11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sta,—Whatever one's views may be on the question of making Palestine a Crown Colony, as urged in your columns by Miss E. M. E. Blyth, it is surely necessary to be accurate in matters of fact. She refers to " unrestricted Jewish immigration," whereas the fact is that Jewish immigration has always been severely restricted and sometimes even suspended. Until last summer it was regulated according to the economic absorp- tive capacity of the country, and the half-yearly estimates, care- fully drawn up by the Executive of the Jewish Agency after a thorough examination of the economic situation, of the number of additional workers required, was invariably drastically cut. down by the Government. Since last summer the economic criterion has been suspended and immigration is restricted according to what the Royal Commission termed " a political high level," despite the fact that the Mandate requires that immigration shall be facilitated.

Miss Blyth offers no evidence for her allegation that the 6,000 Arab unemployed, mentioned in the Report of the Royal Commission, are " the victims of land sales." There is certainly no support for such a statement in the Report. On the con- trary, the paragraph to which she refers (on page 127) observes that " industrial development has gone far to provide employ- ment for the Arabs who can no longer make a living on the land " ; that the estimate of 6,000 is " a very rough one " and " in the circumstances and especially in view of the ' disturb- ances ' is not an alarming figure 7 ; and that the wages received by Arabs in Palestine are very much higher than in Syria or Iraq.

As for " the victims of land sales," the Palestine Government made a very thorough investigation, lasting over a couple of years,,of the questiOn of the Arab cultivators displaced from the land by Jewish settlement, and undertook to accommodate those whose claims were found valid upon fresh holdings. According to the memoranda prepared by the Government of Palestine for the Royal Commission (pp. 37-38) the total number of ,Arab families recognised as landless was 664, and of Olen only 347 accepted the Government's offer of settlement in other parts.—Yours faithfully, ISRAEL COHEN. 77 Great Russell Street, London, W.C. r.