Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
League of Nations
31 December 1930
by His Majesty's Government in the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland to the Council of the League of
Nations on the Administration of
PALESTINE AND TRANS-JORDAN
FOR THE YEAR
Report by His Majesty's Government in the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
to the Council of the League of Nations on the
Administration of Palestine and Trans-Jordan
for the year 1930
1. During the year 1930 there was no disturbance of the general peace in Palestine.
2. The strength of the garrison in Palestine and Trans-Jordan in 1930 consisted of the following units:--
1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment.
1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment.
Royal Air Force
One Squadron No. 14 (Day Bomber) Aircraft.
One Flight No. 6 Squadron (General Purpose) Aircraft.
(The remaining 2 Flights of No. 6 Squadron, which form part of the garrison of Palestine and Trans-Jordan, are stationed in Egypt.)
One Company Armoured Cars (4 Sections).
Trans-Jordan Frontier Force
Three squadrons of horse, a camel company, a mechanized company, and 4 troops of reservists.
The British Section of the Palestine Police, which had an establishment of 365 at the end of 1929, was raised to a strength of 631 by the 31st December, 1930, with the arrival of new recruits.
3. Sir Herbert (then Mr. H. L.) Dowbiggin, C.M.G., Inspector-General of Police in Ceylon, visited Palestine in the early part of the year, having been appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out the inquiry into the organization of the Department of Police which was recommended by the Commission on the 1929 Disturbances. (
Command Paper No. 3530, page 147.) On his advice, the British and Palestine Sections of the Police have been reinforced, and the dispositions of the Force rearranged in such a way that no important Jewish settlement or group of Jewish farms is without a constabulary detachment. Defence schemes to be applied in case of emergency have been prepared in consultation with the Military Authorities, sealed armouries, furnished with Greener guns, have been provided, a telephone has been placed in every colony, and a network of all-weather roads constructed, connecting with colonies to which hitherto access in winter was precarious.
Effect has also been given to certain other of the recommendations made by Sir H. Dowbiggin for improving the efficiency and organization of the Palestine Police Force.
4. The comparative tranquility which characterized the past year in Palestine was not due solely to the presence of strong forces for the maintenance of public security. While feeling between Jew and Arab still ran high, the temper of the populace became perceptibly less violent and interracial antagonism somewhat less bitter.
5. The announcement that a Commission had been appointed by His Majesty's Government, with the approval of the League of Nations, to study, define, and determine the rights and claims of Moslems and Jews connected with the Wailing Wall, and the arrival of the Commission in Palestine in June, also contributed to ease the dangerous tension which followed the outbreak of 1929. (See paragraph 5 on page 5 of the Report for 1929.)
6. The provisional regulations issued by the High Commissioner in regard to the use of the Wall continued to be strictly enforced and no incidents of note occurred at the Wall during 1930. With the arrival of the Commission, this conflict of religious claims, likely at any moment to afford an occasion for further disorder, was at once translated to the judicial sphere.
7. At the suggestion of the Chairman, an earnest attempt was made by the Government to bring Arabs and Jews to an agreement as to their rights and claims at the Wailing Wall. A voluntary agreement arrived at by mutual concessions might, it was hoped, do more to prepare the way for an understanding between the two communities in other matters than a verdict by an International Commission. After months of patient negotiations, however, the attempt failed. The Report of the Commission had not been published at the end of the year.
8. A factor in the restoration and maintenance of peaceful conditions was the gradual disappearance of the Arab boycott of Jewish products, for the revival of economic intercourse served to promote the establishment of personal relations and toleration if not of friendship. Not a few bankruptcies of Arab firms in 1930 are believed to be attributable in part to extensive forward buying in anticipation of a continuance of the boycott.
9. The prosecution of crimes arising out of the disturbances continued to occupy much of the time of the Courts. The following is the list of such cases dealt with during 1930:--
Tried summarily by British Magistrates...........
Sentenced by District Courts ....................
Sentenced by the court of Criminal Assize .......
Capital sentences passed ........................
Death sentences confirmed by Court of Appeal,
including sentences passed in 1929 ...........
10. Eighteen of the persons sentenced to death in 1929 and 1930 applied for special leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, but in no instance was this leave granted by the Privy Council.
After very careful consideration of the capital cases in which sentence of death was confirmed by the Court of Appeal (namely 7 in 1929 and 20 in 1930), the High Commissioner decided, in exercise of the prerogative of mercy vested in him by Article 16 of the Palestine Order in Council, 1922, to commute the sentences of death, in all but three cases, to penal servitude for life or a term of years. The three Arabs whose sentences of death were carried out had committed particularly brutal murders at Safad and Hebron.
11. The Special District Commissioner heard charges under the Collective Punishments Ordinance against three Arab villages concerned in the attack on Motza, near Jerusalem. He acquitted two, and imposed a fine of £P.1,500 on the third village.
The case against Safad was heard by the District Commissioner, Northern District, who decided that there were no grounds for imposing a collective fine upon all the Arab inhabitants, the persons responsible for the attack upon the Jewish quarter having already been punished by the Courts.
Altogether, charges were heard against 53 villages and urban quarters, of which 22 were found guilty, and fines amounting to £P.19,140 were inflicted on them.
12. The examination of claims and the assessment of damage caused during the riots was completed in March. £P.100,000 had been set aside by the Palestine Government as
compensation. Payment was made in full, on the basis of approved scales, in respect of loss of life and permanent incapacity, and proportionately up to the limits of the sum available in respect of damage to property. In certain cases compensation (amounting to £P.2,596) was granted from a separate fund for loss due to the action of the Civil or Military Forces. Compensation was not paid for damage to buildings, for loss of money, jewellery, or articles of luxury, or for indirect loss.
Altogether, 4,143 claims were lodged, aggregating £P.1,184,184. The following is a summary of the amounts assessed and payments approved:--
Damage by Civil or
13. The following are the principal items of expenditure in 1930 from the special Jewish Fund for relief and reconstruction purposes to repair the losses suffered by the disturbances of 1929:--
Rehabilitation, general relief, care of widows
and orphans, legal aid .........................................
Industrial loans .................................................
Reconstruction of Jewish quarter of Safad ........................
Reconstruction of destroyed agricultural villages ................
Construction of buildings in Jerusalem, Haifa, and villages.......
Purchase of land .................................................
Roads, buildings, and fencing in villages for security purposes ..
Part of the land required for the reconstruction at Safad was expropriated under a Certificate of the High Commissioner that the work was of public utility.
.--The Commission on the 1929 Disturbances recommended that His Majesty's Government should consider the advisability of issuing with the least possible delay a clear statement of the policy which they intend to pursue in Palestine; and expressed the view that the value of that statement would be greatly enhanced:--
(i) if it contained a definition in clear and positive terms of the meaning which His Majesty's Government attach to the passages in the Mandate providing for the safeguarding of the rights of the non-Jewish communities in that country, and
(ii) if it laid down, for the guidance of the Government of Palestine, directions more explicit than any that had yet been given as to the conduct of policy on such vital issues as land and immigration.
15. It was evident that before such a statement of policy could be framed, an expert inquiry would have to be made into the questions of immigration, land settlement, and development. To undertake this inquiry, the Secretary of State selected Sir John Hope Simpson, C.I.E., an acknowledged specialist in these matters, who was then employed under the League of Nations as Vice-Chairman of the Refugee Settlement Commission in Greece. He arrived in Palestine at the beginning of June.
16. The Palestine Arab Executive decided to press the Arab case directly on His Majesty's Government and an elected Delegation of the President and five members proceeded to London at the end of March.
The following statement was issued by His Majesty's Government at the end of the conversations with the Delegation:--
"The conversations which have taken place in London between Members of the Government and the Palestine Arab Delegation are now at an end. The Delegation have expressed their views on a number of subjects particularly land, immigration, and the grant of a constitution. His Majesty's Government have taken note of their views on these subjects. It was pointed out to the Delegation that the sweeping constitutional changes demanded by them were wholly unacceptable since they would have rendered it impossible for His Majesty's Government to carry out their obligations under the Mandate. It was made clear that no proposals could be considered which were incompatible with the requirements of the Mandate.
"Since the effect of meeting the wishes of the Arab Delegation as regards democratic government would have been to render it impossible for His Majesty's Government to carry out their full responsibilities as Mandatory for Palestine and since despite the explanations and assurances given by His Majesty's Ministers the Delegation could not see their way to modify their attitude, it became evident that this matter could not usefully be pursued further. The conversations, which throughout were frank and friendly, accordingly ended, with, however, the intimation that having taken note of the Arab views, His Majesty's Government would apply themselves, in the light of the first hand information obtained from these conversations, to the problem of safeguarding in every way compatible with their mandatory obligations the interests of the non-Jewish communities of Palestine. They are determined not to allow the policy to be pursued in Palestine to imperil the future of those communities, and it was on this account and in view of the recommendations made by the Shaw Commission that Sir John Hope Simpson has been sent to Palestine to examine and report upon the problems of land and immigration. In order that non-Jewish interests may not be prejudiced by the delay which must necessarily occur before a definite decision can be taken in the light of Sir John Hope Simpson's report, special measures are now under examination with a view to early action for the protection of the interests of the agricultural population, and temporary measures have already been taken with a view to ensure that immigration in the intervening period shall not be such as to endanger the economic future of the country.
"The fears which have been expressed in some quarters that the policy of His Majesty's Government is likely to endanger the existence of the Arab Community in Palestine are not justified, and it is important that it should be widely known in the general interests of the people of Palestine, that attempts on the part of misguided persons of whatever race or community to disseminate misleading information regarding the intention of His Majesty's Government to the prejudice of law and order in Palestine will be severely punished and that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government, as announced by the Prime Minister of Great Britain in the House of Commons on the 3rd April, to apply all the resources at their command to carrying out the duties imposed upon them by the Mandate."
17. The suspension, in May, 1930, of 2,350 Immigration Certificates for working men formed the subject of protests, but His Majesty's Government made it clear that the suspension of the Immigration Certificates was solely an act of ordinary prudence, dictated by the knowledge that a special investigation was about to be carried out into the question of immigration into Palestine, and by the view that it would be economically advisable to hold the issue of these Certificates in suspense until that investigation had been completed. The question of the immigration of working men was further considered in the latter part of the year, and 1,480 Immigration Certificates were authorized in October, 1930.
18. A conference of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Agency was held in Berlin in August. A new Executive of the Jewish Agency was then appointed, on which Zionists and non-Zionists were represented in equal numbers. The members of the Palestine Executive of the Agency are similarly representative of Zionists and non-Zionists.
19. Towards the end of the year preparations were made for the election of the first Elected Assembly of the Jewish Community, under the Regulations of 1927 (
Annual Report for 1929, Section I, page 16) which will constitute that Assembly the governing body of an autonomous religious and lay organization, with powers of internal taxation. The text of the electoral rules is given in Appendix I to this Report. An account of the organization, conduct, and results of the elections, which were held at the beginning of January, 1931, will be found in Section I of this Report.
20. The inclusion among the members of the Arab delegation to London of the protagonists of the two rival factions revealed a significant political reconciliation. Relations between Moslem and Christian Arabs were, however, temporarily estranged as a result of a dispute over the ownership of a cemetery at Haifa, ending in a fracas in which a Christian sustained fatal injuries.
21. The radical elements of the vernacular Press in Palestine maintained a virulence of partisanship and propaganda which sometimes degenerated into excitement or sedition. Happily, the public was not responsive. Four Arab newspapers and one Jewish newspaper were suspended for periods ranging from seven to thirty-two days. One of the Arab newspapers was suspended on three different occasions; and another on two different occasions. The Jewish newspaper was suspended twice.
22. A new Press Law has been drafted to take wider powers for the control of the Press, on the lines recommended in the Report of the Commission on the Disturbances of 1929 (Command Paper No. 3530, pages 91 and 167); and the Government proposes to set up an efficient Press Bureau.
23. The Report of Sir John Hope Simpson was presented by His Majesty's Command to Parliament in October (Command Paper No. 3686). It is in the hands of the Permanent Mandates Commission and the Council of the League of Nations. At the same time, His Majesty's Government published a Statement of Policy (Command Paper No. 3692), which is also in the hands of the Permanent Mandates Commission and the Council of the League. Both publications were received by the Arabs in Palestine with qualified satisfaction. They professed to see in them the solution of economic distress, the removal of the danger of Zionist domination, and the beginnings of self-government. Criticism was confined to intransigents who were dissatisfied with the measure of self-government proposed.
24. The Jews protested strongly against the Statement of Policy, but the Report of Sir John Hope Simpson, while it did not escape criticism, was acknowledged to be a valuable contribution towards the solution of economic difficulties in Palestine, for Arab and Jew alike.
His Majesty's Government sought to dispel the misapprehensions entertained by Jews with regard to the meaning and intention of the Statement; and the situation was clarified in a debate on Palestine which took place in the House of Commons on the 17th November.
Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Mr. Felix Warburg, the Zionist and non-Zionist leaders of the Jewish Agency, resigned from office as a protest against the Statement, but it was understood that they would continue to discharge their duties until the Congress of 1931.
25. Meanwhile, discussions took place in London between the Jewish Agency and His Majesty's Government with a view to removing certain misconceptions and misunderstandings which had arisen as to the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to Palestine, as set out in the Statement, and which were the subject of the parliamentary debate on the 17th November, and also to meet certain criticisms put forward by the Jewish Agency. These
discussions had not concluded at the end of the year.
The following is the text of the official
issued on the 14th November from the office of the Prime Minister in London, with regard to the inception of these discussions.
"Doubts having been expressed as to the compatibility of some passages of the White Paper of 21st October, 1930, with certain articles of the Palestine Mandate, and other passages having proved liable to misunderstanding, His Majesty's Government have invited representatives of the Jewish Agency to confer with them on these matters.
"As the other parties to the Mandate are strongly desirous of securing its correct interpretation and impartial administration, it is hoped that agreement will be reached on any points of difference when a further statement concerning these issues will be made."
--The optimistic view expressed in the Annual Report for 1929 as to the recovery of Palestine from the setback of that year was not misplaced. Nothing testifies more highly to the country's powers of sustained financial endurance and recuperation than the fact that the revenue from Customs in 1930 approached £P.1,000,000. This result is all the more remarkable in a year of reduced Jewish contributions and capital investments.
27. Further evidence of the restoration of economic equilibrium in Palestine may be seen in the activity in the building industry in the principal towns--in Jerusalem alone, the value of new premises built in 1930 was £P.1,850,000--and in the continued expansion of citriculture.
28. The year 1930 opened with a surplus balance of £P.773,069.674 mils. Revenue during the year amounted to £P.2,389,545.568 mils and expenditure to £P.2,536,504.657 mils.
The surplus balance on 31st December was £P.626,110.585 mils.
.--Sir E. Dowson paid a return visit to Palestine in 1930 and presented a report on the progress made in Land Settlement and Urban Taxation.
30. In connection with the proposals for a land tax, lands in 73 villages were divided into fiscal blocks and the land in each block was valued.
31. A map
* (Facing page 56) is printed in this Report which illustrates the advance of the Survey and the progress of Land Settlement. Steps are being taken, by simplification of procedure in congested village areas and by increasing the staff, to accelerate the work of settlement.
32. As a result of further extension in 1930, the Commuted Tithes Ordinance, 1927, is now in force throughout the country, except for two Bedu areas in Beersheba. The Urban Property Tax was applied to the towns of Safad, Nazareth, Beersheba, and Jenin.
--The foundation stone of the Palestine Archaeological Museum was laid by the High Commissioner on the 19th June; it is expected that the building will be ready for use by the end of 1932. The period during which the funds are to be available for this work was extended by the donor, Mr. J. Rockefeller Jnr., to the 1st January, 1933.
The new Government House was nearing completion at the end of the year.
An order of priority in the execution of approved public works has been fixed, with a view to regulating the commitments upon the Government Department of Public Works and preventing the dislocation of technical arrangements by the interpolation of new projects.
34. The building of the Government Kadoorie Agricultural School at Tulkarem out of the funds provided by the Kadoorie bequest and that of the new Headquarters Offices of the Department of Surveys at Jaffa were completed. Considerable headway was made on the new Post Office at Jaffa; and the new Railway Workshops near Haifa were begun.
.--In 1930, the main breakwater was extended to a point 1,049 metres from the shore. The reclamation of the foreshore is proceeding. 988 Arab and 183 Jewish workers are engaged on the Harbour Works. About one half of the Jewish workers at the quarries are paid at piece-work rates and earn, on an average, 600 mils a day, including overtime and night shifts, on the basis of 125 mils per cubic metre of stone measured in the solid. The minimum daily wage for unskilled labour remains 150 mils, but with overtime as much as 173 mils is earned by many men. The output of the Jewish piece-workers at the quarries is not less than one-third of the whole.
Consideration is being given to the possibility of applying the piece-work system to selected Arabs. The figures of earnings and output given in this paragraph are approximate: precise statistics are now being worked out.
36. For a few weeks towards the end of the year it became necessary on account of administrative and economic difficulties to discontinue Sunday working at the Athlit quarries by the Jewish labourers. Sunday working was, however, resumed at the beginning of January, 1931, means having been devised to overcome the difficulties in question by altering the timing of the trains conveying the stone from the quarry to the harbour and by
working night shifts on the breakwater crane.
37. His Majesty's Government sent a party of engineers to Palestine in October and November to survey the proposed alignment of the Haifa-Baghdad Railway.
.--Low prices of agricultural produce, resulting from the worldwide depression, continued to rule. Climatic conditions for the winter crop were unfavourable; a plague of field mice visited the Northern District, and the year opened with a fresh invasion of locusts in Southern Palestine. This is the third year in succession in which locusts have appeared.
By skilful organization, unremitting effort of the personnel in the field, village labour--paid, fed, and transported--a complete victory over the locusts was won by the use of poisoned grain, flame-guns, and sheet zinc barriers. The cost of the campaign was approximately £P.27,000.
39. The plight of the fellahin, however, demanded relief at once. The High Commissioner accordingly appointed a Committee consisting of the Deputy Treasurer, an Assistant District Commissioner, and Area Officers to examine the economic condition of the agriculturists and the fiscal measures of Government in relation thereto; and to make recommendations. Mr. C. F. Strickland, C.I.E. (Indian Civil Service, Retd.), lately Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Punjab, was also appointed on a temporary mission to proceed to Palestine and report on the possibility of extending the system of Agricultural Co-operation in Palestine. His report and the report of the Committee referred to above have been communicated to the Permanent Mandates Commission. The proposals made in these Reports will be carefully considered.
40. Without seed for his summer crops, or funds for the winter ploughing, the fellah could only turn to the money-lender and sink further into debt. As a first step to weakening the hold of the usurer on him, an Ordinance was drafted to reduce imprisonment for debt from 91 to 20 days. Secondly, effect was given to certain recommendations in the Deputy Treasurer's Report, calculated to afford immediate benefit to distressed agriculturists: the importation of wheat, flour, and semolina, and of unrefined olive oil except under licence was prohibited; sesame seed, latterly exempt from Import Duty, was rendered dutiable; 30 per cent. of the commuted tithe (representing one-half of the tithe on the winter crops) was remitted; and £P.35,000 was distributed to farmers in short term agricultural loans (in sums not exceeding P.15 in any case and repayable in a single instalment after the year) for buying seed and preparing the winter cultivation.
41. The 1929-1930 orange season was only moderately successful. Co-operation among shippers is still imperfect; and the standard and methods of grading and packing must yet be improved. Ill-timed shipments cause periodic overstocking of the British market, and consignment of inferior fruit results in the lowering of the price of Palestine oranges. On the other hand, fresh European markets are constantly being explored.
Black scale appeared in the Jaffa groves for the first time, but the area attacked was limited and the pest yielded rapidly to intensive spraying.
42. Experimental plots were arranged in eighteen Arab villages: the plots were utilized as fruit nurseries, seed farms, vegetable gardens, and for demonstrating crop rotation. The Government Department of Agriculture distributed ploughs, harrows, cultivators, winnowing-machines, and hand-tools to the villages to work the plots.
43. The export of Palestinian fruit to Egypt, a natural and hitherto profitable and expanding market for melons, bananas, almonds, grapes, and oranges, has suffered a reverse. On the 16th February, the Egyptian Government denounced its Commercial Agreement of 1928 with Palestine (see Annual Report for 1928, page 5). A new Customs Tariff was brought into force. The benefits of the minimum scale in that Tariff were, indeed, extended to Palestine under the
arranged by His Majesty's Government (Command Paper No. 3662), but the rates of duty on fruits, even on the minimum scale, were still so high as to be prohibitive. In effect, therefore, the Egyptian market is now closed to Palestine, which means an annual loss of exports valued at about £P.120,000.
The Palestine Government made representations to the Government of Egypt pointing out the hardship imposed on the Palestinian exporter by the new tariff, but the Egyptian Government was unable to reverse in favour of Palestine a policy dictated by the prevailing agricultural depression in Egypt, for which a remedy was sought by planting fruits in irrigable lands withdrawn by decree from cotton cultivation.
44. At the end of June, a Trade Mission visited Palestine on behalf of the Government of Cyprus with the object of stimulating trade in agricultural produce between the two countries; an exchange of Palestinian bananas for Cypriot potatoes may be found possible.
45. The restrictions on the entry of livestock into Palestine, owing to the appearance of foot and mouth disease in Syria, were abolished in August, by which time the disease had been stamped out in Palestine. The spread of contagious bovine abortion is causing concern to the dairy industry; and the Veterinary Service is engaged in a comprehensive scheme for the segregation and vaccination of infected herds with a view to eradicating it.
46. Preparations were advanced for the establishment of a General Agricultural Council for Palestine, to formulate a comprehensive programme of agricultural research and education, designed to secure the fullest co-ordination of effort and resources on the part of official and non-official interests. Membership has been accepted by representatives of the Arab, Jewish, and German farming communities, the Salesian Fathers who conduct an agricultural school near Jerusalem, the Hebrew University, the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association, and the Executive of the Jewish Agency.
Sub-Committees of the Council, set up in advance of it, have continued their investigations into agricultural economics, horticulture, plant protection, and soil chemistry; and a Marketing Committee has dealt with questions of fruit export. Committees on agronomy, livestock husbandry, and agricultural education are soon to be formed.
47. The Government Kadoorie Agricultural School at Tulkarem was opened to pupils on the 1st January, 1931. A class of Government teachers is receiving instruction in agriculture there, so that this knowledge may be imparted to children in Government Schools. The cost of this course is being met by a grant from the Rural Life Institute of the Near East Foundation of the United States of America.
Commerce and Industry.
--The revenue from Import Duties, previously mentioned, is a sufficient index of the satisfactory condition of commerce and industry during the year. 42 companies were incorporated, and 42 co-operative societies and 114 partnerships formed. 33 partnerships were dissolved.
49. Eleven companies were in process of voluntary liquidation in 1930; but only a single company was wound up by Order of the Court. In one case a liquidator was removed from his office by the Court for failure to comply with the law.
50. The principal factories are slowly consolidating their position; efforts are being made, with some success, to improve the quality of local products and to extend foreign custom. The Nesher Cement Factory, with a paid up capital of £P.300,000, distributed a 6 per cent. dividend in 1930. Its profits in 1929 were £P.18,000. The revival of building activity has enabled the Silicate Brick Factory at Tel-Aviv to resume production. Several industries have been assisted or protected by additional exemptions of raw materials. Attention is being given to the wine and spirit industry; and proposals for reducing the taxation upon it are at present being considered by the Government.
51. An outstanding event of the year was the opening of the bulk oil installation of the Shell Company at Haifa. In view of the possible construction of a railway from Haifa to Baghdad, inquiries have been made by the Governments of Persia and `Iraq for the provision of free zones and other facilities in the Haifa Harbour Area for transit trade between those countries and the Mediterranean littoral.
52. The Mandatory announced the accession of Palestine to the Commercial Treaty between the United Kingdom and Japan and the
--It is proposed to apply to Palestine, without modification, the Convention on Forced Labour which was adopted by the International Labour Conference at its Fourteenth Session. The revision of labour legislation in Palestine, with particular reference to workmen's compensation, will shortly be undertaken by an official committee.
54. The Palestine Government authorized the entry of 2,430 Jewish working men and women, for whom the Jewish Agency guaranteed employment, mostly on the land. It has been made the general rule to include in the Labour Schedule young female dependants who are likely to enter the labour market on arrival.
55. Jewish immigration in 1930 exceeded emigration by 2,236.
.--Appendix II to this Report recapitulates the details of all concessions in force; and describes the work done or the present stage of negotiations in each case.
57. At the end of the year, a convention was signed by the Palestine Government with the `Iraq Petroleum Company, whereby in return for special facilities and concessions in respect of the operation of its undertaking, the Company bound itself, subject to given contingencies, to construct a pipeline from the `Iraq oilfields to Acre Bay on the Palestine Coast. The text of this Convention is printed in Appendix III to this Report.
58. The revision of the Lighthouse Concession was brought to a conclusion in 1930: the text of the new agreement is printed in Appendix IV to this Report.
59. The lessees of the Tiberias Baths were prevented by prevailing financial depression from raising the capital required to carry out the enterprise within the period of eighteen months from the grant of the lease which was originally prescribed: an extension of twelve months, to October, 1931, was therefore granted to them.
--The Director, Department of Health, was appointed by His Majesty's Government to represent the British Colonies at the Meeting of the Permanent Committee of the International Office of Public Health which was held at Paris in October.
It has been agreed to conclude a Convention with Egypt for mutual protection against dengue fever.
--Air-Commodore P. H. L. Playfair, M.C., Officer Commanding the Royal Air Force in Palestine and Trans-Jordan was appointed to be Second-in-Command in India towards the end of the year; and his place was taken by Air-Commodore W. R. Freeman, D.S.O., M.C.
Mr. H. C. Luke, C.M.G., Chief Secretary to the Government of Palestine, was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Malta and was succeeded by Mr. M. A. Young, formerly Colonial Secretary in Sierra Leone.
Mr. C. R. Webb, O.B.E., M.C., was appointed General Manager of the Palestine Railways, on transfer from Sierra Leone.
--During the year, British men-of-war belonging to the Mediterranean Fleet visited Haifa, on two occasions, and Jaffa; and calls were made at one or other port by French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Yugoslavian, and Argentine naval vessels.
I.--JEWISH NATIONAL HOME.
Question 1.--What measures have been taken to place the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the National Home of the Jewish people? What are the effects of these measures?
1. The general lines of policy, economic and political, which the Mandatory intends to follow with a view to the discharge of all the obligations inherent in the Mandate have been laid down in the White Paper of 1930 (Command Paper No. 3692) which also endorsed the statement of policy contained in the White Paper of 1922 (Command Paper No. 1700). Certain misunderstandings and misconceptions which had arisen as to this policy were removed, and certain criticisms of the Jewish Agency were met, by the terms of a letter addressed by the Prime Minister to Dr. Ch. Weizmann on the 13th February, 1931. The text of this letter has been communicated to the League of Nations.
2. The Reports of the Mandatory to the League of Nations since 1923 have successively described in detail the political, administrative, and economic measures taken and maintained to create conditions favourable to the establishment of a Jewish National Home.
3. It is perhaps unnecessary to mention the principal contribution of the Mandatory in this sphere, namely, the setting up of an Administration under a British High Commissioner, assisted by a staff of British officials whose task it is to govern Palestine in accordance with the provisions of the Palestine Mandate.
4. The first step was to raise the ban on the entry of non-Moslems into Palestine which the Sublime Porte enforced in law, if not in practice; and a system of Jewish immigration was legalized, governed by the principle that it should not be so great in volume as to exceed whatever may be the economic capacity of the country at the time to absorb new arrivals. Thus, in the last decade, the Jewish community was enabled by the Palestine Government, in fulfilment of the policy enunciated in the White Paper of 1922, to
increase its numbers by immigration to the extent of approximately 100,000. The Turkish embargo on the purchase of land was withdrawn; and facilities were given to regularize in the Land Registers a large number of the unofficial transactions to which Jews had formerly been constrained to resort. Approximately 800,000 dunums have passed into Jewish hands since 1920. Long leases of State Domain have been granted to the colony of Petach-Tikvah, to the Township of Tel-Aviv and the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association. (See also Section IV of this Report.) The status and jurisdiction of the Jewish Religious Courts were recognized and a Rabbinical Council was established. Regulations were passed by the High Commissioner to empower the Jewish Community to organize itself, in religious and lay divisions, for the management of all its internal affairs, and to tax its members for the purpose.
5. The measures taken by the Government to promote the well-being of the country as a whole have also benefited the Jewish Community.
6. In its fiscal policy the Government has consistently encouraged urban industry by exempting raw or partly-prepared materials for various manufactures, and by imposing protective Import Duties in proper cases. There is also a wide range of exemptions for machinery, agricultural equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, and pipes and fittings for drainage and irrigation.
7. The Mandatory has arranged for the extension to Palestine of the Commercial Treaties existing between Great Britain and various Foreign States; and an Agreement, ensuring free trade in local produce and manufactures, has been concluded with Syria.
8. Ordinances have been enacted to ensure a due standard of sanitary and hygienic conditions in industrial establishments, and for the payment of compensation to injured workmen. The Nationality Law contains special provisions which facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews: 8,500 heads of families, representing 20,000 souls, benefited under Article 5, having opted for Palestinian citizenship in connection with the proposal to hold elections for a Legislative Council in 1922. Two years' continuous residence (and a knowledge of Arabic, English, or Hebrew) are sufficient to qualify for naturalization.
9. Land Settlement and Cadastral Survey are in progress, for the assurance of title and tenure, without which agricultural development must be retarded. The tithe has been reduced to 10 per cent. of the crop and commuted to a fixed payment on the basis of the average value of the harvest during a period of four years. The Turkish House and Land Tax in towns has been replaced by an Urban Property Tax based on rental value and the obsolete Turkish valuations have been superseded by new assessments. Measures are being taken with a view to the early introduction of a tax on land, based on productivity in terms of wheat, which, replacing the tithe, shall be more even and equitable in its incidence. The formation of agricultural co-operation is encouraged by Ordinance. A network of modern road communications, securing access to the remotest Jewish colonies, has been constructed by the Government. There is an excellent State Railway, and a first-class system of telegraphs and telephones. A modern harbour is being built at Haifa. Concessions have been granted, in which Jewish capital has participated, for hydro-electric and irrigation projects, for exploiting the mineral resources of the Dead Sea, and for developing the Hot Springs at Tiberias. An annual subvention of £P.20,000 is granted by the Government to the Zionist schools, and
grants are made to private Jewish schools. The Government contributes to the maintenance of the Tel-Aviv hospital. In time of distress the Government has advanced public works so as to afford employment.
10. The Jewish settlements enjoy the benefits of all services rendered by the Department of Agriculture, more especially in the suppression of diseases of plants and animals, and the fight against locusts and field mice. And the existence of an admirable Jewish health organization has not meant that the Jewish population derived no advantage from the work carried out during the past ten years by the Department of Health, particularly in combating malaria.
11. The foregoing are some of the acts and activities of the Palestine Government which may fairly be claimed to create such administrative and economic conditions as to secure the establishment of a Jewish National Home. This enumeration may fittingly be concluded by a reference to public security, which is maintained by a Police Force of 692 British and 2,028 Palestinians (including 21 Jewish officers and 306 Jewish men), a Frontier Force of 980 men (including 28 Jews), and a garrison consisting of two battalions of the British Army, two squadrons of the Royal Air Force, and a company of armoured cars. There are sealed armouries, for use by the colonists themselves in case of sudden attack, in every isolated Jewish colony.
12. It will be remembered that in the opinion of the Mandatory, the actual building of the Jewish National Home in Palestine is a task which devolves upon the Jews themselves; and this opinion is clearly expressed in the following terms in the White Paper of 1922:--
"When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride."
It is by the policy laid down in the White Paper of 1922 that the High Commissioner is to be guided, in accordance with Article 27 of the Royal Instructions issued under His Majesty's Sign Manual in 1922. That Article reads:--
"The High Commissioner shall be guided by the statement of British policy in Palestine presented to Parliament by Our Command on the 1st day of July, 1922. While ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, he shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."
13. The Statement of Policy issued by His Majesty's Government in October, 1930, reaffirms that view as to the incidence of responsibility for the positive effort, in immigration, urban and rural settlement, and cultural and social services, which must be continuously exerted to establish the Jewish National Home.
14. The memoranda which have been submitted year by year to the League of Nations by the Jewish Agency contain a detailed account of the remarkable achievements of the Zionist Organization and the Jewish Community of Palestine towards the attainment of this goal, and no further mention in this Report would appear to be necessary. The progress made in 1930 is described in the Agency's memorandum to the League relating to the year 1930, and a summary of the most important activities is given in Section III of this Report.
15. On the political side, it may be said that due representation of Jewish interests was provided in the Advisory Council which was in existence from October, 1920, to February, 1923; and was to be secured in the Legislative Council proposed in 1922. In every appropriate municipal centre, Jews were among the Municipal Councillors nominated before the Municipal Franchise Ordinance came into force in 1926; and the elected Councils contain a due proportion of Jewish members. The power to set up local authorities under the Local Councils Ordinance has been liberally exercised in the case of Jewish colonies; and wide powers of taxation have been granted to the Jewish Township of Tel-Aviv. There are Jewish representatives on the Archaeological Board, the Central Town Planning Commission, and the General Agricultural Council.
16. The representatives of the Jewish Agency in Palestine are granted ready access to the High Commissioner, the Chief Secretary and Heads of Departments for the discussion of matters which concern the establishment of the Jewish National Home, and the Agency's views are invited on legislative or other measures of that character which are proposed by the Government.
17. The following is an account of the organization, conduct, and results of the elections held at the beginning of 1931 for the Elected Assembly and General Council of the Jewish Community.
18. The elections for the Elected Assembly of the Jewish Community, under the Electoral Regulation of which the text is given in Appendix I to this Report, took place on the 5th January, 1931. The preceding year had been largely devoted to revision of the Registers of the Community, to ensure the elimination of all dissentients, and the recording of all changes of residence, departures, migrations, and deaths. The arrangements were in the hands of a Central Electoral Committee of twenty-eight members, reflecting the composition of the various political groups and religious divisions on the General Council. Local Committees were set up in each of the 111 voting centres.
The expenditure of the General Council on the organization and conduct of the elections was approximately £P.1,200.
19. The Central Agudath Israel, organ of the dissentients, appealed to orthodox Jewry to boycott the elections, on the ground, mainly, of the heresy of the female franchise and the alleged shortcomings of the recognized Jewish Community in matters of religious education and ritual slaughter. There was, however, little response to this appeal.
20. Eighteen party lists of candidates were offered, as follows (the votes obtained are also shown):--
1. Labour ... ... ... ... ... ... 21,497
2. Sephardic "Bloc" ... ... ... ... ... 2,301
3. Revisionists ... ... ... ... ... 8,069
4. Mizrahi and Hapoel Hamizrahi (Mizrahi
Workers) ... ... ... ... ... 4,107
5. General Zionists ... ... ... ... ... 2,841
6. Women's Association ... ... ... ... 1,861
7. Farmers' Association ... ... ... ... --
8. Yemenites ... ... ... ... ... ... 1,515
9. Poale Zion (Left Wing Labour) ... ... ... 902
10. Sephardic Workers ... ... ... ... ... 1,653
11. Boruchov Workers (Extreme Left Wing
Labour) ... ... ... ... ... 891
12. Hashomer Hatzair (Young Guards) (Left
Wing Labour) ... ... ... ... 812
13. Sephardic Poale Zion (Left Wing Labour) ... 28
14. Sephardic Boruchov Workers (Extreme Left
Wing Labour) ... ... ... ... 1
15. Middle Class Association ... ... ... --
16. Sephardic Revisionists ... ... ... ... 2,121
17. Merkaz Baale Melakha (Artisans Group) ... 352
18. Proletarian List (Communists) ... ... ... 524
75,046 voters' cards were delivered and 50,436 votes (representing 65 per cent. of the number entitled to vote) were cast. The holder of a voter's card was entitled to vote at any of the polling booths which he chose; but Ashkenazim (Western Jews) could only vote for an Ashkenazi list, Sephardim (Eastern Jews) for a Sephardi list and Yemenites for a Yemenite list.
21. The distribution of the 71 seats in the Elected Assembly is, therefore, as follows:--
Labour ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 27
Revisionists ... ... ... ... ... ... 10
Sephardic "Bloc" ... ... ... ... ... ... 6
Mizrahi and Hapoel Hamizrahi ... ... ... ... 5
Sephardic Revisionists ... ... ... ... ... 5
General Zionists ... ... ... ... ... ... 5
Sephardic Workers ... ... ... ... ... ... 4
Women's Association ... ... ... ... ... 3
Yemenites ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 3
Poale Zion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1
Boruchov Workers ... ... ... ... ... ... 1
Hashomer Hatzair ... ... ... ... ... ... 1
22. The state of the principal parties in the previous Elected Assembly, which consisted of 221 members, was the following:--
Party. of Seats.
Ahduth Haavoda (Labour Union) ... ... ... ... 54
Hapoel Htazair ... ... ... ... ... ... 30
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ... 8
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Torah Veavoda (Orthodox Labour)
... ... ...
Gush Merkazi (Centre Party)
... ... ... ...
Ezrahim Leumiyim (Palestine National Party) ... 6
23. A General Council (Va'ad Leumi) was elected by the Assembly, consisting of 23 members, of whom 11 were Labour, four Sephardim, three Mizrahi, three General Zionists, and two were members representing the smaller factions. The Revisionist party declined to accept representation on the Council, owing to the refusal of the Assembly to adopt the following resolutions which the party moved:--
(1) not to take part in any Legislative Council of Palestine;
(2) to repudiate any decision of the Jewish Agency to take part in a Round Table Conference;
(3) not to send any representatives to the Political Committee of the Jewish Agency for the conduct of negotiations with His Majesty's Government.
24. The General Council will, in due course, form from amongst its members an Executive Committee, of about seven members.
Question 2.--What measures have been taken to place the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the development of self-governing institutions? What are the effects of these measures?
1. In regard to the development of self-governing institutions, reference is invited to the following paragraphs from the State-ment of Policy (Command Paper No. 3692):--
"11. Reference has already been made to the demands of Arab leaders for a form of constitution which would be incompatible with the mandatory obligations of His Majesty's Government. It is, however, the considered opinion of His Majesty's Government that the time has now come when the important question of the establishment of a measure of self-government in Palestine must, in the interests of the community as a whole, be taken in hand without further delay.
"It may be convenient, in the first instance, to give a brief résumé of the history of this question since the establishment of the civil administration.
"In October, 1920, there was set up in Palestine an Advisory Council composed in equal parts of official and nominated unofficial members. Of the 10 unofficial members, four were Moslems, three were Christians, and three were Jews.
"On the 1st September, 1922, the Palestine Order in Council was issued, setting up a Government in Palestine under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act. Part 3 of the Order in Council directed the establishment of a Legislative Council to be composed of the High Commissioner as President, with 10 other official members, and 12 elected non-official members. The procedure for the selection of the non-official members was laid down in the Legislative Council Order in Council, 1922, and in February and March, 1923, an attempt was made to hold elections in accordance with that procedure.
"The attempt failed owing to the refusal of the Arab population as a whole to co-operate (a detailed report of these elections is contained in the papers relating to the elections for the Palestine Legislative Council, 1923, published as Command Paper 1889).
"The High Commissioner thereupon suspended the establishment of the proposed Legislative Council, and continued to act in consultation with an Advisory Council as before.
"Two further opportunities were given to representative Arab leaders in Palestine to co-operate with the Administration in the government of the country, first, by the reconstitution of a nominated Advisory Council, but with membership conforming to that proposed for the Legislative Council, and, secondly, by a proposal for the formation of an Arab Agency. It was intended that this Agency should have functions analogous to those entrusted to the Jewish Agency by Article 4 of the Palestine Mandate.
"Neither of these opportunities was accepted and, accordingly, in December, 1923, an Advisory Council was set up consisting only of official members. This position still continues; the only change being that the Advisory Council has been enlarged by the addition of more official members as the Administration developed.
"It will be recalled that, under the terms of Article 2 of the Mandate, His Majesty's Government are responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the development of self-governing institutions, and for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of the inhabitants. The action taken with regard to constitutional development in the early years of the Civil Administration is briefly described above.
"With the object of enabling the people of Palestine to obtain practical experience of administrative methods and the business of government and to learn discrimination in the selection of their representatives, Lord Plumer, who was High Commissioner for Palestine from 1925 to 1928, introduced a wider measure of local self-government than had previously obtained under the British régime.
"Sir John Chancellor considered the question of constitutional development on his assumption of the office of High Commissioner in December, 1928. He consulted representatives of various local interests and, after a careful examination of the position, put forward certain proposals in June, 1929. Discussion of the question was, however, suspended in consequence of the disturbances in August, 1929.
"12. His Majesty's Government have now carefully considered this question in the light of the present stage of progress and development and with special regard to their obligation to place the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the development of self-governing institutions. They have decided that the time has arrived for a further step in the direction of the grant to the people of Palestine, of a measure of self-government compatible with the terms of the Mandate.
"His Majesty's Government accordingly intend to set up a Legislative Council generally on the lines indicated in the statement of British policy in Palestine issued by Mr. Churchill in June, 1922, which is reproduced as Appendix 5 to the Report of the Commission on the Palestine disturbances in August, 1929.
"His Majesty's Government trust that on this occasion they will secure the co-operation of all sections of the population of Palestine. His Majesty's Government desire to make it quite clear that while they would deeply regret an attempt on the part of any section of the population to prevent them from giving effect to their decision, all possible steps will be taken to circumvent such an attempt, if made, since they consider it in the interests of the population of the country as a whole that the further step now proposed should no longer be deferred.
"His Majesty's Government would point out that had this Legislature been set up at the time when it was first contemplated the people of Palestine would by now have gained more experience of the working of constitutional machinery. Such experience is indispensable for any progress in constitutional development. The sooner all sections of the population show a desire to co-operate with His Majesty's Government in this respect, the sooner will it be possible for such constitutional development to take place as His Majesty's Government hope to see in Palestine.
"There are obvious advantages to be gained by all sections of the population from the establishment of such a Council. It should be of special benefit to the Arab section of the population, who do not at present possess any constitutional means for putting their views on social and economic matters before the Government. Their representatives on the Council which is to be set up will, of course, be in the position, not only to present the views of the Arab section of the population on these and other matters, but also to participate in discussions thereon. A further advantage may accrue to the country as a whole from the establishment of the Legislative Council, viz., that the participation of representatives of both sections of the community as members of the Legislative Council, will tend to improve the relations between the Jews and the Arabs.
"13. As stated above, the new Legislative Council will be on the lines indicated in the statement of policy issued in 1922. It will consist of the High Commissioner and 22 members, of whom 10 will be official members and 12 unofficial members. Unofficial members of the Council will normally be elected by primary and secondary elections. It is, however, in the view of His Majesty's Government, so important to avoid the repetition of the deadlock which occurred in 1923 that steps will be devised to ensure the appointment of the requisite number of unofficial members to the Council in the event of one or more members failing to be elected on account of the non-co-operation of any section of the population, or for any other reason. The High Commissioner will continue to have the necessary power to ensure that the Mandatory shall be enabled to carry out its obligations to the League of Nations, including any legislation urgently required, as well as the maintenance of order.
"When difference arises as to the fulfilment by the Government of Palestine of the terms of the Mandate, a petition to the League of Nations is admissible under Article 85 of the Order in Council of 1922."
See also Introductory Section: Political Development, paragraphs 14 to 25.
Question 3.--What measures have been taken to bring the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will safeguard the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion? What are the effects of these measures?
1. Complementary to the obligation to create conditions favourable to the establishment of a Jewish National Home, the Mandate enjoins the safeguarding of the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion. This protective provision applies equally to Jews, Arabs, and all sections of the population.
2. Enough has been said in the first part of this Section to show that the civil and religious rights of the Jewish inhabitants are safeguarded. The Arab and other non-Jewish inhabitants find similar safeguards in the legislation of the Palestine Government which has been steadily directed towards the general aims of removing disabilities on particular classes or communities inherent in the Ottoman Code, of providing equal opportunities for all the inhabitants, without distinction of race or creed, and of encouraging enterprise.
3. The religious rights of the Christian Communities are preserved by the Articles of the Palestine Order in Council, 1922, which establish the jurisdiction of Religious Courts, by the Succession Ordinance, 1923, by freedom to maintain schools for the education of their own members, and by the provisions of the Religious Communities Organisation Ordinance, 1926.
4. The Moslem Religious Courts are part of the general judicial system of the Palestine Government, and all the expenditure thereon is met from public funds.
5. The Moslem Community is autonomous in the management of its religious affairs; and the control of its pious foundations (Waqfs) is in the hands of the Supreme Moslem Council. A Committee was appointed by the High Commissioner in 1926 to consider the existing constitution of this Council and to make recommendations for its revision. The report of this Committee is now under consideration. Information in regard to the existing constitution and functions of the Supreme Moslem Council is given on page 100 of the Annual Report for 1926.
6. Moslem rights and claims at the Wailing Wall await definition and determination in the Report of the Commission, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Löfgren, which was appointed for the purpose by His Majesty's Government with the approval of the League of Nations.
7. It will be recollected that the Commission on the 1929 disturbances laid stress on the importance of any future statement of policy of His Majesty's Government containing a definition in clear and positive terms of the meaning which that Government attach to the passages in the Mandate providing for the safeguarding of the rights of the non-Jewish communities. That definition has been given in Command Paper No. 3692. Its economic aspect affecting the vital questions of immigration, land settlement and development, has been dealt with in the Report of Sir John Hope Simpson (Command Paper No. 3686), the expert whom His Majesty's Government sent to Palestine to carry out an inquiry into these questions. Some further explanation as to the meaning to be attached to the words "safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion" occurring in Article 2 of the Mandate, and the words "ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced," occurring in Article 6, was given in paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Prime Minister's letter to Dr. Weizmann.
8. In the Introductory Section of this Report reference will be found to the measures taken by the Palestine Government in 1930 to safeguard the economic interests of the Arab population, viz., the appointment of a Committee to investigate the condition of the fellahin, the appointment of an expert on co-operation with a view to the introduction of that system in Arab villages, the grant of agricultural loans, and the restrictions on imports of wheat, flour, oil, and sesame.
9. The Arab Executive Committee, no less than the Executive of the Jewish Agency, is granted ready access to the High Commissioner and Chief Secretary; and a delegation of its members was received by His Majesty's Ministers in London for political discussions. The following passage may be quoted from Command Paper, No. 3692:--
"Similarly (that is, to the case of the Jewish Agency), machinery must be provided to ensure that the essential interests of the non-Jewish sections of the community should at the same time be fully safeguarded, and that adequate opportunity should be afforded for consultations with the Palestine Administration on matters affecting those interests."
Q.--What measures have been taken to encourage local autonomy? What are the effects of such measures?
1. Local Councils were abolished in six Arab villages in 1930. In each case the District Commissioner was of the opinion that the Council had failed to discharge their duties satisfactorily; and the administration of the internal affairs of these villages was resumed by the Mukhtars and Elders.
New Local Councils were elected in 1930 in Rishon-le-Zion and Petach-Tikvah on the basis of electoral regulations revised in accordance with the principle of proportional representation.
The Government guaranteed a loan of £P.10,500 made to the Township of Tel-Aviv by a local bank to provide funds for the construction of a slaughter-house.
Towards the end of the year, the first steps were taken for the gradual transfer of the Hadassah Hospital at Tel-Aviv to the Township. It is contemplated that there shall eventually be an arrangement similar to that obtaining in Jaffa, Acre, Gaza, Nablus, and Beersheba, where the municipal authority shares with the Government the financial and administrative responsibility for the municipal hospital.
2. In January, 1930, it was necessary to suspend from office the Municipal Council of Safad, owing to the fact that, after the disturbances of 1929, the Jewish members declined to attend meetings of the Council, and also to the fact that one of the Arab members was continuously ill. In the circumstances a quorum could not be formed. The District Officer, the Mayor, one Arab and two Jewish residents were therefore appointed as Commissioners to carry on the work of the Council under the Local Authorities (Replacement) Ordinance, 1929. The term of office of the Commissioners was for a year. Normal conditions having been restored, a new Council was elected to take their place in February, 1931.
3. Existing Municipal Councils were appointed for a period of three years in 1927, and new Councils should therefore have been elected in 1930. Having regard to the state of the country, it was thought inadvisable to provide a possible occasion for public excitement by holding elections. The Municipal Councils Ordinance, 1930, was therefore passed to prolong the period of office of existing Councils until such time as the High Commissioner should issue an order prescribing new elections.
4. Further consideration was given during the year to the Local Government Bill. The views of the various Departments of the Government which are concerned have been recorded. Those views are now being studied by an Interdepartmental Committee, which is also engaged in considering the provisions in the Bill that are concerned with the elementary forms of village organization. In due course, steps will be taken to circulate the Bill to Municipal Councils and other non-official bodies for expression of opinions upon its clauses before it is enacted.
Question 1.--When and in what manner has the Jewish Agency been officially recognized?
1. Article 4 of the Palestine Mandate recognizes the Jewish Agency for the purposes therein set out. As regards the relations between the Palestine Administration and the Agency the following passages may be quoted from the White Paper of 1922 and from Command Paper No. 3692, respectively :--
"It is also necessary to point out that the Zionist Commission in Palestine, now termed the Palestine Zionist Executive, has not desired to possess, and does not possess, any share in the general administration of the country. Nor does the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization in Article IV of the draft Mandate for Palestine imply any such functions. That special position relates to the measures affecting the Jewish population, and contemplates that the Organisation may assist in the general development of the country, but does not entitle it to share in any degree in its Government." (White Paper of 1922.)
"In particular, it is recognized as of the greatest importance that the efforts of the High Commissioner towards some closer and more harmonious form of co-operation and means of consultation between the Palestine Administration and the Jewish Agency should be further developed, always consistently, however, with the principle which must be regarded as basic, that the special position of the Agency, in affording advice and co-operation, does not entitle the Agency, as such, to share in the government of the country." (Command Paper No. 3692.)
2. The enlarged Jewish Agency, referred to in paragraph 24 on page 10 of the Annual Report for 1929 was formally recognized in a letter, dated the 6th August, 1930. The text of that letter is given on page 34 of this Report.
3. The Executive of the Jewish Agency in Palestine is officially recognized as a consultative body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Government in matters that may affect the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine; its members are regularly received for those purposes by the High Commissioner and the Chief Secretary.
Question 2.--Has this Agency given any advice to the Administration in the past year? If so, in what form and in what connection?
1. The principal matters in regard to which the Executive of the Jewish Agency in Palestine was consulted by the Government were the determination of the Labour Immigration Schedules, the proposals for Land Legislation based on the Report of Sir John Hope Simpson, and the negotiations for agreement on the issue of the Wailing Wall which followed the visit of the International Commission in the summer. The Agency was responsible for co-ordinating and representing the views of the Chief Rabbinate, the General Council (Va'ad Leumi) and the Agudath Israel in these negotiations.
2. The Agency has appointed a liaison officer to co-operate with the Military and Police in connection with the arrangements which are being made by the Palestine Government for the security of Jewish Colonies.
3. The Agency made representations to the Palestine Government with a view to an increased grant-in-aid to Zionist Schools, and to a larger participation by the Government in the expenditure on Jewish health services.
4. The Agency placed material dealing with (
) Land and Agricultural Development, (
) Urban Development and (
) Immigration, at the disposal of Sir John Hope Simpson.
5. The Agency advised the Palestine Government, on the basis of an economic survey, that there was a reasonable prospect of absorbing 3,143 new Jewish workers, men and women, in the half-year beginning at the 1st April. A Labour Immigration Schedule of 2,350 was authorized by the Government on this application, but for reasons appearing elsewhere in this Report, the issue of the Certificates was suspended. A second application for 2,095 workers was made by the Agency in respect of the half-year beginning at the 1st October, 1930 : a Labour Immigration Schedule of 1,480 was authorized by the Palestine Government.
6. Representatives of His Majesty's Government considered, in consultation with representatives of the Jewish Agency in London, questions arising out of the Statement of Policy in Command Paper No. 3692.
Questions 3 and 4.--3. What is the nature and extent of the co-operation of this Agency with the Administration of Palestine in economic, social, and other matters?
4. In what manner has this Agency taken part in the development of the country (statistics of the results obtained)?
1. During a typhoid epidemic in June, 1930, in the Plain of Jezreel, the medical personnel of the Agency in the villages supervised sanitary measures in the infected places, and carried out anti-typhoid inoculation in the hospital maintained by the Workers'
2. In the campaign by the Government Department of Agriculture against field mice in Northern Palestine, the Agency supplied the necessary labour and technical supervision on the Jewish land which was infested, to the extent of about 100,000 dunums.
3. The Education Department of the Agency maintains close contact with the Government Department in many matters affecting the Jewish schools. The Agency's Department assisted the Government inspectors in the elaboration of standard tests in certain subjects and co-operated in the making of a syllabus for English instruction in Jewish elementary schools. The Government Department is represented on the Va'ad Hahinuch (Zionist Board of Education).
4. During the year October, 1929-September, 1930, the Agency spent the sum of £P.764,000 on economic and social services distributed as follows:--
Keren Hayesod (through the Jewish Agency) ... ... ... ... 422,000
Jewish National Fund ... ... ... ... ... ... 192,000
Hadassah Medical Organisation ... ... ... ... ... 115,000
Women's International Zionist Organisation ... ... ... 35,000
In addition, the Palestine Emergency Fund spent the sum of £P.433,000 for reconstruction purposes (see Introductory Section, paragraph 13); the Hebrew University spent £P.48,000, towards which Keren Hayesod contributed £P.4,000; and the expenditure of the Sick Fund of the General Federation of Jewish Labour amounted to £P.60,700, of which £P.13,400 was a subvention from the Agency.
Expenditure of the Jewish Agency
.--The principal items of expenditure of the Agency were as follows:--
Agricultural colonization including Experimental Station ... 155,000
Education ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 94,000
Labour and Immigration
... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
National, Communal, and Religious Institutions ... ... ... 33,000
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
.--In 1930, the Jewish National Fund purchased 16,950 dunums of agricultural land, thus increasing its holdings to 276,000 dunums. It carried out reclamation on a large scale in the swamps of the Haifa Bay area, installed water supplies in seven villages, and planted about a million forest trees.
7. Further irrigation works were carried out by the Agency in a number of settlements, and many permanent buildings were erected. The village of Bir Tuvia, which was entirely destroyed during the riots of 1929, has been reconstructed and resettled.
8. To date, the Central Bank of Co-operative Institutions has made advances totalling £P.250,000, mainly for agricultural purposes. The investments of the Palestine Mortgage Bank in agricultural land and credits for construction of farms and farm buildings are about £P.50,000.
--The Agency carried out a series of works for improving sanitary conditions in its agricultural settlements and in workers' quarters in the principal orange-growing centres. As part of this programme, it constructed permanent dwellings, kitchens, and dining halls, and service rooms, in accordance with plans approved by the Government Department of Health.
10. A new hospital was opened by the Hadassah Medical Organization in Tiberias. The five hospitals of that Organization treated 10,845 in-patients in the course of the year, and the hospital of the Workers' Sick Fund treated 1,676; altogether some 40 per cent. of all the patients, Jewish and non-Jewish, admitted to hospitals during the year. Two new Infant Welfare centres were opened by the Hadassah Medical Organization, bringing the total to 21. 3,769 mothers and 4,259 babies were treated in these centres.
25,340 school children are under the medical supervision of the Organization.
11. The industrial section of the labour census taken by the Agency in 1930 showed that there were in Palestine 617 Jewish factories employing 6,777 persons, with an annual expenditure of £P.1,221,000 on wages, material and fuel. The annual production of these factories is £P.1,653,000, and the total capital is £P.1,221,000. The Palestine Electric Corporation with a capital of £P.1,000,000, the Nesher Cement Company with a capital of £P.300,000, and the Shemen Oil Company with a capital of £P.250,000 were excluded from the census. Only 102 Jewish establishments with a total capital of £P.376,000 existed before the War. During 1920-1924, 199 factories with a total capital of £P.430,000 were established and the rest have come into existence in the last six years.
12. 1,854 Jewish workshops (hand trades) were recorded in the census, with a total capital of £P.139,000. These workshops employed 3,386 persons; their annual expenditure amounted to £P.381,000 and the production to £P.404,000.
Question 5.--What steps have been taken in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish National Home?
1. No further steps of this nature were taken by the Jewish Agency in 1930. The enlarged Jewish Agency described in paragraph 24 of Section I of the Report for 1929 was officially recognized by His Majesty's Government in a letter, dated the 6th August, 1930, from the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in the following terms:--
6th August, 1930.
I am directed by Lord Passfield to refer to your letter of the 16th September, 1929, transmitting a copy of the Agreement embodying the constitution of the Jewish Agency for Palestine which was signed at Zurich on the 14th of August, 1929, and to inform you that practical recognition of the enlarged Jewish Agency has in fact already been accorded both by the Colonial Office and the Government of Palestine. But, as it is understood that formal recognition is desired I am hereby to convey to you notification of the fact that His Majesty's Government are prepared to recognize the enlarged Jewish Agency as constituted by the Agreement enclosed in your letter under reference as the Agency referred to in Article 4 of the Mandate for Palestine.
"2. With regard to paragraph 3 of your letter, I am to inform you that in the event of the dissolution of the enlarged Agency, His Majesty's Government, on being notified by the Zionist Organization that the enlarged Agency has been dissolved, will, provided that they are satisfied that its organization and constitution are at that time appropriate, recognise the Zionist Organization as the Jewish Agency for the purpose of Article 4 of the Mandate for Palestine and the Organization shall in that event be deemed to have reverted in all respects to the status which it possessed before the enlargement of the Agency.
I am, etc.,
(Signed) O. G. R. WILLIAMS.
The Zionist Organization."
IV. IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION.
1.--Q. What measures have been taken to facilitate Jewish Immigration?
2.--Q. What measures have been taken to safeguard the rights and position of other sections of the population?
3.--Q. What measures have been taken in co-operation with the Jewish Agency to encourage the close settlement by Jews on the land (give figures)?
4.--Q. What are the effects of these measures? Statistics of Immigration (country of origin, religion, race, profession, age, and sex). Geographical distribution within the country in the urban centres and in the rural districts. Same statistics for emigration.
1. In connection with this Section of the Report, attention is invited to the conclusions respecting Immigration on pages 19-22 of the White Paper (Command Paper No. 3692) and to the explanation and interpretation of those conclusions given in paragraphs 14, 15, 16, and 17 of the Prime Minister's letter of the 13th February, 1931, to Dr. Weizmann.
2. Instructions regarding immigration and naturalization were codified and circulated in print to Immigration Officers and to Police and District Officers concerned. Revised instructions to British Consular and Passport Control Officers for the grant of visas for Palestine and the issue and renewal of Palestine passports will shortly issue.
3. Immigration in 1930 reflected the vicissitudes of agriculture and industry during the year and the increasing economic and financial stress in Eastern Europe and America. The shrinkage in contributions and investments by American Jewry placed a check on Jewish enterprise in Palestine and in particular left the Jewish Agency with insufficient funds for any considerable measure of agricultural colonization. In the resulting depression, the figure of Jewish unemployment rose from 550 in April to 1,300 in June. Although, therefore, so far as could be foreseen, conditions at the beginning of May warranted the High Commissioner in authorizing a Labour Schedule of 2,300 men and 1,000 women workers, the reduction of this quota to 688 men and 262 women as a prudent reservation pending the outcome of the inquiry by Sir John Hope Simpson, did not cause any scarcity of labour in the following months.
4. By the autumn, however, conditions were so far improved that it was found possible to authorize a Labour Schedule of 950 men and 530 women for the half-year beginning the 1st October, 1930. The Administration was satisfied that these men and women would be employed on new works which were to be undertaken with Jewish funds, and in respect of which therefore no question arose of displacing Arabs already at work or aggravating existing unemployment.
5. 2,103 men and 428 women were registered as labour immigrants in the course of the year, including some who were granted Certificates under the Schedule for the half-year October, 1929-March, 1930, and also working men and women who had entered Palestine without permission or as travellers.
6. 6,433 immigrants were admitted to Palestine, that is 3,386 men, 2,116 women, and 931 children, of whom 2,550 men, 1,700 women, and 694 children were Jewish. Included are 695 Jews, 493 Christians, 112 Moslems, and 6 Druze who had entered without permission but were allowed to remain. Of the 6,433 immigrants, 3,563 came from Europe east of a line drawn from Danzig to Trieste, 1,187 from North Africa and Western Asia including `Iraq, Persia, and Afghanistan, 411 from Central Europe, 286 from the United States of America, and 695 from the British Empire. The last figure includes 404 British Constables.
7. 213 prospective immigrants who failed to comply with the Immigration Regulations were refused admission.
8. 1,432 Palestinian citizens, including 597 Jews, 368 Christians, and 467 Moslems, and 1,571 foreigners, including 1,082 Jews, 430 Christians, and 59 Moslems, left Palestine permanently. Among the Jewish emigrants were 1,002 comparatively recent arrivals.
9. The Permanent Mandates Commission at its Seventeenth Session
* (*Permanent Mandates Commission, Seventeenth Session, page 146) asked for further information as to the restrictions alleged to have been imposed by various States in South and Central America on the immigration of Palestinians, and as to the protection afforded to the latter by the Mandatory Power.
10. The immigration of Palestinians and inhabitants of other territories in the Near East and Middle East is restricted in several of the Central and Southern American States. The Regulations under which they may secure admission vary, but in general require
the prospective immigrant to be in possession of certain specified funds and to satisfy the Public Health Regulations. Relatives of settlers are usually admitted, provided that their maintenance is assured. Some States require certificates of moral character and conduct.
11. The Salvadorean Government has placed a general embargo on the immigration into San Salvador of Palestinians and inhabitants of other territories in the Near East and Middle East. An exception has been made in the case of certain persons from those territories, including relatives of persons already established in San Salvador, and persons who have already resided there. These persons may continue to be admitted subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions. Representations are being made to the Salvadorean Government by His Majesty's Government with a view to the removal of the general embargo on Palestinian immigration.
12. The Government of Honduras requires Palestinian immigrants to be in possession on entry into Honduras of the sum of 5,000 silver pesos, and to deposit the sum of 500 silver pesos which is returnable to the immigrant provided he departs within two months of the date of his entry. Exception is made in the case of Palestinians permanently resident in the country who return after an absence of not more than two years. Temporary permission to enter is granted on certain conditions to near relations of Palestinian immigrants. Immigrants are, moreover, required to satisfy the Honduranean authorities as to their health, morals, conduct, etc.
13. As regards the protection afforded by the Mandatory to Palestinian immigrants, His Majesty's Government in practice extend to the inhabitants of territories under British Mandate the same protection as is afforded to other protected persons, which is, generally speaking, the same as that accorded to British subjects.
14. In April, the category (Ai) of persons of independent means was redefined. Previously, possession of a minimum capital of £P.500 was the qualification and a further category (B) permitted the registration of persons with less capital at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer. Experience of the working of the Immigration Law revealed the economic necessity to increase the minimum capital for Category Ai and to abolish Category B, as being dependent on a latitude of discretion which was undesirable in principle and in practice difficult to exercise. The new minimum amount of capital is £P.1,000, but account is taken of long-term loans and the value of stock in trade. The Chief Immigration Officer may still, however, register under Category Ai members of professions possessing a minimum capital of £P.500, and skilled artisans with £P.250.
15. Employment.--As regards availability of employment, the year under review may be divided into an earlier and later period. The months from January to May were marked by industrial and building activity, and plantation of new orange groves, and figures of unemployment showed a continuous downward trend. There were at no time more than 850 Jewish and 2,400 Arab unemployed. Signs of an approaching depression were nevertheless visible in an increasing number of industrial disputes, a fall in agricultural prices, and frequent bankruptcies.
16. With the approach of the summer months, the world wide economic and financial depression had reached Palestine and the second half of the year was marked by the familiar symptoms of an insecure economy: lack of money, increasing unemployment, and commercial failures. To make matters worse, many men were thrown out of employment by the simultaneous conclusion of important works: such as the installation of the Shell Company at Haifa and the hydro-electric plant of the Palestine Electric Corporation at Jisr Majamie.
17. Arab unemployment in 1930 was on the average in excess of that in the preceding year. Arab town workers were affected by the prevailing depression, which led, in particular, to stagnation of the Arab building trade. In addition, an unusually large number of fellahin sought work not only in the neighbourhood of their villages, but even in distant places, finding themselves unable to subsist on the income of their holdings in consequence of crop failures and the low prices ruling for agricultural produce.
18. It is estimated that there were about 600 unemployed Jewish labourers in the Jewish agricultural centres in June, about 750 in November on the eve of the orange picking season, and about 850 in December, when the seasonal work in the groves had begun. The Jewish farm workers constitute a floating population, and if work fails in the colonies they re-enter the towns.
19. Employment of Arabs in the older Jewish settlements has not decreased; indeed, a tendency exists to replace organized Jewish labour by cheaper Arab and Oriental Jewish labour.
20. The increase in unemployment in Jewish settlements may be ascribed, in part, to the extended use of machinery, to the suspension of work on new plantations owing to unavailability of funds, and to retrenchment necessitated by losses during the previous orange season.
21. The revenue of the Immigration and Travel Section was £P.13,461, and the expenditure £P.17,625.
22. In August, 1920, a Land Commission consisting of a British official as President and of a Moslem and a Jewish Palestinian (non-officials) as members was appointed by the High Commissioner to report,
upon what steps should be taken to obtain an accurate record of State lands, and to advise upon the best disposition of these lands in the interests of the country generally and of closer settlement and increased production in particular.
Upon the recommendation of that Commission the Department of Lands was organized to ascertain, delimit, register, and control all State properties.
The Department of Lands began to operate on the 1st April, 1921, the Land Commission being retained in an advisory capacity until it presented its report in the following May. Its functions were thereafter merged into those of the Department of Lands.
23. Under the Ottoman Land Law, persons who had cultivated or developed waste State Land could obtain a title to such land.
In order to conserve the State Domain, the "Mewat" Lands Ordinance was passed, prohibiting unauthorized encroachment, and requiring persons who had already cultivated or developed waste land to lodge within a limited time applications for titles. ("Mewat" means waste land.)
24. Most of the land in Palestine is "Miri" land. "Miri" land is vested in the State, the rights of user and disposition (except by will) being enjoyed by the holder so long as he cultivates or uses the land.
In the event of failure to cultivate for three consecutive years or of failure of heirs within certain degrees the land reverts to the State as "Mahlul" (vacant land).
In some cases "Mahlul" land, which had reverted to the State by escheat, was encroached upon without permission. An Ordinance was therefore passed in October, 1920, requiring all persons who had encroached upon "Mahlul" land to inform the Government, and providing for the lease of the land to the persons in possession by the Government in proper cases.
25. On the recommendation of the Land Commission the following leases have been granted by Government for purposes of closer settlement of the land by Jews:--
(1) An area of approximately 45,000 dunums (a dunum is approximately a quarter of an acre), consisting of the Athlit marshes, the Zor Kabbara and Mallaha and the Caesarea sand dunes was leased in December, 1921, to the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association for a period of one hundred years, at a rental nominal at first but subject to reassessment by agreement or arbitration at intervals of thirty-three years.
The lease is renewable for two periods each of fifty years.
In this case an uncompleted concession of a similar nature for part of the area leased had been under negotiation at the outbreak of war by the lessees with the Turkish Government.
The lessees, under the agreement of lease with the Palestine Government, were required to complete, within eight years, the drainage of all swamps within the area leased and within a period of twenty years to reclaim and plant the sand dunes.
(2) A grant to the inhabitants of Rishon-le-Zion of an area of 21,000 dunums of sand dunes adjoining the village, on the coast south of Jaffa, was made during the War by the Mejlis Idara (Administrative Council) of Jerusalem. This grant has been confirmed, and the area has been set aside as Metrukeh" (common) land for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village in common.
(3) A lease for a hundred years to the Township of Tel-Aviv of a plot of land on the seashore abutting on Tel-Aviv for the purpose of erecting a bathing establishment, restaurant and esplanade.
(4) A lease to the inhabitants of Petach-Tikvah for fifty years, renewable under fixed conditions, of the Bassa swamps adjoining the village land, on requirement to drain the swamps within five years, and cultivate or afforest the land.
(5) A lease of 6,000 dunums at Tel-Arad, near Hebron, to Jewish ex-soldiers. In this case, lack of water led to the abandonment of the plan of colonization.
26. It is the policy of the Palestine Government not to alienate State lands by sale: only in a single case, namely the Ghor Mudawwara lands, has there been a departure from this policy. This case is fully dealt with elsewhere in this Report (see Section V, paragraph 4).
27. The process of demarcation of the Baisan lands has shown that there are no grounds for expecting that, after the allocation of lands to the Arab transferees under the Agreement, blocks of any considerable area will remain available for close settlement by Jews.
For instance, a suggestion was made that the Beshatweh and Ghazzawieh lands lying to the east of the Baisan lands should be placed at the disposal of Jewish ex-soldiers. But investigations revealed that included in the 50,000 dunums involved there was no single parcel of land of 1,000 dunums in extent, fit for cultivation, which was not already fully used by the Arabs for summer and winter crops or essential grazing requirements.
Previously, another area, of 10,000 dunums, in the Baisan lands was offered to the Jews for settlement; but it was declined as being too mixed in quality for successful farming.
28. The following further measures have been taken by the Government to facilitate the close settlement of State lands by Jews:--
(1) It had been proposed that Government should lease an area of 8,000 dunums of sand dunes at Acre Bay to a Jewish Development Company; but that proposal has been modified by arranging for an exchange of that area for an area of 2,000 dunums of cultivated land (equivalent in value) in the Company's ownership. These 2,000 dunums are required for purposes of public utility, namely as sites for railway workshops and an aerodrome.
(2) The consideration of a proposal to lease an area of 44,000 dunums at Rafa to the Zionist Organisation was suspended because the effective settlement of the area pre-supposed:--
) the expropriation of a tribal area and the dispossession of squatters;
) elaborate arrangements for the protection of the settlers on the edge of the desert;
) heavy initial outlay which the Zionist Organisation were not at the time prepared to incur.
(3) A proposal to lease areas near the Dead Sea, in particular at Ain Feshkha and at Jericho was abandoned because it was found that with the exception of Ain Feshkha, the soil and water of which are only moderately saline, these areas are heavily impregnated with salt and are not capable of cultivation without large expenditure on initial preparation of soils.
(4) An area of 2,700 dunums near Mesha (Mount Tabor) has been reserved as the site for the buildings and farm lands of the Jewish (Kadoorie Bequest) Agricultural School.
(5) A plot of 2 dunums, in the centre of Jerusalem, is being leased to a Jewish ex-soldiers' club as the site for its premises, for a period of 49 years, at an annual rent of £P.30.
(6) The Jewish National Fund is now negotiating with Government for the lease of lands at Rushmia (on Mount Carmel) 3,000 dunums in extent; the proposed rent is 5 per cent. of the capital value.
Attention is invited, generally, in regard to the question of close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land in Palestine, to the conclusions respecting Land and Agricultural Development recorded in Command Paper No. 3692, and to paragraphs 7-13 of the Prime Minister's letter to Dr. Weizmann, dated 13th February, 1931.
1.--Q. How have State lands been defined and delimited?
2.--Q. How have waste lands been defined and delimited?
3.--Q. What measures have been taken for the registration of real property?
1. 13,315 transactions in land were registered and P.69,550 was collected in fees. The corresponding figures in 1929 were 11,290 and £P.68,247.
Four hundred and forty-five applications were granted under the Correction of Land Registers Ordinance, 1926, while 660 applications are now under consideration.
During 1930, 51,065 dunums of land were sold by Arabs for £P.554,486 and 24,516 by Jews for £P.680,190. Most of the land sold by Jews was acquired by Jewish colonizing or urban development agencies. During the same period, 31,261 dunums were purchased by Arabs for £P.422,778 and 43,882 by Jews for £P.817,260. Most of the land bought by Jews was rural land.
Two hundred and eighty-one State Domain properties were leased and £P.6,240 was collected in rent during the year.
In the course of Land Settlement, claims to all categories of State Domain are presented by the Department of Lands in the name of the Government.
Nine actions in the Courts in respect of ownership of State Domain were decided in favour of the Government: these involve an area of 2,314 dunums.
2. The staff engaged in Land Settlement and in the office of the Commissioner of Lands consists of 18 administrative and 35 officers in clerical grades, and a Sharia' judge.
--The Land Settlement Amendment Ordinance, 1930, simplified the procedure of settlement in respect of registration of houses and sites of small value in villages, and facilitated the partition of jointly-owned undivided parcels and of village common land.
The title obtained on Settlement provides a greater measure of security of tenure to owners than was hitherto possessed; and the partition of land held in common, known as Masha`a, which is being carried out in the course of Settlement provides a title to separate parcels and thereby encourages land development. Draft legislation designed further to accelerate Settlement in general and partition in particular, so as to promote better farming by empowering the rearrangement and regrouping of uneconomic plots, was under discussion at the end of the year. It is intended also to provide by law that the Torrens system of registration shall apply to any transactions or mutations in a village after Settlement.
Cemeteries, village water supplies and the like are exempt from registration fees on Settlement.
With a view to establishing a basis for reducing registration and survey fees, it has been decided to carry out a test in 1931 which will reveal what proportion of the cost of Settlement is recouped from that source.
Ghor Mudawwara Agreement,
1921.--Including 144 claims from tribal areas finally dealt with in 1930, all claims of individuals to title to land under the Agreement have now been decided.
Demarcation under the Agreement was also completed in the course of this year, with the division and assignment of the remaining plots in villages and tribal areas, 34,594 dunums in the aggregate.
Parcellation schemes were approved in respect of 53,819 dunums, and 74,590 dunums were parcelled on the ground and handed over to transferees or, as waste land, declared as State Domain.
Land Schedules were compiled for 49 Registration blocks covering 53,819 dunums, and registration of title will follow.
It is estimated that the Ghor Mudawwara Agreement affects an area of 381,771 metric dunums. Of this, 235,054 metric dunums have now been transferred.
The remainder includes village and State Matrukeh (common land), such as threshing floors, roads, cemeteries, canals; beds of rivers and wadis, antiquity sites and a few forest areas; and some exiguous and dispersed plots, for the most part uncultivable. This last category only is now available for transfer.
There are 2,647 transferees under the Agreement, including 109 claimants under Article 9 for whom no land is yet free for allocation. Article 9 provides that any family of those tribes generally living and cultivating on the west side of the Jordan which has not hitherto cultivated any area shall be entitled to the transfer of an area not exceeding 150 dunums to be included in the tribal area.
235,054 metric dunums are thus distributed among 2,538 persons, an average of 92 metric dunums each.
General operations of Settlement.
--At the beginning of 1930 owing to the animosity engendered by the disturbances of 1929, Jewish and Arab claimants were unwilling to meet in the villages for the preliminary investigation of claims, and the work of the Settlement Officers was retarded.
In May, Gaza Sub-District was declared a third Settlement Area, additional to Jaffa and Ramleh.
Since Settlement began in 1929, 16,080 claims have been decided: 432 registration blocks, covering 161,529 dunums, have been settled; Schedules of Rights have been posted for 323 blocks, and 53 Partition Schedules for undivided land posted after parcellation. During 1930, notices of settlement were served on 13 villages. The process of Settlement had reached 32 villages by the end of the year.
6. The question of the availability of State Domain for Jewish settlement requires some explanation. It cannot be maintained that the Palestine Government has the free disposal of such lands, cultivable as well as waste, or that the Arab inhabitants have no claims in their apportionment.
In Appendix VI will be found a statement of registered State Domain, and, in the case of the cultivable areas, particulars of the occupants.
Most of the cultivable State lands had been in occupation and under cultivation by Arabs for generations. They had owned the lands before the Ottoman Land Code was enacted, and, although, comparatively recently the Sultan acquired the titular ownership, the original possessors were not ousted and their position became that of tenants in perpetuity. They were allowed to sell their tenancy rights, and those rights were transmitted by inheritance to their descendants. Their position
the Sultan and, on his deposition,
the Turkish Government, was in some degree analogous to that of owners of ordinary Miri land.
Waste lands belonging to Government are the coastal sanddunes, the desert area south-east of Beersheba, the arid waterless area between the Jerusalem-Hebron Road and the Dead Sea, some marshes, and forest reserves in the hills. In some of these areas, too, Arabs have grazing rights. It is, however, the intention of His Majesty's Government to institute an enquiry as soon as possible to ascertain,
what State and other lands are, or properly can be made, available for close settlement by Jews under reference to the obligation imposed by the Mandatory by Article 6 of the Mandate (see paragraph 10 of the Prime Minister's letter to Dr. Weizmann).
Reference has been made by the Jewish Agency to the possibility of land settlement in the Negeb south of Gaza and Beersheba. It will, however, be some years before the programme of settlement and registration of title reaches that district; and investigations into the water supply have yet to be made.
The Jewish Agency have asked for an area of 75,000 to 100,000 dunums in the Negeb for preliminary research work. It is doubtful if any unoccupied cultivable tract of that magnitude is available, but this point will be further considered by the Palestine Government.
Another question that has aroused considerable discussion is that of the Ghor Mudawwara Agreement of 1921, relating to the Baisan lands. It may be observed in regard to this question that it would not have been possible to grant Jewish settlers a share in the Baisan lands without buying out the rights of the Arabs, with their consent. That consent was not likely to have been obtained; nor could public funds have been applied to such a purpose.
The origin of the Ghor Mudawwara Agreement was the following.
In 1920, the Palestine Government attempted to regularize the position of tenants of all State Domains, and called upon the cultivator-tenants of the Ghor Mudawwara villages to sign agreements of lease.
The tenants refused, fearing that the leases would be used to prove that the lands were not theirs. They stated that the registration of ownership in the name of the State had in most cases been made in an improper manner; that their ancestors and they had owned the land in unbroken succession, long before the Ottoman Registration Law was enacted; that even after the Sultan had obtained the titular ownership they had remained in possession of the land and had continued to buy and sell rights therein; and that their rights had been transmitted by inheritance without interference. Nor did they conceal their fear that the Government sought to give their lands to Jewish settlers.
The Palestine Government in the circumstances decided to allow the Arabs to re-acquire full Miri rights in the land. The Ghor Mudawwara Agreement was the instrument signed for that purpose: being a contract between the State and tenants which settled the respective rights of both parties.
Where cultivator-tenants had tenancy rights over a large area, the Agreement did not limit their rights to 150 dunums for each family and take away their rights in the remainder of the area. They were allowed, in fact, to convert into Miri ownership the tenant rights which they possessed, irrespective of the area affected by those tenant rights, provided only that the area had been cultivated for two years by both summer and winter crops. On the other hand the Agreement provided that, where a person had cultivated a holding of less than 150 dunums, he should be entitled to the transfer of an area which, together with the land he had cultivated, would amount to 150 dunums.
The transferees had previously cultivated the land on the masha'a (ownership in common) system. On their re-acquisition of full Miri rights, that system was abolished and they received parcels equivalent in area or in value to their former shares.
Urban Property Tax.
--The Urban Property Tax Ordinance came into force in 1930 in Nablus and Tiberias, and was applied to Safad, Nazareth, Beersheba, and Jenin. It was already in force in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gaza, Lydda, Tulkarem, and Baisan.
During the year operations under the Ordinance were completed or nearly completed in 15 towns. 10,400 parcels were surveyed in towns and 11,475 valued; 2,495 objections were lodged, of which 1,572 were allowed. There were 443 appeals.
Urban areas have been delimited at Jenin, Bethlehem, and Bait-Jala and provisional boundaries fixed at Ramallah and Hebron, in readiness for next year's programme.
There were 38 Assessment Committees at work, and the total cost of assessment was
Assessments of the previous year were revised in seven centres, at a total cost of £P.632: but no variation in annual value of property was found which would necessitate a change in the rate or the limit of exemption. Generally, the rate is 9 per cent. of the annual value on house property including the site, 6 per cent. on house property used for an industrial undertaking, and 7 per cent. on land which is not the site of a house. House property is exempt if occupied by the registered owner and of an annual value less than £P.15 in Jerusalem, Jaffa (or Tel-Aviv), £P.10 in Tulkarem, Tiberias, and Nablus, £P.5 in Baisan, Gaza, Ramleh, and Lydda.
It has been suggested that partiality is shown by Government in assessing Jewish property at higher values than Arab property.
This is not the case. There is no discrimination between Jews and non-Jews in the application of the Ordinance. The basis of the Urban Property Tax being the net annual value of the property, the more attractive, costly, and better equipped the premises, the higher will be its value for taxation purposes.
Commutation of Tithe
.--The commuted tithe for a village is a fixed aggregate amount paid annually. It corresponds to the average amount of tithe that was paid by the village during the four years immediately preceding the application to it of the Ordinance. The tithe is distributed by village committees under official supervision on the basis of the cereal productivity of the land held by individuals.
The system was applied to 32 tribal areas in the Beersheba and four in the Hebron Sub-District, so that all cultivators in Palestine, except the members of two sub-tribes, now pay the commuted tithe.
The fall in prices of the winter crops by about 50 per cent. compared with 1929, and the resulting collapse of the cereal market, coupled with the practical failure of the harvest, led the High Commissioner to remit 30 per cent. of the commuted tithe payable in 1930. This represented approximately a half of the proportion of the tithe due in respect of winter cereals. The amount remitted was £P.72,345.
Proposals for Land Tax.
--Lands in 73 villages were divided into fiscal blocks and the land in each block was valued. Schedules of Values have been prepared for 190 villages, involving 2,570,705 dunums in 1,840 fiscal blocks. The total value of the land in these blocks was £P.7,465,072.
Altogether this experiment is now proceeding in 190 villages.
--The strength of classified officers in the Department of Surveys increased from 118 in January to 131 in December, as follows:--
British officers, senior service ... ... 3 3
Palestinian officers, senior service ... ... -- 1
British officers, junior service ... ... 4 --
Palestinians: Clerks ... ... ... 7 --
Computers ... ... ... 8 --
Draughtsmen ... ... ... 35 --
Surveyors ... ... ... -- 69
Printer ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 --
... ... ... ... ... ...
*Includes 4 Cypriots.
A non-commissioned officer of the Royal Engineers was lent by the Ordnance Survey to replace a Palestinian Sub-Inspector of the Field Section who had resigned.
Of the 69 Palestinian surveyors, five are employed on triangulation, 16 on topocadastral survey, 28 on cadastral survey, seven on examination duties, four on contouring, and nine are attached to Land Registries.
Included among the new Palestinian draughtsmen are five officers, and among the new Palestinian surveyors eight officers, who received their training in the Department. The training of student-surveyors ceased with the completion of the town-surveys for Urban Assessment in October.
Triangulation and Miscellaneous.
--Fixed-point network.--The number of parties was increased from two to three in August, and work has in the main comprised topocadastral triangulation in hill areas.
New 3rd-Order combined with topocadastral triangulation has filled in the gap between Lake Tiberias and the northern boundary at Metullah, and similar work has been carried out over a considerable area between Jerusalem and Hebron. Existing 3rd-Order triangulation between Nazareth and Tiberias, and Jenin and Samaria, has been filled in with topocadastral points, but an extension of the town-planning area of Jerusalem has been covered with regular 4th-Order triangulation.
In November and December one party was employed in restoring principal and 3rd-Order points in the Jordan Valley and marking them specially for aerial photography in connection with the Haifa-Baghdad Railway Survey.
12. During the year, 51 3rd-Order points covering 650 km
, and 485 topocadastral points covering 165 km
, were established, in addition to 73 km of traverse-lines containing 593 points.
The fixed-point network now comprises 20,873 points having computed co-ordinates--representing the result of 10 years' theodolite work--to which must be added 22,898 control-points and landmarks fixed by graphic means, making 43,771 points in all.
13. The figures for density of this framework are given below, and the progress is indicated in the map, Diagram I.
TABLE I.--FIXED-POINT NETWORK, DECEMBER,
Principal Trig. ...
3rd Order ...
4th Order ...
Traverse ... ...
Graphic ... ...
Whole cadastral area.
Whole cadastral area except
parts of Hebron and
Fertile plains and towns.
Mainly towns and close areas.
Controls on block boundaries.
Tidal and Levelling
.--Diagram II shows the monthly variations of sea-level during the year. The variations are considered mainly due to wind, the summer level being probably the effect of the regular sea-breeze.
The monthly variations of water-level in the inland seas are shown in Diagram III. The abnormal rainfall of 1929 is evidenced in the graph for Lake Tiberias.
--1/10,000 sheets covering the plain lands between Ras el Nakura and Jenin, the Carmel range, and the valley of Jezreel have been completed, villages in the foot hills to the north and south of Tulkarem surveyed, and the hill villages of Bittir and Bir-el-Zait, which presented special features, mapped for purposes of experimental land-valuation.
1,303,530 dunums have thus been added to the map during the year at an average field-cost of 2.95 mils per dunum. This brings the total area surveyed on the 1/10,000 scale to date to 5,522,000 dunums, covering the maritime plain, the plains of Acre and Esdraelon, and the whole of the Jordan Valley with the exception of a narrow strip between the Wadi Faraa' and the Baisan lands. The surveyed area covers over 42 per cent. of the whole cadastral area north of the Beersheba Sub-District, and includes the greater portion of the cultivable land in this area.
The progress is shown on Diagram I, in which also the portion of the area which has been valued for Land Tax is indicated.
--Contouring has been carried out by telescopic alidade and India clinometer on prints of the 1/20,000 topocadastral sheets mounted on the Plane-Table.
Eleven sheets covering 1,150 km
were completed during the year, bringing the total number up to 16 sheets covering 1,550 km
--The examination of the town-surveys of Safad and Jenin was completed early in the year, and by November the remainder of the present programme of surveys for assessment of Urban Property Tax, comprising the chain-survey and examination of Bethlehem, Bait Jala, Beersheba, Ramallah, Jericho, and Hebron, was completed, at an average cost of 419 mils per dunum, including examination.
The reduction of cost under that reported last year is due to the more open nature of a number of these towns and the increasing experience of the staff.
18. The surveys of the 20 towns of the present programme, including the revision of Jerusalem, have been executed in four years. An example of a portion of Hebron which illustrates the difficult class of work required, is given in Diagram V.
--In addition to Preliminary Block Plans showing the claims to Mafruz (divided) land as demarcated by the people, the survey now supplies Settlement Officers with schedules of claimants both in lands subject to Settlement and in built-on village sites of little value which may be excluded from Settlement.
In the latter areas, Settlement of disputed parcels alone is now carried out, and the plans, with schedules of reputed owners, if undisputed, are registered without investigation of rights. This procedure accelerates Settlement but increases the work of Survey.
20. In Masha'a (undivided) lands, difficulties have been met with owing to unofficial parcellations on uneconomic lines which perpetuate some of the worst features of the Masha'a system, whole blocks being cut up into long narrow strips, often without access
save from a wadi-bed. Strip parcels on a single frontage of more than 500 metres in length and less than 10 metres in breadth are frequently met with, and give rise to survey difficulties and delay. A modified procedure has been introduced by which a preliminary "croquis" of such blocks is made in advance with a view to disclosing parcellations of the kind and enabling timely decision to be made as to their acceptance for Survey and Settlement.
21. It was also found necessary in the summer to introduce procedure by which the scale of survey and size of blocks in a village are obtained at the earliest stage by formula from the property-density, an investigation of which is made one of the first duties of the cadastral surveyor on entry into a village.
22. Ghor Mudawwara.--Parcellations executed by the Department in 1929, covering 68,115 dunums in three villages, were demarcated at a cost of 5.3 mils per dunum and handed over to the transferees.
The block surveys of three tribal areas, containing a number of irrigated and cultivated lands near the Jordan, were completed.
These surveys covered 34,921 dunums and were executed at a cost of 29 mils per dunum.
23. Maritime Plain.--Seventeen Arab villages containing 219 blocks, which covered 74,765 dunums of Mafruz and 9,178 dunums of Masha'a land, and six Jewish and two German colonies together containing 140 blocks which covered 53,515 dunums of Mafruz land, have been surveyed on the 1/2,500 and larger scales, and 250 Preliminary Block Plans with schedules of claimants have been issued to Settlement Officers.
In addition, eight built-on areas of Arab villages covering 360 dunums, and two built-on areas of Jewish villages covering 1,397 dunums, have been surveyed on the 1/1,250 and 1/625 scales and completed for Settlement with schedules of reputed owners.
24. Since the beginning of Settlement, 746 Blocks in 41 villages covering 333,636 dunums have been dealt with by the Survey.
Details of the area and cost of these are given in Table II.
TABLE II.--DETAILS OF SURVEYED BLOCKS, DECEMBER, 1930.
Average cost of survey*
*Includes all costs except overhead charges, and reproduction.