gained ground that Mr. French’s resignation from the post of Development Commissioner was largely due to the fact that the present High Commissioner of Palestine did not see eye to eye with him on the conclusions of his report.”
Observations on the French Report made by the Jewish Agency for Palestine here sharply criticized it, and virtually rejected the report.
“There is, in all that Mr. French says,” the observations note, “a thorough lack of understanding or appreciation of the constructive nature of Jewish work in Palestine. He does not seem to have realized, what every observer of Palestine knows, that this work has been the most important agent in the general development of the country.”
Referring to the restrictive measures proposed by Mr. French, the Agency observations point out that these measures, if enacted, “would render Jewish land purchase and Jewish land settlement virtually impossible, with disastrous effects on the general development of Palestine as a whole. Such measures would represent a complete negation of the rights of the Jewish people in Palestine as recognized in the Mandate, and, therefore, cannot possibly meet with the approval of the Jewish Agency.
“Mr. French’s proposals are not only inconsistent with the obligations placed on the Mandatory Power in the Mandate, but are entirely incompatible with the assurances quoted above from the Prime Minister’s letter” (the letter from Prime Minister MacDonald to Dr. Chaim Weizmann in 1931 acknowledging the obligation to facilitate Jewish settlement in Palestine).
The observations also sharply attack the assumption on which the French Report is based, that Jewish settlement in Palestine has created a “large, discontented and landless class” of Arabs, and that continued settlement by Jews is increasing this class.
On the contrary, the Agency observations reveal, investigation by representatives of the development department of the Palestine Government reveal only a very small number of “displaced” Arabs, so small “as to dispose finally of the damaging allegation of the Shaw and Hope Simpson Reports concerning widespread Arab landlessness due to Jewish agricultural settlement.”
Referring to practical prosposals set forth in the French Report, the Agency observations state “the main impression produced by his recommendations is their complete lack of constructive suggestions.”