Menu JTA Search

Sir Flinders Petrie Urges 30-year Truce Between Jews and Arabs

A truce between Jews and Arabs for thirty years is proposed by Sir Flinders Petrie, veteran English archaeologist, in the Morning Post.

Sir Flinders believes that there is room for both Jew and Arab–if only both will be content to go back 2,000 years and adopt the technique of water conservation used in former times. The digging of deep wells and the terracing of hillsides are other methods which, he points out, could be used to bring back land into cultivation.

“The productiveness of the land at present,” Sir Flinders states in an appeal for the “revival” of Palestine, “is greatly under-rated. In Roman times the whole south region down to Ziklag (Aslug) and beyond was occupied by a wealthy people with fine stone buildings. The eastern region down in Moab, down to Petra, was well cultivated.

“To the north of that, Transjordan had another wealthy population with fine buildings in Jerash and other cities.

“Those who have been over these desolate regions agree that there is no evidence of lessened rainfall. On land south of Gaza, now wilderness, there is enough rain for full crops, yet little or no attempt is made to save it.”

In common business there is peace and goodwill-in spite of the “political aims of higher influences” –and the main needs are improved cultivation and a definite land settlement between the two peoples. Sir Flinders continues:

“If there were a guarantee that the Jewish holding of land should never be allowed to exceed one-half of the hills, the plain and the south respectively, the Arab could not fear the future, for the equivalent amount of land would leave him space, when properly cultivated, for many times the present population.

“Such a limitation should be binding for this generation, say for 30 years. Beyond that, the next generation must settle its own matters.

“The training of a fixed population of Arabs on Jewish farms,” Sir Flinders concludes, “would also be a great gain, so as to enable them to hold their own in the new order of things which is coming.”

NEXT STORY