For the first time the Palestine Gazette, official organ of the Palestine government, listed this week fifty-seven Arabs as immigrants who legally entered the country from other Arab states.
The admission into Palestine of Arabs from other countries is a direct violation of the principle of absorptive capacity upon which the Palestine government is regulating the immigration quota for the Jews. If fifty-seven more immigrants are to be admitted into Palestine they must be Jews, not Arabs.
JEWISH MAJORITY ENDANGERED
There is good ground for the belief that this small scale legal immigration of Arabs into Palestine will no doubt be enlarged by the Palestine government in time. What will then happen to the Jewish majority which the Zionists hope to attain in the country? How will the absorptive capacity of the country be determined then?
The fifty-seven Arabs who were admitted as immigrants did not come in as seasonal workers, as was once stated by the Executive of the Jewish Agency. Recognized as immigrants, they can now remain as long as they wish. They can even become Palestine citizens, after a two years’ stay. They enjoy the same status as any Jewish immigrant.
A POOR EXCUSE
The explanation that they were admitted into Palestine to work in the Haifa harbor is, from a Jewish standpoint, no excuse at all. There are today thousands of young Jews in many countries who would be willing to do any kind of work if they were only admitted into Palestine. There are thousands of Jewish dock workers in Salonica who are clamoring for Palestine visas.
The innovation introduced by the Palestine government in granting immigration visas also to Arabs must therefore be looked upon as a failure on the part of the Executive of the Jew-Agency sufficiently to protect Jewish immigration interests. It is another blow at the Zionist Executive on the immigration front.
FAILURES OF THE EXECUTIVE
The present Zionist Executive has on its records numerous achievements, but as regards its immigration front. it has suffered one failure after another. Only during the last few months the Palestine government has delivered the following blows at the Executive as far as the immigration regulations are concerned:
1. It has taken off 2,800 certificates from the recent labor schedule for alleged illegal entrants. Since on each certificate a minimum of two persons are admissible, this decrease in the labor schedule means that the Zionist Executive was permitted to bring in about 6,000 Jews less than the established absorptive capacity of the country provided for. In other words, at least 1,000 prospective Jewish immigrants a month were prevented from entering Palestine because of the inability of the Zionist Executive to prove that the illegal immigration into Palestine is much less than an average of 1,100 persons a month.
CUTTING VISAS IN HALF
2. In addition to the 2,800 certificates which the government deducted from the labor schedule, it has now, for the first time, limited “chalutzim” to come in on single visas only, without the right to bring in wives or husbands, as the case may be. Thus, of the 7,600 certificates which the Executive received for the next six months, more than halfâ€”4,283 visasâ€”were for single persons only, representing a substantial cut in the immigration quota as compared with previous schedules, where no such limitation existed.
3. For the first time the government officially announced that individual applications for visas by employes as well as by employers can be sent directly to the government, ignoring the Zionist Executive and thus actually taking away the monopoly over Jewish immigration from the Executive.
JEWISH IMMIGRATION REDUCED
4. Numerous restrictions were also introduced for the first time by the Palestine government affecting Jews from Syria and other neighboring countries, at a time when no such restrictions exist for Arabs from the same countries.
As a result of all this, the legal immigration into Palestine for the next six months will be much smaller than a year ago. Legal immigration of Arabs into Palestine, however, may rise since the government has embarked on a policy of giving immigration visas to Arabs from neighboring countries.
GRUENBAUM NOT TO BLAME
It would be a mistake to attribute the Zionist failure on the immigration front to Isaac Gruenbaum, the member of the Zionist Executive who is in charge of the immigration department. Those who are informed of the inside doings of the Zionist Executive know that Mr. Gruenbaum is the last person to be blamed. Other members of the Executiveâ€”those who for one reason or another never permitted Mr. Gruenbaum to fight his battle directly with the Palestine governmentâ€”are, however, to be held responsible for the defeat on the immigration policy. They will have to answer for this to the next Zionist Congress and to the next session of the Jewish Agency in Lucerne.