Cairo (Dec. 29)
The Palestine question will definitely be solved within the forthcoming year on the basis of the new partition scheme, it was predicted in high British quarters here today. This scheme, British officials disclosed, has been discussed in recent weeks in London and was also submitted to several Arab leaders. It will serve as a basis for negotiations which will commence in Cairo after the arrival here of a new British Minister of State for the Middle East who is due to reach Egypt within a month.
Under the new scheme, it was reliably stated here today, a large part of Palestine, including the Southern part of the country which is known as the Negeb, as well as a part of Transjordan, will become Jewish territory. The remaining areas would be attached to a “Greater Syria” which the plan envisages as a regional federation comprised of the present Syria, Lebanon and the remainder of Palestine and Transjordan.
While the Syrian Government was described here today as being pleased with the project, which would add important and highly developed areas to its territory, there is marked hesitation on the part of the Lebanese. Premier Riad el Solh of Lebanon is quoted here as having definitely stated that while the Lebanese Republic is willing and prepared to cooperate with Syria in administration of common interests and in other directions, it has no intention of sacrificing any part of its sovereignty. It is believed, however, that the federation scheme could proceed without Lebanon.
BRITAIN MUST REACH UNDERSTANDING WITH FRANCE ON CEDED PALESTINE LAND
It was pointed out here that the British Government would have to reach an understanding with the French authorities with regard to the status of the parts of Palestine and Transjordan which are to be attached to a “Greater Syria.” It is hardly likely that Britain is prepared to waive its interest in the sections of Palestine and Transjordan which will be ceded to Syria. At present French authorities are in the midst of negotiations with Syria and Lebanon seeking to establish with them treaty relations similar to that established between Britain and Iraq. Under the proposed treaty, Syria and Lebanon will remain under the French sphere of influence.
The attitude of the Jews towards the partition scheme is not known here. Some believe that the scheme should be “superficially attractive” for Jews since it provides a large area for them. On the other hand, it is obvious that under the new scheme much of the territory which Jews have developed in Palestine over a score of years – including many of their outstanding achievements – would be left outside the borders of their territory. This is especially true with regard to the Jewish settlements in the Emek and in Galilee which are considered the best in the country.
The value of the areas which Jews will receive in Southern Palestine and in Transjordan depends entirely on the possibility of securing water since these sections have no wells and no irrigation, it was pointed out here.
An Egyptian trade mission is leaving for Palestine soon to participate in a conference which will consider the development of commercial relations between Palestine and Egypt, it was reported in the Cairo press today. The delegation will be headed by the Egyptian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mahmoud Soliman Ghannam.