Jerusalem 5 (May. 23)
The government is about to enact legislation similar in its throttling effects on Jewish development in Palestine to the White Paper of 1939, it was learned here today.
The new legislation would restrict the extraction of and the use of Palestineian water resources. As in the case of immigration and land sales, the Jews would be most affected by the proposed legislation. Water is vital to Jewish land reclamation projects, which greatly exceed any government or Arab endeavors in this field.
What the government control of the extraction of the country’s underground water resources will mean was indicated recently when the Jews were forbidden to complete their water pipeline project for bringing water to new settlements in the Negev. If the projected water legislation is enacted before the arrival of the UN fact-finding commission, the government’s purpose will be clear: namely, to bring land reclamation to a standstill and to try to convince the UN Commission that the absorpsive capacity of Palestine has just about reached its limit. This capacity depends upon land development which, in turn, depends on irrigation.