Jerusalem (Nov. 4)
Twenty Jewish workers were wounded, five of them seriously, and four were arrested in the Jewish colony of Hederah to-day when Jewish unemployed surrounded orange groves employing Arabs, and demanded that they should be given work.
We have no food and nowhere to go, the demonstrators shouted.
The police of the colony were unable to make the demonstrators disperse, and called out British police reinforcements, and they were dispersed by force with the aid of the police cudgels.
An indignation meeting attended by about 800 people was held afterwards in the Community House, at which a strongly worded resolution was adopted protesting against the action of the police and the Jewish planters.
Trouble over the question of the employment of Arab labour in the Palestine Jewish plantations has occurred regularly over a period of many years, and clashes have taken place repeatedly. Almost every year there have been collisions in a number of the Jewish colonies, ending in fighting and arrests. The most serious was the clash which occurred in Petach Tikvah in December 1927, when feeling was roused throughout Palestine, and protests were cabled to the British Labour Party, and questions were put in the House of Commons.
The following year there were again several clashes in the colonies, and the Vaad Leumi appointed a special commission to conduct negotiations between the Jewish workers and the colonists, with a view to establishing good relations between them to prevent further repetition of these troubles. The Vaad Leumi, in making the appointment, issued a proclama- tion declaring it essential that Jewish labour must be employed in the Jewish colonies. The Vaad Leumi blamed both the workers and the colonists for the trouble that had occurred in the past, the workers for resorting to violence, and the colonists for refusing to accept arbitration.
The Colonists’ Union, for its part, placed the blame on the workers for their belligerent attitude, and issued a protest, in which it said that it held the Palestine Labour Federation responsible for the damage done and demanded that the Zionist Executive should curb the aggressiveness of the workers.
Jewish public opinion in Palestine and the Jewish press is practically solid in supporting the demand of the workers that the Jewish colonists should employ a large number of Jewish unemployed. The “Haaretz” pointed out last December when similar trouble occurred at Ness Zionah, that the Jewish people all over the world had felt outraged when the British Government assailed the right of Jewish labour to work upon Jewish soil and declared that the Yishub must do more than pay lip service to the principle of Jewish labour. The “Haaretz” urged in this connection that the Elected Assembly (Hassefat Fanivcharim) should give its first attention when it met to solving the Jewish labour problem in the colonies. The Labour daily “Davar” also expressed anxiety at the time and in an editorial said that the atmosphere in the colonies was full of a sense of approaching calamity and that the Vaad Leumi and the Jewish Agency ought to exert their influence to the uttermost to prevent a serious outbreak.
The conscience of the Jewish planters in Palestine is on trial now, the “Doar Hayom” wrote. At this time of need they are refusing the Haluzim the right to work, when their golden orange crop could well provide them with the work and bread for which they ask. The Jewish colonists of Palestine, it said, are backing up, in fact, the views laid down by Sir John Hope Simpson in his Report against the employment of Jewish labour on Jewish land.
The Palestine Labour daily “Davar” said that some of the blame for the situation falls upon the Zionists in the Diaspora, for not having provided sufficient funds for the settlement of the Haluzim in Labour colonies.
The Jewish colonists of Hederah (where the present trouble has occurred) made efforts at that time to arrive at a peaceful settlement with the Jewish workers with regard to providing them with employment, drawing up a list of those planters in the colony who were able to provide such work.
The inequality between the economic capacity of the Jewish plantations and the irreducable demands of the Jewish labourers is the basic difficulty, the Palestine Farmers’ Union declared in an official statement on the clash between the Jewish colonists and the Jewish workers at Ness Zionah, accusing the Histadruth of pursuing objects unconnected with the question of employment of Jewish labour. The Palestine Labour leaders, the statement said, prefer to see hundreds of workers idle rather than reduce by one jot their party principles and their extravagant demands.