Monday, March 2, 2015



The early Zionist thinkers instinctively grasped the direct relationship
between a sound peasant class rooted in the soil, and
the project of a national renaissance . The British, too, understood
that a National Home without ownership of the soil was
a misnomer. Their Peace Handbook on Syria and Palestine
reads : "The essence of the Zionist ideal is the desire to found
upon the soil of Palestine a revived Hebrew nation based upon
an agricultural life and the use o f the Hebrew language . . .
There is so much unoccupied land in Palestine that there is plenty
of room for Zionist development without ousting the existing
Moslem population."
The early colonists found the park-like country their ancestors
had left, a treeless desert . Epidemics made even the raising of
cattle impossible. The mountain slopes, once covered with a
never-ending succession of vineyards and orchards, were now
bare rock, washed clean by the torrential rains . The rest of
the country alternated between swamp and desert . Crawling
like dull maggots over these dried bones was a scanty population,
scarcely less haggard, wild and unkempt than the land itself.
Land hunger rode on the shoulders of the returning Jews,
driving them like a man with a lash . They came from the
ghettos of the Russian Pale, men with soft hands, intellectuals,
lawyers, writers, doctors and shopkeepers, inspired by the passionate
dream of turning this pestilential desert into a blossoming
countryside . . They themselves, the dreamers of Zion, would
erect its first peasantry with their own lives and bodies .
Their hardships were almost insupportable . Epidemic pestilences
killed off so many that it became a byword that the
graveyards of these settlements were more populous than the
villages themselves . Undeterred, the new settlers pressed on
doggedly. They were living an epic ; and their eyes danced
with it long after their bodies grew worn from a ceaseless struggle
with a sick earth. This blazing emotion is beautifully described
by the Hebrew poet, Uri Zvi Greenberg
"In a sunburst of love we went up,
Boys and girls to Zion ;
Passionate faith from the roots of our hair
To the tips of the nails of our feet
A boundless love for the mother earth of the Jews
That agonies could not quench,
Nor the teeth of the foxes destroy . . ."
Unlike the advent of European capitalism throughout the
East, the only privilege these colonists asked was to be allowed
to work the soil with their own hands . They consciously understood
that the body of the Jewish nation had been maimed
by a cruel destiny which had driven the Jews from the soil, had
closed manual labor to them, and had crowded them into one
thin stratum of the social pyramid . The renaissance of Jewry
lay in this astonishing attempt to reverse a process consciously
taking place in social adjustment, abjuring personal ambitions,
to erect again by the national will what history had destroyed .
These Jews from the vitiated air of ghettos, men and women
whose psychology and muscles alike were better adjusted to
the counting room and Yeshiva than to heavy labor, made themselves
over by the sheer force of their own idealism into the finest
scientific farmers in the world . Their neat, well-painted
houses went up surrounded by thriving green vineyards, healthy
young orchards, flowers and shadetrees . In the eyes of believing
observers it was a miracle, only to be explained in the light
of Biblical Prophecy .
There has been no braver colonizing group in history, nor
any who operated under more disheartening conditions . With
a song on their lips these determined young people laid the
groundwork for an agricultural prosperity which was to be the
backbone of the coming Jewish nation . Their magnificent accomplishments
were unhesitatingly acknowledged by the English
after the War. "Every traveler in Palestine who visits
them," relates an official report, "is impressed by the contrast
between these pleasant villages, with the beautiful stretches of
prosperous cultivation about them, and the primitive conditions
of life and work with which they are surrounded ." 1 Beverley
Nichols remarks : "As I walked around, I became more and more
astonished that any race of men, let alone intellectual Jews, could
possibly tackle such an unfriendly soil . . . Yet over this wilderness
the ex-clerks, ex-doctors, ex-shopkeepers swarmed like ants,
staggering under the weight of the stones they were removing,
panting as they wielded their spades ." 2 Father Alfred Sachetti
exclaims in admiration : "What had been up to six years ago a
wild unproductive waste land has been transformed into a fertile
and productive country ." 3 And the Rev. Dr. W. M. Christie
reports : "When you see a green spot in Palestine today you
may be sure it is a Jewish colony." 4
When with premature gratitude the enthusiastic Jews welcomed
the British overlords who were taking the place of the
Turks, they had no reason to suppose that in the near future the
further acquisition of land by them was to be considered in the
nature of a crime against humanity . The British were pledged
to their cause. London had wholeheartedly acknowledged that
"the immigration of Jews and their close settlement on the land,
including State lands and waste lands not required for public
purposes, are integral and indispensable factors in the execution
of the charge laid upon the Mandatory of establishing in Palestine
a National Home for the Jewish People ." s
How far the Jewish position has actually retrogressed since
the English came, may be estimated from the simple fact that the
per capita land possession of Jews in Palestine has shrunk from
approximately 8 dunams in 1921 to only 3 dunams in 1936 . Of
the total land area of 26,319,000 dunams, only 1,300,000 dunams
are in Jewish hands, of which more than half was acquired before
the War . In 1935, the peak year of investment, only
18,250 acres were acquired ; but the price paid was the enormous
sum of J, 1,700,000 . Even at this uneconomic cost, less than
3 % of the huge sums flooding into the country went into the
establishment of new farms .
These figures mean that Jews numbering 3 3 % of the population
are sequestered on 5% of the land, forcing into existence a
queer economy by which the Jewish farm population must
mathematically decrease with the growth of the Jewish national
structure. Even in the short period between 1931 and 1 935,
we find the proportion of Jewish farmers decreasing from 18%
to 13 .9%, making the Palestine Jews the most highly urbanized
national group on earth.
Here you have the most unhealthy of all possible conditions
a land-hungry people attempting to build a sound national
economy and owning, after decades of struggle, less than three
hundred thousand acres altogether .6 On this fact is shipwrecked
the basic principles on which Zionist planning was constructed.
For all reasonable purposes, it forebodes the creation
not of a free economy but of a new ghetto, this time in an Arab
instead of an Aryan land .
The causative factors behind this condition are not hard to
find. In the early period of Jewish settlement, around 1885,
prices averaged ten francs, or eight shillings, per dunam for good
agricultural land . By 19oo the price had risen to around sixteen
shillings . By 1935 it was anything that anyone cared to
ask. Taking 1932 as an illustration, we find 18,293 land transactions
concluded by Jews ; whereas in 1926, when more than
twice the area of new land had been acquired, there were only
11,821 such transactions? This meant that land-hungry Jews,
caught in a trap, were reduced to buying land from each other,
the price skyrocketing in accordance with the inevitable law
of supply and demand . During the fiscal year 1933-34 when
practically no new land was acquired by Jews, the Palestine
Government received from them close to J 200,000 in registration
fees for land transfers. In many instances a parcel of land
passes through eight or ten hands a year and its price is pyramided
to the most unbelievable heights . "Nowhere in the
world," comments the Royal Commission of 1937, "were such
uneconomic land prices paid as by the Jews in Palestine."
The parent of this distorted condition was none other than
the Government itself . A series of bold expedients flowed from
Jerusalem, directly formulated to prevent Jews from acquiring
the soil of the country. As fast as one artifice proved inadequate,
newer and more offensive ones were invented . The
English set themselves up as the protectors and patrons of the
Arabs, much as though Palestine were an endowed institution
for the improvident and the inept for whose benefit all competitive
factors must be excluded .
The keystone to the British arch was the alleged landless
Arab situation . In his report, French had listed some thirty
seven hundred claimants. The extent of this fabrication was
later conceded when, despite the prodding of the Administration,
only five hundred Arabs could be discovered who even had
a provisional claim. Just how there could be any 'landless'
people in an underpopulated country suffering for years from
an acute labor shortage, the Administration never attempted to
explain. Major Cecil Quinlan answered the best part of the
question with the laconic remark that "the so-called 'landless'
Arab does not exist, except in disordered imaginations ." 8
The Mandate provided that Jews be given State lands for the
purpose of "close settlement." Nowhere in that document is
there anything mentioned about an opposed obligation to Arabs ;
but the Government, making its own interpretation, decided that
this must have been a typographical error . It early handed the
Arabs 140,000 acres of its most fertile holdings . Later to appease
the Jews it gave them a consolation prize of some i 8,ooo acres, of
which only 962 were actually cultivable.
The Administration's Annual Report for 1920-21 gives figures
of 942,000 dunams of State land and two or three million dunams
of waste lands. When the Zionists, grown restive finally, put a
fierce demand on the Government to fulfill its obligations, it was
dismally discovered that the two or three million dunams of waste
land referred to had now vanished in thin air.
The technique under which this piece of legerdemain was accomplished
was not involved. It consisted of simple nostrums
and a characteristic method of dealing off the bottom of the deck .
In reply to a pointed question by the Mandates Commission in
1926, His Majesty's spokesman, Ormsby-Gore, represented that
2 59
"the delay of the grant of Government land to Jews is connected
with the question of survey which has not yet been effected ."'
A Vaad Leumi Memorandum notes in disgust that despite this excuse,
"hundreds of thousands of Government lands . . . have
been distributed among Arab fellaheen, in lots of such size that
they could not work them properly ." All Jewish demands for
land were rejected- "even the claims of the discharged Jewish
soldiers who had participated in the British military conquest of
the country being disregarded ." At the very moment Ormsby-
Gore was offering his explanation to the League, a special Land
Commission was carrying out a liquidation of the Government
estates, "apparently instructed to hand them over to Bedouins ."
Again in 1931, a Vaad Leumi protest to the League notes that
the Government was distributing State lands to Arabs "in parcels
of thousands of dunams per family," while Jewish demands were
studiously ignored .
Pleased with these outright gifts, the Bedu had little intention
of demeaning themselves by manual labor . They at once offered
their new-found acreage to Jews at prices only limited by Bedouin
ability to count . The indignant Administration put an end
to this practice by attaching a string to further gifts, prohibiting
sale of the land for thirty to fifty years . In other cases the Arabs
were beneficiaries of paternal loans, never intended to be repaid,
placing the Jews in the unenviable position of financing activities
aimed directly at themselves . All a Bedouin had to do, to blackmail
this singular Government, was to threaten to sell to Jews and
a subsidy would be forthcoming .
The Administration's sympathy for 'landless' Arabs went an
amazing distance. Four days before the 1936 riots broke out it
gave the Dajani family 10,000 dunams in the rich Jordan Valley .
The 'landless' Dajani family, as it happens, is fabulously wealthy,
owning among other things, the site of `The Last Supper,' for
which they are said to have recently refused C 1,000,000. The
Government even handed out its land to foreigners who made no
pretense of Palestine residence. To mention only a few cases, six
Syrian families located in Damascus and Beirut received over
7000 dunams of the Ashrafiye lands. Of the 3 579 dunams dis260
tributed in Tel-Es-Shock, 3469 dunams went to a family group
of four brothers and sisters living in Egypt .1o
Even when Jews bought areas on which the Government felt
it had a lien, it exacted its pound of flesh . A case in point is the
Huleh basin, consisting of 12,000 acres of miasmatic swamp .
This suppurating area had polluted the country, for generations
back, with malaria and dysentery . The job of draining it would
ordinarily be regarded by any other government as a task incumbent
on itself . Instead, the Palestine Administration granted
concession rights for reclamation of the area to two Syrian merchants,
renewing the concession in 1924 and again in 1927, though
the Syrians made no attempt to proceed with the work and were
evidently not in a position to undertake a development project
of this magnitude . It was only after years of procrastination on
the part of the Government that the Jewish Palestine Land Development
Company was able to secure official approval to take
over the concession rights . As the price of its consent the Government
stipulated that when the work was finished, one-third of
the new land would have to be handed over for Bedouin settlement.
It was necessary to pay the original foreign concessionaires
C 200,000, a sum which could only be considered in the
light of a gift . This was in 1935 . In 1935 the Government was
still quibbling over the text of the concession . It also has mysteriously
withheld decision on a number of minor points arising
from an engineering report made several years previously . These
dilatory tactics have effectually prevented any progress being
made in the work of reclamation, which is thus shunted into the
indefinite future .
The huge task of draining this quagmire will take at least a
decade. It will involve an outlay of over £ 1,000,000 . To this
must be added interest on investment, and amortization of principal,
plus such baksheesh as must be paid to petty officials who
would otherwise find a way to throw a sabot into the machinery,
even after the work has been started . When the 16,ooo dunams
which must be given free to the Arabs are deducted, some rough
idea is secured of what this much-touted enterprise will cost the
Having devised the 'landless Arab' thesis, it was only a short
step to the principle that the Arab must be protected against
himself and saved from exploitation by the Jew who would take
his land away from him. For this purpose there was introduced
a series of ordinances so plainly meant to prevent Jews from acquiring
land in their National Home that were ten percent of
them introduced into England, and directed at Englishmen, an
armed revolution would follow .
But Zionist spokesmen had been used to the rope's end too long
to be able to react with anything resembling normal indignation.
They recognized helplessly that they were being victimized, but
saw nothing else to it but to smirk ingratiatingly on their tormentors.
Once more it is grizzled old Menachem Ussishkin who
growls like a lone wolf to the British Government : "Since you
have given your consent to the establishment of a Jewish National
Home, you must have realized that it is impossible to build on
anything but on the land . We have paved every field and marsh
with gold, but you, instead of helping us, have piled stones in our
way and have made the country into a hell ." 12
As early as 1920 a Land Transfer Ordinance already read that
"any person wishing to make a disposition of immovable property
must first obtain consent of the Government," a statute which the
Shaw Report frankly admits was introduced to prevent the easy
sale of land. This was followed in 1929 by the Cultivator's Protective
Ordinance, which demanded that buyers make an additional
payment to tenants who might be occupying the land as
well as to the owners . 1931 saw a new edict which provided
that irrespective of any provision in the contract, land could not
be transferred if there were "any tenants" cultivating it . A tenant
was described as anyone who has access to the land by "right
or custom, usage or on sufferance," 13 a person hired for agricultural
work who is paid in kind, squatters of any and all types ;
anyone who cultivated the land by either express or implied permission,
or who had been cultivating the land on the assumption
that he had the right to do so for a period of two years ; or any262
one who comes and grazes on the land or cuts reeds for basketmaking,
or one who is a descendant o f a would-be tenant under
the ordinance.
This startling piece of legislation derived its full force from the
primitive nature of Bedouin life . While the Bedouin grazed his
flocks wherever he pitched camp, he always made the same general
circle of travel, returning year after year to the identical
spots . Thus he automatically became a `tenant' under the regulation.
Most of the land purchased by Jews came from the tremendous
estates of absentee landlords, a handful of land-barons
who owned, for example, eighty percent of the soil of Galilee and
at least half of southern Palestine .14 These vacant acres were
trespassed on by all comers, and, by the very nature of things,
were bound to harbor itinerant tenants, squatters and migratory
The other claw of the pincers lay in the fact that all the
archaic Turkish land and tax laws were still operative .15 This
meant that the verification of title went back to the old Ottoman
religious law . The British had made no attempt to determine
title, and the footnote to every Kuhan (title deed) contained the
phrase : "The title is not deemed to be guaranteed." Under the
new Cultivator's Ordinance all titles were placed in jeopardy as
having been gained illegally, since they were subject to tenant's
It now transpired that `tenants' could be evicted only by the
High Commissioner himself. This transfer of discretion to a political
appointee, rather than to the courts, prevented any appeal
and gave the frankly anti-Jewish officials of the Administration
arbitrary powers of decision . These powers were further increased
by the Land Disputes Ordinance enacted in March 1932 .
This remarkable edict empowered the District Commissioner,
should he find that a trespasser was forcibly evicted by the rightful
owner, to regard the dispossessed party as the possessor .
Granted magisterial status, no appeals against the findings of this
petty functionary were possible. The enactment additionally
forbade interference with the `rights' of invaders coming to graze,
cut wood or reeds, or for any other purpose (even if the owner's
fences had been cut down and his crops destroyed), until in each
case "a competent court ruled on the matter ."
On July 2 5, 1 933 the Administration released the Statutory
Tenant Law, effectually freezing the ownership of large vacant
areas in their present hands . Anyone who occupied or grazed
the land for a year, with or without permission, became a "statutory
tenant ." He could not be evicted without being given a
new piece of land in a nearby area approved by the High Commissioner
These restrictions made it next to impossible to purchase lands
on which claim could not be made by `tenants .' The inevitable
result was that Jews buying land had to pay for it twice : one
payment to the owner and the other to his `tenants,' in order to
obtain their voluntary consent to leave the property . In many
cases the sums given the `tenants' were larger than the already inflated
prices paid to the sellers . The whole intent behind this
singular legislation is shown in the law affecting tenants where
the land is not sold . Here the tenant is not protected in any
fashion whatsoever, and may be evicted at the landlord's pleasure .
Even on land long owned by Jews, here is how this `advanced'
legislation operates. `A' owns a piece of land ; `B' squats on that
land, claiming the right to cultivate it . In the ensuing conflict,
B' is not ejected from the parcel and allowed recourse to the
courts, but instead the cultivation o f the land is stayed by both
parties until the determination of the courts . Since land cases
are known to sleep through the judicial chambers for five or six
years, and appeals are seldom, if ever, heard under one year, the
result is apparent. Nor does the final settlement of one trespassing
case protect the owner against new ones. As fast as new
trespassers may appear, new court orders must be obtained against
them through the same lengthy litigation .
Here was an obvious invitation to blackmail which the Arabs
were not slow to take advantage of . False claims were regularly
manufactured against Jewish land with the object of extorting
money from the owners . Arab tribes, often as not under the
fatherly advice of the District Commissioners, turned this situation
into a profitable business . They squat in the Jewish colonies,
taking over a piece of land by main force if necessary, claiming
it on the basis of prior possession ; and then compromise on some
compensation from the owner, who usually prefers a limited loss
of money to prolonged litigation. The Bedu then drive their
herds further on, looking for another opportunity to repeat this
agreeable adventure . There are Arab attorneys in Jerusalem
who specialize in causing squatters to do this sort of thing and
who make a very good business out of it . As may be expected,
Jews are the sole sufferers . "In not a single instance," declares
the land expert Ussishkin, "has an Arab owner been pestered in
such a way. Bedouins who would so intrude on an Arab parcel
of land would be ejected by the police without further ado ."
A few actual cases will show how these measures operate in
practical application . A large parcel of land, in Jewish hands
for forty years, was disputed by Arabs on the basis of an alleged
document signed five hundred years ago granting the land to the
Moslem Church . District Commissioner S . H. Perowne immediately
declared the land under dispute and prohibited work
there. Jewish farmers who tried to plough their fields were
arrested.16 At the settlement of Tel Hai in Galilee, Bedouins
brought their cattle to pasture in the colony's fields, destroying
the crops. They claimed to be in possession of a document entitling
them "to pasture anywhere ." A fight ensued, the police
were called, and the usual order issued to both parties to cease
work in the colony "until the title to the land was established ."
At Hedera, where the land had been in Jewish possession for
forty-five years, Bedouins came in, uprooted the crops, injured
workers and killed a watchman. The police ordered all cultivation
to cease "until the Court decides the dispute between the Jews
and the Bedouins ."
A typical case is that of the Wadi Hawareth land . After paying
liberal baksheesh to the tenants and after reams of red tape
had been unwound to secure title, the Jews were unable to take
possession : the land had already been ploughed by Arab squatters
. Similarly, at Haifa Bay, thirty-five hundred dunams legally
bought and paid for by the Jewish National Fund were
given to Arabs, by decision of the District Commissioner, after
they had driven off the Jewish watchman and taken the land by
armed force. At Tulkarm, in a regular pestilence of squatter
suits, the courts decided that thirty-six hundred dunams of land
had been "purchased illegally" and directed that they be given,
without compensation, to the squatters. While ignorant Bedouins
were more than willing participants in this hilarious game of plaguing
Jews, what lay behind their actions can be judged from the
Kuskustabun case, where three Jewish farmers were badly injured
by armed Arab invaders . Here it was conclusively proven that
the Arabs "undertook to trespass and plough the land upon the
advice of District Officer Lees." 17
Not satisfied with its previous measures in which Jewish ingenuity
discovered more leaks than the Government considered
supportable, it announced in 1936 a brand new principle in pro-
Arab paternalism, this time swinging back to the Middle Ages for
its inspiration . The present purpose is to anchor the peasant in
the land irrespective of his will to change his status . In future
"no land-owner shall be permitted to sell any of his land unless
he retains a minimum subsistence area . As a safeguard against
collusive sales this minimum area shall be inalienable and shall
revert to the Government if it ceases to be cultivated by the
owner-occupier." 18
Many other, pettier schemes were originated by the Government
of Palestine in its campaign of harassment . The Jews,
urgently needing a source of cheap fertilizer for their groves,
had been buying it from Arabs whose every village was literally
built on an accumulation of century-old dung . Arabs are rarely
known to even remove this filth from the vicinity of their dwellings,
much less use it . In September 1937 the Administration
published a Draft Animal Manure Ordinance vesting the ownership
of manure in the proprietor of the land on which it is
dropped. Any attempt to remove or sell it without official permission
henceforth becomes an offense punishable by fine of f25
or six months' imprisonment, or both.
Another edict stipulates that the amount of damages which
may be demanded from a seller who breaks his contract, cannot
be included in the contract itself, but must be fixed by the court .
This `Order in Council' was intended as a staggering blow to
Jewish land purchases, since the only effective way of preventing
Arab owners from changing their minds under pressure was to
include in the contract a provision for damages to be paid together
with the return of the buyer's deposit . Another decree
released early in 1936 was "designed to protect water supplies
from interference by private individuals." Special permission
had now to be obtained from the District Commissioner before a
well could be constructed or enlarged . Jews might own the
land, but the water underneath it belonged to the Administration
in Jerusalem. All water supplies, reads the Ordinance, "river,
spring, or underground," may anywhere be declared public property
at the discretion of the High Commissioner. Beyond serving
to frustrate the irrigation plans of the Jews, this revolutionary
measure has no plausible purpose nor has one ever been offered.
When other artifices proved inadequate, the Government has
followed a system of `loans' to Arab owners, in themselves often
greater than the market value of the land . Sometimes its money
is passed over outright on the score of `relief,' whether owing to
poor crops, damage caused by the elements, or the characteristic
laziness of Arab tillers. It frankly finances and operates Arab
agricultural cooperatives in competition with those of the Jew ;
and it maintains nurseries and other agricultural services of which
Arabs are the sole beneficiaries.
The unremitting campaign of Arab leaders, clearly abetted
from Government House, thundering against the `crime' of selling
property to Jews will be discussed again in Chapter I Book
III. It may be remarked, however, that without the Zionist the
market for Palestine land does not exist . Acreage in this corner
of creation is worth next to nothing. In neighboring Syria it
can hardly be given away. In Transjordan it is worth only a
dollar or two a dunam. Holding a monopoly on the soil, the
Levantines are having a royal holiday. "No one can doubt,"
says Broadhurst, "that the Arabs have exploited the Jews for all
they are worth, fattening their pockets in the process ." 19 Despite
the current campaign against land sales, Arab owners have
been keeping a canny eye fixed on the price barometer . As we
shall see, the very leaders of this agitation have proven themselves
as anxious, privately, to circumvent the Government's restrictions
as the Jews. There is ample evidence, also, that Government
officials themselves have not been above surreptitious speculation,
while at the same time being a party to driving the prices up out
of sight by radical legislation .
That official restrictions were designed to force Jews to pay
through the nose for such land as they were able to acquire is
conclusively shown by official figures . Buying in the open market
for the purpose of "resettling landless Arabs," the Government
paid 072,240 for 17,240 dunams, or an average of C4 per
dunam. In the same period the Jews purchased in the same market,
62,114 dunams for which they paid C 1,647,837, an average
of C25 per dunam.
In vivid contrast to this flood of radical legislation is Palestine's
system of land taxation, beyond question the most reactionary in
existence. Until recently the obsolete Turkish system, based on
the economy of Mohammed's time, was retained intact by the
Government as being perfectly satisfactory in all respects .
There were two basic taxes . One was the Werko, based on
land valuations . The joker lay in the fact that the last appraisement,
by which the tax was set, had been made in the nineties of
the last century. New valuations were only made in cases of
change of ownership . This meant that the old owners were paying
a tax based on pre-War values, while the new owners were assessed
on the basis of crazily inflated post-War prices. Thus the
new proprietor paid twenty to thirty times more for each dunam
in tax than the previous owner used to pay for the same land before
it was sold, and continued to pay for the adjoining acres still remaining
in his possession. "This unjust and abnormal position,"
complains the Jewish Agency, on March 10, 1935, "expressed itself
in the creation of two classes of taxpayers paying different
rates for similar property," of whom "the only sufferers were
Jews." The relative difference in this levy was often literally
enormous . An illustration of the whole taxing scheme is provided
by the village of Shattah, which paid less than £4 in tax,
while the neighboring Jewish colony of Kfar Yehezkiel, owning
half the area of land, paid £55 .
The other main grouping was the Osher or tithe, amounting to
1o% on all agricultural income. This was usually canceled in the
case of Arabs, sometimes by personal decision of the High Commissioner
himself, though District Commissioners were also authorized
to grant remission at their discretion. The extent of
this practice can be seen in the announced remission of seventy
percent of the tithe due the Government in 1932, amounting
to £ 173,000. In 1933 the total remission of tithes to Arabs was
,093,500 out of an assessment of £ 1,245,000 ; and in 1 934,
£ 130,000 out of a total tax of £ 245,000. In 1935 the High
Commissioner reported that of a tithe of £ 17 1,021, only £ 19,-
750 had been collected. The fellah's contribution to Government
revenues (tithe, land tax and all other agricultural taxes)
diminished annually, falling from 25% of the total in 1921-22 to
4.8% in 1934-35-
Though after eighteen years of effort the Government was
seemingly unable to complete the survey for land registration
purposes (which would have put an abrupt end to the plague of
squatter suits), it had not the slightest difficulty in finishing the
survey for taxation purposes within a year after deciding that a
remodeled system was in order. The new Rural Property Tax
Ordinance was placed into effect in 1935, substituting a single
basis of levy for the multiple Turkish tithe, house and land taxes .
Says the Royal Commission of 1937, pointedly : "This effected
a large reduction, in some cases up to seventy percent, in the
taxes payable by the [Arab] peasantry ." 20
Though hailed as a simplified system it was, on the face of it,
an intricate maze . It involved some sixteen brackets of taxation,
varying from the highest to the lowest by several thousand percent,
the brackets themselves divided into innumerable blocks in
the various districts . Providentially, the highest tax brackets coincided
exactly with Jewish enterprises and holdings and the
lowest with those of the Arabs . As the lower grades of ground
crop land pay only a nominal tax, or no tax at all, the holdings
of the fellaheen are practically exempted from impost of any
kind. This type of acreage, coinciding with Arab agricultural
undertakings, is divided into eight grades, the highest of which
pays twenty-five mils per dunam, while the sixth grade drops to
eight mils per dunam. The seventh and eighth grades pay no tax.
Irrigated land was divided into nine grades, seemingly in accordance
with the districts where Jews may or may not be
found, and was assessed accordingly. Fallow land, owned entirely
by great Arab landlords, pays no tax whatsoever, putting
an actual premium on land speculation and completely reversing
every known process by which land policy in other nations is
guided. In any other country infant industry is nursed along
and protected . It is the pioneers who are relieved of taxes ; and
in places like Italy and Spain, the Holy Land's chief competitors
in citrus, growers are directly subsidized . Under this latest arrangement
it was the citrus industry, on which the entire export
trade of the country depended, which was placed in the highest
tax division, not even non-bearing groves being excepted . The
tax here vaulted to 825 mils per dunam, the highest rate of taxation
on this type of plantation in the world .21 Excluded specifically
from this category, the all-Arab citrus district of Acre
`pays' 41o mils per dunam .22
Under the same law, taxation on urban property is similarly
gerrymandered . House property, including valuation of the
site, pays a tax of r z V2 % of the net annual value . Premises with
an annual value up to ,f 2o, invariably Arab, are exempted from
levy . In industrial buildings the Ordinance says that "the tax
shall be at such a rate, not exceeding fifteen percent of the net
annual value, as shall be prescribed by the High Commissioner.
The High Commissioner is empowered to apply the Ordinance
by order to specific areas ." One may easily presume that it is
the Jewish sections alone which pay the fifteen percent, a circumstance
glaringly evident in the exemptions granted in a list
of mixed cities, which on examination turn out to affect only
Arab blocks. Not even schools, clinics or village councils are
excepted from these crushing levies .
The theory behind this entire performance is made unmistakably
clear in the assessments charged to the German colony of
Sarona, thoroughly Nazi in sentiment since the coming of Hitler .
Almost surrounded by the continuously growing city of Tel
Aviv, the fields of Sarona are now located in one of the most
highly priced urban developments in the world, with individual
holdings worth an average of 4400,000 in cash. Yet the farmers
of this colony continue to pay a tax as negligible as if their
lands were located in the wilderness on the other side of Jordan.
There are still other tax schemes directed without too much
disguise at the Jewish pocketbook, such as the Land Transfer
Tax, Government Inspection Tax, and Animal Tax, all of them
cut from the same cloth as the land taxes and all brilliantly successful
in mulcting this stricken people who by international consent
are returning to their homeland .

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Practically all countries today take an eager if not anxious interest
in the development of their own prosperity . It is invariably
the government which points the way to methods for developing
business, which seeks to attract capital and enterprise
and to enlarge its commerce in every way possible . As backward
as the Turks were made out to be in matters of government,
they were happy enough to assist new industry in their domains .
Under the Industrial Act of December 1917, newly established
factories in Palestine received five dunams of State land free on
application, were granted exception from import duties until
they were well established, and were relieved of taxation for
fifteen years.
The present mandatory for Palestine, however, appears to do
everything possible to halt the development of business and to
omit doing anything designed to help it . In view of its peculiar
obligations under the Mandate, it would appear that the Administration
should have favored the new settlers in every way,
that it would nurse their industries sympathetically during the
early and critical period, and in general lend its support by the
usual means, favored taxation, protective tariffs, loans and subsidies.
That the Palestine Government is well able to understand
this matter of elementary economy is shown plainly enough in
the concessions granted to the Iraq Petroleum Company in an
agreement signed January 14, 193 1, to run for a period of seventy
years. This convention between a private corporation and the
Government of Palestine is one of the most remarkable ever
penned, and is worth quoting in extenso. It provides that neither
Palestine nor Transjordan shall derive any revenue from the pipeline
passing through their territory . The Government agrees
that "no import tax, transit tax, export tax, or other tax or fiscal
charge of any sort shall be levied on petroleum, naphtha, ozokerite
or natural gases, whether in crude state or any form or derivatives
thereof, whether intended for consignment in transit or
utilized for the industrial operations of the undertaking ." The
Company is given the far-reaching right to bring in, free of duty,
all stores, equipment, materials, etc., required for its undertakings,
"including all equipment for offices, houses or other buildings,"
directly or indirectly required for the development of its
business in Palestine .
Article VII of this compact gives the concessionaire the privilege
of constructing one or more private ports in the region and
of levying port, harbor or other taxes, as well as authority to determine
who shall have the right to entry at such a port ; and the
Palestine railroads are placed at the Company's disposal at a special
schedule of rates . Article XVII entitles the Company to
lease State lands at a nominal rental. Lands privately owned are
to be expropriated by the High Commissioner for this purpose
if the Company cannot come to agreement with the owners .
The Company may bring in cheap labor at its own discretion to
compete with the higher-priced local labor. Finally, this document
frees the Company from any kind of land tax, income tax,
or any other toll or liability . Thus this foreign corporation is
presented with all the benefits of a tax-supported community, and
is at the same time released from any possible levy or demand, in
what is altogether the most amazing concession ever granted by a
modern State . On February", 1933 the Palestine Government
handed this concessionaire, free of charge, 2250 dunams of valuable
land in the industrial Haifa Bay area to build a terminus for
its oil line.
In return for all this, the Company did not even allow casual
favors to the local market, so that a four-gallon tin of gasoline,
which might sell for 4o¢ in Iraq, retails for $1 .9o in Palestine.
Neither does Palestinian trade derive any benefit from the large
oil tankers which sail from Haifa. Everything connected with
the petroleum trade, from the time of its boring, through its transBRICKS
portation down to the tanker and retail marketing, is in the hands
of foreign trusts .2
When it comes to the Jews, for whose benefit the Mandate
was supposed to have been framed, another view is taken entirely
. Their industries, instead of being welcomed, are discouraged.
Practically nothing is done to assist them . The Government's
attitude can hardly be described as being other than
antagonistic. Tariffs and duties are levied in topsy-turvy fashion,
as they would be in a lunatic asylum ; and whatever caters
to the needs of industry, such as mail service, telegraphic system,
railways, ports and roads, is maneuvered so as to place it at a
The Government has a tariff on old shoes imported into the
country ; but bases its customs policy on the theory that tariffs
lead to a high cost of living . It considers it immoral to deprive
its citizens of the benefits of low-cost merchandise dumped in
from everywhere by subsidized foreign trusts ; yet it does not
hesitate to levy prohibitive import duties on all raw materials required
by its own industry.
The only authority the Administration regards as competent
to dictate the needs of business is the Customs Department,
headed by a pompous official who starts with the idea that the local
manufacturer must prove that he is producing a superior article
at a lower price than those dumped in the Palestine market
by outside competitors, before he can be regarded as anything
but a public enemy. Such foreign trade statistics as exist are not
only badly jumbled but published long after they can do anyone
any good . Drily, the President of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Chamber
of Commerce advised the Administration that "the movement of
trade is a matter of some importance to those who are responsible
for the conduct of the country's economic affairs, and it should
not be treated as a departmental secret reluctantly disclosed to
the public." 3
By what is at least the strangest of coincidences, whenever a
Palestine factory competes with English goods, even for the home
market, it is sure to find all protective tariffs taken away from
it and impossibly high duties leveled against the bulk materials
and machinery necessary to turn its finished products out . These
cramping tactics may even go the lengths of a carte blanche refusal
to allow the contemplated enterprise to operate on any
An example of this condition is contained in the several attempts
to establish brewery enterprises in the Holy Land . The
first project was started by a man named Delfiner, who intended
to produce, besides beer, certain chemical products out of the
waste materials of alcohol production . A capital investment of
,L8o,ooo was made, a location bought near Mikweh Israel, and
machinery ordered. Innocently, the founder of the factory applied
for exemption from duty on the ferments and malt required
in beer-making until these materials could be produced
locally. The Government did not even bother about a response ;
and after eight months of patient waiting, Mr. . Delfiner, beginning
to see the light, gave up his project and took his loss .
In the meanwhile a group of French capitalists, headed by a
Mr. Dreyfuss, leased a portion of the wine cellars in Rishon
L'Zion and started reconstruction for brewery purposes . Turned
wise by Delfiner's experience, before going into production they
applied to the Government, asking that the existing excise tax on
spirits of five mils per liter and the customs duty of twenty mils
per liter be not changed after the setting up of their business .
On receipt of this request the Administration immediately did
the opposite . It decided to raise the excise tax on spirits (which
had not yet been begun to be manufactured) to fifteen mils per
liter and committed itself to an arrangement admitting Syrian
beer, on which not even an excise tax was levied, free of duty .
Reconstruction work was stopped and negotiations entered into
with the Government, which stated off the record that it considered
this enterprise an unwarranted attempt to compete with
the import of English beer. So in March 1934 the Dreyfuss
group, having had an object lesson in Near Eastern politics, gave
up the ghost.4
In every branch of trade the same tactics are to be seen . A
fair illustration of what takes place is given in the iron wire in
dustry, a business calling for a great outlay of capital . Here a
heavy tariff is slapped on raw material, which Palestine does not
produce, and no duty whatsoever placed on the finished article .
Another example is that of the aluminum industry. Imported
raw aluminum was taxed at the rate of three cents per pound ;
while the levy on finished aluminum goods was six cents . When
a factory was set up in Haifa, it was quickly discovered that the
tariff was insufficient to allow for competition even in the home
market. The owner asked for an increase to ten cents per pound .
The Government took this request under the usual advisement
and promptly reduced the duty on finished aluminum ware to
three cents a pound .
An even more graphic illustration is provided in the tax on
automobiles. A newly industrialized land is bound to develop
a voracious appetite for cars and trucks of all kinds . But the
Jews made the mistake of showing a preference for American
cars, which they considered more suitable to the terrain than the
lighter English makes .5 The Government then placed a per
pound tax on incoming motor vehicles of forty mils per kilogram.
6 This enormous impost would add to the normal cost of
a small American car the fantastic sum of $2700 for duty alone,
with the same toll on old cars as on new. In a desperate effort
to circumvent this assessment, the Jews opened up a car-assembling
plant in Tel Aviv . Jerusalem at once retaliated by placing
a duty on bodies and parts, twenty-five to fifty percent higher
than that on complete vehicles.
The attitude of the official Zionists to all this is incredible . It
is reflected in Weizmann's declaration that "one hears complaints
of alleged injustices with regard to protective tariffs . People do
not want to realize that if a Jew from Schnepeshok [a touch of
humor] comes to Palestine and manufactures inferior buttons,
the British Government is not obliged to secure this button by
a protective tariff." 7 The manufacturers of Palestine, caught in
a very real web of economic peonage, were far from impressed
with the philosophical ruminations of the Zionist orators in Europe.
There were not wanting individuals who declared themselves
boldly. One of them was the silk manufacturer, Sachs,
who found himself paying a prohibitive duty on raw silk, with
no protection whatever against the dumping of Japan and other
countries .$ Shortly before he was compelled to shut down his
factory, Weitzman and the High Commissioner Wauchope
strolled through.
"How do you like it here ?" asked Sir Arthur politely .
Sachs : "Very much indeed - but I would like it better if we
had a decent Government ."
Weitzman, hurriedly : "Excuse him, Excellency -Mr. . Sachs
cannot ably express himself in English ."
"Pardon me," replied Sachs, looking straight at Weitzman,
"but I speak English very well!"
Part of the situation this manufacturer referred to showed glaringly
on the cost sheets . A meter of Japanese cloth sells for 12 %2
mils, while the labor alone costs 15 mils in Palestine and the raw
material 2o-z5 mils. The factory production cost of a simple
article like cotton sports shirts came to a total of 150 mils in
Palestine, while the corresponding Japanese article was laid down
in Haifa for 8o mils. In 1936 it cost a Palestine manufacturer
43o mils to make a pullover, while the identical article brought
in from Germany or Austria retailed for 320-350 mils.
Agricultural products found their competition fully as severe .
Syrian shipments are able to consistently undersell locally grown
vegetables in all Palestine cities. Practically the whole of Syria's
exports in this line are concentrated on the Holy Land . Syrian
eggs retail in the Palestine market for eighteen cents a dozen,
while Palestine eggs cannot be sold profitably for less than thirtysix
cents a dozen. In 1935 the local production of table fowl was
1,86o,ooo. Imports for the same year came to 2,000,000, all free
of duty. A heavy impost, levied on practically all feed, made it
a physical impossibility to produce commercial poultry as cheaply
as it could be shipped in from abroad .
Adding to the miseries of business, the Government's immigration
policy caused all industrial plans to become a matter of
hazard due to labor uncertainty . In all Jerusalem there are only
a handful of qualified electricians and carpenters . One has to
wait interminable periods for even the simplest installations - yet
the Authorities refuse to grant visas to skilled workmen now
refugees from Germany or starving in Rumania and Poland .
The transplanting of a higher standard of life into the medieval
setting of the Near East has invited still other troubles . In
Egypt, woman and child labor is obtainable in large quantities at
two or three piasters a day, and in the Syrian factories children
are employed at almost no pay at all . It is obvious that either of
two simple factors can cut the heart out of an unprotected Palestine
industry in a realistic world : the mass production of States
with strong industries and vast local markets, and the extremely
low wage scales in the surrounding agricultural countries of the
Near East.
In such a thoroughly destructive situation, industry can only
hope to secure and hold isolated and unique markets, and even
these, as we shall see, are not safe from attack . Though Palestine's
industry has shown a striking development resulting from
the headlong rush of Jewish investment and enterprise, it has
been able to penetrate only a fraction of its home market and is
in extreme jeopardy everywhere else . What this condition adds
up to in figures is seen in the problem of Japanese dumping . In
1929 the Holy Land imported 67000 of Japanese goods . By
1935 this figure had skyrocketed to £646,ooo, while during this
same period Japanese purchases from Palestine held at the ludicrous
amount of £ S .
Certain favored groups are saved from a portion of this disabling
condition by Governmental exception . All of the various
missionary institutions and enterprises are exempted from tax or
toll of any kind . Under this immunity the churchmen run hotels,
farms, manufacture wine on which no excise duty is levied, and
engage in other flourishing businesses under favorable conditions .
Also relieved of tax and imposts are "all members of His Majesty's
forces" and all officers of the Palestine Government. So
is the great Iragian-owned trans-desert transport service between
the Holy Land and Iraq, which thus escapes the exorbitant levies
placed on motor vehicles, tires and gasoline .9
Specific Arab industries are also shown generous consideration .
An eloquent token is the exemption of the Arab soap industry of
Nablus from the high tax on olive oil for industrial purposes ; and
the grotesquely contrasting customs protection given olives themselves
. Study of the agricultural products protected by Government
impost discloses them to be almost exclusively Arab .
Such fellaheen crops as wheat, barley and seminola are safeguarded
by high duties and a rigid regulation of imports under a
system of licenses.
On scattered occasions Jewish industry participates unavoidably
in these advantages . One such instance concerns the shoe industry.
After dumping practices almost succeeded in wiping
this business out of existence, the Arabs made such a howl that
the Government was moved to remedy the situation in 1932 by
protective duty . The net result shows in sharp relief the viciousness
of the open door system : there was an immediate decrease
in imports, dropping in two years from £ 8o,ooo to £40,000,
and an equalizing increase in the sale of local manufactures .
The Jews have also been the beneficiaries of other favors not
meant for them . The result of glutting the Palestine market
with foreign goods inadvertently gave Japan and Germany a toehold
from which they were invading the entire Near and Middle
East, ousting Britain from her favored position . In printed cotton
goods, one of Britain's pet specialties, Japan took first place as
leading exporter to Palestine, more than doubling English sales
in the same market. In 1936 London was shocked to discover
that Germany had jumped to first place as seller to the Palestine
market, with English goods losing position steadily .'°
This dangerous piece of backfire shocked the Bureaucrats into
action. As a result, quickly imposed tariffs have bettered the
situation considerably and a number of closed Jewish factories
have been able to reopen.
It is an error, however, to assume that Whitehall has suddenly
suffered from an attack of conscience . This was poignantly
demonstrated during the recent Tozareth Haaretz (favoring
home products) campaign. In this `Buy Palestine' movement,
the Jews literally put on a volunteer tariff of their own, deliberately
buying home-manufactured goods though they had to
pay a large premium for the privilege . This enthusiastically supBRICKS
ported crusade was a considerable factor in enabling Jewish industry
to survive, and bespeaks the almost unique patriotism of
Palestine Jewry. Its effectiveness was evidenced during the
three months' campaign early in 1937, when Jewish leaders estimated
it was worth C4,000,000 in increased sales of local products.
Out of this campaign grew a typical frenzy of official
harassment . Jewish stores advertising the sale of `Palestine Goods
Only' were visited by Government agents seeking an excuse to
make arrests. At the same time, street peddlers selling `Only
Palestine Products' were hustled off to police stations to explain
why they preferred to limit their wares to those made in their
own land .
Due to all the disabling uncertainties, the credit situation in
Palestine is a severe one . It is further complicated by an archaic
credit system which the Authorities refuse to alter . So the financing
of industry lapses into an impossible stalemate ; with the
banks on one side, so full of money that they are loath to take on
new accounts, and on the other, an aggregation of puzzled industrialists
who are wondering from day to day what the Government
is going to do next. Finance in Palestine has consequently
developed into something like a roulette game, with all bets called
when the wheel stops.
Apart from trivial quotas, the banks grant no real long-term
credits. No security market is in existence, a particular blow to
moderate-sized new undertakings. These are, in general, precariously
financed, the limited capital of the owner being eaten
up early by bloated land prices and building costs . The Near
Eastern expert, Dr . Alfred Michaelis, states that consequently
"numerous moderate and small-sized factories are in danger of
closing down for financial reasons ." 11
The legal interest rate is 9%, but this is vastly exceeded in practice
; while the banks pay I %2 % interest on deposits . Despite
the favorable circumstances provided in Palestine's swift growth,
the hostile attitude of the Government makes industrial and agri2.80
cultural mortgages most difficult to obtain, even at the gouging
interest rates prevailing . The establishment of adequate mortgage
banks is hampered by the Administration's land legislation
and attitude generally, frightening off interested financial institutions
in London and New York . The Arabs fare a little better.
Looking out for its self-selected wards, the Administration
has established an agricultural bank out of the public funds with
a capital of (400,000. It grants Arab farmers long-term credits
at nominal interest rates . The Jews, however, must contend
with the existing credit situation as best they can .
The Palestine pound is based on the British pound sterling . The
setting of its money values at this artificially high level automatically
exposes Palestine to the paralyzing competition of surrounding
nations whose devaluated and blocked currencies give
them an immeasurable advantage in all markets .
Due again to the Administration's own strictures, the banks of
Palestine are mainly branches of foreign institutions, with no particular
interest in the welfare of the country . Barclay's Bank,
an offshoot of the institution in London, has offices in Jerusalem
and six other towns and is banker to the Palestine Government .
The Ottoman Bank (Anglo-French) has five branches, and the
Italian Banco di Roma, four . In Tel Aviv is found the Polska
Kasa Oszczednosci (Polish) . There are a few local Jewish institutions
but, with little exception, they are of trivial importance.
This circumstance is all the more remarkable since the great bulk
of the money on deposit everywhere belongs to Jews . The savings
of the Arab fellaheen are usually kept in jars and similar hiding
places .
It is apparent here, too, that the British are determined to hang
a millstone around the neck of Palestine industry, and that if
equivocation and quibbling will not accomplish this purpose
they are prepared to strike directly at the heart of the country's
financial structure . This is conveyed in the draft ordinance of
April 1936, deleting from the law the provision requiring banks
to publish annual balance sheets . Thus not only was industry
deprived of any adequate insight into the country's financial situation,
but it was placed hopelessly at the mercy of foreign wireBRICKS
pulling. This was made uncomfortably clear during the unsettled
condition which followed after Italy's invasion of Ethiopia,
when apprehensive withdrawals threatened the collapse of Palestine's
whole economic structure .
In February 1936 the Government published notice of impending
legislation which speaks volumes. This regulation proposes
that "no company or cooperative society shall carry on a
banking business without obtaining from the High Commissioner
a license to do so, and the High Commissioner may grant, refuse,
or revoke such license without explanation."
Pride of the Yishub is the Jaffa orange, reputedly the finest in
the world . An incident occurring in Paris a few years ago spoke
more for the quality of this fruit than a mountain of figures . A
fruit vendor had made a charge of two francs for a single orange,
which the writer considered outrageous . After having been so
informed, the vendor shrugged his shoulders and said testily
"Mais, M'sieu - c'est un Ja f a !"
Before the advent of the Zionists, oranges were scarcely a factor
in the Palestine economy and grapefruit were unknown . By
1931 the Holy Land was producing five percent of the oranges
for sale on world markets, jumping in 1938 to the unbelievable
proportion of eighteen percent. Nowhere else in the world is
scientific farming brought to such a high point in perfection . In
some of the larger groves complete filing systems are used in
which the case history of every tree is charted with all the thoroughness
of a medical clinic .
Citrus is the heart of Jewish agricultural enterprise and the
keystone to the National Home's prosperity. In 1934 it represented
eighty-three percent of all Palestinian exports . Unlike
competitor countries, where a healthy home consumption provides
a secure back-log for this industry, Palestine with its small
population has only a negligible internal market. A falling off
in foreign sales would necessarily place its citrus growers in the
most precarious of situations, serious enough to snap the back282
bone of the country's commerce . Here is an imperative which
would automatically dictate the commercial policy of any other
government . But in Palestine, declares S . Tolkowsky, General
Manager of the Jaffa Citrus Exchange, this key industry "remains
like a fatherless child, whom everybody is free to kick and exploit
and whom nobody will protect ." 12
In the Old World, oranges come within the luxury category .
The arc of production is, moreover, rapidly climbing everywhere,
making competition for existing markets very difficult . The
acuteness of this phase is amply demonstrated in Palestine production
alone. In 1936 it was some eight million cases, whereas
in 1940, when the young groves- come into full bearing, it is estimated
that total shipments will reach twenty-two million cases .
What this situation will result in can be discovered from the overwhelming
hardships already crucifying the industry . Impassable
trade restrictions are robbing it of existing foreign markets .
Exorbitant taxes make the planters' lives a nightmare . In general,
the obstructive tactics of the Mandatory are shooting them
head-first into catastrophe .
At Jaffa, where the industry is situated, there is neither a port
nor sufficient storage space . At Haifa, the transit sheds, under
the control of the Government, are pathetically inadequate and
become more congested each season as the new orchards begin to
bear. The single railroad between the orange section and Haifa
is a Government monopoly. It is short of cars and locomotives,
and during the turbulent rains which fall at the height of the picking
season it often does not run at all . Following nerve-wracking
delays, shippers are compelled to load their fruit in open
wagons ordinarily used for the transport of manure . Since the
orange is highly perishable, many thousands of boxes are lost annually
at the railway stations . Fruit is inspected outside rather
than within the dock warehouses, adding to the spoilage, in a
scene of indescribable congestion and confusion . Galling delays
frustrate every step in the attempt to export . The net result
is that full shiploads often reach their markets with as much as
fifty percent of waste fruit .
The alternative possibility of truck hauling did not exist until
recently . Over the sixty miles of sand dune between Haifa and
Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the most important commercial centers in the
country, the Administration had obstinately refused to construct
a road. It was only when the present war-beclouded horizon
made the building of this artery an inevitable military necessity,
that it was undertaken.
In practically all European countries, quotas, currency restrictions,
or prohibitive duties make the situation more precarious
with every passing year . The principal competitor nations,
Spain and Italy, overcome this hazard by favorable commercial
treaties and clearing agreements negotiated with the countries in
which they market their fruit. Such intercession as the Palestine
Government attempts is almost inevitably in the nature of cavalier
interference . One single rule costing the growers over a million
boxes of fruit was the order excluding oranges from export which
count more than one hundred to the box . The Administration
refuses to introduce any uniform inspection system and calmly
ignores the demands of distracted Jewish growers for compulsory
spraying and smoking of disease-ridden groves - practically all
of them Arab . The desperate Jewish growers have had to establish
their own inspection service on roads leading to the Colonies
to keep their trees from being ravaged by the black scale and
other destructive pests .
Over the objection of the Arabs, also, Jews are making a strenuous
effort to create a voluntary, all-inclusive citrus exchange for
the maintenance of high standards of sizing, packing and shipping.
They hope to win the better prices fetched by wellselected,
well-advertised and well-marketed fruit. The Government,
however, seems to regard this effort as an extravagant
irritation of Arabs who wish to keep to their old ways .
In the matter of trade agreements the Administration lays exaggerated
stress on formal difficulties, which it pretends cannot be
overcome . Yet Great Britain itself levies so heavily on Palestine
citrus that the tariff represents as much as half of the actual cost
of production. The only value this high duty could have is to
protect a British island in the West Indies, whose sole export
amounts to twenty thousand cases . The desperate Palestine grow284
ers offered to buy this whole crop at attractive prices in exchange
for relief - but their offer met with no response .
A reasonable reading of this mystery is offered in the deliberate
British effort to develop Cyprus, where Jews are now practically
excluded, into a direct competitor to Palestine . The Jaffa orange
has made such a great European reputation that the market it has
established becomes a most desirable plum for anyone who can
steal it. The bureaucrats have set themselves to take over this
lucrative industry if they can. Cyprus oranges have been exempted
from customs duty in the Empire. Land is cheap, labor
is cheap, and the Palestine competitor is being frozen in his tracks
by tariff walls . The Island is now being systematically advanced
as "a place of settlement for retired Colonial officials of all ranks"
and other Britons looking for a good thing . In the official British
press it is provocatively described as "practically undeveloped ." 13
That the tragic troubles besetting the citrus growers cannot
be credited to merely lackadaisical administration is shown by a
host of other circumstances . An illuminating example concerns
the boxes in which the fruit is packed, which the growers had
been buying in Poland and Rumania. When these countries
placed severe import tolls on Palestine fruit, to favor Italian and
Spanish oranges, the Palestinian growers retaliated by setting up
machinery to make their own boxes . This was the signal for the
Government of Palestine to act . It promptly plastered a high
tariff on box-wood, so that they could not be produced locally
except at prohibitive cost.
The result of this official persecution is not slow in showing itself.
Jewish groves, established at extravagant prices, bearing
the entire cost of advertising and marketing Palestine fruit, and
harassed from every source, are losing their hard-won position,
even in Palestine . Isaac Rokeach, President of the Jaffa Citrus
Exchange, estimates that at least one-third of the Jewish citrus
growers have been unable to meet the interest on their debts for
the last two years .l4
In his 1935 Report, the High Commissioner candidly calls attention
to this end result of his policies, saying : "A decrease of
investment in citrus plantations was also observed owing to deBRICKS
cline in profits and fear of over-production. Arab farmers, however,
with little or nothing to pay for their land and their larger
margin between receipts and costs, have placed large additional
areas under citrus." 15 The simple figures tell the rest . Citrus,
once a Jewish monopoly in Palestine, is gradually passing into
Arab hands. The Arab area increased during 1935 by 20,000
dunams - the Jewish area, by Io,ooo.
Practically all countries today maintain a strict control over
their exchange transactions, and also supervise the search for new
markets. Their rulers are prepared to bargain for each minute
advantage at the drop of a hat . This is accomplished by a direct
manipulation of currency, noteworthy in the case of Germany,
and special agreements of various kinds, most common of which
is the `favored nation' type . Under this arrangement a mutual
exchange of purchase value is arrived at, cemented by tariff discriminations
in favor of the preferred party .
Without exception, industrial nations follow the rule of buying
only where they can sell, and view with serious misgivings even
the slightest upset of their trade balance . The United States,
after studying the bewildering list of marks introduced by Dr.
Schacht, each with a different value and all manipulated to Germany's
trade advantage, came to the conclusion in July of 1936
that they constituted discriminatory trade practice and promptly
placed a retaliatory duty on German goods .
On June 10, 1937, Commons listened to Lieutenant-Colonel
Amery, former First Lord of the Admiralty, threaten a sharp increase
in duty against American products . "It is impossible," he
said, "to get back to the gold standard as long as that great
creditor nation still is forcing us to take an excess of imports ."
Echoed by the whole British Cabinet, Foreign Minister Eden
stated that an agreement with the United States "for the reduction
of customs duties on a most-favored-nation basis," was one of the
main objects of His Majesty's Government.16 The Colonial Office,
too, is not oblivious to these rudiments of economic good
sense . In a recent report it expresses glowing gratification because
Cyprus was able to show a small favorable balance for the
three months ending June 30, 1936, with imports of £305,o87
against exports of 4305 ,35 1 -
Alone in the world, Palestine's trade policy is characterized by
an entirely negative attitude . There the Government considers
that the Mandate rules out the possibility of trade agreements,
quotas and compensations, though these are regarded by other
countries as the sole means of establishing satisfactory trade relations
. Though it seems to levy tariffs and imposts as it pleases
under the less imposing name of `taxes,' the Government officially
takes refuge in the position that its "obligations under the Mandate"
prevent it from `discriminating' against countries belonging
to the League, from whom the Administration of Palestine theoretically
derives its authority.
It is obvious that Germany and Japan, two of the worst offenders
in the dumping process, are hardly entitled, even under this interpretation,
to continued privileges . Officially they have retired
from the League and all its obligations . In Syria, under similar
mandate, the French slapped a prompt surtax on German goods,
and forced both Germany and Japan to conclude favorable trade
agreements which included adequate guarantees of payment in
Syrian currency .
Palestine is one of the few countries restrained from taking
counter measures when a foreign government leaves the gold
standard and spills its depreciated wares on the market, or even
directly subsidizes some of its exports . Latvian butter shippers,
for example, receive such generous grants-in-aid from their Government
that they are able to sell their product cheaper in Jaffa
than it can be produced on neighboring farms . The Holy Land
is literally flooded with goods from a large number of countries,
sold at a price with which no industry depending entirely on its
own resources can hope to compete . Much of this dumping is
accomplished through organized cartels which are able to maintain
their home prices at such a high level that they can accept
payments on export goods barely sufficient to cover the cost of
materials and transport . Recent years have witnessed a vast inBRICKS
crease in the dumping of goods by highly organized countries,
effected through export premiums, subsidies to industry, etc ., by
which the State endeavors to balance its payments without reference
to the home cost. In the case of Egyptian sugar, prices in
Cairo and Alexandria are exactly double those prevailing in Palestine
where competition has to be met from Czechoslovakia and
other beet-sugar producers.
All nations, without exception, enjoy preferential treatment in
regard to Palestine, turning it out, a little ewe lamb, to pasture
among the wolves.17 The Holy Land has consequently fallen
heir to a dangerous condition where it buys infinitely more abroad
than it sells . The result of this policy showed in 1935 when Palestine
had the staggering trade deficit of JJ 13,800,000, representing
the difference between imports of C r 8,ooo,ooo and exports of
only £4,200,000, a fatal disproportion which has risen yearly .
In 1936 the situation became still more serious. Imports for the
first quarter show a reduction of 14.2 % over the corresponding
period for 1935, while exports for the same period declined by
18.5%. Not only is the present deficit the largest in the world,
reckoned per head of population, but it was created at the very
time when every country was making the most strenuous efforts
to balance up its trade accounts either by diminishing imports or
increasing exports.
Under some circumstances these huge arrears might not be
cause for overwhelming anxiety. It could be argued that in the
development of a young and progressive country the import
of large quantities of production equipment is a vital necessity,
which must be considered as a capital investment rather than an
expenditure. It is undoubtedly significant that the largest single
import in 1935 was industrial machinery, valued at £992,ooo as
compared with 0967,000 in 1934 and 0467,000 in 1933 . Other
items of producers' materials showed similar pleasant increases .
Despite this optimistic circumstance, the facts as we have seen
them are not conducive to so liberal an interpretation . State
policies which allow for a constriction of foreign markets, and
make possible a condition where a locally manufactured blouse
costing 270 mils to make, has to compete with an identical blouse
imported from Austria which retails for 250 mils, hardly make
an assumption of this sort acceptable .
A picture of what is occurring can be gained from the increase
in egg imports from i 1,ooo,ooo eggs in 1929, to 76,000,000 eggs
in 1935, a frightening clue into real condition, when it is considered
that Palestine is still in the main an agricultural country.
The import value of food, drink and tobacco alone in 1935 was
43,646,877, while manufactured articles were 00,789,934.
These are certainly forbidding enough figures, fully justifying
Jabotinsky's dour warning that "the Jews are not settlers in Palestine-
they are just tourists!"
Certainly nothing but ruin can come to the infant industry of
this small land by turning it into a stronghold of free trade while
all the countries, including Great Britain itself, operate on the
principle of commercial treaties, mutual preferences and protective
tariffs . It seems obvious that the boasted `prosperity' of the
National Home is a delusion, since it depends upon the continued
import of funds, and not on the sound mechanics which trial and
error have proven to be the only operative media anywhere . To
become economically independent, the National Home must find
a way to produce within its borders, goods and services with
which to pay for the supplies it is compelled to buy from the outside
world. Otherwise the difference between imports and exports
must be charged off out of capital ; which meant that the
country had to pay out more than twice as much in 1935 alone
than was brought in by all the immigrants of 1936 put together.
The actual fact is that the four hundred thousand Jews in Palestine
find themselves in a grim economic battle with the world,
unprotected and prevented from protecting themselves . Since
the Zionist enterprise in Palestine represents a plunging investment
on the part of scattered Israel, desperately attempting to
salvage its remaining resources, Zionist Jewry, despite mutual
self-delusions, must be living largely on its dwindling capital.
Such, indeed, must inevitably prove to be the case . If no other
factor than the customs system operated, Jewish industrial position
would still remain dangerous and unhealthy, its catastrophic
ferments sure to expose themselves the instant the river of money
pouring into this tiny area abated. That Jewish ingenuity has
succeeded in partly circumventing these determined disabilities is
of little real importance, as it can be assumed that new restrictions
will constantly be invented to take the place of those which have
proven ineffective .
In the matter of currency alone, imports from such countries
as Germany, Rumania and Poland have to be paid for in full,
whereas when these States purchase from Palestine, the sums
owing are placed in blocked accounts, or goods which have to
be taken in lieu of money ; and it is a long time, if ever, before
the exporter collects on his debt . Such a condition would be
laughable in any other country, which would insist at once on
being paid in local currency under pain of excluding the off ending
States from its markets .
All these signs of economic insanity are the more remarkable
since the mere existence of a great excess of imports over exports
should place the National Home in an ideal bargaining position .
The very weakness of her trade position would provide a club
with which to secure important concessions from foreign nations
the instant a quota system was set up. Under an interested Government,
Palestine's trade would become a fat prize for which all
commercial nations would angle . It is almost four times that
of Egypt, six times that of Syria and five and a half times that of
Turkey, one of the prime offenders, sold Palestine in 1935 a
total of £ 3 38,807 and bought in return, £ 6646. Governed under
a system of strict State control over foreign trade, the Turks
put a virtual embargo on Palestine products. They ended by
banning all Palestine citrus in 1936. 111
Rumania, another typical illustration, sold Palestine £ 1,208,-
204 in 1935 and bought from her during that time a total of
£ 30,000. Despite this enormous advantage, Bucharest insisted
that sixty percent of the oranges it buys from the Holy Land had
to be shipped in Rumanian boats . To obtain the present import
licenses for two hundred thousand cases of fruit, Palestine
exporters had to purchase from Rumania fifteen orange cases for
every box of fruit sold . The same method of box-wood against
citrus fruit was forced on Palestine by Russia, whose balance of
trade with the Jewish National Home is twenty-three to one in
Russia's favor. In this policy these countries aped a similar one
announced in Poland. Taking full advantage of the defenseless
position of Palestine, Warsaw uses it as a dumping grounds for
cheap Polish goods, selling the Holy Land £400,000 annually,
and buying £ 40,000 in return.
Another of this unending list of examples is Hungary which
sells the Holy Land in the neighborhood of £ 120,000 every year,
and buys about £ i o0o worth of its goods in return . Like many
of her neighbors, Hungary has a complete embargo on Palestinian
fruit, out of deference to trade agreements with other orangegrowing
nations. Even in such countries as France and Belgium,
the sale of Palestine fruit is dropping consistently due to the presence
of new trade agreements by these countries with other
orange producers . Palestine is mulcted from every direction.
In order to sell Germany, last season, 216,ooo cases of fruit worth
less than £ ioo,ooo, she had to buy German goods of specified
classes to an equal value, notwithstanding an adverse trade balance
of £ 2,000,000.
Whatever specious legality the Administration might take
refuge in to justify its present course, Article XVIII of the Mandate
specifically empowers it to conclude special agreements
"with any State the territory of which in 1914 was wholly included
in Asiatic Turkey or Arabia." One of these States is
Iraq, which in 1935 exported to Palestine £237,000, and managed
by discriminatory duties to hold imports from that country
to £ 10,000 . The ratio of Iraq's sales to, and purchases from, Palestine
is now about thirty-one to one . Another is Syria whose
cheap labor and abundant irrigation facilities offers a destructive
competition to the fruit and vegetable growers of the Holy
Land. Syria sold Palestine during 1 935, £ 1,310,363 and bought
only £ 302,988 in exchange . The exports of Palestine to all the
countries of the Near East amount to only seventeen percent of
its imports from these same States, showing a deficit of £ 2,29o,-
00o in 1935 . This may be compared with the Iraqian balance
of trade for the same Near Eastern countries including Palestine,
coming to 890,000 dinars in imports against exports of 1,113,000
dinars. In the identical sphere of Near Eastern trade, Syria
shows imports of 5,763,493 Syrian pounds against exports of
7,121,693 Syrian pounds .
Under the stimulus of an interested Government, Syria has
started an impressive industrial development of her own . Industrial
exports, which a few years ago were far smaller than
those of Palestine, now exceed Palestine's by sixty percent . Even
more astounding is the fact that most of these are being concentrated
on the Holy Land . Syrian industrial export to Palestine
for 1935 added to £520,000, as against an industrial export by
Palestine to Syria of £ 110,000. In the trade relations between
Egypt and Syria we find a wholly different condition . After a
brief tariff war in 1934, a mutual trade agreement was reached
between the two countries leveling off the disproportion under
which Syria had suffered, to the point where Syrian and Egyptian
exports practically balanced each other .
As if playing a practical joke, the sole trade arrangement approved
by the Administration was made with Germany in 1933
during the world Jewish boycott of that country . Here Palestine
agreed to take double the amount of German goods for the
value of all oranges shipped to the Reich . Zionist politicians with
their hands out, had set the example in August 1933, by an arrangement
for the transfer of German-Jewish capital in the form
of German merchandise, thus flooding the whole Near East with
German goods . This scheme, which seemingly had the full blessing
of the Palestine authorities, resulted in a tremendous fillip to
German trade. German exports leaped from £780,000 in 1932
to £2,035,000 in 1936. How the trade wind blew as a result of
this policy is illustrated in the drop of Palestine's sales to Germany
from £6oo,669 in 1934 to £ 131,000 in 1936.
The whole sum and substance of the Government's attitude can
be seen in its failure to provide for a Palestine trade secretary in
any of the British Consulate-General's offices - even those in
neighboring countries. Such arrangements as are made in the
name of Palestine are literally fantastic . One is the treaty granting
free zones to Iraq and Iran in Haifa port . Iraq, despite its
anti-Jewish attitude, is given complete facilities for landing, warehousing
and transshipment of goods and the Zone is placed under
the absolute control of Iraq customs officials . Under this curious
`commercial agreement' Iraq also receives concessions "in respect
of local taxation," and is allowed duty reductions in favor
of her produce averaging from fifty percent to eighty percent .
In return for all this, Palestine receives privileges which add up to
a collective zero .19 The result of this `agreement' has merely
been to aggravate Haifa's already serious problem of congestion .
The effect of this stultifying process was recently described by
Dr. F. Rottenstreich, Palestine member of the Zionist Executive .20
In 1937, he disclosed, Jewish workers in Palestine industry had
decreased by twenty-eight percent from the previous year .
He flatly accused the Government of boycotting Palestinian
products, asserting that it even went abroad for goods not manufactured
in Great Britain rather than patronize local manufacture.
Something of the same condition was described by the Palestine
Arab Congress back in 1925, which sarcastically mentions a
special Stores Department existing only to buy from Europe such
articles as "a thermometer, for instance, at PTio, when similar
thermometers of the same sort, manufacture and patent, are sold
in Jerusalem pharmacies at PT3 ." 21
While everything connected with Jewish interests is being
booted around like a football, the usual solicitousness for Arabs
continues. This is shown handsomely in the case of the Arab
specialty of wheat growing . When a high tariff proved ineffectual,
the flour trade was placed under a system of rigid licenses,
with Jews allowed an annual import of only ten thousand tons
though the Tel Aviv demand alone was estimated at seventeen
thousand tons . Finally the High Commissioner stopped the imports
of wheat altogether during May, June and July of 1935.
This policy was continued to the actual point of an acute flour
shortage, notwithstanding the fact that it represented a `discrimination'
against members of the League of Nations anxious to
dump their excess produce into the Holy Land .22
Though Palestine is under the direct control of the British
Colonial Office, London takes the stand that to grant it Imperial
preference would be in some obscure fashion immoral . Palestinian
exports to Britain are hence taxed for all the tariff will bear .
It is significant that Imperial preference has been accorded all
other mandated territories assigned to Great Britain, without too
much fuss being made about it . In the cases of Togo, Cameroon
and Tanganyika, it was decreed by Order in Council, October
13, 1928, that these areas should be considered part of the British
Empire for tariff purposes under Article VIII of the Finance
Act of I9I9. International precedent is also offered in the preferential
tariff granted by France to the protectorate of Tunis .
The United States did the same for the benefit of Hawaii before
its annexation ; and in 1903 allowed Cuba a customs reduction of
twenty percent on the basis of "moral obligations existing ."
All authorities on international law agree that the Covenant
and the Mandate were devised for the protection of the mandated
areas, and not for the benefit of foreign powers . Even the open
door, in principle, is primarily intended to prevent the exploitation
of these territories . That economic isolation was certainly
not meant by the Powers is proven in the Mandates Commission's
demand that Mandatory rulers and all other States "which have
concluded special treaties or conventions with the Mandatory
Powers . . . extend the benefits of such treaties or conventions
to the Mandated territories ." 23
Britain does just the reverse . In no case where she has commercial
treaties embodying the most-favored-nation clause has
she bothered to arrange that the benefits be extended to Palestine .
At the same time, the National Home is bound by all the obligations
of existing trade agreements between England and other
countries. When a speaker in Commons demanded that duties
be imposed on German and Japanese imports into Palestine, the
Colonial Secretary replied that "this was impossible as long as
Palestine remained a party to the Empire commercial treaties with
Germany and Japan ." 24 Despite this contention, the British Gov294
ernment has not applied the Anglo-German payments agreement,
in which Palestine is legally included, to the balance of payments
between Germany and Palestine .
The shrewd hypocrisy of London's position is emphasized by
the voluntary action of Stockholm, which removed all import
duties on Holy Land grapefruit to "promote trade relations between
Palestine and Sweden." 26 In the same friendly gesture,
the Dominion of Canada allows free entry to Palestine citrus during
the principal season of export from December to May of each
year. Yet Britain itself doggedly maintains prohibitive tolls on
everything that comes from the Holy Land .
At the same time London insists on being credited with the
amount of Palestine imports in its trade deals with the various
countries, as in the Commercial Agreement signed with Poland
on February 27, 1930. In the Anglo-Lithuanian Treaty, signed
to maintain a balance of trade between the two countries, the
same business was repeated. Here, too, the British claimed credit
for all Lithuanian goods sold in the Holy Land.26
The irresistible force which drew the city-bound Jew to the
hard, challenging soil, also beckons him to the sea . Zionist thinkers
saw in advance what the Asiatic hinterland is rapidly discovering
- that the sea borders of Palestine form the gateway to international
traffic . Strategically located at the sea cross-roads of
three continents, the land of Israel must inevitably become a prosperous
maritime country .
The Nationalist leader Jabotinsky was among the first to grasp
the full significance of this situation . There has long been a
Revisionist marine school at Civitavecchia, Italy, where shipbuilding,
fishery and navigation are taught to eager students from
the recesses of European ghettos . The Palestine Histadruth has
its own society called Nachshon, Ltd ., and in Haifa there is a
non-partisan group, the rapidly developing Zebulun Society,27
where enthusiastic youths acquire nautical training and a love for
the sea.
In 1934, goods to the value of C 17,000,000 were transported
to and from Palestine by water, and nearly three hundred thousand
travelers came or left. Jews alone spend for shipping an
estimated C 3,500,000 each year. Yet for all the revenue Palestine
derives from its own fishing and shipping industries, it might
just as well be tucked away in the middle of Africa .
Several Jewish companies have made determined efforts to
capture a part of this sea traffic for the Jewish people. When the
first Hebrew steamer, the Atid, made its maiden voyage in 193 3,
manned by a Hebrew-speaking crew, observers commented wonderingly
that "there was an air of unreality about this venture ."
Today there are three Jewish shipping corporations in Palestine,
with half a score of vessels plying between the ports of the Mediterranean.
For the most part these craft are of low tonnage but
the new Jew looks at them with pride.
The difficulties faced by Jewish shipping are far greater than
those usually connected with an attempt to establish a new merchant
marine . It must compete unaided against the subsidized
shipping industries of other nations . More, it suffers from the
actual animus of its own home government . It does not even
get preference in port clearance and wharf facilities . It is handicapped
by its inability to get itself included in the pacts between
shipping companies, so that a balanced payload of merchandise
could be arranged for its vessels between their various ports of
call . Since the amount of shipping originating in Palestine is
considerable, a simple expression of interest by the Palestine Government
to foreign lines which touch at its ports would easily
bring about this desirable result . Far from betraying such an
interest in the country's merchant marine, the Authorities actually
prompted Egypt to forbid entry into her waters of Palestine
steam vessels (specified so as not to interfere with Arab
sailing skiffs) of less than one thousand tons . This, of course, hit
the Jews alone. Similar difficulties were encountered in Britishowned
Cyprus ; and Syria, too, was prevailed on to take discriminatory
action against the struggling Hebrew companies.
The Administration has declared Sundays and Christian holidays
the only days of rest in Palestine ports . On those days cus296
toms is closed and the work carried on at port extremely limited .
Employees engaged in it must be paid `overtime .' The Jewish
Sabbath and holidays are not recognized . This obviously places
Jewish shipping under costly duress, causing it to lose patronage
and cargoes.
In 1936 the largest of the Jewish steamers, the S .S. Tel Aviv,
finally had to throw up the sponge due to State-subsidized competition
of foreign companies, and the ship was sold to a corporation
in Japan.
A growing number of Jewish vessels are engaged in deep-sea
fishing, though local fisheries are discouraged by special legislation
prohibiting trawling, and by the granting of "exclusive licenses
to fish." The High Commissioner dictates the industry
personally, with powers to issue licenses as he sees fit . It is noteworthy
that foreign fishermen are subject to none of these disabilities
when operating in Palestine waters .
No appropriation exists for the fisheries service, even though
Palestine imports a great amount of seafood every year . Iraq
finds it profitable to transport large quantities of fish all the way
across the scorching desert route . This export of fish from the
Tigris to the markets of Palestine's coastal towns is as ironical as
bringing the proverbial coal to Newcastle . Practically the only
experimentation has been that done by private Jewish enterprise .
Dr. Sklover, former official in the Fisheries Department of the
German Government has proven, for instance, that the yearly
cycle of sardines takes them all the way from South Palestine to
the Syrian coast. Were the Government's attitude not a factor,
a great export of sardines, packed in native olive oil, could easily
materialize .
This uncompromising indifference to the fate of its entire
maritime industry on the part of a Government, is, to say the
least, unique . Not even in the section of the coast around Jaffa
Harbor is there an official sea-chart . Apathy extends in every
possible direction . The ports themselves are pathetically inadequate
to care for the enormous growth of shipping. Facilities
are so badly jammed that shippers who can possibly avoid Palestine,
do so. For years the Jaffa customs area has been so badly
overcrowded that arriving steamers often have to stand by for
a week or more before they can unload . Sometimes in the height
of the orange season the situation becomes so impossible that the
whole import and tourist traffic has to be rerouted through Haifa .
Storage facilities are so poor that port authorities have had repeatedly
to proclaim a respite week, during which no merchandise
is accepted from incoming ships and no products loaded on
outgoing steamers . What all this jockeying means to anxious
growers whose perishable product is decaying in the sheds and
rail-terminals need hardly be explained .
Haifa Harbor has been modernized to make it suitable as a
military-naval base . From time to time it is substantially rumored
that all civil shipping is to be discontinued, and beautiful
Haifa Bay turned into a purely military preserve. Here oil,
which pays no taxes, is the fair-haired boy of the Administration,
and its transportation takes precedence over all else except the
cardinal business of His Britannic Majesty's great gray sea dogs.
With superb unconcern, the Authorities watch everything connected
with private shipping pile into a hopeless jumble at these
two ports, a mess which grows crazier with each passing year .
The ideal spot for a harbor which would relieve this congestion
is Jaffa-Tel Aviv, with a combined population of well over
two hundred thousand and the great bulk of Palestine's citrus
groves within easy reach. For twenty years the irritated Jews
have remonstrated with the Administration over the neglect of
Jaffa Harbor. Not even a breakwater exists. Jagged rocks line
the shore, making it necessary for ships to load and unload from
lighters manned by ruffian Arab crews whose mood is always unpredictable.
Steamers must anchor at least a mile out, and in
bad weather have to stand by and pray for calm .
Unable to enlist Government support, the city of Tel Aviv had
a brilliant idea : it would build a harbor itself, at its own expense.
The juncture of the River Yarkon and the sea lent itself admirably
to such an enterprise .28 Its success seemed guaranteed by
its location at the very nerve center of the country's commerce.
The Government's answer was a flat `no.' It is doubtful whether
in the history of responsible government, the right of a city
situated on the seashore to build its own harbor at its own expense
has ever been contested ; but Palestine officialdom was willing to
set this amazing precedent . Its views were that such an improvement
on the coast of the all-Jewish city would constitute an encroachment
on the vested rights o f Ja ffa Arabs.
For years the Jews tried to secure at least unloading rights, and
for years their petitions were ignored . In 1936, after four weeks
of violence and isolation had sealed up Jaffa Port, the Authorities
finally granted the city of Tel Aviv a limited right to unload.
What the Government agreed to, in view of the emergency,
was that the Jews be allowed to build a temporary jetty
one hundred yards long with money raised by private subscription.
29 It not only refused to participate in the financing of
the `port' but also expressly forbade the Municipality of Tel
Aviv to do so . With fine meticulousness it limited the cargo
which could be discharged to eleven categories of merchandise .
Vessels with anything else to unload, be it only as big as a dime,
had to steam up the coast to Haifa or to one of the Syrian ports .
With usual exuberance, the Zionist press over the world hailed
the moment as historic and the `port' as a great concession .
However, what exists at the present day is a board pier with a
couple of wooden shacks serving as customs houses, and a big
sign, "No Admittance to Port Area ." 30 Certainly present omens
are at least dubious. One appeared on the jubilant `Sea Day'
which Tel Aviv arranged to celebrate the triumphant opening
of its `port' in June of 1936 . The great event of the day centered
on three Jewish steamers which were to sail proudly into
harbor as living evidence of Jewish might on the sea . Jerusalem,
however, ordered these vessels out of the vicinity, announcing
that anchoring in Tel Aviv waters was "permitted only to ships
unloading cargoes, not for display purposes ."
Actually there is no deep-water harbor in Tel Aviv, nor has
the Government granted any permission to construct one . The
`port' has none of the rights which are granted even such minor
places as Acre and Gaza .31 Officially it has no independent existence.
Ships calling at Tel Aviv must receive their quarantine
certificate from Jaffa . More ironic still, though the Jews of
Tel Aviv put up all the money to construct its wharves and
quays, the Government takes all the income from wharfage and
storage fees in addition to the revenue derived from customs
duties . The Mandatory's attitude is well covered in the Report
of the Royal Commission of /937 . It comments in regard to
the projected harbor that "this would undoubtedly be disastrous
to the prosperity of Jaffa, and, in justice to the Arabs, the Administration
has been unable to consent to such a proposal ." 32
In that more modern type of navigation, over the air lanes, the
story is much the same . Private flying is practically forbidden .
When a young Jewish aviator who had been a former executive
in the Fokker Airplane Works attempted to lay out a field he
was all but ordered out of the country.
There are three important air bases, at Haifa, Gaza and Lydda .
The Sea of Galilee is also being used as a permanent landing base
for Imperial Airways flying to and from India and Australia .
Palestine is on the schedule of the Royal Dutch Airlines' East
and West service as well as the Italian Ala Littoria and the Polish
`Lot,' connecting it up with the most important airports of
Europe, Asia and Africa .
A number of years ago, Tel Aviv with usual enterprise suggested
that a piece of ground could be acquired at the northern
end of the city for a commercial airport. It brought forward
the fact that the existing civil airport, located at the extreme
southern tip of the country in the Arab town of Gaza, was far
from all business centers and thoroughly unsuited to serve commercial
interests. Leading officers of the Royal Air Force were
induced to survey the site and they agreed that it was the best
in the country for the purpose. As expected, the Government
made no response . Tel Aviv then made another proposition,
offering to share the expense of purchasing and maintaining the
port. The Government now replied immediately with an icy
refusal, stating categorically that it would neither participate in
the construction of this air field nor allow the City of Tel Aviv
to build it at its own expense .
It must be noted, however, that recently a company in which
Jewish as well as prominent English figures are interested has
been allowed to use the airport at Lydda for civil aviation purposes.
The question of roads, touched on briefly before, is well
worth additional examination .
The major part of Jewish investment is made in the coastal
plain and in the valleys around Haifa and Tel Aviv . Scores of
Jewish settlements are located here . This district is the backbone
of Hebrew colonization.
Despite the frequent pleading, practically no roadways have
been built to relieve these colonies of their isolation . Colonel
Wedgwood called the turn in Commons . Replying to his
"honourable friend Mr. . Isaac Foot" who thought "the roads were
beautiful," he observed that "if he goes there and looks again
he will see that the roads which he mentions are all roads leading
to Arab villages and that it is very difficult to get to the Jewish
villages." In January 1930, S . Ettingen, lecturer on road and
railway engineering at Jewish Technical College in Haifa, directly
accused Jerusalem of mapping the roads deliberately so
that they would not pass through Jewish settlements. This
charge is substantiated in the single experience of the colony of
Hedera, largest and wealthiest in the country and center of the
orange-growing section . Not only did the Administration refuse
to construct a road but the colonists themselves were denied
permission to build one at their own expense . Only after interminable,
heart-breaking delays, and determined pressure from
the Jewish Agency in London, was this permission reluctantly
granted. Considering even this miserable concession a great
stroke of luck, the sturdy men and women of the settlement
turned out under the broiling sun to do the road construction
themselves, stopping all other work .
In striking contrast are the beautiful highways existing in all
parts of Palestine, leading to obscure Arab villages or isolated
military stations . An example of official competence, which
speaks for itself, is the beautiful automobile highway built in
1936 at breakneck speed from Gaza to the Red Sea over a
sparsely settled region where any kind of wheeled vehicle is a
rarity . Another is the really brilliant engineering feat involved
in the great broad artery constructed in 1937 to serve British
military needs along the thinly settled northern border .
At the same time that Jewish towns were wallowing in surrounding
mud, Imperial self-benefaction announces that two
main roads are to be extended from Palestine through Transjordan
and on to Baghdad, at an estimated cost to the Palestine
tax-payers of r3,000,000 . The principal function of these
highways is political, guaranteeing the communications of England
with her Indian Empire and protecting that all-but-sacred
instrument, the pipe line to the oil fields of Mosul. Their sole
commercial value will be to give Iraq a convenient artery for the
export and import of its merchandise through Haifa.
Military necessities have also given the Jews a left-handed
benefit, through the construction during 1937-38 of the coastal
road between Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa . For two decades
Jewish colonists pleaded to deaf ears, issuing volumes of protest
memoranda that would fill a library. In 1936 Mussolini inadvertently
became the Jew's good angel . The Government realized
that the need for facilitating speedy movement of troops
was more pressing than its strictures against Jews . Without
further ado, the highway was completed with such dispatch as
to come under the head of an engineering miracle . Jewish
growers will now be able to transport their fruit and vegetables
overnight to Haifa port. They will be relieved of making their
meandering way in heavy mud to the railroad which hauls their
produce by a circuitous route to the docks . Hardly less important,
since it passes mostly through Jewish territory, the new
road will be safe for travelers.
The Palestine railways are reminiscent of nothing so much
as Fontaine Fox's old comic, the Toonerville Trolley . Today
they remain in almost the same disreputable condition as they
were when Palestine was nothing but a decrepit Turkish province.
The main line is largely a war-time product, and exhibits all
the short-comings of its improvised military origin . Instead of
continuing on a straight course down the coast, the line loops
suddenly inland at the very point where the barren stretches of
the south give way to the economically important citrus belt
with its great urban centers of Tel Aviv and Jaffa .84 Just how
many miles of line the Palestine Government operates is an open
question . The Royal Commission of 1937 estimates a little over
iooo kilometers, of which 203 kilometers are in Sinai Peninsula,
323 kilometers in Transjordan, and 477 kilometers in Palestine
itself. A part of this system is the Hejaz Railway, a Moslem
religious property used largely to transport pilgrims to the
desert shrines. Most of it lies outside of Palestine territory, and
the only section which pays for itself is that which serves the
Jewish colonies of the Emek . Its annual deficit comes to about
,C45,000, which Palestine shoulders as one of the shackles hung
around its neck by the Administration . The Young Turks of
Kemal Pasha would have sold it as scrap iron long ago .
One of the characteristics of these railways is their varying
gauges, requiring a multiplicity of reloading operations to reach
different parts of the same lilliputian country . The personnel
consists of inept political appointees of the Government, who
treat this business with all the sporadic glee that a spoiled child
does a mechanical toy. The management does not bother to
coordinate and adapt its services, so that shipment by rail is
liable at any point to turn into a comedy of errors .
An analysis of revenue demonstrates that Jewish freight and
passengers supply at least two-thirds of the income of these
Since these lines were constructed they have always been in
bad shape . The Mandatory's 1920 report to the League of Nations
describes them as "entirely unballasted, scantily bridged,
needing repairs to earthworks, drains, fences and ditches . . .
and liable to be closed to traffic by washouts." For their length
the Palestine Railways are the most expensive in the world .
From year to year the losses of these hungry white elephants increase,
aggravated by the growing preference for highway transportation
where Jews are relieved of Governmental incomBRICKS
petence and obstructiveness . The railway deficit charged to,
Government expenditure in the fiscal year 1935-36 was £ 124,-
159, as compared with £33,805 in 1934-35.
When the roads were taken over, more than £500,000 was
paid to the Jerusalem-Jaffa Line concessionaires alone. The
Palestine tax-payer was asked to refund an additional £ z,ooo,-
ooo to the British Treasury for railway expenditures of the
Military Administration . This makes the initial cost £ 2,500,-
ooo, apart from subsequent capital expenditure of C785,000
and an increasing list of deficits . The charge on the Palestine
tax-payer per kilometer of line is conservatively estimated at
£ 10,000 .35 The cost of constructing a modern railway system
with full equipment, in other countries with similar traffic, does
not average over £4500-
To reduce effective competition, the Government puts every
possible obstacle in the way of motor traffic . Some of these
have already been mentioned. Others are a drastic restriction
on driving licenses, and such curious devices as an ordinance
which allows only one person to ride in the front seat of a touring
To cap the strange state of affairs, Tel Aviv, the most important
metropolis in the country, does not have a railway
terminal . It has only a little way-station, a small, ramshackle
wooden shack suited to some obscure Arab village . To catch
a train its people must go by motor to the little Arab town of
Ludd. Nowhere in the whole British Empire is there a town
half of Tel Aviv's size which has to contend with such a condition.
And nowhere in known creation is there another public
utility which could deliberately avoid the chief commercial city
of the country without having its management made the subject
of a lunacy commission .
Before the Zionists threw themselves into the picture, Palestine
was a millstone around the neck of every nation that governed
it. It was always in the red, produced nothing of any
value, and was considered an all-around liability . On a cost
accounting basis the new British acquisition seemed a pretty dismal
proposition . A great economic collapse had settled like a
bleak fog over exhausted Europe . The British Exchequer itself
was being bled white by incessant demands from every
possible quarter.
Soon Jewish money began to gravitate toward the National
Home. This was one part of the Zionist adventure the London
politicians could approve wholeheartedly . The prospect of having
someone to tax in Palestine was a pleasing one . We find
Colonial Secretary Amery begging the Zionists, in January 1928,
not to withdraw their financial support since "it would be very
unfortunate if that support were not forthcoming just because
there is a temporary depression ." Great Britain and the East
speaks of the Zionist Organization as a "hen that lays golden
eggs." It was evident that in the Mandate for Palestine the
British had fallen into one of the best paying businesses they had
ever encountered .
Despite generous squandering, the public moneys flowed in
like a golden river . Nothing like it has ever been seen in the
modern world. A deficit of £41,000 in 1931, converted itself
into a surplus of £6,267,81o in 1935 . By the beginning of 1936
this accumulated hoard was already equal to more than two years'
normal expenditure and was piling up rapidly .
This was far and away the most respectable surplus that any
Government in existence could show ; but nothing daunted, the
Palestine Administration went about the business of both expend-

Page 304 Book

iture and taxation as if it were skating on the thin ice of bankruptcy.
In 1934, though the Treasury was already groaning
under the weight of a huge accumulated reserve, with income
gaining over expenditures with every passing month, the Administration
attempted to put through an income tax, and was only deterred
from this measure when it was discovered that the Arabs
refused to keep books . ,
Now began a performance which Lord Strabolgi sarcastically
described as "the policy and economics of bedlam ." The Palestine
Government, its pockets already bursting with unused
money, commenced to borrow huge sums in London at high
interest rates, using its own money surplus as security for the
loans ! Completely rounding out this strange condition, the
Administration placed all but £ 10,000 of its surplus into lowinterest
English stocks and bonds, for funding British Colonial
development in such places as Ceylon, Natal, Uganda and
Guiana, an investment whose collectibility is more than doubtful,
if only in view of the defaulted amounts Great Britain owes the
United States .
It is interesting to examine one of these loans to discover just
what purposes the Palestine Administration had in mind . A
typical borrowing was made in 1934 for £ 2,000,000. Included
among its items were £ 133,000 for Arab schools (no provision
at all for Jewish schools), £ 250,000 for the resettlement of `displaced'
Arabs ; and £200,000 for agricultural credits (Arab) .
£210,000 is asked for a berth and reclamation scheme at Haifa
(for the benefit of the Iraq Petroleum Company) . £933,000 is
sequestered for water and drainage development schemes. Of
this amount, the provision made for Water Resources Survey (a
life and death matter in view of the claim that Jewish immigration
must be restricted for lack of water) was only £6o,ooo . (Two
years later only £7ooo had been used, wasted in bureaucratic
functions, the balance spent almost entirely for Arab villages and
British administrative necessities .) The only benefit the Jews
received from the entire water and drainage project came inadvertently
from improvements made in the mixed towns of
Jerusalem and Haifa .
The final item in this loan was 0407,000 for public buildings
and post offices. In the application of this provision the Jews
were again ignored . Tel Aviv, bearing by far the heaviest part
of the country's tax burden, was not given a farthing out of the
total loan and went along as best it could with its antiquated telephone,
postal, sewage and drainage facilities.
Analysis of the Government's expenditures for any period
shows a good deal of marauding in the interests of the Mandatory
itself. The League's Council had ruled that "while a mandated
territory may be expected to pay its own way, it may not be
burdened with obligations not directly connected with its own
administration ." We have already seen surreptitious violations
of this principle in the amazing deals made with Iraq and the
British petroleum companies. But the English were prepared to
go much further : they dipped their fingers directly into the till
without bothering too much about ceremony . They compelled
Palestine to pay over to the British treasury JJ 1,ooo,ooo as a refund
for a military railroad built during the War through Sinai
Peninsula . At a time when London itself defaulted on war debts,
it collected in full from Palestine, treating it as conquered Turkish
territory. In addition to these reparations paid direct to the
British treasury, the share of the old Ottoman public debt fastened
on Palestine by the Treaty of Lausanne is regularly paid, though
all other countries affected by this provision ignore it, regarding it
as a dead letter .2
The great bulk of all expenditures made by the Palestine Government
are conditioned directly on the military needs of the
Empire. Says Broadhurst without mincing words, "Troops
have to be kept somewhere, and although it costs more to keep
them in Palestine than in Egypt, India, or other British possessions,
the Palestine Government pays the extra money, and the expense
does not fall on the British taxpayer ." 3 According to the Shaw
Report thirty percent of all public expenditures were made on
the military and armed forces of Great Britain .
In addition to sums handed directly to London, are other expenditures,
designed for the same purpose but buried in the jumbled
double-ledger bookkeeping followed by the Administration.
One has only to compare the disproportionate figure of 042,-
487 for military and police during 1935, with £313,597 allowed
the combined Departments of Health and Agriculture, the latter
amount itself hiding such expenditures as those for military roads .
Just as Jewish money was used to build the best military harbor
in the Mediterranean at Haifa to protect Britain's way to India,
under the pretext of `riots' Jews are now expected to pay Britain's
huge military costs in safeguarding that same highway from the
menace of the Italians . It was decided by the Palestine Government
in July 1936 that "in principle" it shall be liable for the
whole cost of army troops stationed in Palestine, plus the capital
cost of works services there .3a According to a statement published
in March 1936 in the official Palestine Gazette, the expenditures
on the military garrison alone during the year came to
10,333,000 .
An inkling of where this sweet flood of golden rain comes from
was given by the Colonial Secretary in Commons on March 24,
1936. The fat Palestine surplus, he acknowledged, "in itself is
a magnificent tribute to Jewish enterprise - in the main it is
Jewish money." Official figures of the Palestine Administration
show the Jewish share in Government revenue to exceed seventy
percent of all collections of direct and indirect taxes . On the
basis of these estimates the per capita burden of taxation amounts
to about £ 13 a year for Jews, and £ 2 a year for non-Jews. As
far back as 1930, the economist, Hoofien, proved by careful
computation that Jews contributed per head directly to the Government,
£q per annum, against a revenue from non-Jews of
£ 1 .75 per annum .
The figures from Jerusalem give a fair comparative index into
the situation throughout the country . In 1936 the municipality
had a budget of £ 1 oo,ooo. Of this, £ 8o,ooo was received in
rates and fees, of which £70,000 came from Jews . A great
share of the balance arose from the wealthy Greek and Armenian
Patriarchates, and such foreign-owned enterprises as the giant
King David Hotel .
"I think," said Colonel Wedgwood, his stern blue eyes snapping,
"the feeling is that the Jews ought to look after the Jews
and the Government ought to look after the Arabs . . . Under
this bill we are providing for a post office in Jerusalem . We have
already put up with national money, not municipal money, a
magnificent post office in Jaffa . . . We were told the other day
that if the people of Tel Aviv wished they could raise a loan and
build a post office . Of course they could, but it is not just that
the Government should provide post offices for Arab towns and
leave the Jews to provide the public buildings in their own
In thus referring to the postal situation as a symbolic example,
Wedgwood did not overstate the case . Jews contribute seventyfour
percent of all postal revenues, most of it from Tel Aviv .
When the palatial new post office was erected in Jaffa, Tel Aviv
was already posting eight letters to Jaffa's one . With this disproportion
vastly enlarged in recent years, the Tel Aviv Post
Office is still housed in a rented, ramshackle building, staffed with
only two officials compared to Jaffa's ten . Broadhurst informs
us that "a visit to the post office at Tel Aviv will show a queue as
long as that at a Labor Exchange, waiting for stamps ." 4
It takes three days for a letter to travel the thirty-five miles
from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv . Parcels are not delivered at all but
must be called for . In the villages this applies even to letters .
And should a business man attempt to be smart and send his letter
by bus-driver, a warrant is promptly issued for his arrest for
contravening the Postal Regulations .
All public services can be measured by the same yardstick.
The work of drainage and reforestation, so vital to the needs of
an enlightened European community, has been dumped into the
lap of the Jews themselves . Expenditures on health, education
and agriculture are limited mainly to administration costs with the
exception of small subsidies to the Arabs to keep them quiet . If
the Jews themselves had not drained the malarial swamps, the
land would still be subject to pestilence and disease . One of the
learned reproaches of the Jewish Agency informs the Government
that "in most countries the protection of public health, the
promotion of education, the construction of highways and drainage
of large areas, are regarded as governmental functions ." s
Considering the fact that in Palestine the Jews had to undertake
all these functions on their own, with funds begged from scattered
Israel the world over, this quaint remonstrance is no less
bizarre than the circumstances which gave rise to it .
There is little in Palestine, as we shall discover, which is not
controlled by the Authorities with an iron hand . They have
their fingers in many of the country's most important business activities
and have taken over even such minor functions as are
generally conceded to the Municipalities by the most highly socialized
States. Despite this, they maintain no offices in the chief
commercial city of the country . Citizens of Tel Aviv in need
of Government services are compelled to go to Jaffa . During
the riots, when it meant death for any Jew to venture into the
Arab town, the Government opened up a few temporary services
in Tel Aviv ; but transactions not involving a contribution to the
Exchequer had still to be carried out in Jaffa ! Fretful at being
compelled to go to Tel Aviv to collect its taxes, the Administration
plastered an increased assessment on the Jews for this `convenience
.' In the temporary Customs Clearing Office, for example,
an additional sur-charge of two hundred and fifty mils was
levied, apparently, as one observer remarked, "for the privilege of
not having to penetrate into the closed port area of Jaffa at the
cost of a broken head ."
Since the educational system is generally considered to be the
foundation of the State, it is important to see just how this public
institution operates in Palestine .
Official reports for 1935 show the number of Jewish school pupils
as 52,030 ; Moslem, 45,894 ; and Christian, 18,175 . This unexpected
proportion is due to the peculiar age brackets of the
Jewish immigration, as well as the aversion of Moslems to educa310
tion, which they consider destructive to the true faith . If it were
left up to the British alone, the Jewish National Home would be
the most illiterate spot on the globe . Only 6.2 % of the Government's
budget goes into education, and of this small sum, the
great bulk is deflected into Arab channels . The attitude toward
Jewish schooling is something like that found in some of our
Southern States toward Negroes . Roughly, the State allots
$5 .45 for the education of every Jewish child, and $26.68 for
every non-Jewish child .? Of the £9oo,ooo spent from 1921 to
1929, less than £ 6o,ooo went to the Jewish school system . For
the school year 1935-36 the expenditures of the DepaiUiient of
Education ran to f237,000, of which £ 37,916 was allocated
to Jewish schools . These comparative figures are even more
striking than they appear, since they do not contain other amounts
which must be credited to the Arab side such as expenditures of
the Public Works Department in building of schools, and general
administrative overhead .
With no exception, the Government School System is purely
Arab in character. The language of instruction is Arabic . Hebrew
is not even taught as a foreign tongue . When in 1937 a
rumor circulated that the study of Hebrew was to be introduced,
it only evoked incredulity and rendered the Government's hasty
denial superfluous. "Apart from scientific subjects," the Peel
Commission acknowledges, "the curriculum is almost wholly devoted
to the literature, history and tradition of the Arabs ; and
all the school masters from the humblest village teacher to the
head of the Government Arab college, are Arabs ." e Arab
school masters in Palestine appear to have been recruited from
the ranks of the most exaggerated pan-Arab agitators. The result,
as Lord Peel candidly admits, is to turn the children out as
violent "Arab patriots ." "The schools," he tells us, "have become
seminaries of Arab nationalism ." s
During the whole period of British occupation there has never
been a single Jewish school built in Palestine out o f the public
funds. The only consideration shown Jewish children is in the
form of the usual face-saving maintenance grants . As early as
1926 the Vaad Leumi was complaining that though Jews pay
taxes for the maintenance of national institutions, "the entire
burden of the education of the Jewish children is laid on the
shoulders of the Jews themselves ." 10 In the year 1933, which
may be taken as an example, the Jewish educational budget was
£250,000 . The Government's grant was the ludicrous sum of
£23,626. The balance of the money had to be provided by
opulent Americans, and by the many poor European Jews who
were cajoled into donating their meager possessions to the various
Zionist funds. The Administration nevertheless does not
hesitate to impose its will on the Jewish-supported system even
in small matters . An instance, more than amusing under the
circumstances, occurred in February 1933, when it informed the
Vaad Leumi that it considered the salaries paid to Jewish teachers
excessive and demanded an immediate reduction .
These marauding operations show even more cruelly in the
handling of the Kadoorie legacy . Kadoorie was a Baghdad Jew
who died in China, leaving a million dollars to the Government
of Palestine for the establishment of an agricultural school . He
died in the serene belief that a Jewish State was in the process of
erection. Says Wedgwood, describing what ensued : "The bequest
was, of course, made for Jewish education ; but it was divided,
and half was spent on building an Arab school and the
other half has not yet been spent at all . And when the Arab
school was opened they avoided even mentioning the Baghdadi
Jew's bequest." The Jewish school was built some years later,
after the Government had been prompted into action by the
glare of publicity this remarkable arrangement elicited . In accommodation
and size it was, as may be imagined, vastly inferior
to the Arab institution .
The attitude toward public health is substantially that man
must not presume to interfere with the inscrutable will of Allah .
Only inadequate attention has been given to the needs of the
Arabs, and none at all to those of the Jews . Determined to build
their land so that civilized human beings could live in it, the
Zionists have diverted tremendous sums, desperately needed for
other purposes, to sanitation work, meeting as they went along
not the gratitude of officialdom but its undisguised resentment .
Though it bars the municipal corporations from acting on their
own, the Government has not made the slightest effort to develop
adequate sewage systems in the cities . There is no serious
milk and dairy inspection ; and nothing but the sketchiest
provisions for controlling epidemics or isolating contagious disease.
No provision is made for tubercular patients and little
more for the insane. The single small Government hospital for
mental diseases is reserved for Arabs . Broadhurst mentions that
lunatics "wandered loose about the streets, ignored by the passers-
by . If they frightened people, or attacked them, the nearest
policeman was called" 11 and the lunatic was jailed in great cells
containing thirty or more, together with illegal immigrants, and
criminals of all descriptions . Even lepers are not segregated .
Says Duff, "I can show you a half dozen any day in the Suq"
(the general market place) .12
We find the Jewish Agency remonstrating with the Government
in 193o because it was "steadily reducing its expenditures
for health" despite the great growth in population and revenue.
13 Again, in 1936 the Hadassah Report bitterly informed
the Peel Commission that appropriations for public health,
meager as they were, had declined materially since 1922.
Taking the initiative, the Jews have done a magnificent job .
"Next to the great sanitation work carried out in Panama by
American genius," wrote Senator Copeland, "there has been no
greater achievement in the field of public health anywhere in
the world than the sanitation program put into effect in Palestine
by American Jews ." 14 In 1927 the Zionist medical budget
was already double that of the Government for the entire country.
For years expenditures of the Hadassah institutions alone
exceeded those of the Health Department . 15 Hadassah keeps a
whole system of hospitals, clinics and infant-welfare stations,
open to Arabs as well as Jews. Unpublicized, still other voluntary
bodies play a brave part in this terrible struggle to redeem
the National Home from the morbid infirmities of the Near East .
As a result of their effort, infant mortality in Tel Aviv fell to
74.75 per thousand, compared with 209 per thousand in neighboring
Jaffa and 242 per thousand in Gaza. For all this, officialdom
has artfully usurped credit, though in his 1935 report the
High Commissioner is not ashamed to list the munificent sum of
£ 1038 as the Government's grant for infant welfare work .
Out of the anemic amounts which constitute the country's
health budget, a scarce ten percent has been spent on Jews .
The Government's preventive medical services are carried on
exclusively for Arabs . All hospitals it has built or supports are
in Arab centers. In Jerusalem itself, where Arabs are far in the
minority, less than five percent of the in-patients treated in Central
Government Hospital were Jews . These are generally refused
admittance and told to go to the Jewish hospitals . The
grimmest efforts of the Vaad Leumi finally succeeded during
1935-36 in securing grants for Jewish medical services totaling
the ridiculous sum of C 17,703 . At the same time the Government
contributes lavishly to hospitalization in Transjordan, as in
February 1938 when it announced a gift of C56,ooo to the projected
hospital at Amman.
The matter of national health is one of the innumerable crises
with which the Yishub is faced. Despite the great achievements
of voluntary health work, unsettling world conditions have diminished
the funds once so willingly donated by Diaspora Jewry.
As these shrink, the old perils revive in proportion . Such enterprises
as the draining of Esdraelon's great swamps rid Palestine
of the major part of its dysentery and malaria ; but similar work
cannot be continued for want of money . Malaria has consequently
assumed epidemic proportions in parts of the country,
and dysentery is considered such an acute danger that housewives
use permanganate of potash on all uncooked fruits and
vegetables as a precaution .
Even in sickness and death the malice of officialdom pursues
the belabored Jews . Jerusalem Hadassah Hospital, largest health
institution in the city, is charged for water at the same exorbitant
rate as if it were an ordinary industrial undertaking, the Administration
admittedly taking a hundred percent profit ; while Arab
hospitals, built and subsidized by the Government itself, do not
pay for water at all . A sorrier state of affairs was recited in
Commons on July 11, 1935 by Captain Strickland, referring to
the condition of Municipal Hospital in Tel Aviv. The only institution
serving the two hundred and fifty thousand Jewish inhabitants
of this district, it had barely one-fifth of the accommodations
normally demanded in civilized communities . With
a long list of patients on the waiting list, it was so overcrowded
that beds had to be put in the corridors . Facing the Colonial
Secretary, Captain Strickland asked the astonishing question,
"Has the Government yet decided to allow the Municipal Authorities
o f Tel Aviv to provide necessary additional hospital accommodations?"
The reply of the King's Officer was the usual skillful evasion -
"It would be very unwise for me to forward ex parte statements
to the High Commissioner, who as the House knows, gives most
careful consideration to these matters ." Here we have something
approaching the ultimate in human enormity : though the
Government's Department of Health contributed almost nothing
to the support of Jewish hospitals, the Municipality of Tel Aviv
is forbidden to provide improved hospitalization even at its own
In matters of health, too, the British relentlessly squeeze this
little country for profits. When the Municipality of Haifa
came to an arrangement to buy its sewage pipes from a reliable
Tel Aviv factory in July 1931, the Government stepped in and
squashed the agreement, demanding that it purchase them in
England instead . As a result of this kind of exploitation it was
shown in 1935 that over seventy percent of the pipes in Jerusalem's
newly laid water system were so defective that they all
had to be torn up again. After a decade of mysterious engineering,
Jerusalem is still so strictly rationed on water that a bath is a
rare luxury and its people are often reduced to cleaning their
teeth with soda water.'° It has been reliably estimated that the
entire reserve supply would not last three weeks in emergency
and that most of it is totally unfit for drinking purposes .17
A perverse pleasure seems to be taken in keeping all abominaDUAL
tions intact. One of these is an open sewer which runs from
North Jerusalem down the whole valley, poisoning the air with
a nauseating stink . This plague-spot has been in existence for
at least fourteen years . Despite protests, not the faintest attempt
has ever been made to cover it. However, on occasion the Administration
can take an aggressive interest in `sanitary' measures .
One of these, announced in July 1930, was a drainage project for
Jerusalem - unaccountably routed so that it cut directly through
the Sephardic cemetery, crossing the last resting place of Shimon
Ha'Zadid, whom orthodox Jews regard as a saint .18
There are more useless officials quartered on the back of this
unfortunate country than can be found in any other administrated
area on earth . Officials crawl over the land like flies.
In 1925, when they were not nearly so numerous, an Arab Congress
did not hesitate to declare that "the Turkish regime administered
Palestine with no more than one-eighth of the present
Administration and, from several points, more effectively
and satisfactorily ." 19 Some of these men are capable and efficient
. Most are thoroughly unfitted by both experience and
psychology for their posts. With few exceptions all of them
avoid work as much as is decently possible .20 In their train is
an assisting horde of native politicos who need no introduction
to the somnambulant venality of the East .
It is a normal experience to go to one of the Government
offices day after day seeking some small service, such as having
the water turned on in a newly leased apartment, only to be told
that the only person who can attend to your matter, is `out .'
To get anything done at all, it is the common practice to hand
one of the native politicos an inducing sum on the side, which
invariably helps. Duff's admirable book Galilee Galloper, barred
in Palestine, gives a relentless description of the greed and corruption
of these men . Their hand is everlastingly out, and
nothing can be moved without the passing of a proper bribe .
Despite its hostility to Marxism, the Government of Palestine
has put into effect a practical socialism of its own . It owns railroads,
telephones and other public utilities, and keeps a close
control over every kind of major enterprise . The attitude was
explained in a sentence by Mr. Johnson, the Palestine Treasurer,
when he was asked directly why it was so difficult for Jews to
obtain any concessions . Johnson replied tersely : "What do
you s'pose we're 'ere for !" Meaning that if any of the proposed
concessions were any good, `they' would operate them for
themselves with the public moneys, creating more jobs for
worthy Englishmen out of work . This procedure is, however,
held in check by lack of experience and the enervating climate .
Ordinarily things touched by officialdom wither - or proceed
at a snail's pace .
Very little that is lucrative escapes their attention . Jewish
firms rendering a public service sooner or later find Englishmen
in control of their businesses ; or their charters are canceled outright.
The Jewish Hasolel Company, first to generate electricity
in Jerusalem, may be given as a case in point . Its rights
to operate were challenged and the concession was finally taken
away from this firm by a simple maneuver. An obscure Greek
named Mavromatis with an ancient `charter' from the Sultan,
was dug up and his claims were shrewdly advanced at the Hague
Tribunal. Mavromatis, whose support hinged on an undercover
agreement to sell to British interests, got the concession ;
and in September 1928 the powerful London Power Security
Company 21 owned the business so bravely started by the little
Hasolel Corporation . Scarcely half a year later, a boycott was
being threatened against the new owner for its policy in refusing
to employ Jews .
All public utilities seem to operate on the theory that in one
way or another life must be made miserable for the Jews . The
phone service is a case in point . Jews are the great majority of
all subscribers . According to Hoofien's estimate, they are more
than seventy percent of the subscribers even in Arab Jaffa . In
a rapidly industrializing country, telephone communications are
an urgent necessity . Nevertheless, applicants for new phones
were informed that these could not be installed under three
years' notice . The expressed reason for this delay was that the
Government did not like the existing telephone building and,
apparently, had been spending all these years trying to decide
on an acceptable location for a new one . The ownership of a
phone in Palestine is now worth a substantial sum of money,
often changing hands like a seat on the stock exchange .
Though Tel Aviv is the commercial center of the country,
trunk calls to and from that city have to pass through the Jaffa
Exchange. If a subscriber wants to put in a call during business
hours from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or Haifa, it will take him
from two to three hours to get through .22 Even this is sometimes
an improvement over the local service . Jerusalem's main
post office has two call-boxes, one for local and one for trunk
purposes . "If the local box is occupied," says an English political
writer, "the wise man calls a friend in Haifa, delivers a
message, which he asks to be put through to the required number
in Jerusalem, and steps out of the trunk-box elated over the
comparative perfection of the long distance service, while his
neighbor in the local box is still trying to extricate himself from
wrong numbers." 23
All communications of any kind are in the hands of the Government.
Wires must be brought to the Central Post Office in
person and must be called for in the same way . The Government
fixes the charge, no matter which cable or wireless company
is to handle the message . The press rate for sending a
cable from Jerusalem to London is 21 mils a word, and it takes
an average of two hours in transit . From Cairo, Egypt, where
the distance to London is almost the same, the rate is i x mils
per word, and the time in transit is a half-hour .
All but a negligible proportion of telegrams are forwarded by
Jews. The revenue of this Department in an ordinary year
amounts to around C 300,000, against an average expenditure of
£ 198,000 .
Until very recently, messages were accepted only in English
and Arabic . A stream of violent protests from Jewish telegraph
users bombarded Geneva in protest . Replying to the League's
question the Government asserted that its lawyers had made a
careful search of the Mandate and were unable to find any specific
provision for the sending o f telegraphic messages in Hebrew.
24 After a protracted struggle, this farce was ended when
the Permanent Mandates Commission ordered that the discrimination
cease . The Government then installed Hebrew telegraphy
in only a few cities, so that its use became, in effect, impossible.
The Mandate for Palestine guarantees the rights of the Hebrew
language, though these are constantly infringed in State
institutions and in public life . Throughout the Government
Service an accurate knowledge of Arabic is demanded, but no
understanding of Hebrew is expected from either Arab or Englishman.
Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson brought out on
December 3, 1937 that only two percent of the Senior Officers
in Palestine had even a passing knowledge of Hebrew . Even
in Jerusalem itself, regulations were issued by the Commandant
of Police requiring a working knowledge of English and Arabic
of all officers and constables in order to be eligible for promotion.
No mention of Hebrew was made at all . This discrimination
against Jews in a Jewish city received such worldwide
publicity that a knowledge of Hebrew was hastily included
; but in practice the original force and purpose of the
regulation remained intact.
Identical strictures operate against the showing of the Jewish
flag . Its public use is treated as a virtual encroachment on public
morals. This was demonstrated convincingly during the
celebration of the Maimonides Octocentenary in April 1935.25
Spain, the great philosopher's birthplace, declared the occasion
a public holiday . Other powers, including the Vatican, joined
in honoring his memory. In Palestine the thousands of Jewish
pilgrims to his tomb were greeted by police with batons, who
busied themselves, among other activities, in tearing down all
Jewish flags they could find .
The present flag of the National Home is the Union Jack
with the word `Palestine' inscribed in a small circle in the lower
right hand corner. Its adoption was precipitated late in 1 934,
when a Japanese sea captain gave the Zionists their cue (which
with customary ineptness they ignored) by refusing to fly British
colors when in Palestine port, maintaining that the National
Home was an independent country under League Mandate .
Quite in keeping is the Government Broadcasting Service,
launched with much fanfare at the beginning of 1936. After
operating but a few days, officials forced the Hebrew speakers
to eliminate the name 5K-w4 Y-18 (Eretz Yisroel) when referring
to Palestine, and to substitute the phrase's initials, ,-t; (Aleph
Yud), a childish piece of malice which is even carried over to the
country's postage stamps .
Several typical incidents will show the uses this public service
is being put to . During the last week of September 1936, a
famous Arabic legend was being retold . The story revolves
around the classic loyalty of the Jewish poet-hero, Ishmuel (Samuel)
Adaya HaCohen, who had protected a valuable shield entrusted
to him by the Arab hero Alkis, even when his little son
was being tortured to death to force him to yield . To this day
HaCohen remains so traditional a symbol of absolute honesty that
an Arab when speaking of outstanding loyalty and trust will
say, "faithful as Ishmuel." As told over the Government broadcasting
station by the announcer, a public official, the explanation
was added that "Samuel behaved as he did from love of wealth,
as the shield that Alkis had left was a pledge for money Samuel
had loaned him." Thus the speaker demonstrated that so great
is the avarice of the crafty Jew that he would even sacrifice his own
child to it . On another occasion, in February 1937, a visiting
English M .P. named McGovern had his scheduled talk over the
Palestine Broadcasting Service cavalierly canceled at the last moment.
The acknowledged reason was that McGovern had made
the mistake of lauding Jewish accomplishments in a newspaper
interview the day before .
Radios practically come within the contraband class . The
tourist is astounded to discover that he must make a special journey
to Jerusalem and cut his way through a swathing of red
tape to get his radio out of quarantine, where it is impounded on
sight. Though Jews require a special permit even to possess one,
hundreds of sets have been supplied without cost by the Gov320
ernment to Arab villages so that they might listen to the propaganda
sent out from London and Jerusalem . (The English have
been lately horrified to find that the Arabs have been tuning in
instead on the anti-English incitement broadcast from Italian
Even the priceless antiquities of the Holy Land are not sacred
to the ruling caste and may be exported unhindered ; though
such `backward' nations as Honduras prohibit similar ravishment
as an offense against the nation . Much connivance goes on to
enrich individual pocketbooks . In one representative instance,
certain of these priceless objects were disposed of to a `speculator'
for £Soo, who promptly `resold' them to a Chicago museum
for C2ooo, a price in itself far below their real value .26
In other respects the regulation of life is minute and drastic .
The most revolutionary enactments decorate the statute books,
often promulgated without notice or publicity . One of these
empowers a police officer to stop a touring car and order the
driver to do such a thing as transport a live cow to the municipal
slaughter house .27 Another entitles the Authorities to shut off
the water supply at any Jerusalem address where a resident has
contravened any municipal law . Still another of these edicts
empowers the Government to revoke the citizenship of anyone
whose utterances might be displeasing to it, without explanation
and without recourse. Here one is reminded of the story of
the Berlin Jew, Horowitz, who wrote to a friend in America
saying that everything was fine with him under the Hitler Government,
putting at the end of his letter the following P.S. :
"Abe Cohen, who complained in a letter to his brother that
things were not so well here, was shot yesterday ." No one
needs to explain to the Government of Palestine what it means
for a Jew to be without a country and without a passport in the
present world .
Had the Government seriously wished to pursue the policy
of the Mandate, it would have engaged itself in training Jews
for its administrative and executive departments against the day
when the manifest purposes of that document had been fulfilled .
Simple logic would have recommended the appointment to high
position of only those Arabs who could be relied on to carry
out the policy to which the Mandatory was pledged . But the
official cabal had quite other ideas . Hence we discover, among
the other `benefits' conferred on Jews in Palestine, their derogation
to a sub-human species who at all costs must be kept out of
the Government itself.
As in Nazi Germany, virtually the only Jews who can get
Government positions are the old soldiers - and their lives are
made so miserable that they prefer anything else if they can get
it. Though European Zionists proclaimed their happy relationship
with Britain, local Jewry suffered from no such illusion .
The Vaad Leuini Memorandum to the League of June 15, 1931,
referring to the exclusion of Jewish workers on all governmental
projects, declared pointblank that "this exclusion, which is in
effect a boycott, provides additional evidence of a Government
policy calculated to ignore the interests of the Jewish community
in all its needs . . ."
When Samuel came after the 1920 pogrom which almost lost
the Mandate for England, a number of high-ranking Jewish officials
had been appointed with him as evidence of London's good
faith . The most important of these was Norman Bentwich, the
Attorney-General. As was true of Samuel, Bentwich leaned
over backward so far that he favored the Arabs like the other
officials . But this did not save him and he was retired by `comrade'
Passfield because he was a Jew, eight years before his
pensionable age.28
The resignation in 1932 of A. M. Hyamson, Director of the
Department of Immigration, eliminated the last Jew who served
as a department head in Palestine. Hyamson had managed
to hold on to his job by outdoing even the English in severity
to Jews. This did not save him either. The Administration
simply did not want anyone remotely suspected of being a Jew
in a position of authority . The Jews, who had come to detest
this man, were also glad to see him leave . Said the Hebrew press
politely at the time : "Mr. Hyamson's departure from Palestine
will not be viewed with regret ." 29
British policy has turned Palestine into a paradise for petty
Arab officials, who have been encouraged into bold disloyalty to
the very Mandate which feeds them . To understand all the
implications contained in this shoddy situation, the character and
training of the average Arab must be borne in mind . Like the
Igorrote of Luzon, he is still in the tribal stage of development .
He still lives in the atmosphere of the Ghazzu, the night raid .
Lawrence, and everyone else who has had any experience with
him, was quick to grasp his hopeless inadequacy for any kind of
modern organization. In all of Palestine but 73,000 Moslems
are able to read and write . To these may be added 43,000
Christians, making z i 6,ooo non-Jews who can sign their own
Against this miserable showing, almost one hundred percent
of the Jews in Palestine are literate . They not only possess a
heavy majority of the trained and educated population but have
in their midst some of the greatest minds in the world . Included
in their ranks is a vast amount of ability that has fled from
oppression, a concentration of so many scholars, engineers, economists,
thinkers and distinguished figures generally, that they
probably represent the highest group level of culture and ability
in existence. Here was apparently the perfect source to draw
on, in this land inexperienced in self-rule, for the purposes of
efficient government .
Actually, we find bias against these people so great that they
are allowed to serve only where their appointment could hardly
be prevented - as in the case of translators, or in the municipal
Jewish institutions . The Government's Works and Plans Department
provides an excellent illustration . Some of the ablest
engineers in the world now live permanently in Palestine but are
studiously ignored. Whenever competent engineers or architects
are needed, advertisements for the purpose are inserted
solely in the London papers . That `Aryans only' need apply,
goes without saying .
In the whole Government service, Jews, who constitute one
third of the population and contribute the bulk of the State's
revenues, hold less than 5% of the public jobs. Even this fraction
is in the nature of a sop, thrown irritably to keep them
quiet as one does a bone to a yelping dog . A bird's-eye view of
these complaints tells a vivid story . A wild cry from the Jewish
Agency reveals that the percentage of Jewish labor employed
on public enterprises was i %2 % in 1925, as compared with 6%
in 1922 .30 In the five-year period ending March 31, 1927, the
average was less than 3% . The Agency avers that in Haifa
where Jews were half the population, and at Jaffa where their
numbers were considerable, extensive public works programs
were undertaken without employing a single Jewish workman
or clerk . It declares that less than q.% of those employed on
public works in Jerusalem are Jews.
As early as 1926, various departments of the Government had
already been made Judenrein (free of Jews) . A list of official appointments
published October 11 of that year, shows the railroads,
post office and police departments to be practically without
Jews, though a few were appointed in ensuing years to keep
a decent face . No Jews at all were named to the strategic Land
Courts or to the Frontier Force . In 1930 a Customs Department
investigation disclosed that in the head Government office,
of thirty-five officials, one was Jewish . In the Haifa office, of
thirty-two officials, there were two Jews . Since these offices
were all in strong Jewish areas, it does not require saying that
in the Arab sectors there were no Jews at all .
By 1935 the condition was hardly improved . In April of
that year the Hebrew press was complaining that Jewish officials
in Government offices averaged less than one-half of one percent.
Not a single Jew was employed in the vast Haifa Harbor
extension and improvement works . There were only ten
in the Government works in Jerusalem, including the Printing
Press, Post Office and Police School, and only five on Jerusalem
municipality enterprises. Thousands of illegal Arab newcomers
were being used on these projects, but no Jews were wanted .
Evidence presented to the Peel Commission in 1937, proved
that though they contribute directly sixty-five percent of the
railway revenue, out of the 4300 employees in the Government
railway system only 365 were Jews. The annual budget of
£ 130,000 for road maintenance and public works was spent almost
in its entirety with Arabs .
Though Jews are responsible for seventy percent of customs
receipts, they are virtually excluded from labor in the ports . At
Jaffa the porters are all in direct Government employ . Lighter
men and stevedores must be licensed by the Authorities, who
flatly refused to issue licenses to Jews. At Haifa a considerable
proportion of the porters work for private firms, which hire Jews .
Of the three thousand laborers regularly working in the two
ports, at the beginning of 1936 only three hundred were Jews,
all of whom were in the employ of Jewish importers .31
Where a proportion of Jews is used the difference in treatment
is impressive. Even the Peel Commission was compelled
to remark that Jewish scavengers in Jerusalem were not supplied
with winter clothes as Arab scavengers had been .32
Partisanship of the most indefensible kind is always in evidence.
Tel Aviv, with one hundred and fifty thousand people,
is allowed only twenty-six postmen, who work twelve hours a
day for £5 a month . Side by side with these Jewish mailcarriers
are imported Englishmen who are paid four or five times
this amount. The Executive Committee of the Palestine Arab
Congress comments that "salaries of Government servants are a
matter of wonder and ridicule . . . A customs cashier in Jerusalem
station, for instance, gets £E25 per mensem.33 He is
transferred and his successor is given only £E1 z, though he is
held equally responsible . A clerk in a department gets more
sometimes than his chief who is even responsible for his own
work ; as for example is the case in the Werko Department of
Jerusalem where the director of that section gets £E16 and one
of his clerks gets £E22, though the former is his senior in age
and service, and though other clerks who carry on the same
work get between £ E 1 o and 15 ." 34
Sometimes official bias goes to such lengths that it backs up
against itself. An amusing instance concerned a contract for a
£6o,ooo British military camp near the Jewish settlement of
Nathania, assigned to a firm in Egypt . Unable to handle it, they
promptly sublet the job at a profit to Jewish contractors in
Still others took their cue from the Government and refused
to employ Jews . One of them was the already mentioned Jerusalem
Electric Company . Another was the important Shell Oil
group, beneficiary of the tax-free Iraq Oil Company agreement .
A particularly flagrant case concerned the famous King David
Hotel, one of the largest enterprises in the country and a favorite
rendezvous of Government officials . On September 23,
1 934 it became entirely Judenrein, the last remnant of a oncelarge
Jewish staff having been dismissed to be replaced by imported
foreign labor. Bellowed the manager : "We want no
Jews in this hotel . We shall keep it clean ." 35
The average Englishman believes religiously in the incorruptible
quality of "British Justice." He will tell you that the Englishman
takes his whole system of equity with him wherever he
goes, and that it is a great, moral, cleansing influence in the lives
of the backward peoples who inhabit the far reaches of the Empire.
But whatever it may be elsewhere, the British system of
jurisprudence in the Holy Land has little to recommend it .
The men sent down from London to rule this martyred country
proceeded at once to put into effect a number of kinds of
justice for a number of kinds of people . Lowest in the categories
of caste by which equity was meted out were the Jews .
The Arabs followed, a few notches ahead in favoritism . Perched
on top of the heap were the English, who were practically a law
unto themselves .
Widespread corruption degrades every department of the
Judiciary . Graft, baksheesh and rake-off are constantly in the
background as in the worst days of the Roman yoke . Everything
connected with either the police or the courts is for sale .
Even the black-list of persons to be kept under particular police
surveillance at the time of the 1929 outbreak (a document so
confidential that it was even kept secret from the Parliamentary
Commissions sent down later to investigate), appeared in Photostat,
with admitted accuracy, in the columns of the New York
Vorwdrts and in other papers throughout the world . Thoroughly
disgusted, Detective Chief Broadhurst came to the conclusion
"that to put anything on paper at all was simply `to blow
the whole gaff .' 11 36 He candidly concedes that it would be
impossible to operate a jury system in Palestine . Bribery and
corruption infest all processes of law to such a degree that to introduce
it would mean a complete end to even the bare pretense
of legal justice .37
The great bulk of appointments to the Magistracy has been
drawn from clerks and interpreters, some of them semi-literates .
The Government benevolently allows these incompetents ten
years to pass an examination, meanwhile authorizing them to
serve in a judicial capacity . "There was only one man on the
High Court Bench who had any real conception of criminal
law," states Broadhurst laconically, "and he was in a district
where his knowledge was only of use locally ." 38
To the outsider it is incredible that Tel Aviv has no Court .
All matters involving more than J 15o have to be heard in Jaffa .
A court sits in such Arab villages as Jenin, Tulkarm and Acre,
but the largest city in the country has no court . And if you
speak anything but Arabic to the notary of clerks in the Jaffa
District Court, you will be stared at as if you were some strange
animal . The record of proceedings in almost all courts is kept
in Arabic. Basic law is still the old reactionary Ottoman code,
long ago discarded as obsolete in Turkey itself .
The prosecution of crime is almost wholly in Arab hands .
The Government Advocate is an Arab . His assistant at headquarters
is an Arab . With the exception of one Jew, who does
only office work, all the junior Government Advocates are
The Criminal Investigation Department is so desultory in its
service that it can hardly be said to exist in practice. Here, too,
official perjury is an expected occurrence and influence and
baksheesh are part of the formula of justice. It is notorious
that the police `investigators' who compose the original `report'
before cases come to the examining magistrate, will prepare these
documents in any way that is wanted if a proper payment is
made. As for the courts, "it was possible," says Broadhurst, "to
obtain a habeas corpus for a few piastres in order to shortcircuit
proceedings ." 40 The style of British officialdom itself
can be convincingly grasped in the trial of a Georgian Jew
named Turshoili, for arson, in November 1932 . Declared States
Attorney Elliot for the Government, before the highest tribunal
in Palestine : "Jews are necessarily arsonists ."
The police are merciless to prisoners who meet their displeasure.
Their tone may be judged from the reappointment to high
position in the Police Force of Kheir El Din Effendi Besesso after
he had been found guilty by the High Court, on August 9, 1928,
of kidnaping a witness for the defense on the eve of a criminal
trial. Says Duff who should know : "Torquemada, or the Court
of Star Chamber can have had little fresh to impart to your
Palestine policeman determined to extract a confession ." The
arrest of two Jewish children, Simon Mizrachi, aged 9, and
Haham Jacob, aged 10, on March 7, 1931, provides a ghastly example.
Without their parents having been informed of the
offense, the `criminals,' charged with throwing stones at an
Arab's house, were flogged so unmercifully that one was reported
near death .41 The brutal medieval custom of whipping
is actively followed in the jails, a matter which received some
airing in Commons in June 1928, where the Colonial Secretary
learnedly backed this cruel usage with the opinion that "flogging
was a proper punishment ."
Not even the concentration camps of Germany can surpass
in pure horror prison life in Palestine . The jail at Acre is a
good example. It is the principal prison of Palestine, a massive,
forbidding structure inherited from the Turks . Its foul dungeons,
in which light and air rarely enter, are a relic of ages past .
The prison food is supplied by a concessionaire, the lowest
bidder receiving the concession . It is of the poorest kind and
consists of a small amount of rice, rough bread and a handful of
green olives . A great many of the prisoners are growing boys
in their teens (especially those held as illegal immigrants), and
very often remain crippled for life after a year or two of this
diet. "General weakness, stoppage of growth, ulcerated stomach,
anemia and chronic dysentery are prevalent among the
younger Acre prisoners," writes Malkah Raymist .42 There is
no distinction made between petty offenders, illegal immigrants,
tourists who overstay their leave, murderers, prostitutes or the
insane ; all of whom are crowded into the same filthy cells, where
at times it is almost impossible to breathe . The prisoners have
no beds and must sleep directly on the earth floor . Until early
in 1938 they were not even entitled to blankets .
There is no adequate medical service and no dental service at
all. All of the prisoners (including those awaiting trial) are put
on hard labor and regularly kicked and beaten if they are unable
to do the heavy work demanded of them . At the slightest
sign of disobedience they are severely thrashed or thrown into
a tiny windowless cell called the 'sensane,' a foul cubicle where
a man can neither lie nor stand, but only crouch . Sanitary
conditions are nil and the stench is described as unimaginable.
Clothes are seldom issued and often prisoners have to go about
in rags. Cigarettes are not allowed . Inmates may write or receive
letters only once a month, so that they are virtually cut off
from the world .
Under these terrible conditions unfortunates of all kinds may
be kept for years awaiting trial, and must then serve their sentences
in addition.
Suicide and attempted suicide are a common occurrence, particularly
among the illegal immigrants held here . Often the
prisoners collapse in fainting spells or develop fits of wild hysteria,
screaming, tearing their hair and knocking their heads
against the stone walls. Those who have been kept here for
any considerable period invariably emerge physical wrecks.
Palestine is the only country where the old law of imprisonment
for debt still holds . Another novelty of Palestine court
procedure permits witnesses to give testimony behind a screen
so that the accused cannot see them .43 An even more startling
introduction is contained in the Laws of Evidence (AmendDUAL
ments) Ordinance, introduced in 1936, which "abolishes the
necessity for corroboration in criminal cases generally." 44
Fully as abhorrent to any civilized mind is the practice of
levying collective fines on whole villages for the misdeeds of
a single culprit ; or still more horrible, of blowing up entire
blocks of houses with dynamite on suspicion that a yet-untried
law-breaker made his home in one o f them .
What was taking place under good British Government may
be aptly judged from the fact that in an ordinary year there
were three hundred and sixty reported murders in Palestine, with
only eight offenders hanged . Hundreds of additional homicides
were not reported at all, "while highway robberies and cattle
thefts were higher even than they had been in the laxest years
of the Ottoman regime." 45
Duff gives a graphic account of the officially condoned reign
of terror against the Jews in the sector where he was ruling
police officer. "It was a most trying situation for me," he writes .
"I dare not do much against the Arabs, even though I knew they
were guilty, as Jerusalem frowned on anything that would annoy
the `Nationalists,' as these self-seeking, cynical effendis
called themselves ." In his district a hurricane of outrages battered
the Jewish settlers, ranging from wanton destruction of
trees and animals, to murder and assault - yet, he writes, "in no
single instance was I able, through the restrictions placed upon
me, to bring the offenders to trial, though I knew who the guilty
persons were, and they knew I did ." 46 It was a contemplation
of this sort of thing which caused Wedgwood to cry out in
Commons that "the Government at the present time is and-
Semitic and is a disgrace to England ."
It appears to be a principle of common equity here that thieves
and vandals may not be injured when they are caught redhanded
at their work. Hundreds of Jewish watchmen have
been imprisoned for doing bodily harm to Arabs who came to
steal or commit other depredations . A simple example is the
case of an 18-year-old watchman named Solomon Jacobson who
was badly injured during a raid by a gang of Arab thugs organized
for purposes of theft . In an effort to discharge his duty
and defend his life he mortally wounded one of the invaders .
For this `crime' he was sentenced on May 2, 1935 to seven and
one half years at hard labor . Another typical case occurred February
24, 1 933, when a group of thirty Bedouins attacked a
small Jewish colony, killing an ex-Legionnaire and wounding
several others . Police who stood watching a short distance
away did not attempt to interfere ; but four of the raiders were
captured by members of the colony. At the Nablus Court, a
few months later, the Bedouins were acquitted for `lack of evidence,'
an item which appears with tiresome repetition on Palestine
court records .
The amazing legal principle making these decisions possible
is indicated in the case of Naftali Rubenstein, a watchman of the
Bath Galim settlement, who was sentenced to prison at Haifa
for "attempted murder" (the wounding of an Arab) . The judge,
in pronouncing his verdict, stated that it was intentionally light
because "there were extenuating circumstances" in that the Jews
of Bath Galim were being assaulted by Arabs at the time ! 47
An even more revolutionary precedent is written in the case
of Achmed Said, an Arab burglar who had killed a watchman
of the Jewish colony at Petach Tikvah . The Jerusalem Court
sentenced the man to six months, justifying this nominal punishment
on the score that "the crime had been unpremeditated," in
that the thief had killed the watchman only to escape being
caught .4S However, when an Englishman is killed, also "without
premeditation," the death penalty is unhesitatingly invoked .
This double application of the law is nowhere better shown than
in the trial of one Sadik Altamini, indicted for inciting a Hebron
crowd with the cry : "Kill Police Inspector Cafferatta and the
Jews !" For inciting to kill Cafferatta, the man was sentenced
to four years at hard labor . At the same time, the second charge,
that of inciting to kill Jews, was dropped "for lack of evidence
!" 4s
Offenses against womanhood are regarded almost casually .
"Young girls no longer may venture forth safely alone on the
streets," writes the correspondent for the National Catholic WelDUAL
fare Council.80 The Government's attitude speaks for itself in
the dismissal of a Jewish sub-inspector of police named Ben-
Yehuda for "communicating to the press and some friends"
the fact that an American girl had been violated on the streets
of Jerusalem.51 Cases of unpunished criminal assault reached
such proportions that the American Consul General in Jerusalem
was forced to make strong representations on behalf of the
United States Government.52 As if by magic, three assailants
of an American girl were promptly apprehended and sentenced
to fifteen years at hard labor - the heaviest and practically the
only punishment imposed for such crimes up to that time .
In addition to the deluge of rape cases against women were
many degenerate attacks on boys and men . The Palestine penal
law does not prohibit homosexuality and its practice involves
little social stigma among Moslems.
The official attitude is brought home in revolting detail in the
case of a Jewish boy and girl named Stahl and Zohar who disappeared
in the Winter of 1931 while out for a stroll . A series
of earlier outrages had excited the Jewish community to a fever
pitch of feeling ; and since the Authorities would do nothing,
private investigators were hired and a big reward posted. This
initiative brought accusing witnesses from Bedouin villages near
Herzlia, who led investigators to a shallow grave where the
bodies of the unlucky youngsters were found . The boy had
been stabbed to death defending his companion . The girl, according
to witnesses, had been violated by five Bedouins .
Though the culprits were thus openly named, the police made
no effort to arrest them . Here a new factor entered. The
murdered pair were nationals of Germany and Poland and their
consulates insisted on at least a show of justice . Under these
representations, the Government took the five accused into custody,
where three were promptly discharged and the other two
held on the familiar charge of "unpremeditated murder" - the
fact that the killing had been incidental to an attempt at rape
apparently being considered a mitigating circumstance. To
make the police less eager for private rewards in future, an officer
named Kabra was given three years for having lodged "false
information" against the Arabs who had been released, though
they had been identified by a score of people of their own tribe .
Now followed galling, interminable delay . Finally, after
angry representations from the Polish and German Consuls, the
Bedouins were committed to trial . Though the case against each
of them was identical, only one was found guilty and he was
sentenced to fifteen years. The same Court which made this
decision sentenced an Arab named Mustafa Jeebawi to death for
the murder of Mrs . Thomas Miller, wife of an English engineer,
while bent on rape .53 Apparently 'unpremeditation' did not apply
when it came down to typical Arab crimes against the families
of British officials.
It has been shown time and again that culprits arrested for
physical attacks on Jews were rescued by the public prosecutors
themselves. Apparently this corrosion reaches into the highest
places, as was clearly demonstrated in the case of an Arab (a suspected
murderer) caught in flagrante delicto with four rifles and
some bombs, early in 1937 . The prosecuting attorney immediately
asked that the case be thrown out of court . Guilelessly,
the presiding magistrate asked why it should not at least be
pressed according to normal regulations on illegal possession of
arms. "I am acting on instructions," snapped back the Government
In addition to the civil and criminal courts are an unending
multiplicity of ecclesiastical tribunals whose jurisdiction is legally
recognized . These perform civil functions ordinarily considered
to be the prerogative of the State alone . The judges who
sit in the Moslem Shavia Courts are considered servants of the
Administration, which pays their salaries - yet the courts themselves
are completely removed from any supervision by the Government's
Legal Department . In the usual contrast, Jewish
courts must pay all their own expenses by a voluntary tax on the
Jewish community. The privileges of the various non-British
Christian communities are intermediate between those of Jews
and Moslems. However, Christians are allowed certain unique,
overall privileges in compensation . One is the right of monks,
European or native, to serve sentences of imprisonment in the
spiritual seclusion of their own monasteries instead of in the
squalid promiscuity of a Palestine lockup .55
One may well pity a people who are placed at the mercy of
an alien police . The Irish, with centuries of wretchedness behind
them, could tell you something about that . Jews who remember
the Kishineff massacres in Russia, when uniformed gendarmes
led the howling hooligans over the barricades, could tell
you more. From their experience in Palestine they could add
terrible pages to that record.
Shocked by the course events have taken in the National
Home, Colonel Patterson grimly referred to it as a "National
Death Trap ." Echoing the same disgust and revulsion, former
Colonial Secretary Amery sarcastically informed his Government
that the Home could not be regarded as a Home "unless
those living there were allowed to play a part in its defense ." 56
Since the disbanding of the Jewish Legion it has been known
that Jews were not wanted in the Palestine military or police
force. Part of the strategy in this high game of dissimulation
was to make it impossible for the Jews to protect themselves, and
then, by encouraging attacks upon them, pose as the faithful,
disquieted custodian who was being badgered from all corners
for his good offices . Thus the Jew is placed in the traditional
role of a craven interloper foisted on an innocent people, who
too cowardly to defend himself, calls on the harassed Briton to
do this for him while he slinks out of harm's way. It is this
interpretation that London has so painstakingly palmed off on
puzzled world opinion.
The modern Jew has proven himself to be a good soldier . In
the World War he won his full share of citations in all countries .
The present French Foreign Legion, so famous for its exploits
in North Africa, has so many Jews in its ranks that whole sec334
tions of it can almost be designated as a Hebrew force. The
same is true of the plucky International Brigade of Spain which
held up Franco's advance for so long .
In Palestine the Jews were at all times prepared to defend
themselves and were perfectly capable of doing so, had they
not been rendered impotent by the Government . The Hebrew
in his National Home is far from a milksop . The military of
Palestine would be literally swamped with Jewish recruits, were
they accepted . Before the British came, the Jewish colonies
were considered the safest places in the Near East. Their gendarmerie,
a force of hard-riding, reckless horsemen known as the
Shomrim, had long since won a reputation for everything that
was fearless and gallant . The Turks freely acknowledged it to
be the most skilled police force in the Near East. In those days
Arabs did not attack Jewish colonies, preferring to pay their nightriding
respects to other Arab tribes and villages where they would
get off with a whole skin.
One of the first British acts was to quietly disband this efficient
constabulary, and to organize one of their own from which Jews
were excluded . They were disarmed as if they had been a conquered
enemy, and were not even allowed to possess the small
arms and dirks habitually carried by all Bedouins . A lurid light
is thrown on this circumstance in an anecdote concerning an irreproachable
physician who had been attacked by an Arab assassin.
When the police called to inquire, the doctor informed
them in a sad voice : "I was afraid you had come to arrest me ."
"Arrest you ?" said the officer . "Why ?"
"Well, because it is known that I carry a weapon ."
"A weapon? Where do you have it?"
"Here," answered the doctor, turning around, "it is a knife,
stuck in my back ." 57
The expenditure for military and police in the Holy Land
amounts to more than a third of the total revenues. The immense
constabulary this infers is hardly required for the policing
of Jews, who foot its bills . The trial of Jews for crimes of
violence is practically unknown . Even on such minor charges
as drunkenness, only 52 Jews were among the 724 convicted
during 1 935 ; and out of 415 sentenced in 1936 for the same
offense, 27 were Jews. Commenting in Commons, Wedgwood
cried : "You say that the money spent on the police force is
spent to protect the Jews . . . If you go to any police station,
you will find that the crimes of violence, and the crimes against
which the police are provided . . . are committed by Arabs and
not by Jews . . . So far as the police and the defense of Palestine
are concerned, if you gave the Jews arms and allowed them
to defend themselves, it would not need so much defense, even
from the excellent British police ." 68
The present percentage of Jews on the police force is just
large enough to be reasonably circumspect . One is surprised to
discover that Tel Aviv itself has few Jewish policemen . The
surface excuse is that Jews do not care for this type of work .
The hidden stratagem which makes this condition possible lies
in the amazing scale of salaries . There are few Jewish men who
are able to live on the £ 7 a month the Administration is willing
to pay a Jewish policeman . At the same time, imported Englishmen
are given £3S a month for precisely the same police
work. Even common labor averages £ 24 a month .
The Frontier Force is no better . When it was formed in
1926 the Authorities decided to exclude Jews from it on principle,
as well as from the Border Patrol Force . All sections of
Palestine Jewry rose in furious protest . The Zionist Executive
itself was passive, Weitzman going so far as to declare that
"from the political standpoint it is unimportant whether in Palestine
a bigger or smaller number of Jewish gendarmes would
be employed ." This pedantic outlook did not deter local Jewish
opinion, which finally forced the Colonial Office to voice the
empty assurance that "Jews would not be excluded by principle."
69 In 1930 the Jewish Agency was again remonstrating
that the Frontier Force "was to all intents and purposes an Arab
Force." 80 In 1937, out of a total of 1039 men there were only
35 Jews.
While Jews were thus practically forbidden to join this national
legion which their tax money keeps, Arabs, who are both
poor and unwilling soldiers, have not responded in sufficient
numbers. The Arab likes fighting but he detests drilling and
routine. So it became necessary to draw on outlanders from
everywhere. The London Daily Telegraph describes the result,
calling the Force "a veritable Foreign Legion of the Near
East," containing among others, Britons, Austrians, Germans, .
Armenians, Circassians, Chechans, Druses, Hejazis, Kurds, Russians,
Serbians, Sudanese and Syrians.81 According to the Peel
Commission's Report in 1937, the Force contained more Sudanese
than Jews and almost six times as many Circassians alone .
It is thus apparent that almost anyone is welcome in this defense
force except the Jews whose National Home it ostensibly exists.
to protect.
It must be perfectly plain that this hot-blooded gendarmerie
is a poor guarantee of security . The police themselves are described
by Broadhurst as a queer, unruly lot . "Annual meetings
of officers," he writes, "generally resolved themselves into
discussions on the best methods of entering police horses for the
local races . . ." 82
In each of the previous pogroms it was the police themselves
who were found to be the leaders of the mob . What may be
expected of them in the future can easily be guessed from a few
passing incidents. One was the storm raised in Parliament in
June 1934 over the report that police detailed to cover the
Levant Fair in Tel Aviv wore swastikas on their arms . It is no
secret that the recent rebellion itself was started with arms and
ammunition stolen by the Palestine gendarmerie from the Central
Government Arsenal in Jerusalem. Whatever clarity the
position lacked was provided in June 1936, when the police
stood in ceremonial silence, on public parade, in honor of the
desperadoes whose rifles had touched off the revolt .63
In Jerusalem where there are not more than one thousand Germans,
there is an avowedly Nazi daily newspaper. It seems
fair to ask under whose auspices this pogrom-inciting literature
is published . And how can it be issued in a Jewish city, and in
a country ruled by an all-powerful autocrat with complete powers
of censorship which he does not hesitate to use whenever it
pleases him ?
In Jerusalem also, Nazi handbills of the most scurrilous type
are openly distributed without interference by the police .114
How can this be done in the capital city of the Jewish National
Home ? At a moment when England itself is expressing violent
indignation over Nazi excesses, a Jewish youth is arrested and
sentenced to the degradation o f a public whipping for picketing
a Jewish shop which was selling German goods. Why
should this be a commendable expression of spirit in England,
but a crime in the National Home?
The Jerusalem Y.M.C.A. is a favorite retreat of the High
Commissioner himself and its Board is certainly dominated by
Government officials. Yet its General Secretary, an American
named Waldo Heinrichs, was summarily discharged when he
attempted to exclude Hitler's Jew-baiting Voelkischer Beobachter
from the general reading room . Why is this so ?
There is a book published in England called The Brown Book
o f the Hitler Terror. It is a factual history of the first months
of the Nazi inquisition in Germany . No one has ever challenged
its accuracy . Yet when it comes to Palestine it is banned,
together with other anti-Hitler literature . But Hitler's Mein
Kampf, a venomous collection of canards against the Jew, is not
Everyone who has ever been in the Near East knows what British
censorship in Palestine is . Newspapers may be forbidden to
mention the very name of a notorious murderer on trial for his
life. The control is so strict that a story which doesn't sit well
with the Administration, just isn't cabled . Nor is the reporter
informed about it. His first hint that anything is wrong is generally
in the form of a communication from his home office, inquiring
into his silence. When the Government wants to clamp
down, relates a foreign correspondent, "it just shuts off telephone,
telegraph and cable service completely ." B 6
Sometimes foreign Jewish newspapers are proscribed, as they
are in Germany and Iraq . In 1934,, for example, the Moment
of KaunasLithuania, was barred for a year and Unzerzeit of
Kishineff (now part of Rumania) was outlawed permanently .
Even such publications as the New York Times are occasionally
confiscated when they contain articles favorable to the Jews .
Local Hebrew papers are consistently harassed and closed,
though they exercise admirable restraint, foment no civil war
and circulate no inflammatory manifestoes urging civil disobedience.
Where they are not ordered stopped entirely, they often
go to press with huge white spaces in their columns, representing
material ordered deleted by the Government censor . Perfectly
representative of the Government's style is the suspension of the
Hebrew papers Doar Hayom and Haboker in July 1936 for the
remarkable reason that they urged the Authorities to put a halt
to the rioting and murder . Yet at the same time the censors
permitted the radical Arab Journal A-Di ff a to publish a poem by
Ali Mansour which read : "We Arabs are all Abu Jildas [a notorious
cutthroat and terrorist] ; we shall drive Cohen [a name
for the Jew, Mansour acquired from the Nazis] out of the country."
Confident of its immunity, the Arab press kept the sledges
of hate pounding in a clamor of extravagant invective only limited
by the imaginations of its authors . In few other countries,
concedes the Peel Report, would such a campaign of vilification
and incitement have been tolerated for a moment .
It is no exaggeration to state that everything pro-Jewish is
either directly forbidden or discreetly frowned upon . Duff's
books debunking the Arab terrorists are permanently banned
in the Palestine he loved and served so long . Even Colonel Patterson,
commander of the very legions which conquered this
area, is made to suffer for his pro-Zionist views . During a visit
in 1937 .he was filmed in Tel Aviv inspecting some Jewish institutions
. This bit of news-film, titled Colonel Patterson in
Palestine, was banned by the Film Censorship Board on the
single score that the film could not be shown with that title !
This singular custodian of Jewish aspirations, the Palestine
Government, has introduced still other innovations, modeled
after the notorious European numerus clausus . Feeling his way
in December 1933, Government Officer Harkness announced
that the Administration was viewing with concern the preponderance
of Jews, especially in the medical and dental callings ;
and that it was considering the introduction of numerus clausus
in the professions . This was followed by the Medical Practitioners
Ordinance. Thinly disguising its anti-Jewish bias, it
placed a severe limit on the number of physicians who could be
licensed in future. 67 Thus is laid the groundwork for a whole
new plague of repressions against the Jews returning to their

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