Palestine Government’s Lease of Vadi Havarith Land for Bedouins: Jewish National Fund States It Was

The Head Office of the Jewish National Fund has issued the following statement through the J.T.A.:

Several scores of Bedouins who had been on the land at Va#i Havarith prior to its acquisition by the Jewish National Fund, and subsequently camped on a neighbouring area known as Sheikh Mohammed Basset, the property of the Government of Palestine, occupied early in December, the said land of the Jewish National Fund on which they placed their tents and cattle.

On the matter being brought before the Government, the latter proposed to the Jewish National Fund that it should lease to the Government 5,000 dunams of its land of a period of two years, upon which the Bedouins could be temporarily accommodated. The Government stated that the Bedouins’ previous camping site was under water owing to the winter rains and would not be fit for use until the close of the winter.

The reply of the Jewish National Fund was that the land at Vadi Havarith had been acquired by it by legal purchase and it was under no obligation towards the Bedouins, all of whom had received full compensation for any possible loss. The Government which had closely followed developments upon the Vadi Havarith land since its acquisition by the Jewish National Fund, was obliged, and was also able, to take the necessary steps for the accommodation of these Bedouins elsewhere. Nevertheless, in view of the insistent demands of the Government, the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund was constrained to enter into negotiations with the Government.

Negotiations between the Jewish National Fund and the Government of Palestine continued for about two months, and were carried on through the Political Department of the Jewish Agency. As a result, it was agreed that half of the area required for the temporary accommodation of the Bedouins would be leased from the Jewish National Fund. The area originally required from the Fund was thus reduced to 2,965 dunams. At the same time the period of the lease was curtailed to terminate by October 1st., 1933, when the land is to revert to the full possession of the Fund.

Further his Excellency the High Commissioner has given his assurance that during the period of lease the Government will do all in its power in order to arrive at a final solution of the question of the Bedouins of Vadi Havarith. During the period of lease no permanent fixtures such as buildings, plantations, etc. may be placed on the land. The sub-lease between the Government and the Bedouins will provide that such lease does not give to the Bedouins any new rights upon the land in question. The Government has also undertaken that in the event of any new legislation it will take into consideration

the special conditions in which the lease from the Jewish National Fund is being made so that the rights of ownership of the Fund upon the land shall not be prejudiced thereby.

The Government will pay to the Jewish National Fund an agreed lease-rental and also compensation for the interruption of cultivation of the land in question, and other damages caused by the lease of the land.

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