New York (Nov. 7)
Dr. Abraham Granovsky, head of the Jewish National Fund, arrived here yesterday from Jerusalem for a two-months’ stay during which he hopes to secure the support of American Jews for a program of land acquisition in Palestine which calls for the investment this year of a sum exceeding $20,000,000, it was announced here today by Judge Morris Rothenberg, president of the J.N.F. of America.
The announcement was made at a luncheon tendered to Dr. Granovsky in the Biltmore Hotel, at which the leader of the Jewish National Fund reported that Palestine Jewry is determined to resist the British White Paper policy which restricts the acquistition of land by Jews and closes the doors of Palestine to Jewish immigration.
“The Jews of Palestine will never acquiesce in the application to the Jewish National Home of a policy which was conceived during the Munich appeasement era and gave birth to ‘laws’ that have introduced into Palestine the practice of racial discrimination a la Nuremberg,” Dr. Granvosky said. “The inevitable progress of Jewish Palestine by the legitimate means of immigration to the full extent of the country’s absorptive capacity and unhampered land purchase and development will not be halted.
“The Jew, whether born in Palestine, or an immigrant of Palestinian or American nationality, may not lease, buy, or acquire a mortgage, on land, water or on trees in the greater part of Palestine.” Dr. Granovsky pointed out, while Arabs can do so without restrictions. “Two categories of citizenship have thus been created by the Palestine Administration,” he said. “One for the Arab who may buy land or lease land wherever he pleases; the other for the Jew who is restricted to the narrow strip of coast where alone he may buy real property freely. This is the effect of the Land Regulations which have been retained throughout the war for freedom and justice and which are still in force under the British Labor Government whose party platform included a pledge for the abrogation of the White Paper.
“The National Fund, which obtains its support from popular gifts by all sections of the Jewish people, from dimes to hundreds of dollars, has bought the most unpromising areas – swamp and marsh, arid wastes and stony hillsides, for which it has paid high prices to Arabs, who disposed of only a portion of their surplus holdings,” Dr. Granovsky declared. “These lands have been converted into the most promising country-side. These tracts have been drained to eliminate malaria; they have been planted and terraced; they have been irrigated. As a result of our reclamation work some 70,000 people are settled on land which formerly harbored only Beduins or buffaloes. Of the $50,000,000 raised by the National Fund since its inception, the bulk has been invested in the purchase and improvement of 800,000 dunams or about 200,000 acres – three percent of the whole country of Western Palestine.”
The wealthy Arab landowners were eager to dispose of their surplus land as they are anxious even today notwithstanding the public protestations to the contrary. The eagerness of the Arab landowners to sell to Jews their surplus holdings is evidenced by the numerous offers that have been made to us for the sale of scores of thousands of dunams of land in all parts of the country. But the Palestine Administration officials, although their own regulations permitted such transfer, have surrounded each transaction with so many difficulties and obstacles as to forge an iron ring around our land reclamation program, Mr. Granovsky stated.