Jerusalem (Jun. 17)
The majority of the U.N. Palestine committee is inclined at the moment to favor partition, cantonization or a U.N. trusteeship, in that order, as the best solution for the Palestine problem, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns. However, it must be stressed that this is only a preliminary decision, based on first impressions and exchanges of bits of information at informal talks.
It is learned from excellent authority that the oral and written material submitted to the committee yesterday in closed session by the Palestine Government included the following statsments:
There is not a single dunam in the Negev which is not being cultivated. (There are thousands of barren acres in the Negev. In recent months Jewish colonists have established 14 settlements there and piped water from distant sources, despite obstacles placed in their way by the government.) All of the 1,600,000 duname in the northern part of the Negev are occupied by Bedouins, who are excellent agriculturists, whose use of tractors is increasing yearly.
The Lowdermilk Plan for electrification and irrigation based on exploitation of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea is unworkable because of a prior concession for use of the Jordan for hydro-electric power given to the Ruthenberg interests in the early ’20s, and because it is dependent on the goodwill of the neighboring Arab countries.
There has been no illegal Arab immigration into Palestine. Not a single Sudaness has entered the country since 1936 and only one Arab entered annually from Iraq. (According to figures available from reliable sources an increasing number of Arabs from Transjordan, Syria and other Middle East countries have been entering Palestine illegally since the end of the war. Photographs of Arabs crossing the Jordan from Transjordan without any border check have been published abroad.
The government presentation devoted 60 pages to describing the Palestine Constitution, but made no mention of the Mandate. The Jewish war effort was minimized (30,000 Palestinian Jews were in the Allied forces, and Palestine was an arsenal for the Middle East theater) and the Arabs were described as profoundly anti-Axis. They were said to have been very much perturbed at the Italian bombing of Tel Aviv in 1942.