Gency Economic Spokesmen Tell U.N. Committee Palestine Can Absorb Millions More
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Gency Economic Spokesmen Tell U.N. Committee Palestine Can Absorb Millions More

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Debunking the “legend” of lend and water scarcity (##)lestine, Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, today bold the Uni(##)ns Special Committee on Palestine that “this little country contains enough (##) water to feed not only its present population but twice and thrice the number.

Continuing the second day of the presentation of the Agency’s case before (##) Kaplan declared that during the past quarter of a century the Jews of Palestine (##) increased the irrigated area of the country more than ten times–from (##)unams (10,000 acres) to 450,000 dunams. “We are confident that it is pos(##) to increase the irrigated area further, at least eight times as much as is now irrigated,” he continued, adding: “In this direction lies the future of Palestine’s agriculture.”

Kaplan asserted that his predictions on the future of Palestine’s agriculture (##)d on Jewish colonizing experience during the past three generations and on the basis of scientific research carried out on the land during the last 35 years. Last which was given up by the government as “uncultivatable,” he pointed out, (##) cultivatable when skill and experience was applied to it. He asserted an ex(##) agricultural policy was possible with large-scale immigration and a broad development program designed and executed with vision, courage and a pressing sense of (##) the part of the responsible authorities.


The Agency’s economic spokesman summed up his position in six points: I. Jewish immigration has created new economic absorptive capacities in Palestine and has {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} a great impetus to the economic progress of the country as a whole, to the bene{SPAN}(##){/SPAN} all inhabitants. 2. The Jewish community has established an economic entity {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} is sound and self-supporting. 3. This economic structure is still at the be{SPAN}(##){/SPAN} of its development. 4. Palestine can absorb additional millions of people. The Agency plan for the absorption of 1,000,000 Jews in the next decade, as pres{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}onable amount of international cooperation, the means can be found to finance {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} a number of immigrants.

Continuing with his plan for the expansion of agriculture, based on irrigat(##), Kaplan referred to the Hays-Savage plan to develop water resources in various (##) of Palestine in eight stages. The plan, which was developed by American en(##)rs who had worked on the TVA and other large American engineering projects, was (##)cusly presented to the Anglo-American committee and differs from the Lowdermilk (##)n Valley Authority” plan in that it calls for the independent development of (##) areas before the major Jordan Valley project is begun.

Kaplan stated that the Hays plan, as presented to the Anglo-American pro(##) provided for the irrigation of some 2,500,000 dunams. Since then, he reported, the Agency’s research department has come to the conclusion that an additional 800,000 dunams could be irrigated from the same reserves.


He rejected the government’s assertion that there are “great obstacles” in the way of rapid agricultural development. He maintained that the major obstacles were governmental restrictions, citing a recent government ordinance controlling all water sources which can be used for irrigation. “We were amazed by the government’s decision to introduce such legislation at a time when the whole question of Palestine is sub judice,” he declared.

In summation, he charged the government with a “basic lack of understanding” of the nature of Jewish work in Palestine when it accuses the Jews of setting up an (##)sively racial economic organization. It is impossible to understand the Palestine problem if one does not understand that the Jews are trying not only to find a (##)n in Palestine for refugees, but also to reestablish the Jewish nation, he concluded.

Kaplan’s testimony followed that of Fritz Bernstein, director of the Agency’s (##)strial department, who made a number of serious charges against the Mandatory. (##)ing out at Britain’s control of Palestine’s dollar reserves and of its exports, Barnstein accused the Mandatory of “exploiting Jewish Palestine.”

He said that during the period of 1940 to 1946 Palestine earned a total of $165,000,000 – $98,000,000 so-called gift dollars from American Jews and $66,000,000 from exports – which went into the United Kingdom dollar pool. Allocation of dollers to neighboring countries was far in excess of what they had earned, he said. “So in fact Jewish dollar earnings were transmitted to Arab countries which are boy-cotting Jewish products,” Bernstein declared. He expressed the hope that the United Nations would be in a position to end this exploitation of Jewish Palestine.


Continuing his indictment of Britain, Bernstein stated that “the determining element in the history of the British Mandate in Palestine has been a vast discre{SPAN}(##){/SPAN}cy between the ascertainable purposes of the British Palestine policy and those of the Jewish community.” The Jews have accepted as valid only those objectives laid {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, while the Mandatory has often placed {SPAN}(##){/SPAN} own national and imperial policies to the forefront, he claimed.

He charged that various investigating commissions have come to Palestine to (##)ve that the absorptive capacity of the country could not be increased to a con(##)rable extent and that Jewish immigration ought to be severely limited. He also (##) that Britain was seeking to smother the young, developing industry in Palestine. (##) should not be forgotten, “he concluded, that the Jews’ effort to build their national future is a fight “for life in the most primitive sense,” while all others who (##) claim to the country “are at best fighting for power.”

In the afternoon the U.N. committee met in a private session and agreed to (##)t hearings to the Chief Rabbinate, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Council (##) Jewish Womens Organizations and League for Jewish-Arab Rapprochement and Cooperation. Later they visited Tel Aviv and other places. It was learned that chairman (##) Sandstroem has prepared a list of written questions to be put to David Ben (##)on, Agency spokesman who opened the Jewish presentation Friday, at tomorrow’s (##)s-examination.

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