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Sokolow Expects New British Palestine Announcement

February 15, 1923
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The British Government will shortly issue a new pronouncement concerning its policy in Palestine, Nahum Sokolow told the JTA here. While unwilling to forecast its possible contents, Mr. Sokolow is of opinion that it will probably contain little that is different from that expressed by the Duke of Devonshire in his recent statement to the Arabs, that no change may be looked for. Mr. Sokolow expects the Government will announce it has no intention to alter its present policy, nor depart from the principles embodied in the British Mandate, but that it will continue to fulfill the objects laid down in the White Paper. While unable to say what the attitude of Parliament will be, Mr. Sokolow says he is convinced the anti-Palestine agitation, due to the election fever, was never deeprooted and has now subsided.

The rumored unification of Transjordania and Syria under Emir Abdullah Mr. Sokolow dismissed as “fantastic”. “The British hold the Mandate for Transjordania, the French for Syria. For purposes of unification it would be necessary for Transjordania to become French or for Syria British. Both are hardly possible.

“Speculations over the unification of Transjordania and Palestine which was rumored during the Lausanne Conference, should be treated with caution. The Conference had not touched on Palestine and the Arab Delegation, while at Lausanne, was not received by any important politicians.”

As to the Zionist Organization Mr. Sokolow declared it stands by the Mandate which places Transjordania. “to a certain extent” under Sir Herbert Samuel. Mr. Sokolow expects no change in this direction.

Passing to the demands of the Zionist Organization and the complaints of the “Vaad Leumi”, Mr. Sokolow expressed his regret that the representatives had not been successful so far. Dissatisfied with the outcome of these negotiations, the Zionists are continuing to press their claims both in London and Jerusalem, he said. It was for that reason that Colonel Kisoh had been appointed special political negotiator in Palestine.

“We shall strive to obtain the legalization of the Jewish communities in Palestine”, Mr. Sokolow announced. “The chief difficulties in our relations with the Palestine Administration is over the question of immigration. We admit Palestine is unable to absorb an unrestricted immigration, but the Palestine Administration thinks everyone coming to Palestine must be provided with employment in advance of his arrival. We believe, Palestine like all countries, can suffer a certain amount of unemployment. It is untrue we seek to have the immigration restrictions abolished entirely; we only seek, in accordance with paragraph 4 of the Mandate, to further the establishment of the Jewish National Home.”

Speaking of Sir Herbert Samuel, Mr. Sokolow said: “He is not infallible, but we insist that he remains at his post”.

“The chief question before the Thirteenth Congress is the composition of the Jewish Agency” Mr. Sokolow continued. “The Jewish Agency must comprise representatives of the Zionist Organization and others interested in the up building of Palestine. It should include primarily, the Palestine Department of the ICA, which means, actually, Edmond de Rothschild. It should include also the British Board of Deputies and representatives of American Jewry, outside the Zionist movement”.

Declaring that the Zionist Organization is passing through a financial crisis, Mr. Sokolow said it was possible the approaching Zionist Congress would be compelled to revise “basically” the principle of the Keren Hayesod. “Personally”, he said, “I am in favor of retaining the Keren Hayesod in its present form, and of completing and developing it.”

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