In leading labor circles in Palestine the feeling exists that peace between the Arabs and Jews, and the creation of a better understanding between the two groups, is only a matter of time, Baruch Zuckerman, Palestine labor leader and vice-president of the powerful actions committee of the World Zionist Organization, declared yesterday in an interview with the Jewish Daily Bulletin.
Zuckerman, who will spend a year in the United States in the interests of the Palestine Laborites, declared that the prime necessity for Palestine today is a flow of Jewish immigrants to agricultural colonies in Palestine, which will end the orgy of speculation in land and create a sound economy of Jewish city and agricultural population.
As an instance of coming rapproachment between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine, Zuckerman pointed out that the struggle against cheap, imported labor there had tended to unite Jewish and Arab workers.
RATES OF PAY
“A Jewish agricultural worker,” Zuckerman said, “receives approximately twenty-two piastres a day ($1.10), a native Arab worker receives fifteen piastres ($.75), while an Arab from the Hauran, who comes into Palestine illegally, receives only six to eight piastres (thirty to forty cents). Consequently native Palestinian Arabs and Jewish workers found themselves fighting a common fight against cheap Hauran labor which cut their living standards.
“At the same time I believe that the general run of the Arab population is beginning to realize exactly what Jewish settlement and enterprise in Palestine have meant for them.
“According to the government figures published after the two censuses of 1922 and 1931, Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, which have felt the full force of Jewish activity, have benefitted tremendously, while such purely Arab towns as Gaza, Nablus and Hebron, which are out of the sphere of Jewish influence, have made little or no progress.
“Thus, in orange plantations, where the Arabs before the World War had 9,000 dunams under cultivation, today the figure for Arab orange groves is 90,000 dunams. The area of Jewish orange groves in the same period increased to more than 200,000 dunams under cultivation.
THE POPULATION SHIFTS
“In the period between 1922 and 1931, the population of Arab Haifa increased by eighty-five per cent; Arab Jaffa showed a seventy per cent increase; while Arab Jerusalem showed an increase of forty-five percent. The purely Arab towns are actually losing population; inhabitants are moving into those towns affected by Jewish activity.
“Present-day land speculation in Palestine,” Zuckerman declared, “if continued, will lead to two grave dangers:
“1. The creation of a Jewish city population with an Arab agricultural population.
“2. Class distinctions coinciding with national distinctionsâ€”a Jewish employing class and an Arab working class.”
“After all,” he said, “speculation is merely a phenomenon, not a basic cause. And if the two dangers I cited are not guarded against, they will inevitably lead to a collapse of the entire Yishub.”
“The only way to guard against speculation,” the Laborite leader said, “is to insure a steady flow of Jewish immigrants to Palestine who will settle not in the cities, but in agricultural colonies, land for which can still be found in Palestine and which will support tens of thousands of families.
NEED NATIONAL CAPITAL
“But the waste lands which must be used for such colonies can never be acquired and tilled by private capital. National capital (The Jewish National Fund, the Keren Hayesod and the Laborite Funds), collaborating with organized Jewish labor in Palestine, are the only forces in Palestine capable of accomplishing this work. I am confident that this work, under the proper direction, could be done in the next fifteen years.
“American Jewry must remember that any activities which raise the price of land in Palestine endanger the very life and future of Jewish Palestine. It must also be remembered that the struggle against speculation in Palestine is closely connected with the struggle of the Jewish workers for organization, for the employment of Jewish workers in Jewish enterprises, and above all for an immigration quota truly representative of the absorptive capacity of the country.
“We must continue to fight against land speculation, but we know very well that to preach morality to speculators is not enough. Our fight must begin with the government for an increase in the immigration quota and for enlarged Jewish agricultural settlements which shall maintain the progress exemplified in the census comparison I spoke of previously, which showed that in 1922 eighteen per cent of the total Jewish population was engaged in agricultural, while in 1931 twenty-six per cent of the total number of Palestinian Jews was engaged in agriculture.
DANGER IN PROSPERITY
“In recent years the growing prosperity with all the good that it brought, also disclosed one great danger, for the number of Jews in agriculture has steadily diminished since 1931.
“American Jewry can best support the work in Palestine by raising large sums for the Jewish National Fund, the Jewish Foundation Fund and the Laborite Funds. They must help to strengthen the chief force responsible for the remarkable achievements in Palestineâ€”organized Jewish labor.”