Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Arab Rights and Jewish Rights: Jaffa 1936

In June 1936, a significant section of Jaffa was demolished due to the need for British security forces to combat growing Arab terror.

But there was a side concern: what to do with now homeless Arabs?

Here is an academic article on the matter.

And here is a parliamentary question from December:


HC Deb 16 December 1936 vol 318 

22. Colonel WEDGWOOD asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has authorised the expenditure of £15,000 which has been assigned from Palestine revenues to build a village for the Jaffa Arabs evicted from that town; and whether anything similar is being done for the Jaffa Jews who were forced to leave Jaffa and live elsewhere?

Mr. ORMSBY-GORE The Palestine Government has been authorised to expend £15,000 on the erection of houses, for which a suitable rent will be charged, to accommodate 100 Arab families rendered homeless by the special demolitions in Jaffa undertaken by Government in the circumstances explained in my reply to a question in the House on 24th June by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallaeher). I understand that in consultation with the appropriate Jewish bodies the Palestine Government has agreed to contribute about £5,000 towards the cost of maintenance and rehabilitation of Jewish refugees in Tel-Aviv from Jaffa and elsewhere.

Colonel WEDGWOOD Seeing that the Jewish refugees from Jaffa outnumber the Arab refugees by about 20 to one, will the right hon. Gentleman make representations to the Palestine Government that the rebuilding which they are doing for Arab refugees should be paralleled by rebuilding for the Jewish refugees?

Mr. ORMSBY-GORE I do not think that I can accept the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's figures, nor can I accept his description of these particular Arabs as refugees. In the military interests, and in the interests of peace and order in Jaffa, it was decided to dynamite two lines through the town. The Royal Engineers blew up the houses, and I think the Palestine Government have the duty of rehousing these people elsewhere, as they are now doing.

Colonel WEDGWOOD Does the right hon. Gentleman not see that the Jews who were driven out of Palestine owing to the danger of assassination have exactly the same case for rehousing, with Government assistance, as the Arabs?

Mr. ORMSBY-GORE Then it would be the duty of the Government to re-house almost everybody who have been removed or have removed themselves during a period of disturbance and disorder which we all regret. I cannot commit the Government to that.

Colonel WEDGWOOD I am sorry to be persistent, but is it possible now for the Jews to go back to Jaffa with safety, or is the protection still inadequate?

Mr. ORMSBY-GORE I hope that when we know what the policy of the future is to be, when we have the report 2438of the Royal Commission and the whole Palestine question is cleared up, it may be possible for Jews and Arabs to live as they have up to this year in friendly accord in Jaffa.



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