Tuesday, July 09, 2013

When There Were Only 64 Settlements

In 1922.

Here's Eli Hertz's post:

Settlements Legitimized
Even before the Mandate for Palestine was published in July 1922, the British Government found Jewish settlement to be legal and legitimate.
In an Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine during the period of 1920-1921, Herbert Samuel, [the] High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief of the British Government had this to say:

...“There are at the present time 64 of these settlements, large and small, with a population of some 15,000. Every traveller in Palestine who visits them [the Jewish settlement], is impressed by the contrast between these pleasant [Jewish] villages, with the beautiful stretches of prosperous cultivation about them and the primitive conditions of life and work by which they are surrounded.

“Large sums of money were collected in Europe and America, and spent in Palestine, for forwarding the [Zionist] movement. Many looked forward to a steady process of Jewish immigration, of Jewish land colonization and industrial development, until at last the Jews throughout the world would be able to see one country in which their race had a political and a spiritual home, in which, perhaps, the Jewish genius might repeat the services it had rendered to mankind from the same soil long ago.

“The British Government was impressed by the reality, the strength and the idealism of this [Zionist] movement. It recognised its value in ensuring the future development of Palestine, which now appears likely to come within the British sphere of influence. It decided to give to the Zionist idea, within certain limits, its approval and support [by making the Balfour Declaration - YM]...

But there's this there, too:

The country is under-populated because of this lack of development. There are now in the whole of Palestine [both sides of the Jordan - YM] hardly 700,000 people, a population much less than that of the province of Gallilee alone in the time of Christ...Of these 235,000 live in the larger towns, 465,000 in the smaller towns and villages. Four-fifths of the whole population are Moslems. A small proportion of these are Bedouin Arabs; the remainder, although they speak Arabic and are termed Arabs, are largely of mixed race. Some 77,000 of the population are Christians, in large majority belonging to the Orthodox Church, and speaking Arabic. The minority are members of the Latin or of the Uniate Greek Catholic Church, or--a small number--are Protestants.

The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000. Almost all have entered Palestine during the last 40 years. Prior to 1850 there were in the country only a handful of Jews. In the following 30 years a few hundreds came to Palestine. Most of them were animated by religious motives; they came to pray and to die in the Holy Land, and to be buried in its soil. After the persecutions in Russia forty years ago, the movement of the Jews to Palestine assumed larger proportions. Jewish agricultural colonies were founded. They developed the culture of oranges and gave importance to the Jaffa orange trade. They cultivated the vine, and manufactured and exported wine. They drained swamps. They planted eucalyptus trees. They practised, with modern methods, all the processes of agriculture.


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