Returning and Redemption
In ancient times the irrigation of the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys supported probably 10 million people in the kingdoms of Babylon and Nineveh. The deterioration and destruction of their irrigation works by the Mongol invasion centuries ago, and their neglect for ages, are responsible for the shrinkage of the population to about 3,500,000 people in modern Iraq. Some 30 years ago, Sir William Willcocks, an eminent British engineer, completed a study of the restoration of the old irrigation system. He estimated that about 2,800,000 acres of the most fertile land I the world could be recovered at a cost of under $150,000,000.
Some progress has been made under the Iraq government but their lack of financial resources and the delay of war have retarded the work greatly. Some years ago it was proposed that this area should be developed for settlement by Jewish refugees. This did not, however, satisfy the Jewish desire for a homeland…
My own suggestion is that Iraq might be financed to complete this great land development on the consideration that it be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine. This would clear Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization. A suggestion of transfer of the Arab people of Palestine was made by the British Labor Party in December, 1944, but no adequate plan was proposed as to where or how they were to go.
There is room for many more Arabs in such a development in Iraq than the total Arabs in Palestine. The soil is more fertile. They would be among their own race which is Arab-speaking and Mohammedan. The Arab population of Palestine would be the gainer from better lands in exchange for their present holdings. Iraq would be the gainer for it badly needs agricultural population…
Today millions of people are being moved from one land to another. If the lands were organized and homes provided, this particular movement could be made the model migration of history. It would be a solution by engineering instead of by conflict.
I realize that the plan offers a challenge both to the statesmanship of the Great Powers as well as to the goodwill of all parties concerned. However, I submit it and it does offer a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom.