United States Government
and His Majesty’s Government
in the United Kingdom
We were appointed by the Governments of the United States and of the United Kingdom, as a joint body of American and British membership, with the following Terms of Reference:
1. To examine political, economic and social conditions in Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration and settlement therein and the well-being of the peoples now living therein.
2. To examine the position of the Jews in those countries in Europe where they have been the victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution, and the practical measures taken or contemplated to be taken in those countries to enable them to live free from discrimination and oppression and to make estimates of those who wish or will be impelled by their conditions to migrate to Palestine or other countries outside Europe.
3. To hear the views of competent witnesses and to consult representative Arabs and Jews on the problems of Palestine as such problems are affected by conditions subject to examination under paragraphs 1 and 2 above and by other relevant facts and circumstances, and to make recommendations to His Majesty’s Government and the Government of the United States for ad interim handling of these problems as well as for their permanent solution.
4. To make such other recommendations to His Majesty’s Government and the Government of the United States as may be necessary to meet the immediate needs arising from conditions subject to examination under paragraph 2 above, by remedial action in the European countries in question or by the provision of facilities for emigration to and settlement in countries outside Europe.
The Governments urged upon us the need for the utmost expedition in dealing with the subjects committed to us for investigation, and requested to be furnished with our Report within one hundred and twenty days of the inception of our Inquiry.
We assembled in Washington on Friday, 4th January, 1946, and began our public sessions on the following Monday. We sailed from the United States on 18th January and resumed our public sessions in London on 25th January. We left for Europe on 4th and 5th February, and, working in subcommittees, proceeded to our investigations in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy and Greece. On 28th February we flew to Cairo and, after sessions there, reached Jerusalem on 6th March. In Palestine, our sessions were interspersed with personal visits to different parts of the country, during which we sought to acquaint ourselves at first hand with its various characteristics and the ways of life of its inhabitants. Subcommittees visited the capitals of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi-Arabia and Trans-Jordan to hear the views of the Arab Governments and representatives of bodies concerned with the subjects before us. We left Palestine on 28th March and have concluded our deliberations in Switzerland. The detailed itinerary is shown in Appendix I.
We now submit the following Report.
Recommendations and Comments
The European Problem
Recommendation No. 1. We have to report that such information as we received about countries other than Palestine gave no hope of substantial assistance in finding homes for Jews wishing or impelled to leave Europe.
But Palestine alone cannot meet the emigration needs of the Jewish victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution; the whole world shares responsibility for them and indeed for the resettlement of all “displaced persons”.
We therefore recommend that our Governments together, and in association with other countries, should endeavor immediately to find new homes for all such “displaced persons”, irrespective of creed or nationality, whose ties with their former communities have been irreparably broken.
Though emigration will solve the problems of some victims of persecution, the overwhelming majority, including a considerable number of Jews, will continue to live in Europe. We recommend therefore that our Governments endeavor to secure that immediate effect is given to the provision of the United Nations Charter calling for “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.
In recommending that our Governments, in association with other countries, should endeavor to find new homes for “displaced persons”, we do not suggest that any country should be asked to make a permanent change in its immigration policy. The conditions, which we have seen in Europe, are unprecedented, and so unlikely to arise again that eve are convinced that special provision could and should be made in existing immigration laws to meet this unique and peculiarly distressing situation. Furthermore, we believe that much could be accomplished-particularly in regard to those “displaced persons”, including Jews, who have relatives in countries outside Europe-by a relaxation of administrative regulations.
Our investigations have led us to believe that a considerable number of Jews will continue to live in most European countries. In our view the mass emigration of all European Jews would be of service neither to the Jews themselves nor to Europe. Every effort should be made to enable the Jews to rebuild their shattered communities, while permitting those Jews, who wish to do so, to emigrate. In order to achieve this, restitution of Jewish property should be effected as soon as possible. Our investigations showed us that the Governments chiefly concerned had for the most part already passed legislation to this end. A real obstacle, however, to individual restitution is that the attempt to give effect to this legislation is frequently a cause of active anti-Semitism. We suggest that, for the reconstruction of the Jewish communities, restitution of their corporate property, either through reparations payments or through other means, is of the first importance.
Nazi occupation has left behind it a legacy of anti-Semitism. This cannot be combated by legislation alone. The only really effective antidotes are the enforcement by each Government of guaranteed civil liberties and equal rights, a program of education in the positive principles of democracy, the sanction of a strong world public opinion- combined with economic recovery and stability.
Recommendation No. 2. We recommend (a) that 100,000 certificates be authorized immediately for the admission into Palestine of Jews who have been the victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution; (b) that these certificates be awarded as far as possible in 1946 and that actual immigration be pushed forward as rapidly as conditions will permit.
The number of Jewish survivors of Nazi and Fascist persecution with whom we have to deal far exceeds 100,000; indeed there are more than that number in Germany, Austria and Italy alone. Although nearly a year has passed since their liberation, the majority of those in Germany and Austria are still living in assembly centers, the so” called “camps,” island communities in the midst of those at whose hands they suffered so much.
In their interests and in the interests of Europe, the centers should be closed and their camp life ended. Most of them have cogent reasons for wishing to leave Europe. Many are the sole survivors of their families and few have any ties binding them to the- countries in which they used to live.
Since the end of hostilities, little has been done to provide for their resettlement elsewhere. Immigration laws and restrictions bar their entry to most countries and much time must pass before such laws and restrictions can be altered and effect given to the alterations. Some can go to countries where they have relatives; others may secure inclusion in certain quotas. Their number is comparatively small.
We-know of no country to which the great majority can go in the immediate future other than Palestine. Furthermore that is where almost all of them want to go. There they are sure that they will receive a welcome denied them elsewhere. There they hope to enjoy peace and rebuild their lives.
We believe it is essential that they should be given an opportunity to do so at the earliest possible time. Furthermore we have the assurances of the leaders of; the Jewish Agency that they will be supported and cared for.
We recommend the authorization and issue of 100,000 certificates for these reasons and because we feel that their immediate issue will have a most salutary effect upon the whole situation.
In the awarding of these certificates priority should as far as possible be given to those in the centers, and to those liberated in Germany and Austria who are no longer in the centers but remain in those countries. We do not desire that other Jewish victims who wish or will be impelled by their circumstances to leave the countries where they now are, or that those who fled from persecution before the outbreak of war, should be excluded. We appreciate that there will be difficulty in deciding questions of priority, but none the less we urge that so far as possible such a system should be adhered to, and that, in applying it, primary consideration should be given to the aged and infirm, to the very young and also to skilled workmen whose services will be needed for many months on work rendered necessary by the large influx.
It should be made clear that no advantage in the obtaining of a certificate is to be gained by migrating from one country to another, or by entering Palestine illegally.
Receiving so large a number will be a heavy burden on Palestine. We feel sure that the authorities will shoulder it and that they will have the full cooperation of the Jewish Agency.
Difficult problems will confront those responsible for organizing and carrying out the movement. The many organizations-public and private-working in Europe will certainly render all the aid they can; we mention UNRRA especially. (cooperation by all throughout is necessary.
We are sure that the Government of the United States, which has shown such keen interest in this matter, will participate vigorously and generously with the Government of Great Britain in its fulfillment. There are many ways in which help can be given.
Those who have opposed the admission of these unfortunate people into Palestine should know that we have fully considered all that they have put before us. We hope that they will look upon the situation again, that they will appreciate the considerations which have led us to our conclusion, and that above all, if they cannot see their way to help, at least they will not make the position of these sufferers more difficult.
Recommendation No. 3. In order to dispose, once and for all, of the exclusive claims of Jews and Arabs to Palestine, we regard it as essential that a clear statement of the following principles should be made:
I. That Jew shall not dominate Arab and Arab shall not dominate Jew in Palestine. II. That Palestine shall be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state. III. That the form of government ultimately to be established, shall, under international guarantees, fully protect and preserve the interests in the Holy Land of Christendom and of the Moslem and Jewish faiths.
Thus Palestine must ultimately become a state which guards the rights and interests of Moslems, Jews and Christians alike; and accords to the inhabitants, as a whole, the fullest measure of self-government, consistent with the three paramount principles set forth above.
Throughout the long and bloody struggle of Jew and Arab for dominance in Palestine, each crying fiercely: “This land is mine”- except for the brief reference in the Report of the Royal Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Peel Report) and the little evidence, written and oral, that we received on this point-the great interest of the Christian World in Palestine has been completely overlooked, glossed over or brushed aside.
We, therefore, emphatically declare that Palestine is a Holy Land, sacred-to Christian, to Jew and to Moslem alike; and because it is a Holy Land, Palestine is not, and can never become, a land which any race or religion can justly claim as its very own.
We further, in the same emphatic way, affirm that the fact that it is the Holy Land, sets Palestine completely apart from other lands, and dedicates it to the precepts and practices of the Brotherhood of Man, not those of narrow nationalism.
For another reason, in the light of its long history, and particularly its history of the last thirty years, Palestine cannot be regarded as either a purely Arab or a purely Jewish land.
The Jews have a historic connection with the country. The Jewish National Home, though embodying a minority of the population, is today a reality established under international guarantee. It has a right to continued existence, protection and development.
Yet Palestine is not, and never can be, a purely Jewish land. It lies at the crossroads of the Arab world. Its Arab population, descended from long-time inhabitants of the area, rightly look upon Palestine as their homeland.
It is therefore neither just nor practicable that Palestine should become either an Arab State, in which an Arab majority would control the destiny of a Jewish minority, or a Jewish State, in which a Jewish majority would control that of an Arab minority. In neither case would minority guarantees afford adequate protection for the subordinated group.
A Palestinian put the matter thus: “In the hearts of us Jews there has always been a fear that some day this country would be turned into an Arab State and the Arabs would rule over us. This fear has at times reached the proportions of terror . . . Now this same feeling of fear has started up in the hearts of Arabs . . . fear lest the Jews acquire the ascendancy and rule over them.”
Palestine, then, must be established as a country in which the legitimate national aspirations of both Jews and Arabs can be reconciled, without either side fearing the ascendancy of the other. In our view this cannot be done under any form of constitution in which a mere numerical majority is decisive, since it is precisely the struggle for a numerical majority which bedevils Arab-Jewish relations. To ensure genuine self-government for both the Arab and the Jewish communities, this struggle must be made purposeless by the constitution itself.
Recommendation No. 4. We have reached the conclusion that the hostility between Jews and Arabs and, in particular, the determination of each to achieve domination, if necessary by violence. make it almost certain that, now and for some time to come, any attempt to establish either an independent Palestinian State or independent Palestinian States would result in civil strife such as might threaten the peace of the world.
We therefore recommend that, until this hostility disappears, the Government of Palestine be continued as at present under mandate pending the execution of a trusteeship agreement under the United Nations.
We recognize that in view of the powerful forces both Arab and Jewish, operating from outside Palestine, the task of Great Britain, as Mandatory, has not been easy. The Peel Commission declared in 1937 that the Mandate was unworkable, and the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations thereupon pointed out that it became almost unworkable once it was publicly declared to be so by such a body. Two years later the British Government, having come to the conclusion that the alternative of partition proposed by the Peel Commission was also unworkable, announced their intention of taking steps to terminate the Mandate by the establishment of an independent Palestine State. Our recommendations are based on what we believe at this stage to be as fair a measure of justice to all as we can find in view of what has gone before and of all that has been done. We recognize that they are not in accord with the claims of either party, and furthermore that they involve a departure from the recent policy of the Mandatory. We recognize that, if they are adopted, they will involve a long period of trusteeship, which will mean a very heavy burden for any single Government to undertake, a burden which would be lightened if the difficulties were appreciated and the Trustee had the support of other members of the United Nations.
Recommendation No. 5. Looking towards a form of ultimate self-government, consistent with the three principles laid down in Recommendation No. 3, we recommend that the mandatory or trustee should proclaim the principle that Arab economic, educational and political advancement in Palestine is of equal importance with that of the Jews; and should at once prepare measures designed to bridge the gap which now exists and raise the Arab standard of living to that of the Jews; and so bring the two peoples to a full appreciation of their common interest and common destiny in the land where both belong.
Our examination of conditions in Palestine led us to the conclusion that one of the chief causes of friction is the great disparity between the Jewish and Arab standards of living. Even under conditions of war, which brought considerable financial benefits to the Arabs, this disparity has not been appreciably reduced. Only by a deliberate and carefully planned policy on the part of the Mandatory can the Arab standard of living be raised to that of the Jews. In stressing the need for such a policy we would particularly call attention to the discrepancies between the social services, including hospitals, available in Palestine for Jews and Arabs.
We fully recognize that the Jewish social services are financed to a very great extent by the Jewish community in Palestine, with the assistance of outside Jewish organizations; and we would stress that nothing should be done which would bring these social services down to the level of those provided for the Arabs, or halt the constant improvements now being made in them.
We suggest that consideration be given to the advisability of encouraging the formation by the Arabs of an Arab community on the lines of the Jewish community which now largely controls and finances Jewish social services. The Arabs will have to rely, to far greater extent than the Jews, on financial aid from the Government. But the Jews of Palestine should accept the necessity that taxation, raised from both Jews and Arabs, will have to be spent very largely on the Arabs on order to bridge the gap which now exists between the standard of living of the two peoples.
Recommendation No. 6. We recommend that, pending the early reference to the United Nations and the execution of a trusteeship agreement, the mandatory should administer Palestine according to the mandate which declares with regard to immigration that “The administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions”.
We have recommended the admission of 100,000 immigrants, victims of Nazi persecution, as soon as possible. We now deal with the position after the admission of that number. We cannot look far into the future. We cannot construct a yardstick for annual immigration. Until a Trusteeship Agreement is executed it is our clear opinion that Palestine should be administered in accordance with the terms of the Mandate quoted above.
Further than that we cannot go in the form of a recommendation. In this disordered world speculation as to the economic position of any country a few years ahead would be a hazardous proceeding. It is particularly difficult to predict what, after a few years have passed, will be the economic and political condition of Palestine. We hope that the present friction and turbulence will soon die away and be replaced by an era of peace, absent so long from the Holy Land; that the Jew and Arab will soon realize that collaboration is to their mutual advantage-but no one can say how long this will take.
The possibility of the country sustaining a largely increased population at a decent standard of living depends on its economic future, which in turn depends largely on whether or not plans referred to in Recommendation No. 8 can be brought to fruition.
The Peel Commission stated that political as well as economic considerations have to be taken into account in regard to immigration, and recommended a “political high level” of 12,000 a year. We cannot recommend the fixing of a minimum or of a maximum for annual immigration in the future. There are too many uncertain factors.
We desire, however, to state certain considerations which we agree should be taken into account in determining what number of immigrants there should be in any period. It is the right of every independent nation to determine in the interests of its people the number of immigrants to be admitted to its lands. Similarly it must, we think, be conceded that it should be the right of the Government of Palestine to decide, having regard to the well-being of all the people of Palestine, the number of immigrants to be admitted within any given period.
In Palestine there is the Jewish National Home, created in consequence of the Balfour Declaration. Some may think that Declaration was wrong and should not have been made; some that it was a conception on a grand scale and that effect can be given to one of the most daring and significant colonization plans in history. Controversy as to which view is right is fruitless. The National Home is there. Its roots are deep in the soil of Palestine. It cannot be argued out of existence; neither can the achievements of the Jewish pioneers.
The Government of Palestine in having regard to the well-being of all the people of Palestine cannot ignore the interests of so large a section of the population. It cannot ignore the achievements of the last quarter of a century. No Government of Palestine doing its duty to the people of that land can fail to do its best not only to maintain a National Home, but also to foster its proper development, and such development must in our view involve immigration.
The well-being of all the people of Palestine, be they Jews, Arabs, or neither, must be the governing consideration. We reject the view that there shall be no further Jewish immigration into Palestine with-: out Arab acquiescence, a view which would result in the Arab dominating the Jew. We also reject the insistent Jewish demand that forced Jewish immigration must proceed apace in order to produce as quickly as possible a Jewish majority and a Jewish State. The well-being of the Jews must not be subordinated to that of the Arabs; nor that of the Arabs to the Jews. The well-being of both, the economic situation of Palestine as a whole, the degree of execution of plans for further development, all have to be carefully considered in deciding the number of immigrants for any particular period.
Palestine is a land sacred to three faiths and must not become the land of any one of them to the exclusion of the others, and Jewish immigration for the development of the National Home must not become a policy of discrimination against other immigrants. Any person, therefore, who desires and is qualified under applicable laws to enter Palestine must not be refused admission or subjected to discrimination on the ground that he is not a Jew. All provisions respecting immigration must be drawn, executed and applied with that principle always firmly in mind.
Further, while we recognize that any Jew who enters Palestine in accordance with its laws is there of right, we expressly disapprove of the position taken in some Jewish quarters that Palestine has in some way been ceded or granted as their State to the Jews of the world, that every Jew everywhere is, merely because he is a Jew, a citizen of Palestine and therefore can enter Palestine as of right without regard to conditions imposed by the Government upon entry, and that therefore there can be no illegal immigration of Jews into Palestine. We declare and affirm that any immigrant Jew who enters Palestine contrary to its laws is an illegal immigrant.
Recommendation No. 7. (a) We recommend that the Land Transfers Regulations of 1940 be rescinded and replaced by regulations based on a policy of freedom in the sale, lease or use of land, irrespective of race, community or creed, and providing adequate protection for the interests of small owners and tenant cultivators; (b) We further recommend that steps be taken to render nugatory and to prohibit provisions in conveyances, leases and agreements relating to land which stipulate that only members of one races community or creed may be employed on or about or in connection therewith; (c) We recommend that the Government should exercise such close supervision over the Holy Places and localities such as the Sea of Galilee and its vicinity as will protect them from desecration and from uses which offend the conscience of religious people, and that such laws as are required for this purpose be enacted forthwith.
The Land Transfers Regulations of 1940 sought to protect the Arab tenant and small owner by prohibiting the sale of land save to a Palestinian Arab in one zone, by restricting such sales in another, and allowing unrestricted sale of land only in the third zone. Their effect has been such as to amount to discrimination against the Jews; their tendency is to segregate and keep separate Arabs and Jews. In the zones where sales are prohibited or restricted, they have protected the Arab from the temptation to dispose of his land, on which his livelihood and that of his family so often depend, for a sum out of all proportion to its real value. Though made with the object of maintaining the existing standard of living of Arab cultivators, and of preventing the creation of a considerable landless Arab population, they afford no protection to the Arab living in the free zone. He may sell his land for a fantastic price and add to the congestion in the other zones by moving there. An Arab living a short distance away, just across the zone boundary, cannot obtain anything approximating the same sum for land of equal quality.
We are opposed to any legislation or restrictions discriminating against Jew or Arab. We recognize the need for protecting the Arab small owner and tenant, for providing against a large landless Arab population, for maintaining, indeed for raising, the Arab standard of living. This necessity was also recognized in the Peel Report (Chapter IX, paragraph 10) which endorsed the following principles of earlier reports: that (i) unless there is a marked change in the methods of cultivation the land in Palestine is unable to support a large increase in population, and (it) there is already congestion on the land in the hill districts. Those principles are as true, if not truer, today.
We do not believe that the necessary protection for the Arab can be provided only by confining the Jew to particular portions of Palestine. Such a policy, suggested by the Peel Commission, is consistent with their proposed solution, partition, but scarcely with that put forward by us.
The leases granted by the Jewish National Fund contain a provision that no labor other than Jewish shall be employed by the lessee on or about or in connection with the land subject to the lease, and a further provision that a sub-lease shall contain similar terms.
As we have said we are opposed to such discrimination. We appreciate that one of the reasons for such provisions was to secure employment for Jewish immigrants on the land. We do not think that object justifies the retention of such stipulations which are harmful to cooperation and understanding between Arab and Jew.
Land acquired by the Jewish National Fund or for a Waqf by the Supreme Moslem Council becomes inalienable. The Peel Commission expressed the view in its Report (Chapter IX, paragraph 80) that caution on the part of the Government in disposing of – State domain to these bodies was desirable. The situation requires watching.
It would not be to the interests of the inhabitants of Palestine if too large a proportion of the land should become inalienable whether held by one organization or another.
In the small, thickly populated country of Palestine, with its rapidly increasing population, it is in the interest of Jews and Arabs alike that all- land should be developed and put to the fullest possible use. The settlement of title to land should proceed as quickly as possible and the development of State lands, not required for public purposes and capable of use, should be facilitated.
The Holy Land of Palestine contains within its borders and throughout its territories places sacred to the followers of three great religions. The “Lido” with its dancing and swing music on the shore of the Sea of (Galilee offends the sensibilities of many Christian people. Reports came to our notice of other projects the completion of which would be equally objectionable. We therefore feel it right by our recommendation to emphasize the necessity for close supervision and to recommend the strengthening of the law should that be required.
Recommendation No. 8. Various plans for large-scale agricultural and industrial development in Palestine have been presented for our consideration; these projects, if successfully carried into effect, could not only greatly enlarge the capacity of the country to support an increasing population but also raise the living standards of Jew and Arab alike.
We are not in a position to assess the soundness of these specific plans; but we cannot state too strongly that, however technically feasible they may be, they will fail unless there is peace in Palestine. Moreover their full success requires the willing cooperation of adjacent Arab states, since they are not merely Palestinian projects. We recommend therefore that the examination, discussion and execution of these plans be conducted, from the start and throughout, in full consultation and cooperation not only with the Jewish Agency but also with the governments of the neighboring Arab States directly affected.
The building of the Jewish economy has enjoyed the advantage of abundant capital, provided on such terms as to make economic return a secondary consideration. The Arabs have had no such advantage. In principle, we do not think it wise or appropriate that plans, such as the project for a Jordan Valley Authority, should, if judged technically sound, be undertaken by any private organization, even though that organization, as suggested by the Jewish Agency, should give an assurance of Arab benefits and Arab participation in the management.
Such proposals, by reason of their magnitude and far-reaching effects, should be conceived as public projects, suitable for Government enterprise and accepted only provided that they are calculated to benefit all parts of the population. But the undertaking of a worthwhile project should not be held up merely from financial considerations which could be overcome with the aid of semi-philanthropic sources. Some-compromise should not be impossible which would combine Jewish finance with Government responsibility and control.
We welcome the knowledge that the Government of Palestine has itself prepared programs of postwar development; we could wish that means might be found for projects of larger range and on a more ambitious scale; but we recognize that until political peace is restored there is great difficulty in raising the necessary funds whether from revenue or borrowing.
Meanwhile it is suggested that the Government should acquire powers, at present lacking, to investigate fully the extent of the country’s water resources, to control the use of underground water and to determine rights to surface water.
We doubt whether Palestine can expand its economy to the full, having regard to its limited natural resources, without a full and free interchange of goods and services with neighboring countries. In some respects, indeed, as in certain projects involving water supply, their active collaboration is indispensable to full development on an economic basis.
The removal of Article 18 of the Mandate would clear the way to those comprehensive tariff and trade agreements, not conflicting with any international obligations that might be accepted by the Mandatory or Trustee, which could ultimately lead to something like a customs union-an objective already in mind as between the surrounding countries of the Arab League.
Recommendation No. 9. We recommend that, in the interests of the conciliation of the two peoples and of general improvement of the Arab standard of living, the educational system of both Jews and Arabs be reformed, including the introduction of compulsory education within a reasonable time.
In Chapter XVI of the Peel Report, the bad features of the educational system of Palestine and the great disparity between the money spent on Arab and Jewish education were pointed out. The Report also emphasized that both Jewish and Arab education in Palestine were nationalistic in character. Particular attention was called to nationalist propaganda in Arab schools.
Our investigations disclosed that today the Jewish schools also- controlled and largely financed by the Jewish community-are imbued with a fiery spirit of nationalism. They have become most effective agencies for inculcating a spirit of aggressive Hebrew nationalism. We would urge most strongly that adequate control must be exercised by the Government over the education of both Jews and Arabs, in order to do away with the present excited emphasis on racialism and the perversion of education for propaganda purposes. The Government should ensure, by a careful supervision of text books and curricula, and by inspection of schools that education contributes to the conciliation of the two peoples.
We believe further that a large share of responsibility for Arab education might well be assumed by an Arab community, similar to the Jewish community already established in Palestine. But if the Arab and Jewish communities are to set themselves the goal of compulsory education, a much higher proportion of the annual Palestinian budget must be devoted to education than heretofore, most of which will be spent on Arab education. This will only be possible if the proportion of the budget now devoted to security can be substantially reduced.
We would also stress the urgent necessity of increasing the facilities for secondary, technical and university education available to Arabs. The disparity between the standard of living of the two peoples, to which we have already drawn attention, is very largely due to the fact that the Jewish professional and middle class so largely outnumbers that of the Arabs. This difference can only be removed by a very substantial increase in the facilities for higher education available to Arabs.
Recommendation No. 10. We recommend that, if this Report is adopted, it should be made clear beyond all doubt to both Jews and Arabs that any attempt from either side, by threats of violence, by terrorism, or by the organization or use of illegal armies to prevent its execution, will be resolutely suppressed.
Furthermore, we express the view that the Jewish Agency should at once resume active cooperation with the Mandatory in the suppression of terrorism and of illegal immigration, and in the maintenance of that law and order throughout Palestine which is essential for the good of all, including the new immigrants.
The Position of the Jews in Europe
This chapter relates primarily to effects of the Holocaust on European Jews and is given here.
The Political Situation in Palestine *
1. The Peel Commission declared in one of the final chapters of its Report: “Neither Arab nor Jew has any sense of service to a single State . . . The conflict is primarily political, though the fear of economic subjection to the Jews is also in Arab minds . . . The conflict, indeed, is as much about the future as about the present. Every intelligent Arab and Jew is forced to ask the question, ‘Who in the end will govern Palestine ?’ . . . for internal and external reasons it seems probable that the situation, bad as it now is, will grow worse. The conflict will go on, the gulf between Arabs and Jews will widen.” The Report concluded with a reference to “strife and bloodshed in a thrice hallowed land.”
2. It is nine years since the Peel Commission made its report. The recommendations were unfulfilled, but the analysis of political conditions remains valid and impressive. The gulf between the Arabs of Palestine and the Arab world on the one side, and the Jews of Palestine and elsewhere on the other has widened still further. Neither side seems at all disposed at the present to make any sincere effort to reconcile either their superficial or their fundamental differences. The Arabs view the Mandatory Government with misgivings and anger. It is not only condemned verbally, but attacked with bombs and firearms by organized bands of Jewish terrorists. The Palestine Administration appears to be powerless to keep the situation under control except by the display use of very large forces. Even if-the total manpower in police and defense services were only half what it is reputed to be, the political implications would still be deeply disturbing. It reflects the honest fear of experienced officials that tomorrow may produce circumstances in which military operations will be necessary.
3. Official data imply the gravity of the menacing problem. They show that, apart from those convicted of terrorist activity, the number of Jews held on suspicion averaged 450 during most of the year 1945 and was 554 at the end of the year. The aggregate of persons in the whole-time police and prisons service of Palestine in 1945 was about 15,000.
4. The financial tables provide additional evidence of the extent to which the energies and money of the Government are devoted to the protection of life and property. About L.P. 4,600,000* ($18,400,000) was spent on “law and order” during the financial year 1944-45 as against L.P. 550,000 ($2,200,000) in health and L.P. 700,000 ($2,800,000) on education. Thus even from a budgetary point of view Palestine has developed into a semi-military or police state. But, pending a substantial change in the relations between the Government and the Jews and the Arabs, the prospect of the kind of budget which characterizes a settled, civilized, nongarrisoned and prosperous community is dark.
5. Arab political leadership is still in the hands of the small number of families which were prominent in Ottoman times, of which the most notable are the Husseinis. This family controls the most important of the Arab political parties, the Palestine Arab Party, which was formally organized in 1935. The objectives of this and of all Arab parties in Palestine are the immediate stoppage of Jewish immigration, the immediate prohibition of the sale of land to Jews, and the concession of independence to a State in which the Arab majority would be dominant.
6. There has been no evidence that the Arab notables who appeared before the Committee, and whom the Committee visited in several countries, did not reflect accurately the views of their followers. The Arabic press, for example, protests as vehemently as Arab spokesmen against a Jewish influx of any kind, even if the certificates for admission were confined to old men and women and to children rescued from German death camps. In short, absolute, unqualified refusal of the Arabs to acquiesce in the admission of a single Jew to Palestine is the outstanding feature of Arab politics today; and the newly formed parties of the Left, based on the embryonic trade-union movement, display as intransigent a nationalism as the old leaders.
7. An additional reason for the insistence of the Palestinian Arabs on immediate independence is their desire for full membership in the newly formed Arab League. The Arabs of Palestine believe themselves to be as fitted for self-government as are their neighbors in Syria and Lebanon who obtained their independence during the Second World War, and in Trans-Jordan which has since become an independent State. The formation of the Arab League has given Arab leaders in Palestine a greater confidence. They feel that the support of the whole Arab world for their cause has now. been mobilized. Furthermore, the presence in the United Nations of five Arab States, one of which is a member of the Security Council, insures that the Arab case will not go by default when the issue of Palestine is brought before the United Nations.
8. Just as the Arab political parties are unalterably opposed to Jewish immigration, the various Jewish parties, even though some criticize the idea of a Jewish State, are all united in their advocacy of unlimited immigration, of the abolition of restrictions on the sale of land and of the abrogation of the 1939 White Paper.
9. These parties accept the authority of the Jewish Agency which is recognized by Great Britain, according to the terms of the Mandate; as the instrument of Jews throughout the world. Article 4 authorizes the Agency as follows:
“An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country.
“The Zionist Organisation, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.” *
10. At first the Agency gave the Palestine Government effective cooperation. With its large revenue, its able administrators, advisers and stay, and its manifold activities, the Agency became finally and still remains the most potent nongovernmental authority in Palestine and indeed in the Middle East. The Peel Commission described it as “a Government existing side by side with the Mandatory Government”. The description is even more accurate today. The Agency is now generally believed to have unofficial, but nonetheless powerful, influence over Haganah-the so-called Jewish Army-the strength of which is estimated as over 60,000. The Jews credit the Agency with most of the improvements in Palestine since the First World War. Unquestionably it has been a tremendous power for good and has been indispensable to their protection and progress.
11. But the Agency has become so powerful and its prestige has been so far enhanced by its accomplishments, that its firm refusal to cooperate in carrying out the White Paper has caused the Government now to regard it as a distinctly dangerous influence. Viewed from the standpoint of the Palestine Government, it appears as a force for disunity, partly for reasons outside the Agency’s control, partly by reason of its own activities. It has been a party to activities calculated to lead to estrangement between the Yishuv on the one hand and the Palestine Government and the Mandatory on the other, and to the consolidation of active resistance by the Yishuv to the Government’s authority. These activities have undermined the authority of the Administration.
12. Many criticisms of the Jewish Agency have been made before the Committee in open and closed sessions, by Arabs and officials of the Palestine Government as well as by Agudath Israel and some individual Jews. The Agency’s customary functions, which are centered on the establishment, maintenance and growth of a National Home for the Jews, were not condemned. That is easily explainable, for it has been one of the most successful colonizing instruments in history. But the present relations between the Government and the Jewish Agency must be corrected if the general welfare is to be promoted and the cause of peace in that crucial area of the world is to be protected. Unless this is achieved, Palestine might well be plunged into a civil war, involving the whole Middle East.
13. Neither Jews nor Arabs have been included in the highest ranks of the Administration. British officials hold all the important positions. They exercise as much authority as in a country where the mass of the inhabitants are in a primitive stage of civilization. District and local officials, Arab and Jew alike, bear only limited discretion and responsibility, even in their own communities. The Palestine Administration is blamed by Arabs and Jews alike for this situation.
14. In consequence of these conditions, the Holy Land is scarred by shocking incongruities. Army tents, tanks, a grim fort and barracks overlook the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Blockhouses, road barriers manned by soldiers, barbed wire entanglements, tanks in the streets, peremptory searches, seizures and arrests on suspicion, bombings by gangsters and shots in the night are now characteristic. A curfew is enforced, and the press of Palestine is subject to censorship. Palestine has become a garrisoned but restive land, and there is little probability that the tranquility dear to people of good will, Jews, Moslems, and (Christians alike, will be restored until vastly better relations are established among the principal elements of the community, including the Administration. With that assured, the various groups could be united on the basis of those fundamentals which are common to civilized people who wish to live their own lives, undeterred and unterrified by the possibility that first one faction and then another will rise in open or covert rebellion against one another, or against the Government itself.
* During our visit to Palestine and in the preparation of this Report, we were greatly assisted by the two volumes of the Survey of Palestine which the Government compiled at short notice for our use, and which contain a great deal of new statistical and other information. Back
*A Palestine pound is equivalent to a pound sterling. Back
* The Jewish Agency for Palestine was recognized in 1930 in lieu of the Zionist Organization as the appropriate Jewish agency under the terms of the Mandate. Back
Geography and Economics Geography
1. Palestine, about the size of Wales or the State of Vermont, is geographically an integral part of Syria, having no natural frontier on the north. A marked natural division within the country separates the rich soil of the coastal strip and the plain of Esdraelon from the rocky mountain areas, parched for a large part of the year, and from the southern deserts. In the wide coastal plain there are thriving towns-Acre, Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa and Gaza-with ports and a variety of industries. Here, moreover, is to be found intensive cultivation, by Arab and Jew alike, with attention concentrated on the old and profitable pursuit of citrus growing. The mountains contain not only desolate areas of barren rock and deforested hillside, but also fertile valleys and basins where cereals are grown; in addition remarkable results have been achieved in the cultivation of olives, vines and fruit trees on tiny terraced strips constructed and maintained with great patience and skill. In summer the hills are dry. In winter heavy rains tear away soil from every hillside that is not adequately protected by terracing or forest cover, and constant warfare has to be carried on against erosion.
2. Nearly all the Jews of Palestine and almost half the Arabs live in the plains, though these contain less than one-seventh of the total area of Palestine, while the mountains and the southern deserts are populated, apart from scattered Jewish colonies, exclusively by Arabs. Both Arab and Jew put forward historical and cultural claims to the whole of Palestine, and even the great deserts to the south, almost rainless and with more rock than soil, are not uncontested. With a small, semi-nomadic or nomadic Arab population, their emptiness appears to the Jews as a challenge to their powers of colonization; and, despite the unpromising outlook on any economic test, the Arabs regard proposals for Jewish settlement as yet further evidence of the well-planned “creeping conquest”. Geography, indeed, partly explains the intransigent claims of both sides to the whole country. The plains are too small and the mountains too poor to subsist as independent economies.
3. The significance of Palestine in international affairs, apart from its possible strategic importance, derives largely from the fact that it lies across natural lines of communication. Major railway and road communications pass through the country. It is on the route between two great centers of Arab culture, Cairo and Damascus; between Egypt, the administrative centre of the Arab League, and other member States; and between Iraq and the newly independent State of Trans-Jordan and their outlets to the Mediterranean; and it has great potential importance in the air traffic of the future. Palestine is also deeply involved in the business and politics of the international trade in oil; for, although there are no wells in the country, a pipe-line delivers a stream of crude oil to the great refineries at Haifa; and from there tankers deliver it to countries around and beyond the Mediterranean. The American concession in Saudi Arabia may produce another stream converging on much the same point of distribution.
4. According to official estimates, the population of Palestine grew from 750,000 at the census of 1922 to 1,765,000 at the end of 1944. In this period the Jewish part of the population rose from 84,000 to 554,000, and from 13 to 31 percent of the whole. Three-fourths of this expansion of the Jewish community was accounted for by immigration. Meanwhile the Arabs, though their proportion of the total population was falling, had increased by an even greater number-the Moslems alone from 589,000 to 1,061,000 * Of this Moslem growth by 472,000, only 19,000 was accounted for by immigration. The expansion of the Arab community by natural increase has been in fact one of the most striking features of Palestine’s social history under the Mandate.
5. The present density of population in Palestine is officially estimated at 179 per square mile. If the largely desert sub-district of Beersheba is excluded from the calculation, the figure is 336.
6. The Committee obtained estimates of the probable future growth of Palestine’s population from Professor Notestein, Director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, from Dr. D. V. Glass, Research Secretary of the Population Investigation Committee in London, and in Palestine from the Commissioner for Migration and Statistics and the Government Statistician. The estimates for the non-Jewish population made by the last-named, on various hypotheses but with the constant assumption that there would be no non-Jewish immigration or emigration, ranged from 1,652,000 to 1,767,000 at the end of 1959. Professor Notestein, also assuming the absence of non-Jewish migration, extended his calculations to 1970 and arrived at a figure of 1,876,000.
The Commissioner for Migration predicted an Arab population of 1,565,000 in 1960 and 1,820,000 in 1970. The highest estimates were those of Dr. Glass, who anticipated a settled Moslem population (i. e. excluding the Christian Arabs) of 1,636,000 in 1961 and 2,204,000 in 1971. For the probable Jewish population at the end of 1959, on the supposition that no immigration occurred in the interval, the Government Statistician put forward the figure of 664,000.
7. The Jewish community, in the absence of immigration, would form a steadily diminishing proportion of the total population. This is clear from the comparative rates of natural increase, shown in the table below:
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE OF NATURAL INCREASE PER 1,000
The high Arab rate of natural increase is accounted for by a fertility which is among the highest recorded in the world, and by the disappearance under the Mandate of such counter-balancing factors as conscription for the Ottoman army and a high incidence of malaria. The fact that the rate is still rising seems to be due principally to declining mortality, particularly infant mortality.
8. On the economic side Palestine is a country of marked contrasts. While the Arabs have remained preponderantly rural, in the Jewish sector, along with the “close settlement on the land” which had been laid down as a guiding principle of Jewish colonization, there has been, particularly in later years, a remarkable industrial development. Moreover, the new Jewish colonization has assumed more and more the character of a socialist experiment. For though at many points it retains, particularly in urban industry and trade, the form of private enterprise, it is everywhere guided and supported-in finance, technical advice and other matters-by the great complex of Jewish undertakings which co-operate in the building of the National Home.
9. The passage of years has only sharpened the contrast in structure between the two economies. On the Arab side, notwithstanding some development in co-operation and trade unionism, individualism is still characteristic. In agriculture small-scale peasant farming, still largely on the subsistence principle, remains predominant; and the many signs now visible of enterprise and expansion in Arab industry conform to the same pattern of strong individualism. In the Jewish economy, on the other hand, is to be found a nexus of centralized control. Thus the Jewish Agency, besides being a landowner on a large scale, is a promoter and financier of agricultural settlement, and has large and varied participations in industrial and other enterprises. Histadruth, which is closely associated with the Agency, is by no means simply a federation of workers’ unions. It is, in addition, a vast consumers’ co-operative organization; it operates large contributory social services, including unemployment insurance, and it has latterly become a capitalist employer, being the sole or controlling owner of a wide and ever increasing range of industrial, nonstructural, financial and service undertakings. There have occurred lately several instances of members of Histadruth, as a trade union, striking in a wage dispute against Histadruth as owner of the employing business.
10. Not to over-emphasize the cleavage, it should be noted that there are points of contact between the Arab and Jewish economies, as in the Palestine Potash Works. There is indeed some limited interdependence, where for example the Jewish housewife buys vegetables from an Arab grower. But there can be few instances of so small a country being so sharply divided in its economic, let alone social and political, basis. Only in citriculture which before the war provided the staple export of Palestine, do we find association between the two sectors. It is shared about equally between the two communities, and many Jewish citrus groves employ some irregular Arab labor. Individualism is the characteristic form of enterprise in both sectors of the industry, though war-time difficulties have called for special measures of Government assistance, which in turn have tended to bring the two together in co-operative protective measures.
11. Everywhere is to be seen a marked disparity between the standards of living, however measured, of the Arab and Jewish communities. Jewish wage rates are consistently higher than Arab, those for unskilled labor being more than twice as high. There is only a limited range of competition between them; and therefore a minimum of natural pressure towards equalization. Habits of consumption, the degree of reliance on the market, whether for supplies or income, housing standards and so forth, differ widely, and in general the social services available to the Arab are extremely limited. The war has done little, if anything, to weaken the division.
Wartime Economic Developments
12. In recent years, the war and changes due to the war have been the main influences governing the standard of living and economic prosperity of both sectors. Though the margin between Jewish and Arab wage rates underwent in general little change, the incidence of taxation and rationing, together with subsidies in aid of the cost of living, tended to depress the higher Jewish standard of living more than the Arab.
Another result of the war was that the Jewish sector of the economy became increasingly urban and industrial, while the Arab sector, notwithstanding the fuller utilization of its limited industrial capacity, remained overwhelmingly agricultural. In both sectors, the Government took an increasingly active part in determining the shape and direction of economic effort.
13. The closing of the Mediterranean to Allied shipping cut Palestine off from the chief market for her citrus fruits and the chief source of her imported supplies. The spread of the war zone to the Middle East converted Palestine into a base as well as an arsenal. Large numbers of troops had to be quartered there. Supplies of food and other necessities of life and of war materials had to be provided locally or imported where possible from neighboring Middle East countries, themselves subjected by the same combination of causes to severe economic pressure. Existing industries were, as far and as fast as possible, redirected into war production. Established undertakings were enlarged and new ones were set up, with Government support, in order to contribute to the needs of the military campaign and build up a higher degree of self-sufficiency. In this development the variety of manufactures was broadened to include a number of more complicated mechanical and chemical processes.
14. Thus Palestine became an important source of supply of manufactured goods not only for military purposes throughout the area but for civilian needs in surrounding countries. The skill and inventiveness of the Jewish immigrants of prewar years proved an invaluable asset, and the directed effort was supported by the Jewish Agency and the other established organs of Jewish settlement. Notwithstanding the necessity of maximum food supply, the Jewish economy became still more concentrated upon industrial activity, and “close settlement upon the land” was forced further into the background as the ruling principle of expansion.
15. The war had yet another distorting effect, which sprang from financial transactions. Vast military expenditure in Palestine for both goods and civilian services, along with shortage of shipping and potential inward cargoes, brought about a stringency in supplies and in labor. This resulted in rising prices, rising wage rates and still more rapidly rising earnings, large profits and a rapid growth of money-wealth (including bank deposits and hoarded currency), shared by both the Jews and Arabs. Taxation was increased; but taxation and voluntary saving went only a small part of the way in draining of the flow of unspendable incomes. Rationing, so far as it was applied, failed to check with sufficient promptitude the effects of competitive buying. Subsidies in aid of the cost of living were only successful in keeping a few bare essentials within the range of the poorest peoples’ resources. By allocating raw materials and by close costing of industrial processes, the Government kept a brake on the rise in prices of a wide range of military stores and essential civilian goods. But in general the inflationary trend was restrained only to an extent that made Palestine’s experience less alarming than that of surrounding countries.
16. As to external finances, whereas Palestine had been hitherto nominally a debtor country-“nominally” in the sense that her debtorship on capital account did not entail the normal current remittances on account of interest and amortization-the war changed her status to that of a creditor. The bulk of her overseas assets, however, being confined within the sterling area, cannot be converted into goods until Great Britain is once more able to resume a full flow of exports or to release sterling for transmutation at will into “hard currencies”.
17. At the time of the Committee’s investigations in Palestine, it could by no means be said that even the more transitory resets of war pressures upon the economy had passed away. The pattern of the post-war economy is still undetermined, and this without allowing for the omnipresent uncertainty concerning the political future of the country. Even before the war ended, war orders had fallen off somewhat; but the continued shortage of imported supplies has afforded a natural protection to industry in shifting the flow of its products into the civilian market. The Arab boycott of Palestine Jewish products had had, when the Committee was in the country, little effect thus far on the general economic situation. No obvious unemployment had appeared, but some concealed unemployment was said to exist, and earnings of factory labor had probably diminished. The cost of living and wage rates remain obstinately high.
18. House-building is slowly getting under way after the long interval-resulting in shocking congestion-which began with the disturbances of 1936-9 and continued throughout the war, when all constructional activity was concentrated upon military works. There is, however, some natural hesitation in undertaking a large building programme while costs remain so high. Quite apart from the value of land, which has risen inordinately in recent years, building materials are extremely expensive, while timber, nearly all of which has to be imported, is scarce. As a result of the shortage of skilled artisans, some building operatives are earning up to L. P. 8 a day, and, within recent times, have secured additional benefits such as three weeks’ paid holiday and a pension scheme. Building costs, therefore, are found to be roughly L. P. 20 a cubic metre-far higher than in Great Britain.
19. The situation is, indeed, replete with elements of uncertainty. There is for one thing the question, debatable on pre-war experience, how far the consolidation and further growth of Jewish industry and trade are dependent upon maintenance of the momentum provided by continuing immigration. It is a matter of conjecture whether the market as a whole is likely to shrink if more peaceful conditions in the Middle East, or a change in political status, result in a large withdrawal of British forces, including police and civilian residents, and a consequent reduction of incomes provided from abroad, though more peaceful conditions would on the other hand induce a fuller flow of tourists. Arising again from wartime growth of industry is the question whether the high costs of production, and inferior quality of some products’ in Jewish industry will permit the establishment of a firm position in the home market without inordinate protection. There is the related question – how far external markets can be retained-even allowing for special advantages in the new diamond cutting industry and the fashion and women’s specialty trades which together are thought to have outstanding prospects for yielding revenue from abroad-in the face of competition- from advanced industrial countries and possible continuation of the boycott of Jewish products in neighboring Arab States. Again, even though internal conditions might become fully adjusted to the inflated structure of prices and costs, the gross overvaluation of the Palestinian pound in relation to the pound sterling presents a further impediment to successful competition in export markets and an added inducement to competitive imports.
20. It is sometimes claimed that the wage structure in Palestine is far more elastic than elsewhere, so that reductions in wage-costs and prices might proceed smoothly and concurrently once the process had begun; but the wartime wage increases have been by no means wholly in the form of cost-of-living bonuses-basic rises have been widespread and substantial. The Committee could not but observe that at the time of its visit the cost-of-living index number still stood above 250 as compared with a pre-war figure of 100; that limited supplies of sometimes inferior butter were selling at the equivalent of 1 1/2 a pound, and that, in one of the factories visited, workers already receiving L.P. 12 a week were putting in 60 instead of the standard 48 hours in order to make ends meet. It remains to be seen whether the claim of elasticity will be falsified by widespread resistance to downward adjustment of wage rates. Some take the view that increased immigration and a free flow of imported supplies will “automatically” precipitate such a fall in wages and prices as will substantially reduce costs of production and bring the cost of living down to something like the British level. Others complain that the Government does nothing to reduce the cost of living, without being quite sure what the Government ought to do about it. Meanwhile political and other causes hinder the transformation of liquid savings into long-term investment, and the pressure of large unused or unusable money resources, poured out in the process of financing the war, is substantially unrelieved.
Economic Expansion and Immigration
21. Leaving aside these uncertainties of the moment, there can be little doubt that, given some central direction, more co-operative effort, and a peaceful political atmosphere, Palestine could be made to provide further opportunities for prosperous settlement, concurrently with an improvement in the living standards of its present population. Some progress towards central direction was made under stress of war, and arrangements are in hand to provide for its continuance. The War Supply Board, under which the capacity of local industry was enlarged and directed to war production, is shortly to be transformed into a full-fledged Department of Commerce and Industry. The War Economic Advisory Council, notwithstanding the withdrawal of the Arab members, is to carry on its consultative work in the shaping and application of official policy. The Government of Palestine itself has brought to an advanced stage a programme of post-war development covering land reclamation, forestation and other soil conservation measures and irrigation.
22. In addition, the expansion of Palestine’s economy has engaged a great deal of attention on the part of non-ollloial bodies. Some witnesses have been severely critical of the Administration for lack of vision and unreadiness to give positive support to proposals for expansion. Others have expressed the view that monetary independence would clear the way to more vigorous public and private enterprise. Opinion has been almost unanimous as to the cramping effects of Article 18 of the Mandate, which restricts the exercise of tariff-making and bargaining powers in the interests of the mandated territory Conflicting views are held on the question whether the citrus industry will be able to regain, or even possibly to expand, its pre-war markets. Some see Palestine’s future in the establishment of the coastal fringe as the industrial workshop of the Middle East; some stress the need of an expansion nicely balanced between agriculture and industry.
23. Any forecast of Palestine’s long-term prospects must necessarily be viewed against the background of the country’s natural resources. These are extremely limited, making Palestine peculiarly dependent on foreign trade for raw materials and supplies of many finished goods. Even the exploitation of the natural asset comprised in a good soil irradiated by long hours of bright sunshine is limited by the availability of water. Despite an abundant winter rainfall in many parts, Palestine is an arid country. In the words of the Palestine Government, “there are few countries nowadays which can say that ‘their water resources are of such little concern to their people that legislation to control their use is unnecessary”‘; yet the Government of this arid country has no statutory authority to control the exploitation of its water resources, and no authority even to ascertain the extent of such water resources as exist.
24. The Commission on Palestine Surveys, an American financed organization, submitted proposals, conceived on bold and imaginative lines, and worked out in considerable detail by American engineers of the highest standing, for a “Jordan Valley Authority”. The general design is to bring water from the sources of the Jordan to the fertile Esdraelon and coastal plaint to irrigate the lower Jordan Valley, and to utilize the waters both of the Jordan River and of the Mediterranean Sea for the generation of electric power. It is claimed for the scheme that, whether carried to full completion or adopted in part-it is subdivided into stages each standing on its own merits- it would bring a bountiful supply of water at an economic cost to large areas of fertile land now yielding only one crop a year. Very large sums of money would be required, but these, the Committee were informed, would be available from external sources.
25. Such bold long-term planning presupposes willing co-operation, or at least interested neutrality, between all sections of the population and the Government. Moreover, it can have little or no bearing on the capacity of Palestine to provide an immediate haven of refuge for homeless Jews from Europe.
26. We have in this immediate context another example of the manner in which Jewish zeal and energy are ready to outrun economic caution of the ordinary Western pattern. Full recognition of the weak points in the Jewish economy and its immediate prospects does not in the least deter the insistence upon providing a home for the homeless If this should entail an all-round cut in standards of living the present Jewish population, so be it. There is much to admire in this demonstration of brotherhood carried, if need be, to the point of sacrifice. But it is conceivable that the passionate expansion of an economic structure, upon a dubious basis of natural resources, might lead to over-development on such a scale as to render it top-heavy to the point of collapse. The argument thus returns to the need for Systematic improvement of the country’s basic resources, for which, as already indicated, orderly progress in an atmosphere of peaceful collaboration is a sine qua non.
*It is difficult to estimate the Arab population precisely, as the official statistics are compiled on a religious basis and a small proportion of the Christian population is not Arab. At the end of 1944 the Christians numbered 136.000. Back
The Jewish Attitude
1. The Committee heard the Jewish case, presented at full length and with voluminous written evidence, in three series of public hearings-in Washington by the American Zionists, in London by the British Zionists, and finally and most massively by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. The basic policy advocated was always the same, the socalled Biltmore Program of 1942, with the additional demand that 100,000 certificates for immigration into Palestine should be issued immediately to relieve the distress in Europe. This policy can be summed up in three points: (1) that the Mandatory should hand over control of immigration to the Jewish Agency; (I) that it should abolish restrictions on the sale of land; and (3) that it should proclaim as its ultimate aim the establishment of a Jewish State as soon as a Jewish majority has been achieved. It should be noted that the demand for a Jewish State goes beyond the obligations of either the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate, and was expressly disowned by the Chairman of the Jewish Agency as late 1932.
2. In all the hearings, although evidence was given by those sections of the Zionist movement which are critical of the Biltmore Program, most of the witnesses took the official Zionist line. The Committee also heard the Jewish opponents of Zionism: first, the small groups in America and Britain who advocate assimilation as an alternative to Jewish nationalism; second, Agudath Israel, an organization of orthodox Jews which supports unrestricted Jewish immigration into Palestine while objecting to the secular tendencies of Zionism; and third, representatives of important sections of Middle Eastern Jewry, many of whom fear that their friendly relations with the Arabs are being endangered by political Zionism.
3. As the result of the public hearings and of many private conversations, we came to the conclusion that the Biltmore Program has the support of the overwhelming majority of Zionists. Though many Jews have doubts about the wisdom of formulating these ultimate demands, the program has undoubtedly won the support of the Zionist movement as a whole, chiefly because it expresses the policy of Palestinian Jewry which now plays a leading role in the Jewish-Agency.
Whether this almost universal support for the demand for a Jewish State is based on full knowledge of the implications of the policy and of the risks involved in carrying it out is, of course, quite another matter.
4. The position in Palestine itself is somewhat different. Here, where the issue is not the achievement of a remote idea, but is regarded as a matter of life and death for the Jewish nation, the position is naturally more complex. Palestinian Jewry is riddled with party differences. The number of political newspapers and periodicals bears witness to the variety and vitality of this political life, and, apart from pressure exerted on Jews considered to be disloyal to the National Home, we found little evidence to support the rumors that it was dangerous to advocate minority views. Of the major political parties, Mapai (the Labor Party) is far the biggest and largely determines the official line. Opposed to the Agency’s policy are two main groups. On the one side stand two small but important parties: the Conservative Aliyah Hadashah (New Settlers), drawn chiefly from colonists of German and western European extraction, and Hashomer Hatzair, a socialist party which, while demanding the right of unrestricted immigration and land settlement, challenges the concept of the Jewish State and particularly emphasizes the need for cooperation with the Arabs. Hashomer Hatzair, though it did not appear before us, published shortly before we left Jerusalem a striking pamphlet in support of bi-nationalism. Very close to Hashomer Hatzair, but without its socialist ideology, stands Dr. Magnes and his small Thud group, whose importance is far greater than its numbers. – Taken altogether, these Palestinian critics of the Biltmore Program certainly do not exceed at the moment one quarter of the Jewish population in Palestine. But they represent a constructive minority.
5. On the other side stands the Revisionist Party, numbering some one percent of the Jewish community, and beyond it the various more extreme groups, which call for active resistance to the White Paper and participate in and openly support the present terrorist campaign. This wing of Palestinian Jewry derives its inspiration and its methods from the revolutionary traditions of Poland and eastern Europe. Many of these extremists are boys and girls under twenty, of good education, filled with a political fanaticism as self-sacrificing as it is pernicious.
6. The Biltmore Program can only be fully understood if it is studied against this background of Palestinian life. Like all political platforms, it is a result of conflicting political pressures, an attempt by the leadership to maintain unity without sacrificing principle. The Jew who lives and works in the National Home is deeply aware both . of his achievements and of how much more could have been achieved with whole-hearted support by the Mandatory Power. His political outlook is thus a mixture of self-confident pride and bitter frustration: pride that he has turned the desert and the swamp into a land flowing with milk and honey frustration because he is denied opportunity of settlement in nine-tenths of that Eretz Israel which he considers his own by right; pride that he has disproved the theory that the Jews cannot build a healthy community based on the tilling of the soil; frustration that the Jew is barred entry to the National Home, where that community is now in being; pride that he is taking part in a bold collective experiment; frustration because he feels himself hampered by British officials whom he often regards as less able than himself; pride because in Palestine he feels himself at last a free member of a free community; frustration because he lives, not under a freely elected government, but under an autocratic if humane regime.
7. The main complaint of the Jews of Palestine is that, since the White Paper of 1930, the Mandatory Power has slowed up the development of the National Home in order to placate Arab opposition. The sudden rise of immigration after the Nazi seizure of power had as its direct result the three and a half years of Arab revolt, during which the Jew had to train himself for self-defence, and to accustom himself to the life of a pioneer in an armed stockade. The high barbed wire and the watchtowers, manned by the settlement police day and night, strike the eye of the visitor as he approaches every collective colony. They are an outward symbol of the new attitude to life and politics which developed among the Palestinian Jews between 1936 and 1938. As a Jewish settler said to a member of the Committee: “We are the vanguard of a great army, defending the advanced positions until the reinforcements arrive from Europe.”
8. The Jews in Palestine are convinced that Arab violence paid. Throughout the Arab rising, the Jews in the National Home, despite every provocation, obeyed the orders of their leaders and exercised a remarkable self-discipline. They shot, but only in self-defence; they rarely took reprisals on the Arab population. They state bitterly that the reward for this restraint was the Conference and the White Paper of 1939. The Mandatory Power, they argue, yielded to force, cut down immigration, and thus caused the death of thousands of Jews in Hitler’s gas chambers. The Arabs, who had recourse to violence, received substantial concessions, while the Jews, who had put their faith in the Mandatory, were compelled to accept what they regard as a violation of the spirit and the letter of the Mandate.
9. An immediate result of the success of Arab terrorism was the beginning of Jewish terrorism and, even more significant, a closing of the ranks, a tightening of the discipline, and a general militarization of Jewish life in Palestine. The Agency became the political headquarters of a citizen army which felt that at any moment it might have to fight for its very existence. Deprived, as he believed, both of his natural and of his legal rights, the Palestinian Jew began to lose faith in the Mandatory Power. The dangerous belief was spread that not patience but violence was needed to achieve justice. The position of the moderates who urged sell-restraint and a reliance on Britain’s pledged word was progressively undermined; the position of the extremists, eager to borrow a leaf from the Arab copy book, was progressively strengthened.
10. Then came the war. Apart from a small group of terrorists the Jewish community gave more solid support than the Palestinian Arabs to the British war effort. But when the immediate Middle Eastern danger was removed, the old struggle between the moderates and the extremists began again, heightened to an almost unendurable tension by the news from Europe and by such tragedies as the Struma incident. During the war, tens of thousands of Jews learned to fight, either in the British Army or in the Palestine Home Guard. They were with Britain in the fight against Fascism: they were against Britain in the struggle against the White Paper, which they now felt was not only unjust but totally inhuman as preventing the escape to Palestine of men, women and children in imminent danger of death in Nazi Germany and Nazi-controlled Europe. When the war ended and the Labor Government came to power, the White Paper still remained in force. The Jews, who had expected an immediate fulfillment by a Labor Government of the Labor Party program with regard to Zionism, felt a sense of outrage when no change of policy occurred. The bitterness reached a new peak of intensity, and the position of the moderates became almost impossible. The Jewish Agency frankly stated in public hearing that, after V-E day, it was quite futile for it to attempt to cooperate with the Mandatory in suppressing illegal activity.
11. Any decision on the future of Palestine will be futile and unrealistic unless it is made in full cognizance of the political tension among the Jews in Palestine and the reasons for it. Both in evidence given in public hearings, and in numerous private conversations with leading politicians and with ordinary citizens, we were repeatedly advised that the maintenance by the Mandatory of its present policy could only lead to a state of war, in which the extremists would have the passive support of almost the whole Jewish population and the moderates would be swept from the key positions which they still hold. To use the words of one Jewish leader: “Our present crisis in Europe and Palestine is felt by all of us to be our Dunkirk”.
The Arab Attitude
1. The Committee heard a brief presentation of the Arab case in Washington, statements made in London by delegates from the Arab States to the United Nations, a fuller statement from the Secretary General and other representatives of the Arab League in Cairo, and evidence given on behalf of the Arab Higher (committee and the Arab Office in Jerusalem. In addition, subcommittees visited Baghdad Riyadh, Damascus, Beirut and Amman, where they were informed oil the views of Government and of unofficial spokesmen.
2. Stopped to the bare essentials, the Arab case is based upon the fact that Palestine is a country which the Arabs have occupied for more than a thousand years, and a denial of the Jewish historical claims to Palestine. In issuing the Balfour Declaration, the Arabs maintain, the British Government were giving away something that did not belong to Britain, and they have consistently argued that the Mandate conflicted with the Covenant of the League of Nations from which it derived its authority. The Arabs deny that the part played by the British in freeing them from the Turks gave Great Britain a right to dispose of their country.* Indeed, they assert that Turkish was preferable to British rule, if the latter involves their eventual subjection to the Jews. They consider the Mandate a violation of their right of self-determination since it is forcing upon them an immigration which they do not desire and will not tolerate-an invasion of Palestine by the Jews.
3. The Arabs of Palestine point out that all the surrounding Arab States have now been granted independence. They argue that they are just as advanced as are the citizens of the nearby States, and they demand independence for Palestine now. The promises which have been made to them in the name of Great Britain, and the assurances concerning Palestine given to Arab leaders by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, have been understood by the Arabs of Palestine as a recognition of the principle that they should enjoy the same rights as those enjoyed by the neighboring countries. Christian Arabs unite with Moslems in all of these contentions. They demand that their independence should be recognized at once, and they would like Palestine, as a self-governing country, to join the Arab League.
4. The Arabs attach the highest importance to the fulfillment of the promises made by the British Government in the White Paper of 1939. King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, when he spoke with three members of the Committee at Riyadh, made frequent reference both to these promises and to the assurances given him by the late President Roosevelt at their meeting in February, 1945. His Majesty made clear the strain which would be placed upon Arab friendship with Great Britain and the United States by any policy which Arabs regarded as a betrayal of these pledges. The same warning was repeated by an Arab witness in Jerusalem, who said that “Zionism for the Arabs has become a test of Western intentions.”
5. The suggestion that self-government should be withheld from Palestine until the Jews have acquired a majority seems outrageous to the Arabs. They wish to be masters in their own house. The Arabs were opposed to the idea of a Jewish National Home even before the Biltmore Program and the demand for a Jewish State. Needless to say, however, their opposition has become more intense and more bitter since that program was adopted.
6. The Arabs maintain that they have never been anti-Semitic; indeed, they are Semites themselves. Arab spokesmen profess the greatest sympathy for the persecuted Jews of Europe, but they point out that they have not been responsible for this persecution and that it is not just that they should be compelled to atone for the sins of Western peoples by accepting into their country hundreds of thousands of victims of European anti-Semitism. Some Arabs even declare that they might be willing to do their share in providing for refugees on a quota basis if the United States, the British Commonwealth and other Western countries would do the same.
7. The Peel Commission took the view that the enterprise of the Jews in agriculture and industry had brought large, if indirect, benefits to the Arabs in raising their standard of living. Though a very large part of the Jewish purchases of land has been made from absentee landlords, many of them living outside Palestine, it is probable that many Arab farmers who have sold part of their land to the Jews have been able to make use of the money to improve the cultivation of their remaining holdings. The improvement of health conditions in many parts of the country, while due in part to the activities of Government and in part to the efforts of the Arabs themselves, has undoubtedly been assisted by the work of the Jewish settlers. It is also argued that the Jewish population has conferred substantial indirect benefits on the Arabs through its contribution to the public revenue. On the other hand, the Arabs contend that such improvement as there may have been in their standard of living is attributable solely to their own efforts, perhaps with a measure of aid at some points from the Administration. They assert that at least equal improvements have occurred in other Arab countries, and that the action taken by the Government to assist Jewish industry and agriculture has reacted unfavorably on the Arabs. Import duties for the protection of Jewish industries, for example, are said to have confronted Arab consumers with the necessity of buying high priced local products in place of cheaper imported goods. In any event the Arabs declare that, if they must choose between freedom and material improvement, they prefer freedom.
8. In exasperation at the disregard of their objection to Jewish immigration, the Arabs of Palestine have repeatedly risen in revolt. A substantial number of them still declare their allegiance to the exiled Mufti of Jerusalem and are satisfied with his policies. In the second World War, Palestinian Arabs were on the whole spiritually neutral. As Jamal Effendi el-Husseini stated in his evidence before the Committee: “The Grand Mufti in Germany was working for the interests not of the English who were warring with the Germans, but for the interests of his people who had no direct interest, at least, in the controversy.” They felt that it was not their war and that the Mufti was right in taking such steps as he could to do the best for Palestine whoever might be victorious.
9. The White Paper of 1939, and the drastic limitation of Jewish immigration and of land sales to Jews which followed, met the Arab view only in part. The Arabs would have gone much further. The demands voiced by their leaders are for immediate independence, for the final cessation of Jewish immigration and for the prohibition of all land sales by Arabs to Jews.
10. So bare an outline gives only an inadequate picture of the passion with which Arabs in Palestine and in neighboring countries resent the invasion of Palestine by a people which, though originally Semitic, now represents an alien civilization. liven the Moslems of India have made representations to the (committee in opposition to Zionism.
One witnesses in Palestine not merely the impact of European culture upon the East, but also the impact of Western science and Western technology upon a semi-feudal civilization. It is not surprising that the Arabs have bitterly resented this invasion and have resisted it by force of arms. The Arab civilization of Palestine is based on the clan; leadership resides in a small group of influential families, and it is almost impossible for the son of an Arab fellah to rise to a position of wealth and political influence. Arab agriculture in Palestine is traditional, and improvement is hampered by an antiquated system of land tenure. The Arab adheres to a strict social code far removed from the customs of the modern world, and he is shocked by innovations of dress and manners which seem completely natural to the Jewish immigrant. Thus, the sight of a Jewish woman in shorts offends the Arab concept of propriety. The freedom of relations between the sexes and the neglect of good form as he conceives it violate the entire code of life in which the Arab is brought up.
11. The Arabs of Palestine are overwhelmed by a vague sense of the power of Western capital represented by the Jewish population. The influx of Western capital and the purchase of modern equipment for agriculture and industry excite in the minds of the Arabs a sense of inferiority and the feeling that they are contending against an imponderable force which is difficult to resist. This feeling is accentuated by the fact that they realize that the Jewish case is well understood and well portrayed in Washington and London, and that they have no means comparable in effectiveness of stating their side of the controversy to the Western World. They have particularly resented the resolutions in favor of Zionist aspirations, adopted respectively by the United States Congress and by the British Labor Party. Although the Arab States have diplomatic representation and five of them are members of the United Nations, the Arabs of Palestine feel nevertheless that they have not succeeded in making their case heard. The Western countries have many Jewish lent few Arab citizens, and Arabs are less familiar with modern methods of propaganda. They feel that their case is being judged and their fate is being decided by mysterious forces in the Western World, which they do not understand and which do not understand them.
12. The period since the first World War has been marked by a rising wave of nationalism in all Arab countries. Palestinian Arabs share this sentiment, and they are strongly supported in their demand for independence and self-government by all the States of the Arab League. No other subject has occupied so much of the attention of the Arab League or has done so much to unite its membership as has the question of Palestine.
13. Those members of the Committee who traveled in the neighboring Arab countries found that hostility to Zionism was as strong and widespread there as in Palestine itself. They received from H. R. H. the Regent of Iraq a copy of a letter in which he had told President Roosevelt that “all the Arab countries . . . will unite against any danger that the Arabs of Palestine may have to meet.” Moreover the Governments alla peoples of the neighboring States believe that a Zionist State in Palestine would be a direct threat to them and would impede their efforts towards a closer Arab union. The chief delegate of Syria at the General Assembly of the United Nations told the Committee in London that “Palestine in alien hands would be a wedge splitting the Arab world at a most vital and sensitive point.” The same witness expressed the further fear of the Arabs that a Zionist State would inevitably become expansionist and aggressive, and would tend to enter into alliance with any Power which might, in the future, pursue an anti-Arab policy. “The Middle East,” he wrote, “is a vital region in which all the Great Powers are interested. A Zionist State in Palestine could only exist with the support of foreign Powers. This would not only mean a state of tension between those foreign Powers and the Arab States, but also the grave possibility of dangerous alignments and maneuvers which might end in international friction at the highest level and possibly disaster.”
*We have not felt it necessary to enter into the historical arguments based upon undertakings given by the British Government to the Sharif Hussein of Mecca and others during the last war and interpreted by the Arabs as promising among other things that Palestine would become an independent Arab country. These undertakings, the most important of which preceded the Balfour Declaration , form an essential part of the Arab case and were examined by an AngloArab Committee in London in February, 1939. The report of this Committee, containing statements of both the Arab and the British point of view, is to be found in British Command Paper No. 5974. The documents under examination were printed at the same time in Command Papers Nos. 6967 and 69″ (all of 1939). Back
Christian Interests in Palestine
1. In addition to the witnesses concerned exclusively with political issues, the Committee also heard representatives of Christian churches. The Arab Christians, divided among many denominations, and numbering some 125,000, form the overwhelming majority of Christians actually living in Palestine. Their delegation, led by the Greek Catholic Archbishop of Galilee, declared their complete solidarity with the Moslem Arabs in the demand for an independent Arab State. The non-Palestinian Christian groups were unable to speak with a common voice. Indeed, Christians have so completely failed to achieve unity or even harmony, in the practical tasks of administering the Christian Holy Places and caring for the pilgrims who visit them that the keys of the Holy Sepulcher are still entrusted to Moslems. The lamentable fact that there is no single spokesman in Palestine for Christendom tends to obscure the legitimate Christian interest in the Holy Land, which must be safeguarded in any solution of the national problem. This interest demands not only freedom of access to the Holy Places, but also that tranquility should be achieved in a country all of which, from the Christian point of view, is a Holy Land.
2. The significance of Palestine since prehistoric times in the development of civilization cannot be overestimated. Nor should the interests of archaeology and history be forgotten. The maintenance of conditions under which such studies can be pursued is a genuine concern of civilization. Moreover, an increased pilgrim and tourist traffic would constitute an invisible export of substantial value to a country with so large an adverse balance of trade; and the contact in Palestine between these travelers from the Western world and the representatives of the Jewish and Moslem faiths would be of great importance to international understanding.
3. The extent to which the Holy Places, sacred to Christians, Moslems and Jews, are interspersed is often not fully appreciated. It is impossible to segregate the Holy Places sacred to the three great religions into separate geographical units. They are scattered over the whole of Palestine, and not, as is often imagined, confined to the Jerusalem and Nazareth areas.
4. The responsibility of the Christian world toward Palestine was well expressed by General Allenby in the Proclamation which he made on the occasion of the occupation of Jerusalem on the 11th December, 1917:
“Furthermore, since your City is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind, and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore do I make known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer, of whatsoever form of the three religions, will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faiths they are sacred.”
5. The religious importance of Palestine to Moslems, Jews and Christians alike makes it improper to treat it either as an Arab State or as exclusively designated to the fulfillment of Jewish national aspirations. A solution of the Palestine problem must not only heal political rivalries of Jew and Arab, but must also safeguard its unique religious values.
Jews, Arabs and Government
“The State Within the State”
1. The Jews have developed, under the aegis of the Jewish Agency and the Vaad Leumi, a strong and tightly-woven community. There thus exists a virtual Jewish nonterritorial State with its own executive and legislative organs, parallel in many respects to the Mandatory Administration, and- serving as the concrete symbol of the Jewish National Home. This Jewish shadow Government has ceased to cooperate with the Administration in the maintenance of law and order, and in the suppression of terrorism.
2. Quite apart from the increasing strength of the terrorist gangs, which enjoy widespread popular support, there are many signs that fanaticism and nationalist propaganda are beginning to affect detrimentally the Jewish educational system. It appears to us wholly harmful that the obligatory period of one year’s “national service,” instituted by the Jewish Agency and the Vaad Leumi, is now partly used for military training. The “closing of the ranks,” moreover, which we noted above, has increased that totalitarian tendencies to which a nationalist society is always liable. To speak of a Jewish terror would be a gross exaggeration. But there are disquieting indications that illegal organization and the atmosphere of conspiracy, which inevitably accompanies it, are having their corroding effects on that free democracy which has always been the pride of the Palestinian Jews. Every thoughtful Jew with whom we talked was profoundly disturbed by these symptoms. But none was bold enough to prophesy that they would disappear so long as the Palestine Administration carried out a policy which seems to every Jew to be in direct contravention of his natural rights.
Jewish Relations With Arabs
3. Not only is the Jewish community largely independent of and at odds with the Palestine Government, but it is also quite distinct from and in conflict with the Arab community with which, in many areas, it is territorially intertwined. In part this is a natural result of Zionist concentration upon the development of the Jewish community. If the Arabs have benefited, they have done so only in comparison with the non-Palestinian Arabs; whereas they have remained far beneath the Palestinian Jews in terms of national income, social services, education and general standard of living. This has made it easier for the Arab political leaders to keep alive anti-Jewish feeling in the minds of the Arab masses. The economic gulf separating Jew and Arab in Palestine has been widened, in part at least, by Jewish policies concerning the nonemployment of Arab labor on land purchased by the Jewish National Fund and the refusal to devote Jewish funds and energies directly to the improvement of Arab standards of living. Efforts by the Jews in this direction might be quite as important for the growth and security of the National Home as the draining of swamp lands or the creation of Jewish industry.
4. But unfortunately there are signs of a hardening of the Jewish attitude towards the Arabs. Too often the Jew is content to refer to the indirect benefits accruing to the Arabs from his comings and to leave the matter there. Passionately loving every foot of Eretz Israel, he finds it almost impossible to look at the issue from the Arab point of view, and to realize the depth of feeling aroused by his “invasion” of Palestine. He compares his own achievements with the slow improvements made by the Arab village, always to the disadvantage of the latter; and forgets the enormous financial, educational and technical advantages bestowed upon him by world Zionism. When challenged on his relations with the Arabs, he is too often content to point out the superficial friendliness of everyday life in town and village- a friendliness which indubitably exists. In so doing, he sometimes ignores the deep political antagonism which inspires the whole Arab community; or thinks that he has explained it away by stating that it is the “result of self-seeking propaganda by the rich effendi class.”
5. It is not unfair to say that the Jewish community in Palestine has never, as a community, faced the problem of cooperation with the Arabs. It is, for instance, significant that, in the Jewish Agency’s proposal for a Jewish State, the problem of handling a million and a quarter Arabs is dealt with in the vaguest of generalities.
6. We noted, however, a few hopeful signs. Reference was made above to the proposals for cooperation with the Arabs made by Hashomer Hatzair and by the Ihud group. The Committee observed with pleasure the Arab-Jewish cooperation achieved on the Municipal Commission which governs Haffa, and in the Citrus Control and Marketing Boards, as well as the joint trade union activity between Jew and Arab in the Palestine Potash Company and on the railways. But such examples of cooperation are rare in Palestine; and they are far outweighed in Arab eyes by the exclusiveness of the General Federation of Jewish Labor in its trade union policy and of the Jewish Agency in its labor policy on land purchased for Jewish settlement.
The Jews and the Administration
7. We were profoundly impressed by the very varied experiments in land settlement which we inspected, ranging from individualist cooperatives to pure collectivist communities. Here, indeed, is a miracle both of physical achievement and of spiritual endeavor, which justifies the dreams of those Jews and Gentiles who first conceived the idea of the National Home. Of Jewish industry in Palestine it is too early yet to speak with confidence. There is boundless optimism and energy, great administrative capacity, but a shortage of skilled labor and, as a result, more quantity than quality of output.
8. As pioneers in Palestine the Jews have a record of which they can be proud. In Palestine there has been no expulsion of the indigenous population, and exploitation of cheap Arab labor has been vigorously opposed as inconsistent with Zionism. The failing of Palestinian Jewry is a different one. The Jews have always been in the biblical phrase a “peculiar people” which turned in on itself and suffered the consequences of its peculiarity. In Palestine, under the special conditions of the Mandate, they have regained their national self-confidence, but they have not been able to throw off their exclusiveness and tendency to self-isolation.
9. We believe that this failure is, in part at least, attributable to the relations between the Palestine Administration and the Jewish community since 1939, which have undoubtedly exaggerated the natural Jewish tendency to exclusiveness. Moreover, the Jews feel that they have enough to do defending their own position, without taking on the Arab problem as well.
10. A second factor of great importance is the failure to develop self-governing institutions. The Jews, like the Arabs, are completely deprived of all responsible participation in central government. Their democracy can only work within the Jewish community, and to a limited degree in local affairs. Thus, they have not had the opportunity which self-government brings, to learn the lesson of responsibility for the good of the whole State. They have been driven back on themselves. This may in part explain the fact that at least one-third of the Jews who have settled in Palestine during the last ten years have failed to apply for Palestinian citizenship. But nothing which we saw in Palestine gave us any reason to believe that, charged with the democratic responsibilities for which they are undoubtedly fit, the Jews of Palestine would not master the lessons of self-government.
11. The Arabs are divided politically by the personal bickerings of the leaders, which still center round the differences of the Husseinis and their rivals; and socially by the gap which separates the small upper class from the mass of the peasants-a gap which the new intelligentsia is not yet strong enough to bridge. Consequently they have developed no such internal democracy as have the Jews. That their divisions have not been overcome and a formally organized community developed is in part the result of a less acutely self-conscious nationalism than is found today among the Jews. It is, however, also the outcome of a failure of political responsibility. The Arab leaders, rejecting what they regard as a subordinate status in the Palestinian State, and viewing themselves as the proper heirs of the Mandatory Administration, have refused to develop a self-governing Arab community parallel to that of the Jews. Nor, so far, have they been prepared to see their position called in question by such democratic forms as elections for the Arab Higher Committee, or the formation of popularly based political parties. This failure is recognized by the new intelligentsia which, however, is unlikely to exercise much power until it has the backing of a larger middle class.
Need for Arab Education
12. Many Arabs are graduates of the American University at Beirut; a few have studied in universities in Cairo, England, Europe and the United States; others have received higher education at the Arab College for men and the Women’s Training College in Jerusalem, both of which are efficient but inadequately financed Government institutions. The Arabs are aware of Western civilization and increasingly eager to share its benefits. But the numbers receiving such education are still miserably small, since the only university in Palestine, the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, teaches only in Hebrew. So, too, with secondary education. There are only some fifteen Arab secondary schools in the whole of Palestine, and one fully developed agricultural school-the Kadoorie School at Tulkarm which specializes in the training of teachers of agriculture for Arab schools. With only 65 places, however, it too is totally inadequate. The problem of teaching modern methods of agriculture to a population 80 per cent of which gains its living by farming has not yet been solved by the Government, or faced by the Arab politicians. Facilities for technical education are no better-a single school with some 60 places.
13. On the primary level the position is slightly better. The schools are under the control of the Administration and financed by public funds. As far as it goes, the primary education is well planned and administered. It is not merely a bookish education, but includes also manual training and instruction in agriculture, where the equipment is available. Some of the school wardens which surround the schools in the Arab villages are models of neatness and skill. But the fact remains that something less than half the Arab children who would like to attend school can do so today. Even in a wealthy town like Haifa, we were told by the Municipal Commission that half the Arab boys and the majority of the Arab girls receive no education at all. In most of the country districts the situation is still worse, particularly with regard to the girls. Only one Arab girl in eight receives any education.
14. This is all the more tragic since the desire for education is now strong throughout the poorer classes, not merely in the cities, but in almost every Arab village. Indeed, some villages visited by the Committee had either built their own schools completely from voluntary subscriptions by the villagers or had contributed largely to their cost on their own initiative.
15. The lamentable condition of Arab education is a real cause for discontent. This discontent is increased by the contrast with the opportunities offered to the Jewish child. Jewish education in Palestine is financed by the Jewish community and by the fees which Jewish parents can afford to pay. Practically every Jewish Child has the opportunity for primary education, and those who can afford the fees have ample opportunity for technical, secondary and university education in Palestine. The Government contributes only a small per capita grant in aid and exercises little control of the curriculum.
16. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the time has come for the Arab community to assume the same responsibility with regard to education as the Jewish. With advice and financial aid from the Government, and with a new sense of responsibility on the part of the Arab leadership, compulsory education could, we were informed, be introduced within the next ten years. This is not only essential from an educational point of view; there can be no real unity between a literate and an illiterate population.
17. Palestine is administered by officials of the British Colonial Service. Subject to the provisions of the Mandate, all major decisions of policy are taken in London as they would be for a Colonial territory. As Mr. Churchill has said: “the suggestion that the High Commissioner either has a policy of his own in contradistinction to that of His Majesty’s Government, or that, if this were so, His Majesty’s Government would permit him to carry it out, would be foreign to all the traditions of British Administration.” Indeed, the Administration of Palestine has probably less freedom of action than the Administration of some less developed territories, simply because the affairs of Palestine arouse more public interest, are the subject of more questions in the House of Commons, and must therefore be supervised more closely by the responsible Minister.
18. While admitting this difficulty, we must express the view that this system militates most gravely against the chances of reconciliation between Jew and Arab. A delicate situation-and the situation in Palestine is always delicate-cannot be met successfully by remote control. Within a general directive, the man on the spot, like the general conducting the battle, must be given the responsibility. If this is not done, the chance of reconciling the interests of the National Home with those of the Arabs of Palestine is small indeed.
19. In Palestine itself, we also found a tendency to centralization which was criticized by the Peel Commission but which is in part at least another inevitable consequence of the dominant role of politics in the life of the country. Since every administrative question, however insignificant in itself, is liable to be transformed into a political issue by one community or the other, there is a natural tendency for every action to be carefully scrutinized at the center. The slowness of the Administration in dealing with matters not at first sight political, against which complaint is often made, is partly a result of this and partly of the fact that the Chief Secretary, through whose hands all important business must pass, is himself obliged to give much of his time to conducting relations of a quasi-diplomatic character with the leaders of the Arab and Jewish communities.
20. Palestine is a unique country, bearing no resemblance to most of the countries administered by the British Colonial Service. It may be questioned therefore whether an Administration of the Colonial type is the ideal instrument for governing two peoples each of which, in the absence of the other, would probably by now be enjoying complete independence. On the other hand, it seems difficult to foresee radical changes in the system so long as the division between Arabs and Jews compels British officials to assume so extensively a responsibility, and in view of the fact that their actions must be accounted for both to Parliament and to an international organization, each responsive to a keenly interested public opinion.
21. What is not open to question is the patience and loyalty to their task of the officials on whose shoulders rests the main burden of this heavy responsibility. We were impressed also by the generally high standard of the district administration. It is difficult for those who have not visited Palestine to imagine the tension under which these officials-Arab and Jewish, as well as British-are compelled to live and work. We were especially impressed by the anxiety, loneliness and nervous strain to which many police officials are unavoidably exposed. It also seemed to us that the Civil Servants in Palestine were subjected to an additional anxiety which we could not regard as unavoidable or in the best interests of the country, as a result of the generally and sometimes pitifully inadequate salaries which they at present receive.
1. Palestine is an armed camp. We saw signs of this almost as soon as we crossed the frontier, and we became more and more aware of the tense atmosphere each day. Many buildings have barbed wire and other defences. We ourselves were closely guarded by armed police, and often escorted by armored cars. It is obvious that very considerable military forces and large numbers of police are kept in Palestine. The police are armed; they are conspicuous everywhere; and throughout the country there are substantially built police barracks.
2. We do not think that the conditions in Palestine since the Mandate have been fully appreciated throughout the world, and accordingly we have thought it right to set out in Appendix V a list of the main incidents of disorder. It will be seen that up to the year 1939 the Jews exercised very great restraint. It is in recent years that the threat to law and order has come from them.
3. A revival of the illegal immigration traffic has occurred since the end of the war in Europe. During the summer of 1945 there was an influx on a substantial scale by land over the Northern Frontier. More recently there have been successive cases of entry by sea. The Jewish organizations are actively engaged in these operations, carried out latterly by the purchase or charter of ships for voyages from Southern Europe in the absence of effective control of embarkation. Armed clashes are liable to arise from the efforts to prevent interference; a number have arisen from the search for illegal immigrants and arms. Moreover, as recent incidents directly concerned with illegal immigration, may be cited the sabotage of patrol launches and attacks on coastguard stations.
The present scale and method of illegal immigration by sea can be seen from three recent cases. Two ships arrived towards the end of our stay in Palestine, and one a few weeks previously. All three were intercepted and, in accordance with the usual procedure, the illegal immigrants taken to a clearance camp where, subject to check, they were released, their numbers being deducted from the immigration quota. The first of these ships sailed from Northern Italy. It was her maiden voyage. She carried 911 immigrants, 564 men and 357 women. Practically all were young people. The second carried 247 immigrants, of whom 89 were women. With one exception, all were young people. The third, which arrived on the day of our departure from Palestine, was reported in the press as coming from a French Mediterranean port and carrying 733 immigrants.
The second ship, according to press reports, was expected to land the immigrants at Tel-Aviv, and the plans for screening the immigrants were evident in the sporadic incidents which occurred in that area. Apart from firing on the police, there were incidents of mining and blocking of access by road and rail which could only be designed to isolate the approach to the beach.
4. A sinister aspect of recent years is the development of large illegal armed forces. The following is the structure as stated to us by the military authorities.
The general organization is the “Haganah.” It is an illegal development of the former organization, in the days of Turkish rule, of armed watchmen who protected Jewish settlements. Today it is completely organized, under a central control and with subsidiary territorial commands, in three branches, each of which includes women, viz:
A static force composed of settlers and townsfolk, with an estimated strength of 40,000;
A field army, based on the Jewish Settlement Police and trained in more mobile operations, with an estimated strength of 16,000;
A full time force (Palmach), permanently mobilized and provided with transport, with an estimated peace establishment of 2,000 and war establishment of 6,000.
It is known that the Haganah has been procuring arms over a period of years. Vast quantities have been obtained from the residue of the campaigns in the Middle East. Arms and ammunition are kept and concealed in specially constructed caches in settlements and towns. The following are particulars, furnished to us by the military authorities, of a search which was conducted at Biriya Settlement about the time of our arrival in Palestine.
During the night of 27th-28th February, 1946, shots were fired at a sentry of the Arab Legion at his post distant some mile or mile and a half from Biriya. Although wounded in the thigh, he returned the fire. Next manning blood stains and bandages were found and police dogs carried a line direct from there to Biriya.
Biriya is situated in a commanding position on the hills of Northern Galilee. It can only be described as a fort.
The population of Biriya were detained. They consisted of 25 men. Their identity cards showed that they came from other parts of Palestine. It was apparent that they were a platoon undergoing training.
A search in the neighborhood revealed two arms caches. They contained, among other equipment, one Sten gun, one Bren, four modern rifles, one wireless set, and grenades.
Numerous documents were also discovered in the caches. Their substance connected the caches with Biriya, and a police dog taking scent from the documents identified one of the men in the building at Biriya. The documents included standing orders for the camp, notes on the structure and duties of the Haganah, training manuals, notes on neighboring military and police camps.
5. Something in the nature of conscription is in force, as is shown by two press notices of the 6th November, 1945:
“A year’s national service in communal settlements will now be required from all Jewish senior school children aged 17-18; till now it was obligatory only to those who had already left school.”
Haboker (in this case a translation from Hebrew).
“The national institutions have decided to widen the scope of the year’s service duty, which up to now has been imposed on graduates of the secondary schools, and to impose it on all girls and boys aged 17-18.
“The Council of Youth Organizations decided, at its session on 31.10.45 immediately to begin fulfillment of the order given to the Youth. The Council assumed the responsibility of enlisting immediately all members of the Movements who were born in 1928. The enlistment of the pupils of the secondary and trade schools will be carried out at a time which is to be specially fixed. Before 11.11.45 every Movement must submit to the Jewish Agency’s Recruiting Department in Tel-Aviv a roster of its members, male and female, who must enlist.”
A useful adjunct for training purposes is provided from the Jewish Settlement Police, a supplementary police force originally formed in 1936 for the close protection of Jewish settlements. The minimum term of service is six months during which period they are paid by the (government. We were informed that it often happens that they leave the police forge after a short period of service and thereafter serve in the Haganah.
6. Apart from the Haganah, two further illegal armed organizations exist, both having cut away from the parent body. One is the “Irgun Zvai Leumi”, which was formed in 1935 by dissident members of the Haganah. The other is the “Stern Group” which broke away from the Irgun early In the war when the latter announced an “armistice”. The Irgun operates under its own secret command mainly in sabotage and terrorism against the Mandatory; its strength is estimated at from 3,000 to 5,000. The Stern Group engages in terrorism; its strength is said to be between 200 and 300.
7. It seems clear that the activities of all these bodies could be greatly reduced if there was any cooperation with the authorities by the Jewish Agency and its officers, and by the rest of the population. Unfortunately the Jewish Agency ceased to cooperate with the Government, or at least reduced the measure of their cooperation as from the end of the war.
We set out in the form of an extract from the Palestine Post; of the 30th December, 1945, the attitude of the Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency after the murders of the 27th December, 1945. In the course of his evidence before us Mr. Ben Gurion said that he took responsibility for giving this statement to the press:
“Following upon the outrages which occurred on Thursday night, His Excellency the High (commissioner summoned Mr. D. Ben Gurion and Mr. M. Shertok to see him at Government House on Friday morning, it was officially stated yesterday.
“It is learned that during the interview, Mr. Ben Gurion and Mr. Shertok declared that the Jewish Agency completely dissociated themselves from the murderous attacks on Government and army establishments perpetrated on Thursday night. They expressed their profound sorrow at the loss of life caused by the attacks.
“But, they stated, any efforts by the Jewish Agency to assist in preventing such acts would be rendered futile by the policy pursued in Palestine by His Majesty’s Government on which the primary responsibility rests for the tragic situation created in the country, and which had led in recent weeks to bloodshed and innocent victims among Jews, Britons and others.
“The Jewish Agency representatives added that it was difficult to appeal to the Yishuv to observe the law at a time when the Mandatory Government itself was consistently violating the fundamental law of the country embodied in the Palestine Mandate.
So long as this kind of view is put forward by the leaders of the Jewish Agency it is impossible to look for settled conditions.
All three organizations to which reference has been made are illegal.
We recognize that until comparatively recently, efforts were made by the Jewish Agency to curb attacks; we regret that these efforts appear to have ceased. We believe that those responsible for the working of the Jewish Agency-a body of great power and influence over the Jews in Palestine-could do a great deal towards putting an end to outrages such as we have described, which place the people of Palestine as well as British soldiers and police in constant danger.
Private armies ought not to exist if they constitute a danger to the peace of the world.
8. The position of Great Britain as Mandatory is not a happy one. The Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency said that, in the event of the withdrawal of the British troops, the Jews would take care of themselves. Jamal Effendi Husseini, replying to a question, said that it was the wish of the Arabs of Palestine that British forces and police should be withdrawn forthwith. Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, also representing the Arab Higher Committee, expressed his agreement. Jamal Effendi Husseini stated that he did not expect bloodshed but that, on the withdrawal of British forces, there would be a return to the condition which preceded the first World War (i. e. pre-Balfour Declaration). We are clear in our minds that if British forces were withdrawn there would be immediate and prolonged bloodshed the end of which it is impossible to predict.
1. In view of the dissolution of the League of Nations and of the statement of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the House of Commons on the 13th November, 1945, we assume that the British Government will in the near future prepare a draft Trusteeship Agreement for eventual submission to the United Nations, and that this Agreement will include the terms under which Palestine will be administered. We do not propose to refer to the existing Mandate in detail; it is set out in Appendix VI.
2. Our views on future immigration policy are contained in Recommendation No. 6 and in the Comments thereunder, and we have nothing to add to them.
3. With regard to the future government of Palestine, we have reviewed the question of a solution by partition.
The Peel Commission stated (Chapter XX, paragraph 19): “Manifestly the problem cannot be solved by giving either the Arabs or the Jews all they want. The answer to the question ‘which of them in the end will govern Palestine ?’ must surely be ‘Neither.”‘ That is the view which we also have formed. They recommended the termination of the Mandate, the partition of the country between the Arabs and the Jews (excepting the Holy Places) and the setting up of two independent States in treaty relations with Great Britain. These recommendations were rejected by the Arabs and they did not meet with the complete approval of the Jews. They were adopted in the first instance by the Government of Great Britain, but subsequently a technical Commission was sent to Palestine to ascertain facts and to consider in detail the practical possibilities of a scheme of partition. As a result of the Partition Commission’s Report, His Majesty’s Government announced their conclusion that the examination by the Commission had shown that the political, administrative and financial difficulties involved in the proposal to create independent Arab and Jewish States inside Palestine were so great that the solution of the problem was impracticable. The proposal accordingly fell to the ground, and His Majesty’s Government continued their responsibility for the government of the whole of Palestine.
We have considered the matter anew and we have heard the views of various witnesses of great experience. Partition has an appeal at first sight as giving a prospect of early independence and self-government to Jews and Arabs, but in our view no partition would have any chance unless it was basically acceptable to Jews and Arabs, and there is no sign of that today. We are accordingly unable to recommend partition as the solution.
4. Palestine is a country unlike any other. It is not merely a place in which Arabs and Jews live. Millions of people throughout the world take a fervent interest in Palestine and in its Holy Places and are deeply grieved by the thought that it has been the seat of trouble for so long and by the fear that it may well become the cockpit of another war. Lord Milner in 1923, having declared himself a strong supporter of pro-Arab policy, said:
“Palestine can never be regarded as a country on the same footing as the other Arab countries. You cannot ignore all history and tradition in the matter. You cannot ignore the fact that this is the cradle of two of the great religions of the world. It is a sacred land to the Arabs, but it is also a sacred land to the Jews and the Christian; and the future of Palestine cannot possibly be left to be determined by the temporary impressions and feelings of the Arab majority in the country of the present day.”
The Peel Commission having cited those words wrote (Chapter II, paragraph 51): “The case stated by Lord Milner against an Arab control of Palestine applies equally to a Jewish control.” That expresses our view absolutely.
Efforts have been made from time to time to encourage both Arabs and Jews to take part in the Government of the country but these efforts have failed through mutual antagonism; perhaps they might have been pursued further. It is not the case of a backward people going through a period of tutelage; the issue lies between Jews and Arabs.
We believe this can only be met by acceptance of the principle that there shall be no domination of the one by the other, that Palestine shall be neither an Arab nor a Jewish State. The setting up of self-governing institutions is dependent on the will to work together on the part of Jews and Arabs. There has been little sign of that in recent years and yet we hope a change may take place if; and when the fear of dominance is removed. We do not think that any real purpose would be served by our going into further detail, once the will to work together appears, representatives of both-sides will be of help in framing a constitution; until that happens no step can be taken.
Meantime Palestine must remain under some form of Mandate or Trusteeship. We have suggested elsewhere in our Report that much can be done to encourage general advancement by the improvement of educational facilities and measures directed to narrowing the social and economic disparities. We feel, too, that it should be possible to draw the communities closer together, and foster a popular interest in self-government at the local level. Especially in the country districts, a spirit of good neighborliness exists among the common people, Arabs and Jews, despite the general state of political tension in the country. Practical cooperation is evident in day-to-day affairs. We suggest that local administrative areas might be formed, some purely Arab or Jewish in composition, but some of mixed population where a corporate sense of civic responsibility can be encouraged and a new beginning made in the development of self-government.
5. Land questions have been the cause of much friction and dispute between Jews and Arabs. V7e are opposed to legislation and practices which discriminate against either, and for the reasons already given we recommend the rescission and replacement of the Land Transfers Regulations of 1940 and the prohibition of restrictions limiting employment on certain lands to members of one race, community or creed.
We are aware of the criticisms of the existing Land Ordinances and we do not wish it to be thought that we consider that they afford adequate protection to the Arab small-owners and tenants. In our opinion it should be possible to devise Ordinances furnishing proper protection to such Arabs no matter in what part of Palestine they may reside.
6. We have already stated that the 100,000 certificates for Palestine, the immediate authorization of which we recommend, will provide for only a comparatively small proportion of the total number of Jewish refugees in Europe. The general problem of refugees must, we feel, be dealt with by the United Nations. In our considered opinion it is a matter for regret that this distressing problem has not been dealt with before this time. True the great Powers have had many problems facing them and they have dealt with many displaced persons, but the fact remains that Jews and others have remained in camps or centers for very many months.
We observe that at a recent meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations the problem of displaced persons and refugees of all categories was recognized to be one of immediate urgency, and it was referred to the Economic and Social Council which has since established a special Committee for its consideration. Without presuming to advise that Committee, and with no desire to go beyond our Terms of Reference, we cannot but observe that international bodies already established for dealing with refugee problems have been unable, through insufficiency of financial resources or other reasons, to fulfill the hopes placed in them at the time of their formation. The world looks forward, we believe, to the birth of a truly effective agency of international collaboration in the humanitarian task of migration and resettlement.
We make Grateful acknowledgement of our deep indebtedness to the civil and military officers of our two Governments. They have given us willing and able assistance throughout our long journeyings and made it possible for us to complete the report within the period allotted.
Our staff listed in the Appendix has worked admirably and efficiently under pressure and often in difficult circumstances.
Finally, we desire to tender our sincere thanks to our efficient Secretaries, H. G. Vincent, L. L. Rood, H. Beeley, and E. M. Wilson.
Signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 20, 1946.
JOSEPH C. HUTCHESON, American Chairman
JOHN E. SINGLETON, British Chairman.
FRANK AYDELOTTE (US)
FRANK W. BUXTON (US)
W. F. CRICK (UK)
R. H. S. CROSSMAN (UK)
BARTLEY C. CRUM (US)
FREDERICK LEGGETT (UK)
R. E. MANNINGHAM-BULLER (UK)
JAMES G. McDonald (US)
WILLIAM PHILIPS (US)
LESLIE L. ROOD,
H. G. VINCENT,
EVAN M. WILSON,