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Secret Plan for Palestine Canal As War Preparation Revealed

July 3, 1934
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A secret plan to build a canal through Palestine to connect the Red Sea with the Mediterranean is being reported from French sources to Arab newspapers here and is arousing a great deal of interest.

The same sources report the proposed canal is part of projected military preparations in Palestine and state that the recent government decision to move the principal railroad terminal for the country from Ludd to Tel Aviv is also of great military significance.

Egyptian newspapers declare that an important secret military conference was called by High Commissioner Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, who consulted with important military and aviation officials before his projected departure for London. The same newspapers also say that the High Commissioner believes a great European war to be imminent and is therefore concerned over Palestine’s military attitude in such an event.


A number of other theories as to the nature of the High Commissioner’s secret conference have also been expounded, one holding that it was occasioned by events in Arabia, some of which create an air of nervousness in English circles.

The Palestine government is noncommittal about the building of the canal, which is to cut through Palestine and Transjordania. The government has not denied the reports in the Arab newspapers. Should the plan really materialize, it would give Palestine an important strategic position. The new union of the Red and Mediterranean Seas would give England the key to all the near East by sea and land, and would obviate the necessity of keeping a fleet in the Suez Canal.

The new canal, it is said, will begin at Gaza on the Mediterranean and end at Aquaba on the Red Sea. It is expected that fees for those using the passage will be much lower than the Suez Canal.

According to reports in the Arab-Palestinian press, English engineers have been at work at Aquaba for more than a year, but no Arabs are allowed to work at the project, which is kept secret. Emir Abdullah, ruler of Transjordania, was to have discussed the matter with the English government during his London visit and given approval of the plans, the papers declare.

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