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Hits Method of Allotting State Waste Land to Arab Peasants

December 16, 1936
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Government methods of allotting State waste lands to Arab peasants were attacked before the British Royal Commission today by Bernard Josef, legal adviser of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

Describing the situation as “shocking,” Mr. Josef said the Government permitted Arab peasants to occupy the lands upon presentation of a certificate signed by a mukhtar (village chieftain) and two village notables, following which, a title deed could be granted.

Mr. Josef pointed out that the Government was violating Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate (which provides for facilitation of Jewish immigration and encouragement of close Jewish settlement on the land) by placing obstacles in the way of Jewish land purchase.

At the present tempo of Jewish purchasing of land, he declared, it will be 150 years before they will have bought half of the available acreage.

“Let the Government grant us uncultivable land,” he pleaded, “and give us a chance to show what we are capable of doing.”

Concluding his testimony, Mr. Josef pointed out that nobody compels the Arabs to sell their own land and denied that special protective measures against land sales are necessary.

“If an Arab possesses some uncultivable land, prohibiting the sale of that land would only interfere with the individual rights of land owners and would ruin the agricultural credit system of the country.

S. Tolkovsky, general manager of the Jaffa Citrus Exchange in Tel Aviv, discussed the position of the citrus industry. He demanded completion of the Jaffa-Haifa road and erection of packing sheds as aids to the industry.


Lord Peel’s questioning of Dr. Maurice Hexter in regard to Ramsay McDonald’s letter to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, reported in yesterday’s bulletin, was clarified today when the full interchange was obtained. Lord Peel asked whether the Arabs had appeared before the Cabinet Commission before the letter was written. Dr. Hexter replied that only the Jews had appeared, whereupon Lord Peel said, “So it was a one-sided inquiry.” Dr. Hexter responded that it was two-sided, being Anglo-Jewish.

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