Jerusalem (Dec. 2)
Following the visit paid him by an Arab delegation which came to complain of the sale of land to Jews and Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would allegedly cause Arabs to be outnumbered in a few years, High Commissioner Sir Arthur Wauchope today issued a lengthy statement declaring that the extent of Jewish immigration had been greatly exaggerated. He also declared that the absorptive capacity of the country was still the yardstick by which immigration was measured.
High Commissioner Wauchope’s statement also discussed the proposed legislative council for Palestine and the sale of the Huleh plain to the Jews.
Sir Arthur affirmed his faith in the legislative council as a worthwhile measure and pointed out that the Arab peasantry had been safeguarded in the Huleh negotiations by having land set apart for them.
GUIDED BY CAPACITY
“The government,” Sir Arthur declared, “is endeavoring to increase the productivity of the land and has taken steps to protect the cultivators by various ordinances.
“Where immigration is concerned, the government has been and still is guided by the absorptive capacity of the country. The rapid development of Palestine in the last two years has made it difficult to obtain workers. Press reports on Jewish immigration are, however, exaggerated. During ten months in 1934, 36,000 Jewish immigrants entered the country.
“At the same time, the government has taken energetic steps to halt the illegal immigration through the organization of strong land and marine patrols. The government has also made considerable reduction in Jewish immigration schedules as a result of illegal immigration.
UPHOLDS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
“The Huleh concession,” the communique stated, “had been transferred to the Jews with the full approval of the government, since 25,000 dunams are being set apart for the Arabs.
“Where the legislative council is concerned, the government stands on the announcement of the project in 1930,” Sir Arthur concontinued. “It is my belief that the legislative council with the necessary safeguards would ensure peace in Palestine and would in no way endanger the mandate, or even hamper it.
“It can be established on the basis of local government. To my regret it took longer to establish local government than had been anticipated, but after a reasonable period of watching the municipal councils at work, I shall inaugurate discussions on the legislative council.”