present uncultivated or cultivated only to a limited extent.

3. The British government intends to authorize the High Commissioner to incur an expenditure not exceeding $250,000 in the foregoing investigations, including all necessary surveys and experiments, such expenditure being met from Palestine funds.

JEWISH, ARAB COMMENTS INVITED

4. The High Commissioner will take the report into consideration and before submitting recommendations to the government will invite the observations of the Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive upon the practical proposals of the scheme and will afford them an opportunity to make representations regarding such proposals as have not yet received a concurrence of the Jewish and Arab advisors.

5. The development director is to submit estimates of the cost and works proposed and intimate their order of preference and he must submit his report not later than December, 1931.

In outlining the scheme, Dr. Shiels declared that the directors’ report will be transmitted by the High Commissioner, along with any representations of the Jewish Agency or the Arab Executive, to the British government which will decide whether effect is to be given to the report and its recommendations, or to which of them and in what manner. The bill for the guarantee of the $12,500,000 development loan will not be settled until the director’s report is received and considered together with the representations.

Dr. Shiels further stated that the development director will be subordinate to the High Commissioner but independent of the existing Palestine government departments, though in carrying out the development work he will be in liaison with them. The Jewish Agency and the Arab Executive will be invited to nominate one member each to assist the director in an advisory capacity, Dr. Shiels declared.

NEXT STORY