Jerusalem (Mar. 30)
Palestine has withstood the economic crisis in a gratifying manner, the High Commissioner, General Sir Arthur Wauchope said in addressing to-day a Conference of the Mayors of the various towns in Palestine and the Presidents of the local Councils, whom he had summoned to explain to them the Government’s intentions with regard to the amendment of the Local Government Ordinance.
The agricultural prospects are causing anxiety, however, he added, unless there are rainfalls shortly.
Fourteen Arabs and six Jews attended the Conference, the Jewish Mayors being Mr. Mayer Dizengoff, of Tel Aviv, Mr. Meerovitch of Rishon-le-Zion, and Mr. Zaki of Tiberias.
The new local Government Bill will be ready in a month or two, the High Commissioner told the Conference, and it will then be sent to the local authorities for their consideration. One of the purposes of the new bill, he said, is to increase the resources of the local authorities.
The High Commissioner announced that the police force is being re-organised, in order to increase its efficiency, and the Municipal police will be unified with the general police everywhere.
The Mayor of Jaffa protested against the Tel Aviv municipal police remaining an autonomous body, while the Jaffa police would be merged with the general police force, and he was supported in his protest by the Mayor of Nablus.
Mr. Dizengoff, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, urged that more autonomy should be given to the local authorities.
Mr. Meerovitch, the Mayor of Rishon-le-Zion, complained that the colonies are paying tens of thousands of pounds in taxation annually, and are obtaining nothing in return from the Government.
All the Mayors were unanimous in demanding that the local authorities should have their former tax revenue restored, part of which has been taken over by the Government since the British occupation.
Mr. Zaki, the Mayor of Tiberias, suggested that new elections should be held, because the period for which the existing municipalities were elected expired in 1930.
Constitutional changes may take place in Palestine shortly, the Arab press suggests, declaring that the High Commissioner in replying to the memorandum submitted to him recently by Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, the Mayor of Jerusalem, urging the establishment of representative Government, “for the benefit of the country and in accordance with the provisions of the Mandate”, said that he is greatly interested in the proposal