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Palestine Economic Corporation Outlines Work to Royal Commission

The Palestine Economic Corporation made public today a record of activities containing information presented to the Royal Commission in Palestine in which it is declared that “the assets of $3,500,000 which the Corporation commands are pledged to promote the welfare of Palestine.”

The 38-page pamphlet, dated October, 1936, was released by Bernard Flexner, chairman of the P.E.C. ‘s board of directors. It contains 77 paragraphs reviewing its history and activities in the field of cooperative credit, low cost housing for workers, water supply and irrigation, small loans, and amelioration and planned development of land. Eight appendices are annexed detailing the work of the P.E.C. and subsidiary organizations.

The corporation “will continue to help immigrant settlers to establish themselves as independent productive workers,” the conclusion says. “The corporation will adhere faithfully to the social-economic policies which have thus far given direction to its activities. It will aim, as it has in the past, at the development of public service in the true meaning of the words.

“It looks forward toward increasing its usefulness in four important fields: in extension of its aid to the cooperative movement; in water development to aid both sections of the population, in promoting low cost housing for Jewish and Arab workers; and in the planned development of the industrial and residential districts of the Haifa Bay region.”

The P.E.C., largest wholly owned American organization operating in Palestine, which, with its predecessor, has engaged in the economic rebuilding of Palestine since 1921, has centered its activities primarily on assisting the Jewish population, the record discloses, but the Arabs have benefited directly and indirectly from its work and the company’s efforts will be expanded further towards bringing the Jews and Arabs closer together in joint enterprises.

The corporation has taken an active interest in fostering and strengthening the co-operative movement, the extraordinary growth of which is held one of the most significant factors accounting for the rapid development of Palestine in the last ten years. Cooperative societies have been formed covering practically every economic endeavor. In 1922, there were 24 registered cooperatives with a membership of 4,278. At the end of 1935, there were 769 registered societies, of which 688 were Jewish cooperatives, with a membership in excess of 135,000. Loans aggregating more than $11,250,000, primarily for agricultural purposes, have been granted to cooperatives through a subsidiary of the corporation.

In the field of low-cost housing for workers, the corporation has pioneered and established many precedents which have been followed by other institutions, the report states. Group building of modern houses was insisted upon and proper town planning was stressed. It has likewise pioneered in the building of homes for agricultural and rural workers.

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