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Population Transfers in Asia, Joseph B. Schechtman, Hallsby Press, NY 1949, Chapter 3.

Returning and Redemption
[84] III


PRECEDING chapters of this book have dealt with transfers that are completed or still in process of implementation. The purpose of this study is, however, not only descriptive and historical. The author believes that many important conclusions can and must be drawn from past transfers and that the idea underlying any transfer scheme is basically a preventive one. If a country, or two countries, or an international body is faced with a minority problem which manifestly cannot be solved within the existing territorial framework and which, if perpetuated, will obviously lead to international complications and possibly to war, recourse should be taken at once to the preventive device of transfer. A transfer scheme loses its point unless it is applied before matters have come to an explosive climax and unless it has a scope commensurate with the magnitude of the problem. The fallacy of “too late and too little” is particularly perilous in the case of minority transfers.

Palestine seems a classic case for quick, decisive transfer action as the only constructive method of solving the basic problem and preventing extremely dangerous developments. It is a test case calling for clear-sightedness, vision, courage and high statesmanship. On the eve of the expiration of the Palestine Mandate, British statistics put the total number of Arabs, Moslem and Christian, in the territory of Western Palestine1 at 1,2225,000.2 Authoritative Jewish sources estimated the number of Jews at over 700,000. The Jewish population which comprised 83,790 souls in 1922, increased largely through immigration under the terms of the League of [85] Nations Mandate which gave “recognition to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” For the Jews immigration was a means toward the establishment of a Jewish majority in Palestine as the prerequisite for the creation of a Jewish State. Leaders of the Zionist movement repeatedly stated that the prospective Arab minority would enjoy full civic, religious and cultural equality in the future Jewish State.

The Arabs–at least the politically articulate among them–consistently opposed Jewish immigration and its political implications. They insisted that Palestine was their country and demanded the establishment of an independent Arab State there. Anti-Jewish riots in 1920, 1921, 1929 and 1936-39 were the most violent manifestations of this Arab opposition. The Arab leaders demanded full stoppage of Jewish immigration.

The Arab-Jewish controversy over Palestine, complicated and intensified by the vacillating policy of the British Mandatory Power, grew worse in the course of the last decade, till at the end of World War II the Holy Land faced an explosion. The Arab and Jewish communities, backed respectively by the neighboring independent Arab States and by world Jewry, were more divided than ever. The Arabs demanded that all of Palestine be converted into an independent state, ruled by its Arab majority. The Jews demanded that a Jewish State be established either in all of Palestine (which implied a speedy transfer of at least half a million Jewish immigrants from other countries to achieve a Jewish majority), or in part of the country. It became evident that the aspirations of the two communities were irreconcilable and that the idea of a bi-national Arab-Jewish State, based on equality of the two components, irrespective of their numerical strength, was not practicable. Palestine clearly had to become either an Arab State with a Jewish minority or a Jewish State with an Arab minority.

In an attempt to arrive at a compromise solution, the United Nations, on November 29, 1947, by a two-thirds majority decided to [86] partition Palestine into a Jewish State with a population of 538,000 Jews and 397,000 Arabs,3 and an Arab State with a population of 804,000 Arabs and 10,000 Jews; the enclave of Jerusalem was to be a neutralized international zone with a population of 105,000 Arabs and 100,000 Jews.

Without going into the merits of the partition scheme as such, the author submits that, even if implemented, it merely limits, but by no means solves, the crucial and explosive problem of Palestine’s ethnic minorities. This minority problem, which is a question of life and death for the success of any constructive scheme for Palestine, cannot be solved without resorting to what the late President Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia called “the grim necessity of transfer.”


The first time the idea of a Palestine partition, combined with transfer and exchange of population, was put forward by any responsible body, was in the report of the British Royal Commission on Palestine under the chairmanship of Lord Peel, published in July, 1937.3 The report submitted that the Palestine Mandate, as voted in 1922 by the League of Nations, was unworkable; it presented a carefully elaborated plan for partitioning the country into a sovereign and independent Arab State consisting of Transjordan, united with some 80 per cent of the territory of Western Palestine, and a sovereign and independent Jewish State covering some 20 per cent of Western Palestine, plus an enclave containing the Holy Places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem which would remain under a new Mandate regime.

In the belief of the Royal Commission, this partition scheme offered the only constructive and permanent solution of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine. The Commission was, however, well aware of the fact that the demarcation line between the two States, which had been drawn with the intention of creating–as far as [87] possible–ethnically uniform territories, had left considerable Arab and Jewish minorities in the proposed states. The Jewish minority in the Arab State was relatively small. According to the figures given by the Royal Commission, there were only some 1,250 Jews. The Arab minority in the proposed Jewish State was, however, incomparably larger. It comprised about 225,000 persons.4 The Commission insistently emphasized (p. 390) that “the existence of these minorities clearly constitutes the most serious hindrance to the smooth and successful operation of partition. The ‘minority problem’ has become only too familiar in recent years, whether in Europe or in Asia. It is one of the most troublesome and intractable products of post-war nationalism; and nationalism in Palestine, as we have seen, is at least as intense a force as it is anywhere in the world . . . If the settlement is to be clean and final, this question of the minorities must be boldly faced and firmly dealt with. It calls for the highest statesmanship on the part of all concerned.”

The Royal Commission suggested that “an instructive precedent” for the solution of this thorny problem was afforded by the exchange of the Greek and Turkish populations after the Greco-Turkish war in 1923. It insistently recommended the acceptance of a similar solution with regard to the Jewish and Arab minorities in the prospective Arab and Jewish States. The Commission expressed the hope that in view of the manifest advantage for both nations of “reducing the opportunities of future friction to the utmost,” the Arab and Jewish leaders “might show the same high statesmanship as that of the Turks and the Greeks and make the same bold decision for the sake of peace.”

As to whether the proposed transfer should be voluntary or compulsory, the Commission took a practical stand. With regard to the hill country of North Galilee with its wholly Arab population, the Commission believed that it might not be necessary to effect a greater exchange of land and population than could be effected on a voluntary basis; but, as regards plains, including Beisan, and Jewish colonies in the prospective Arab State, “it should be part of [88] the agreement that in the last resort the exchange would be compulsory.” (p. 391)

The British Government fully endorsed the scheme recommended by the Royal Commission as “the best and most hopeful solution of the (Palestine) deadlock” (Cmd 5513). The partition plan was discussed at length in both Houses of the British Parliament on July 20 and 21, 1937. Such distinguished representatives of all three parties, as Winston Churchill, Lord Samuel, Lloyd George and Lord Strabolgi, sharply opposed the entire partition scheme. The transfer issue played a very slight role in the debate. The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Ormsby-Gore), did not mention it at all. In the House of Commons, Colonel Wedgwood and Mr. de Rothschild, who presented the Jewish case, mildly opposed the transfer solution. On the contrary, Earl Winterton, who spoke for the Government, and Sir A. Wilson, known for his pro-Arab tendencies, were sympathetic.5 In the House of Lords, Viscount Samuel spoke sharply against the idea of transfer, while another Jewish Lord, Lord Melchett, advocated the mass transfer of East European Jews into Palestine.6

In the course of the thirty-second (extraordinary) session of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations which opened on July 30, 1937, and dealt extensively with the partition scheme, close attention was given to the suggested transfer plan. The accredited representative of the British Mandatory Government, W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore, warmly advocated the transfer proposal. The members of the Mandates Commission manifested no opposition towards the idea in itself and expressed concern only as regards the compulsory or voluntary character of the transfer. The Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Orts, stressed that he “would be glad to have it confirmed that in the event of the creation of the two new states, the proposed transfer of the rural Arab population would only be effected if those populations freely consented.” Mr. Ormsby-Gore replied that “he would hesitate to envisage any obligatory transfer of Arabs from the Jewish State into the Arab [89] State, save when the Government of the latter State agreed.”7

In a “Preliminary Opinion” submitted to the Council of the League of Nations the Mandates Commission admitted that transfer of population “might be necessary if there was a partition;” it stressed that the problem was a “delicate” one and that “in order to guarantee that the advantages of such a transfer should outweigh the disadvantages, particular care would have to be given to ensure that it was carried out with the greatest fairness.”

The principle of population transfer in application to Palestine was thus basically endorsed by the most authoritative international body.

There were, however, three fundamental weaknesses in the Royal Commission’s transfer scheme which finally doomed the scheme in its entirety.

Even though it spoke of an Arab-Jewish exchange of population, the Royal Commission actually proposed a one-way transfer of Arabs. The 1,250 prospective Jewish transferees from the Arab State could not be balanced against the 225,000 Arabs to be transferred from the Jewish State. This ratio of almost 1-200 was conducive to the idea that there was not only inequality in numbers (a usual phenomenon in most known cases of population exchange), but inequity in the very approach to, and treatment of, the two ethnic groups involved. In the second place, the Royal Commission’s scheme provided for the transfer of Arabs from the prospective Jewish State to the prospective Arab State only, without envisaging their resettlement in other, already existing, large Arab States with insufficient population. Finally, the lack of clarity about the voluntary or compulsory character of the transfer, jeopardized the workability of the entire partition solution.

After having obtained the consent of the League of Nations to further study of the partition plan, the British Government appointed a special Partition Commission (often called the Woodhead Commission, after the name of its chairman), whose terms of reference included the examination of the “possibility of voluntary [90] exchanges of land and population, and the prospects of providing by works of land development room for further settlement to meet the needs of persons desiring to move from one area to another.”8 The report of the Woodhead Commission, submitted in October 1938, rejected the partition scheme as proposed by the Peel (Royal) Commission. The results of investigations made on behalf of the Commission in Beersheba, the Jordan Valley, and Transjordan in the prospective Arab State (where large areas of sparsely populated country were supposed to be available for the resettlement of the Arab transferees, if water could be provided for irrigation) proved to be “most disappointing.” Thus, no inducement could be envisaged to influence the Arab minority to move there from the future Jewish State.

The Partition Commission came to the conclusion that there is “little possibility of the voluntary exchange of population between the Jewish State and the Arab State,” and continued- “The Royal Commission assumed that provision would be made for the transfer of the greater part of the Arab population in the Jewish State, if necessary by compulsion under a scheme to be agreed between both states. But in his despatch of the 23rd December, 1937, your predecessor made it clear that His Majesty’s Government have not accepted the proposal for compulsory transfer; and we have found it impossible to assume that the minority problem will be solved by a voluntary transfer of population. It is largely because of the gravity of the situation that would thus be created that we have felt obliged to reject the Royal Commission’s plan, under which at the outset the number of Arabs in the Jewish State would be almost equal to the number of Jews.”9

The majority of the Woodhead Commission offered a partition plan of their own (the so-called “plan C”), which reduced the territory of the future Jewish State from 20 per cent to 5 per cent of Western Palestine (300,000 acres in all) and its Arab minority to 54,400, while the Jewish minority in the Arab State was increased to 8,900. No transfer or exchange of minorities was envisaged in the [91] majority report of the Woodhead Commission.

The report was published on November 9, 1938, and on the same day the British Government issued a Statement of Policy announcing that in the light of the evidence contained in it they had reached the conclusion that a solution on partition lines was impracticable.

The transfer plan was, however, not forgotten among British parliamentary circles concerned with Palestine. In both Houses the issue was raised in the course of the debate following the Government’s abandonment of the partition plan. Examples of successful population transfers were approvingly quoted in the House of Commons by Sir Walter Smiles in a rather pro-Arab speech, while Captain Cazalet, an ardent champion of the Jewish cause, indicated the possibility of transferring Palestine Arabs to Iraq.10 In the House of Lords, the transfer idea was strongly advocated by the leader of the Labor opposition, Lord Snell, and vigorously opposed by Viscount Swinton who was for four years Colonial Secretary. Speaking about the Royal Commission plan to transfer some 250,000 Arabs from the proposed Jewish State, Lord Swinton indignantly asked- “Where on earth they were to be transferred, it passes the wit of man to understand.”11 Nine months later, in the course of a debate on Palestine in the House of Commons, Mr. Alfred Duff Cooper, formerly First Lord of the British Admiralty, resumed the issue and vigorously advocated a radical solution of the Arab-Jewish conflict on Palestine by way of a transfer of the Palestine Arab population to the other Arab countries.12


The United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, left unanswered the same crucial question which defeated the partition scheme of the Royal Commission ten years earlier. The Jewish State was left with an Arab minority of 350,000 to 397,000, 39 to 42 [92] per cent of its population. This strongly nationalistic Arab community, embittered by decades of Arab-Jewish political friction, permanently subject to irredentist propaganda from outside and confident of spiritual, financial, and possible military support on the part of the neighboring Arab States, could hardly be expected to reconcile itself to a minority status within the new Jewish State. In spite of the far-reaching guarantees by the State of Israel of their economic, political, religious and cultural rights and interests, nationalistic Arab groups were more than likely to continue to consider all of Palestine an Arab country and to persist in attempting to overthrow “Jewish supremacy.” The young Jewish State would then from the very beginning be saddled with an acute minority problem which would inevitably become a permanent source of friction and conflict. Any suppression of Arab subversive activities would inevitably provoke anger and intervention on the part of the neighboring Arab States, and retaliation against their own Jewish minorities.13 The peace of the entire Middle East would be shaken.

The Arab-Jewish controversy over Palestine has thus emerged in its undiluted political essence, purged of the economic arguments which have for so long obscured its true nature. Previous attempts to motivate, or at least to explain, uncompromising Arab hostility to Jewish mass immigration into Palestine and to the eventual establishment of a Jewish State, on the ground of the economic harm allegedly caused by Jewish colonization to the interests of the local Arab population, have been convincingly refuted by the Royal Commission in 1937, by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946 and the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947. All these authoritative bodies agreed that the economic position of the Arab population, regarded as a whole, was in no way prejudiced by the influx of Jews and that, in fact, the Arabs benefited from the establishment of a Jewish National Home. There is certainly no incompatibility between the economic interests of the local Arab population and the establishment of a Jewish [93] State in Palestine, open to the influx of Jewish repatriates. Even the most ardent opponents of Jewish statehood have ceased to use the argument that Jewish mass immigration leads to impoverishment and dispossession of Palestine’s present Arab inhabitants or prejudice to their eventual progeny. As far as the economic absorptive capacity of the country is concerned, both nations can live and develop peaceably and in full harmony.

Yet, in the Middle East–no less than in Europe–considerations of political or nationalistic “absorptive capacity” play a determining role. The Royal Commission in 1937 came to the conclusion that “the core of their (Arab) cause, it must be stressed, is political.” The Commission pointed out that all politically articulate groups among the Palestinian Arabs refused to become an ethnic minority in a country ruled by a Jewish majority and that they would continue to do so even if it could be mathematically proved that they had nothing to fear and much to gain as to their future economic, religious, cultural and civic status. Fully endorsing the Commission’s view, the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava told the House of Lords on behalf of the British Government that the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine was fundamentally “the result of conflicting ideals and not of conflicting interests;” he exposed “the fallacy . . . on which Jewish elements have based many of their arguments . . . imagining that this matter can be solved on economic lines. It is no good to tell the Arab that his birth-rate has gone up by so many thousands, or that he is able to obtain goods at a lower price.”14 Five months later the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Malcolm MacDonald, also stressed that “the Arabs were not free to consider dispassionately the benefits which their country was getting from Jewish capital and activity. The material improvement was overlaid by a more serious consideration . . . They (the Arabs) were afraid that if Jewish immigration continued indefinitely this energetic, wealthy incoming people would dominate them numerically, economically, politically and in every way in the land of their birth.”

[94] On July 20, 1939, in the House of Commons, Lt. Col. Sir Arnold Wilson, presenting the Arab case, made no attempt to deny “the material benefit which has accrued to the inhabitants of Palestine” as a result of Jewish immigration. But,” he added, “I lived long enough among Persians and Arabs to know that they are not exclusively concerned with material benefits . . . Nationalism is a growing force, with its good as well as bad sides. There is no possibility whatever of the Arabs accepting, as consolation for the loss of their homeland, a few more cinemas and a few more dentists, and two pairs of shoes where before they had one pair or none. There is no solution by that road here or elsewhere.”15

By the end of the inter war period this fundamental political aspect of the Palestine problem had converted the Arab-Jewish controversy over the Holy Land into an apparently insoluble issue. Once the economic level was abandoned (and it has definitely been abandoned by the Arab spokesmen themselves, the alleged material harm to the Arabs being utilized in the discussion only as accidental and accessory argument), the Arab viewpoint became as unshakeable as the Jewish. The Jews claim Palestine in order to escape their age-old minority status all over the world- the Royal Commission, for example, fully grasped the essence of Zionism in emphasizing that “escape from minority life” is the real motive of the Jewish regeneration movement. It is, therefore, ethically and politically impossible for Jews or anyone else lightly to dismiss another ethnic group’s passionate refusal to become a minority. Malcolm MacDonald, speaking on June 16, 1939, at the thirty-sixth session of the Permanent Mandates Commission, put the issue quite clearly and bluntly- “There had to be a minority in Palestine, if not of Jews, then of Arabs.”16

It is true that the Arabs possess several independent national states and that there is no essential hardship in the fact that in territory constituting less than 1 per cent of the Arab inhabited area of the Middle East, an Arab population of 1,200,000–3 per cent of the total population of the Arab States–would have to live [95] as a minority in a non-Arab State. Almost every nation of the modern world, even the mightiest, has splinters living in someone else’s state. This is the usual rather than the exceptional situation. Moreover, the Jewish majority is, in fact, firmly determined to guarantee their Arab co-citizens full political, cultural and religious equality and to treat them not as subjects but as equals in a common motherland. The State of Israel, since its inception, has been exemplary in relationship to its Arab minority; full provision has been made in its draft constitution for equal rights and cultural and religious freedom for Arab citizens of Israel.17

Nevertheless, Palestinian Arabs can quite justifiably claim that even the best protected and most prosperous minority is still a minority, and that they, therefore, are not willing to live as a minority in a Jewish-governed country. Alvin Johnson, President of the Institute of World Affairs, in a letter to the New York Times (October 10, 1947) bluntly put the crucial question- “Will the Arab minority within the Jewish State be content with Jewish law, Jewish educational provisions, Jewish administration of social services?” In his testimony before the Royal Commission, the Zionist leader, V. Jabotinsky, while categorically denying that becoming a minority would cause any personal hardship to individual Arabs, admitted- “If you suggest disappointment of the Palestine Arabs as a whole with the prospect of a country they call Palestine, which they think is one of their national states, becoming a Jewish State, I quite admit there is disappointment.”18

We are thus confronted with a clearly outlined conflict between two ethically well-founded claims, the Jewish and the Arab. It was again the Royal Commission which said, as long ago as 1937, that the conflict which had arisen in Palestine between the Jews and Arabs was “not a conflict between right and wrong, but a conflict between right and right.”


The conclusion Arab spokesmen draw from their refusal to [96] become an ethnic minority, is that the United Nations resolution should be revised and the whole of Palestine be proclaimed a unitary Arab State.

Irrespective of the merits and feasibility of this Arab scheme, it offers no workable solution for the actual problem. It would merely supplant the problem of a powerful and intransigent Arab minority in a Jewish State by the problem of a powerful and intransigent Jewish minority in an Arab State–unless, of course, one admits the possibility of mass genocide.

Such a state would possess over 700,000 Jews, over one-third of the total population. The first step of a prospective Arab Government would be to stop any further Jewish immigration and thus convert Palestine Jewry into a permanent minority–one more Jewish minority splinter added to the numerous Jewish minority groups scattered over the world. The difference would consist only in that Jewish minorities in all other countries resulted from sporadic, involuntary migrations, without any thought of, or rightful claim to, the establishment of an independent national existence, while the hundreds of thousands of Jews who came to Palestine after the first World War did so in the hope of escaping the minority status which had been their people’s lot for centuries in every part of the world. They came, also, on the strength of an international undertaking pledging Great Britain to help them in “reconstituting their national home” in Palestine. Speaking about the British White Paper of 1939, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest moral authority of the Church of England, stated in the House of Lords that it would result in “reducing the Jews to the status of a permanent minority in a preponderantly Arab State . . . I venture to think,” said the Archbishop, “that is was precisely from this permanent minority status that they (the Jews) had hoped to escape;” they hoped for “a sphere of their own, where they could . . . be masters of their own destiny and affairs,” where “they had some autonomous control.”19

Now that the State of Israel has functioned so dynamically and [97] effectively since May 14, 1948, it is inconceivable that the Jews of Palestine should reconcile themselves to minority status in an Arab State. For their part, Arab leaders have declared that they are not prepared to accept on equal footing any considerable Jewish minority within a Palestine Arab State. When asked by the Palestine Royal Commission in 1937 whether he thought that Palestine “can assimilate and digest” the 400,000 Jews who were at that time in the country, the Mufti of Jerusalem, the recognized spiritual and political leader of Arab nationalists, answered “No.” To the next question whether “some of them would have to be removed by a process kindly or painful as the case my be,” the Mufti answered- “We must leave all this to the future.”20

This ominous attitude towards an eventual Jewish minority still dominates the mentality of Arab leaders. In a statement made on September 29, 1947 to the United Nations General Assembly’s Committee on the Palestine question, Jamal el Husseini, on behalf of the Palestine Arab delegation, promised that “the Arab State of Palestine will protect the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities.”21 The meaning of the qualifying adjective “legitimate” was not specified. The report presented on November 19 to the above mentioned Committee by a subcommittee composed exclusively of representatives of Arab and/or Moslem states, made citizenship in the proposed unitary Arab State dependent upon the condition that “the applicant should be a legal resident of Palestine for a continuous period to be determined by the (Arab dominated) Constituent Assembly.”22 The meaning of this provision was subsequently made clear by Mr. Emil Ghory, outstanding member of the Palestine Arab delegation to the United Nations. When asked what would become of a Jewish minority in an independent Arab State, Mr. Ghory declared that those who had been in Palestine or whose families had resided there, before 1918 would be given equal treatment with the Arabs, while others would be considered aliens.23 Thus, over 630,000 Jews, 90 per cent of the Jewish community, would be simply disfranchised in an Arab Palestine.

[98] On the other hand, even if Arab leaders should consent to guarantee the most far-reaching minority rights, their assurances could hardly be considered adequate. That the European treaties for protection of minorities failed completely during the interwar period, is a truism. There is certainly no reason to believe that unilateral guarantees by a Palestine Arab State would prove more effective. The situation of all ethnic and religious minorities in the Arab countries is known to be extremely precarious, and even their physical security has been increasingly threatened in the period since World War I. Last summer in Amsterdam at the First Assembly of the World Council of Churches, S. A. Morrison, a leading figure in Protestant missionary work in Egypt, said in trenchant words-

Orthodox Islamic doctrine has always assigned a position of permanent inferiority to the non-Moslem, be he Christian or Jew. Hopes had been entertained that with the adoption by Near East Governments of Western Constitutions and the introduction of democratic instruments of government, all forms of discrimination on religious grounds would be abolished, and equality of citizenship and of social and economic opportunity established for all, irrespective of their race or religion.

Such hopes have in the main been belied by the facts. Reaction to the “imperialistic policy” of the Western Powers since the close of World War I has led to the resuscitation of Islam as a focus of political and religious unity, and the prevailing tendency to identify nationalism and Arab culture with the Islamic faith has not only prompted measures for the enforcement of cultural homogeneity based on Islam, but has created a conception of citizenship, in which the Christian and the Jew appear to have no legitimate place.

The outstanding example of this trend is to be found in Egypt, the country I know best, where economic discrimination against the non-Moslem obtains both in Government service and in private trade, and where Christian children in the Government elementary schools are exposed under the system of compulsory education to regular Qur’anic teaching. Little wonder, then, that hundreds of Copts declare themselves Moslems every year, seldom if ever out of conviction, almost always [99] for economic or matrimonial reasons–though many of them seek later to return to their Christian faith. Egypt’s political and cultural leadership in the Arab League sets the pace for other Near East countries and restrictive trends may be noted at the present time in Syria, Iraq and Transjordan.24

It is highly unlikely that an Arab regime in Palestine would be more tolerant than the Governments of other Arab countries.

Considered as an isolated case and treated in local terms, the problem of Jews and Arabs in Palestine seems insoluble. But, regardless of whether or not the Jews like it, Palestine has become part and parcel of the entire Middle East complex, and, regardless of whether or not the Arabs like it, Palestine Jewry has become part and parcel of the Middle Eastern picture. The realization of this elementary truth must be the point of departure for any attempt to find a way out of the Arab-Jewish controversy. Any lasting solution will have to be worked out within the frame of the Middle East as an entity. It must be a solution in the spirit of peace and cooperation, helpful to the common interests of the Middle East.

The author submits that since no constructive and peaceable solution of the Palestine problem can be achieved by either a Jewish State with an Arab minority or an Arab State with a Jewish minority, and since no mass transfer of Palestine’s 700,000 Jews to other countries is practicable, the only workable alternative remains an organized exchange of population between Palestine and the Arab States, involving the transfer to the independent Arab States, mainly to Iraq, of Palestine Arabs unwilling to live under a Jewish regime, and the transfer to Palestine of the Jewish communities in the Arab countries.

This scheme offers invaluable advantages to all the parties involved.


It is obvious that the present Palestine Arab leaders will never agree to any plan of this kind. Quite naturally, they think in [100] short-range terms. They are, therefore, unable to consider without prejudice any broad, constructive scheme of Arab-Jewish collaboration in which Palestine and they themselves are only one of the components. They are, also, too deeply and passionately engaged in the almost thirty year old Arab-Jewish quarrel over Palestine to be sufficiently open-minded with respect to a plan which implies the surrender of their traditional intransigent policy of proclaiming Palestine a purely Arab land and refusing to compromise with Jewish claims. Every mention of eventual transfer of Palestine Arabs to other Arab countries arouses limitless indignation in them and seems to them a vicious attack upon the elementary rights, interests and dignity of the Palestine Arab population.25

Actually, this indignation is hardly justified. There is nothing unusual in the idea of Arabs moving from one area to another. Sir John Hope Simpson, who was Vice President of the League of Nations Refugee Settlement Committee at Athens from 1926 to 1930 and who was then sent by the British Government to investigate possibilities of immigration, land settlement and development in Palestine, stated, in his very pro-Arab report, that the Palestinian fellah (Arab peasant) “is always migrating, even at the present time; he goes to any spot where he thinks he can find work; many have left the country altogether.”26 The easy mobility of the Arab population was pointed out also by W. G. A. Ormsby-Gore, British Secretary of State for the Colonies; in his testimony before the thirty-second (extraordinary) session of the Permanent Mandates Commission in July-August 1937, Mr. Ormsby-Gore recalled that “there had always been a certain amount of migration inside the Arab world; many people from Transjordan and even the Hauran had actually settled west of the Jordan in Palestine since the war.”27 The British Colonial Secretary agreed that “if it were a case of moving the Arabs long distances to a strange country, transfer would indeed be difficult. But these people had not hitherto regarded themselves as ‘Palestinians,’ but as part of Syria as a whole, as a part of the Arab world. They would be going . . . to a people [101] with the same language, the same civilization, the same religion, and therefore the problem of transfer geographically and practically was easier even than the interchanges of Greeks and Turks between Asia Minor and the Balkans . . . Not all the Arabs would wish to leave the Jewish State; some would realize that they would have opportunities in the Jewish State. But that some would want to leave on ground of sentiment, he equally had no doubt; and if homesteads were provided and land was prepared for their reception not too far from their existing homes, he was confident that many would make use of that opportunity . . . He believed that quite a number of Arabs, faced with the fait accompli of a Jewish State, would seek to leave that State for sentimental reasons rather than remain under a Jewish Government, and would seek to live–he was not sure that they would want to live under a mandatory Power–in an Arab atmosphere under an Arab Government with Arab ways of life . . . many Arabs in Palestine would prefer that solution, and still more Arabs would accept it as a fait accompli or some approach to a fait accompli.”28

Submitting to this fait accompli would in no way affect the rights and interests of the prospective Arab transferees. In his “note of reservations” to the Report of the Woodhead Commission, Sir Alison Russel says- “It does not appear to me that to permit an Arab to sell his land for three or four times its value, and to go with the money to a different part of the Arab world where land is cheap, can be said to ‘prejudice’ his rights and position.”29

Nor can it be said to be “humiliating” or derogatory to Arab national honor and dignity. The Royal Commission quoted the pattern of the Greek-Turkish transfer agreement–not an altogether appropriate example, since it came about under duress. There are more recent and appropriate patterns of population transfer which have been undertaken by sovereign states voluntarily and on their own initiative. The best example is the repatriation of Turkish populations from Rumania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, which was carried on by the Kemalist Government after 1931.30

[102] These Turks have, as stated by the Turkish Minister for the Interior, Sukru Kaya Bey, “directly participated in the Turkish conquest of the last centuries; they have installed themselves in the conquered regions and lived there for centuries as masters.” This “master” status does not exist any more. The Turks became minorities in states ruled by the local Christian populations, their former subjects.31

Some 172,000 Turks were repatriated from various countries during the period of 1935-1940 (interstate agreements were concluded by Turkey with Rumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in 1936-38). These Turks were resettled in the underpopulated districts of Turkish Thrace and Anatolia. Their resettlement is generally considered to have been an extremely successful undertaking. A former Assistant Professor of Social Science at the International College in Ismir, Donald Everest Webster, points out that the repatriates “have the vigor and ambition generally characteristic of migrants, so they are making a genuine contribution to the country. Since their villages are newly built and much of their farm equipment is equally new, many of the settlements are practically modern villages.”32

With regard to the transfer of Palestine Arabs, a significant editorial was published on July 3, 1943 in Great Britain and the East, usually considered an unofficial mouthpiece of the British Colonial Office. Referring to King Ibn Saud’s anti-Zionist declaration made to an American correspondent and later published in a Saudi Arabian newspaper, the editorial pointed out that the natural effect of the growing unification of the Arab States “will be that an Arab moving from Syria to Saudi Arabia, or from Palestine to Iraq, will no longer be migrating from one country to another; he will merely be changing his position from one part of the same country to another part–a proceeding that is not usually capable of being magnified into a grievance . . . In his country he (King Ibn Saud) has an exceedingly sparse population and is making slow headway in his efforts to settle his followers on the land. In Palestine he could find as many ready-made Arab settlers as he has suitable [103] accommodation for; or, if Wahabi tenets prove an obstacle, those who would not go to Saudi Arabia could find a warm welcome elsewhere in the Peninsula because none of the Arab States has as many inhabitants as it really needs for the proper development of the country.”

Thus, the influential British periodical clearly indicated that any scheme for transferring Arabs from Palestine would not be a local Palestine undertaking to be decided upon by the Palestine Arabs alone, but an enterprise of common interest to the Arab Middle East, on which the rulers of the independent Arab States are entitled to have their say. A similar view was forcefully expressed in 1931 by former First Lord of the British Admiralty Alfred Duff-Cooper, when advocating an Arab transfer from Palestine- “Talk not to the (Palestine) Arab Committee or to the Mufti, but to the important Arabs in the Hedjaz, Transjordania and Iraq; say to the Governments and Kings of these countries- “This is what we propose to do.’ They understand that language.”33

Palestine Arab leaders could hardly oppose the transfer plan if it were endorsed by independent Arab countries as a part of an all-Arab development scheme. They have always claimed that Palestine Arabs are part and parcel of the Arab world; they have repeatedly appealed to the rulers of the independent Arab States for support and guidance and obediently followed instructions coming from that source.

The ill-fated conference on Palestine called by Great Britain in the winter of 1938-1939 in St. James Palace was attended not only by Arab delegates from Palestine, but also by official representatives of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Transjordan. Palestine Arab leaders hailed this participation of the Arab States in the discussions concerning their political future, and thus freely conceded that these Arab States had as much say on the matter of Palestine as they themselves. With the formation of the Arab League in March, 1945, Palestine became a permanent and outstanding item on the League’s agenda. In all deliberations of the United Nations [104] on Palestine the six Arab States which were or became members–Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen–have acted as recognized spokesmen for the cause of the Palestine Arabs. When partition of Palestine was decided by the United Nations, they announced their determination to fight the establishment of a Jewish State with all the means at their disposal, and this decision of theirs–and their subsequent military action–was gratefully accepted by the Palestine Arabs. Palestine has become a common Middle East cause in which the Arabs of Palestine are partners but by no means exclusive masters.

Partnership in war presumes partnership in peacemaking. After having for over a decade requested and gladly accepted cooperation, help and leadership from the independent Arab States, Palestinian Arabs cannot now suddenly claim a change of heart and demand to be regarded as a completely separate and sovereign body which alone is competent to make decisions in matters involving not only Palestine but the rest of the Near and Middle East.


“The key to the ‘Near Eastern Question’ is land,” says Albert Viton. “In Europe the land problem means hunger for land–absence of sufficient land to provide a decent living for all cultivators. In the Near East, however, the land problem is one of too much land and not enough cultivators. Less than nine million human beings are spread over its quarter of a million square miles which contain some of the potentially most fertile land in the world. The area which, if fully developed, could support 300 to 400 persons to the square mile, today has a population of 35 to the square mile.”34

The following two tables give a picture of the classification of land in the Arab Middle East according to utilization and density of rural population per square mile of cultivable land.35


[105] TABLE I

Classification of Middle East Land according to Utilization, 1939

(in square kilometers)

Country Total Area Cultivable Area Cultivated Area Irrigable Area Irrigated Area

Iraq 543,000 92,000 13,000 51,000 7,000

Syria 202,000a 61,000 16,000 12,000 2,500

Palestine 27,000 12,000b 9,000 4,000 400

Transjordan 90,000 4,600b 3,500 600 200

TOTAL 772,000 169,600 41,500 67,600 10,100

a) Including the Alexandretta District; no separate figures are available as to the classification of land in that district.

b) Although there are considerably higher estimates, a moderate figure has been inserted in the case of Palestine.


Density of Rural Population per sq. km. of Cultivable Land, 1939

Country Total Population Rural Population Total Area Cultivable Area Rural Population

as of Dec. 31, 1939 in 1000 sq. km. per sq. km.,

in 1000 cultivable area

Iraq 3,700 2,100 453 92 23

Syria & Lebanon 3,700 2,500 197 59 42

Palestine 1,502 800 27 12 67

Egypt 16,680 13,700 1000 34 403

The area on which irrigated farming can be practised in the Arab Middle East (Syria, Palestine, Transjordan, Iraq) may thus be estimated at 67,600 square kilometers. Of this only 10,000 square kilometers are at present cultivated under irrigation, in many cases by primitive and wasteful methods. The average density of population per square kilometer of irrigable land should be about 200. If all the irrigable, but not yet irrigated, area of the four above mentioned countries (57,500 is considered, there is room for an additional population of 11.5 million. If, for the purposes of a conservative estimate, we assume that of the 57,500 square kilometers of Middle East irrigable but unirrigated land more than a third is worked under extensive cultivation and carries a population of 80 [106] per square kilometer, the additional population figure might be computed at about ten million.

On the other hand, it must be taken into consideration that of the unirrigable but cultivable lands of the Middle East, a substantial part (some 125,000 sq. km.) is still uncultivated. Even with the lowest estimate and with a density figure of only 50 per square kilometer, the Middle East’s unirrigable but cultivable land would provide room for an additional agricultural population of 16.25 million; together with the area of irrigation, the Middle East’s capacity for additional peasant population may then be reckoned at approximately 16,000,000. W. C. Lowdermilk comes to the conclusion that modern and intensive methods of land cultivation applied throughout the Middle East might make it possible even for “twenty or thirty million people to live decent and prosperous lives where a few million now struggle for a bare existence.”36

The development of irrigation is the cornerstone of the regenerated Middle East. Its importance is illustrated not only by historical records but also by the fact that today two-thirds of the total value of crops in five Middle East countries (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Palestine) are derived from irrigated lands which represent only 9.6 per cent of the cultivable area, and 31.8 per cent of the actual cultivated area. Under Middle East climatic conditions, crops three times as large are produced under irrigation as on unirrigated land (1,800-2,000 kgs. of wheat per hectare, instead of 500-900 kgs.). Nevertheless, of the total irrigable area of the five Middle East countries mentioned above–124,000 sq. kms.–only a little more than one-third is at present under irrigation.

The situation in Iraq, undoubtedly the center of gravity of the Arab Middle East, is particularly grave. Two-thirds of the country’s cultivable area still lies fallow- of a potential cultivable area of about 30,000,000 acres, only 9 ½ million acres are at present worked. Only about one-third of the irrigable area of 20,000,000 acres is now under irrigation, for the most part of the most primitive nature.

Irrigation possibilities have recently been shown to exist even in [107] what were formerly regarded as entirely unpromising areas. Following the success of the Iraq Petroleum Company’s water drillings during the construction of its oil pipeline, the Iraqi Government launched a successful scheme for the sinking of artesian wells in various desert localities; in many places this may entirely revolutionize the life of the desert.

Intensive, irrigated agriculture alone can revitalize the Middle East. But intensive agriculture is impossible in sparsely populated areas. This brings us to another major problem of the Middle East today, for economic modernization and agricultural progress in Iraq, as well as in Syria and elsewhere, are distinctly hampered by scarcity of population. This was pointed out by Sir George Buchanan who during the first World War was President of the Directorate controlling the port of Basra and, later, President of the Committee of River Fleet and Marine Dockyard. Sir George energetically opposed ambitious irrigation schemes propagated by Sir William Willcocks37 on the simple ground that it was useless to spend millions of pounds on irrigation if there were no people to farm the land when irrigated. He pointed out that in India and Egypt, where extensive irrigation works have been carried out, there has been a teeming population waiting to farm the land the moment water was available. The situation in Mesopotamia is quite different. “The population of Egypt is 1,000 to the square mile (1,045 per habitable square mile) and is increasing at a rate that promises to double the present figure within a century; the Indian Punjab has a population of 177 per square mile, and Bengal 540 per square mile, but in Mesopotamia there is a population of only 10 to the square mile.”38

Buchanan is not alone in this pessimistic estimate. Colonel R. G. Garrow, Officiating Director of Irrigation, in a memorandum presented to the D.Q.M.G., Baghdad, estimated that the existing population cultivated approximately 1,500,000 acres of land.39 As late as 1931, the British Government in a Special Report by His Majesty’s Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the [108] Progress of Iraq (1920-31), stated that “the able-bodied male agricultural population of the country is less than five hundred thousand.” W. C. Lowdermilk, who was present at the opening of the Kut Barrage, the first diversion dam built on the Tigris River, was told by Iraqi officials that there were not enough farmers in the country to make use of the water that could be diverted from this one dam.40 Recently initiated irrigation schemes may bring another six to seven million acres under cultivation, in addition to about 5-3/5 million acres now being farmed, but “the people are not there to do the farming on a peasant-holding basis,” states an authoritative article on plans to modernize agriculture in Iraq and Persia.41 This situation is just the opposite of that in Egypt where the population has increased by 25 per cent since the last war, while the cultivated area has increased only five per cent.42

Iraq’s population is increasing at an exceedingly slow pace. It was returned as 2,849,282 in the census of 1920 and was given as 2,857,077 by the census of 1942. Other estimates vary between 3,600,000 for 1936,43 3,500,000 for 1939,44 3,700,000 for 1940,45 5,000,000 for 1941)46 4,500,000 for 1944.47 All these contradictory figures are open to question. Any marked increase in the population could hardly have failed to be noticed, and all the available evidence indicates that the natural increase of Iraq’s population is either nonexistent or infinitesimal. Dr. Ali Ghalib, Director of Preventive Medicine in Baghdad, acknowledged in 1944 that there is ground for the belief that Iraq’s population has been very nearly stationary over the past twenty years; personally, he is “inclined to the view that there has been a certain increase in the population,” but admits that the prevalent trend is only “slightly favorable to an increased population” and that the Iraqi authorities “do not exactly know what the trend is at the moment.”48 Another Arab authority, Hashim Jawad, who has since 1941 been the International Labor Office correspondent in Baghdad, reveals that “the average expectation of life in Iraq does not exceed 26 or 27 years . . . and the rate of increase in the population is extremely small . . . slightly [109] more than 1 per cent per annum.”49 The Iraqi Ministry for Social Affairs informed the British goodwill Trade Mission to the Middle East (April-May 1946) that “about one-third of all the children born died in their first year, and another quarter up to their fifth year.”50

There is no doubt that Iraq’s present small population is an obstacle to the progress of the country. The British Government’s Ten Years Report (1931) spoke of the “gravely insufficient agricultural population” which is a hindrance in the development of irrigated farming, and added- “Real agricultural development in Iraq will come through an increase of agricultural population.” Thirteen years later, an Arab author acknowledged that “now Iraq is already short of agricultural labor, which is available only in adequate numbers and/or deficient in activity as a result of ill health.”51 Hashim Jawad confirms that “many landlords . . . have been embarrassed by their inability to find farmers to cultivate their land” and that this “amounts to a gradual thinning down of the potential agricultural labor supply of the country.”52

There is no use in increasing Iraq’s irrigated area without a corresponding increase in the number of its inhabitants- under present circumstances this would merely lead to redistribution of the numerically insufficient population.

The need for increased population as a pre-condition for progress in Iraq was insistently stressed as long ago as 1926 by Ja’far Pasha al Askari, then Prime Minister, in a paper prepared for the Royal Central Asian Society. Ja’far Pasha stated- “The size of the country is 150,000 sq. miles, which is about three times that of England and Wales, whilst the population is only three millions. We may start off by saying, therefore, that what Iraq wants above everything else is more population. This is a necessary condition of progress.”

This urgent appeal for more population remained unanswered. Where was additional population to come from? In an article, Iraq Today, published in the London Times (October 27, 1938) H. T. Montague Bell clearly stated- “Iraq’s paramount requirement is an increase of population . . . The settlement of the nomads on [110] the land may add to her wealth, but any substantial increase of population in the near future must come from outside.”

The possibilities of an influx of population “from outside” are, however, extremely limited. For reasons of climate it is practically out of the question for people from Europe to engage in agriculture in Iraq, to say nothing of the social and political problems involved in such settlement. Putting forward his grandiose irrigation scheme, Willcocks had a vision of “thousands and tens of thousands of industrious laborers from Kurdistan and the Persian Hills flocking to the delta of the Tigris.” However, the late Miss Gertrude Bell, one of the best informed and most penetrating students of the Arab Middle East, had no illusions on the subject and pointed out the probability of permanent unrest attendant upon the introduction of agricultural colonists who belonged to an alien and non-absorbable population.

These apprehensions are undoubtedly well founded. The Kurds in Iraq number some half a million souls and constitute about 16 per cent of the country’s total population. The Kurd minority even today is too large and thorny a problem for the young state. Relations between the warlike Kurds and the Arabs are extremely strained. Kurd nationalists envision the creation of an independent state stretching from Alexandretta on the Mediterranean to the north coast of the Persian Gulf and including a population variously estimated at from seven to eleven million; many of them look to Soviet Russia for leadership. A mass influx of more Kurds would be too dangerous a venture for the ruling Arab majority and would certainly never be permitted.

After the first World War Edwin Montague, then Secretary of State for India, had in mind a colonization program for Mesopotamia which would provide an outlet for India’s surplus population. In the early phase of the British occupation of Mesopotamia, a tendency towards the so-called “Indianization” of the country was very strong. Indian officials, currency and law were introduced. These attempts failed. The young Arab nationalists bitterly resented the [111] intrusion of alien elements and alien methods. One of the causes of the serious disturbance in 1920 was the “Indianization” system. It is, therefore, only in Arab immigration that the Iraqi Government is interested. Replying to a question by a Moslem journalist as to why Iraq did not raise cotton on the large area of its land suitable for that purpose, King Feisal said in 1927- “. . . we do not have peasants willing to work the land. The Bedouins, to whom I have allotted land for cultivation, are capable of disappearing overnight, even in time of most pressing seasonal work, because a rumor had reached them that it was raining somewhere in the desert, one hundred–two hundred miles away. I would welcome with great pleasure an immigration of Mohammedan Arab fellahin from Syria and Palestine.”53

In 1938, the Director General of Public Health of Iraq, Dr. Sami Sharokat, told the Pan-Arab Congress of Medicine in Cairo that Iraq possessed immense area of cultivable land which were not being used because of lack of workers; and he invited the Government of Egypt to settle its unemployed in Iraq. Such a transfer of population, the speaker concluded, “would be to the mutual advantage of both countries.” This invitation remained unheeded. In spite of Egypt’s dangerously increasing agricultural overpopulation, there is not the slightest sign of a noticeable emigration movement from the country. Should the Egyptian Government decide to initiate such a movement, the most natural and promising colonization area would be the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, lying next door to Egypt and considered by the Government and the people to be indispensable to the Egyptian control of the Nile Valley. According to W. Wendel Cleland of the American University in Cairo, “the unreclaimed areas of the Sudan alone might take a population equal to Egypt’s present number and still have a density of less than one-tenth that of Egypt.”54

Iraq cannot, therefore, look to Egypt for immigration. The most natural and, in fact, the only source of population for Iraq is Palestine. According to a well-informed author, the Iraqi Government, [112] shortly before World War II, sympathetically considered plans submitted by an American Jewish group for Palestine Arab agricultural immigration; negotiations over the materialization of such a project were interrupted by the outbreak of military operations.55 There is no reason why they should not be resumed now. Palestinian Arabs would constitute a valuable asset to Iraq’s economy. Iraq needs agricultural settlers- in 1942, 763,394 Arabs, 67 per cent of the Arab population of Western Palestine, lived in rural communities. The area of cultivated land in Palestinian villages for which they would be compensated under a transfer agreement, amounts to 6.4 million dunams. The average price paid by Jews for the rural land they bought in Palestine during 1944 amounted to over $1000 per acre or about $250 per dunam (including the value of buildings, orchards and other improvements).56 These prices are, of course, highly inflated; but, even assuming that under a fair transfer agreement only one-third of the 1944 rates would be paid for Arab land, the overall compensation would amount to over half a billion dollars. Besides, 16,926,000 dunams of land classified by the Palestine Government as uncultivable were owned in 1943 by Arabs in Western Palestine;57 this area would also have to be compensated for. Some Arab immigrants would, moreover, be in possession of considerable amounts of money of their own. The deposits in the Arab Bank (the larger of the two existing Arab banks in Palestine) increased from £370,000 in 1934 to £4,360,000 in 1944; besides, Arabs funds are undoubtedly deposited in non-Arab banks as well, and it is known that considerable sums of cash accumulated by Arabs are not deposited in banks but hoarded at home.58

The figures cited above refer to the entire Arab community of Western Palestine. They are, however, indicative of the Arab economy within Israel.

Mass transfer of Palestine Arabs would decisively transform Iraq’s economy. The vicious circle of land–irrigation–population, can be broken through its last link–population. But this can happen only if the Middle East is considered as an economic entity, if its [113] population resources are utilized for the common benefit, and if dynamic planning courageously disregards existing conflicts and animosities. The possibility of such a course was indicated by the excellent work of the Middle East Supply Center during the war years. At the Conference on Middle East Agriculture Development held in Cairo in February, 1944, Keith A. H. Murray, the Center’s Director of Food, said- “The agricultural problems of the Middle East demand not merely common knowledge, but also common action. The three main rivers of the Middle East pay no attention to political boundaries; animal and plant diseases disregard territorial frontiers. This is true also of marketing problems; common marketing intelligence and information, even common monetary units are possible achievements.”59

This reasoning applies fully to the population problems of the Middle Eastern countries. Iraq’s continued underpopulation which prevents full utilization of its land resources is obviously detrimental to the prosperity of the entire Middle East. Tension over Palestine jeopardizes the political stability of the Middle Eastern land complex. The Arab States themselves, while still waging a relentless struggle against a Jewish State in Palestine, have begun to realize the organic place of Palestine in any regional development plan. When, in February 1948, the United Nations Economic and Social Council suggested the creation of an economic commission to help develop the predominantly Arab Middle East, Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon, President of the Council, stressed that Palestine must be considered an “integral part” of the Middle East, (and Mahmoud Bey Fawzi of Egypt stated that an “indispensable prerequisite for the commission’s success would be the maintenance of peace in the area.”60


The transfer of Palestine Arabs to Iraq represents the main, but by no means the only aspect of the plan offered in this chapter. It [114] would have its counterpart in a similar movement of Jewish minorities from Arab-speaking countries, where their position is becoming increasingly difficult, into Palestine.

There are at present between 250 and 280 thousand Jews in the Arab Middle East (Iraq, Yemen and Aden, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon), and between 420 and 450 thousand in the Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa (Libya, Algeria, Tunis, French Morocco, Spanish Morocco and Tangier); besides, there are between 160 and 180 thousand Jews in non-Arab Moslem countries (Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan).

The historic position of the Jewish communities in these countries in one of inferiority; of brief interludes of peace and prosperity alternating with periods of oppression. In modern times, mainly during the present century, the Jews of the Moslem lands have been given equal status before the law, but, in actuality, there is increasing governmental discrimination against them and dangerously growing religious and national intolerance among their neighbors. They live in a state of political and economic insecurity. Their precarious status drives them to seek foreign support. When they do so, they are branded as disloyal. Anti-Jewish outbreaks (in April 1941 in Iraq, in November 1945 in Egypt and Libya, in December 19

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