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Report by his Britannic Majesty's government on the administration under mandate of Palestine and Transjordan for the year 1924
: Report by his Britannic Majesty's government on the administration under mandate of Palestine and Transjordan for the year 1924By
: British Government Date of issue
31 December 1924Topic(s) addressed
: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Place(s) mentioned in this item:
The past year was chiefly noteworthy in Palestine for a marked economic revival. The world-wide depression, which affected this country in common with others, had to a great extent passed away. To this recovery various circumstances contributed. The trade in oranges, the principal export from Palestine, gave good profits to the growers and merchants. Cereals and almonds were more remunerative. The cultivation of tobacco, which, as mentioned in previous reports, has been introduced into the country within the last four years, has rapidly expanded. The production, estimated at 694 metric tons in 1922 and 644 in 1923, increased to 1,845 tons last year A large part of the crop was of good quality and profitable to the growers.
Industrial development has been stimulated by the arrival, among the Jewish immigrants, of a considerable number of men with manufacturing experience, and with capital. The majority of them come from Poland. They have established a number of new industries, mostly at present on a small scale, the greater number in the Jewish town of Tel-Aviv, adjacent to Jaffa. In addition, several large Jewish enterprises have been founded, and have either reached, or are about to reach, the producing stage. The most important of these enterprises are a cement factory, with an invested capital of £E.300,000; a flour mill, a vegetable oil and soap factory, and a factory of silicate bricks (made of cement and lime), each involving an expenditure of £E.100,000 or more; and, on a smaller scale, works at Athlit, on the coast, for the production of salt by evaporation, a silk factory and a tannery. The electric power station, with fuel engines, erected at Tel-Aviv under the concession granted to Mr. Rutenberg, has been obliged, after only a year's working, to instal new engines, more than doubling its original capacity. Similar stations are in course of erection at Haifa and at Tiberias, to supply urgent demands for power and lighting there. The construction of the first hydraulic power station on the Jordan has not yet begun, but the preliminary measures have made further progress.
The tourist traffic has shown a marked growth, and is likely to expand further in the future.
One of the consequences of these developments has been a welcome recovery in the revenue. The year 1922-23 ended with a deficit of £E.73,000, which was covered from previous balances. The year 1923-24 ended with a very small surplus. It is anticipated that the present financial year will show a satisfactory balance of revenue over expenditure. To this, a revision of a number of items in the Customs Tariff, in August, 1924, has contributed in a minor degree. The financial result of the working of the railways was particularly satisfactory.
Immigration into Palestine is regulated by the Government; so as to ensure that it shall not exceed the capacity of the country to absorb the new arrivals. The more favourable conditions have allowed an increase in the immigration. It amounted to 13,553 in 1924, compared with 7,991 in 1923. The non-Jews among these immigrants numbered 697. The total emigration amounted to about 2,500 persons. In the winter of 1923 there was a considerable measure of unemployment among the Jewish population, but last winter there was no recurrence of this state of affairs.
Jewish agricultural colonisation continues steadily. The extensive swamps of Kabbara, in the Maritime Plain, are being drained and brought under cultivation, in accordance with a concession granted to the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association; the difficulties which had arisen in connection with the claims of about 170 Arab families resident on part of the land having been settled after prolonged negotiations.
The town of Tel-Aviv is expanding with remarkable rapidity. The population, which was about 2,500 in 1920, is now estimated at over 25,000, and for some time past new houses have been completed at an average rate of two a day. There is much building activity also in Haifa and Jerusalem and their suburbs.
The Bio-Chemical Faculty, and the Institute of Jewish Studies, of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem have been inaugurated.
The anti-malarial campaign is being vigorously prosecuted in many parts of the country. Almost all the towns have now been freed from what used to be one of the scourges of Palestine. Much progress has been made, through the drainage of swamps, and the covering or oiling of wells and cisterns, in eliminating the breeding-places of mosquitoes, and therefore the liability to malaria, in many of the villages. A "Health Week" was
organised in November for spreading propaganda on public and domestic health questions. In connection with it a small exhibition was held in Jerusalem, open for ten days, with free entry. In this town of some 70,000 inhabitants, no fewer than 30,000 attendances were recorded at the exhibition.
Public security has been good. There have been no disturbances of a political character, and no raids from Transjordan. The bands of highway robbers, which infested parts of the country a few years ago, have now all been disposed of. The reduction in the garrison has continued. The cost had been diminished to £1,500,000 in 1923-24, and in the last report it was mentioned that the following year should witness a further large reduction. This expectation has been realized, and the cost of the garrison in the year 1924-25 should fall below £1,000,000. The estimates for the ensuing year will be on a still lower scale. It will be remembered that the Civil Administration of Palestine, apart from the cost of the garrison, has involved no subvention from His Majesty's Government.
A Committee sat in the early part of the year under the chairmanship of the Treasurer, with the managers of the principal banks of the country among the members, to examine the question of introducing a new currency into Palestine. The report of the Committee has received the general approval of the Secretary of State, and early steps will be taken to introduce a currency linked with sterling. The currency will be administered by a Palestine Currency Board operating in London under the direction of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, under conditions which will ensure that the exchange value of the currency is maintained at par.
An area in the extreme north of Palestine, previously included in the territory of Syria, was transferred to Palestine, as from the 1st April, 1924, in accordance with the terms of the Palestine-Syria Boundary Convention of 1920. This area contains twenty villages with a population of nearly 9,000. It includes Tel-el-Kadi, the ancient Dan, and its inclusion has restored to Palestine her biblical boundaries "from Dan even unto Beersheba."
The excavations on Mount Ophel, adjoining the present walls of Jerusalem to the south, carried out by the Palestine Exploration Fund, have resulted in the discovery of part of the walls of the Jebusite city, captured by David.
The Palestine Government was invited to participate in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. Its pavilion was thronged by visitors. The commercial results were very satisfactory to exhibitors.
The ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne in August, 1924, finally regularised the international status of Palestine as a territory detached from Turkey and administered under a Mandate entrusted to His Majesty's Government.
The terms of the Mandate had been approved in anticipation by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922, and the Mandate had been brought into operation by resolution of the Council in 1923. A first report on the administration of the territory, covering the period from July, 1920, to the end of 1923, was presented to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League by His Majesty's Government, and was considered by the Commission at their session at Geneva in October, 1924. On their invitation, the High Commissioner for Palestine attended that session, and gave evidence, in answer to questions, extending over six sittings. The Report of the Commission was approved by the Council of the League and has been made public.
Palestine has welcomed a number of distinguished visitors during the year, including His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, His Excellency General Weygand, High Commissioner for Syria and the Lebanon, their Eminences Cardinal Bourne, Cardinal O'Connell, and the late Cardinal Giorgi, the Right Honourable the Earl of Oxford and Asquith (then Mr. H. H. Asquith), and several Members of both Houses of the Imperial Parliament.
In April, Major-General Sir H. H. Tudor, K.C.B., C.M.G., relinquished the position of General Officer Commanding and Inspector-General, Police and Prisons. Mr. A. S. Mavrogordato was appointed as Acting Inspector-General, and Air Commodore E. L. Gerard, C.M.G., D.S.O., was appointed by the Air Ministry as Air Officer Commanding in Palestine.
Mr. J. B. Barron, O.B.E., M.C., resigned the post of Director of Customs and Trade, and was succeeded by Mr. K. W. Stead, the Chief Collector of Customs of Cyprus