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The Statistical Bases of Sir John Hope’s Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development in Palestine, Jewish Agency, 1931.

John_Hope_SimpsonSir John Hope Simpson stayed in Palestine from May 20th to July 27th, 1930, and on August 22nd submitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies his “Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development.” It was published as a Blue Book (Command Paper 3686) in October 1930, and it was chiefly on its figures, data and conclusions that His Majesty’s Government based its Statement of Policy as put forward in the White Paper published simultaneously with Sir John Hope Simpson’s Report.

2. The central thesis of the Report, as summed up in its concluding chapter (p. 141) is this-

“It has emerged quite definitely that there is, at the present time, and with the present methods of Arab cultivation, no margin of land available for agricultural settlement by new immigrants, with the exception of such undeveloped land as the various Jewish Agencies hold in reserve.”

3. This thesis concerning the present state of Palestine is based on four figures, each of which is of essential importance for a correct appraisement of the situation-

(a) The area, of cultivable land;

(b) The number of Arab families dependent upon agriculture;

[2] (c) The number of Arabs now landless;

(d) The “lot viable” of an Arab agricultural family.

On these four vital points Sir John Hope Simpson has reached the following conclusions (pp. 141-142)-

“It has been shown that the area of cultivable land in Palestine (excluding the Beersheba region) is 6,544,000 dunams, considerably less than has hitherto been estimated. It has also been shown that, while an area of at least 130 dunams is required to maintain a fellah family in a decent standard of life in the unirrigated tracts, the whole of the cultivable land not already in the hands of the Jews would not afford an average lot in excess of 90 dunams, were it divided among the existing Arab cultivators. . . . For an average holding of 130 dunams about eight million dunams of cultivable land would be required. It also appears that, of the 86,980 rural Arab families in the villages, 29.4 per cent are landless. It is not known how many of these are families who previously cultivated and have since lost their land.”

4. On closer examination it would be found that these conclusions, in their extreme, clear-cut and uncompromising form, are hardly warranted by the material and argument of Sir John Hope Simpson’s own Report; in the process of summing up, the underlying tendency of the Report has become aggravated. It is, however, hardly necessary to deal with fine shades and distinctions, with contradictions and deflections, where the very foundations can be proved unfit to support an edifice of any kind. Sir John Hope Simpson’s figures on the four essential points of his enquiry are based on doubtful assumptions, on hastily compiled statistics, and on a misreading of material submitted to him.

[3] (a) The Area of Cultivable Land.

5. The Commissioner of Lands (the Chairman of the Land Settlement Commission charged with the preparation of the Land Register), and the Director of Surveys, supplied Sir John Hope Simpson with widely divergent estimates of the cultivable area of Palestine-

Beersheba

Region Plains Hills Total

Estimate of the

Commissioner

of Lands . . . 1,641,000 5,216,000 5,376,000 12,233,300

Estimate of the

Director of

Surveys . . . 1,500,000 4,094,000 2,450,000 8,000,000

Percentage of reduction

in Director of

Surveys’ Estimate. . . . . . 9% 21% 54% 35%

6. Sir John Hope Simpson dismisses the estimate of the Commissioner of Lands, hitherto accepted by the various Government officers in Palestine who are in the closest touch with its agricultural population, and adopts that of the Director of Surveys as “by far the most reliable estimate hitherto prepared”; and next, he excludes the Beersheba region, as “not an area in which settlement is possible at the present time.” He finishes with a total area to be considered by him of six and a half million dunams–slightly more than half the usual estimate of the cultivable area of Palestine.

7. About 70 per cent of the difference between the two estimates quoted above arises in the hill country, which so far has not been touched [4] by the Cadastral Survey (see Hope Simpson Report, p. 159), but where the Director of Surveys, basing himself on an aerial test survey of about one-tenth of those districts (ibid.), has cut down by 55 per cent the estimate of cultivable land supplied by the Commissioner of Lands. That aerial test survey “has been a deciding element in the conclusions which have been reached” by Sir John Hope Simpson (p. 3) who fails to explain how the cultivable properties of land can be gauged from the air or deduced from an aerial photograph, or to state whether the results obtained by that survey have anywhere been tested and controlled by means of a more thorough examination and a soil analysis on the spot. In the United States, air-surveys are primarily used by soil-mappers as a check on the work of their field-men; that method is safe. Nor does Sir John Hope Simpson give any reason for accepting the one-tenth of the area thus surveyed as representative of the whole, nor any indication of the methods used in demarcating the hill area.

8. Sir John Russell, Director of the Rothamsted Agricultural Experimental Station, asked for his opinion, replied as follows in a letter dated January 27th, 1931-

“Aerial survey is useful in estimating areas of land of similar appearance. It records, for example, the areas of forest, of desert, land under cultivation, land not cultivated, land covered with rocks, and other land that can be distinguished at sight from its surroundings. Where sharp boundaries exist, the survey can be made fairly accurate; where there is no sharp boundary, one can, from a study of the map, decide on conventions and work from these. The method [5] fairly accurately divides the land up into a number of categories, which can be labelled A, B, C, D, etc.

“But aerial survey cannot interpret maps, nor can it say what the categories mean. For interpretation it is necessary to have studies on the spot by experts who can say whether the similarities in appearance are due to similarities in essential properties, or to some accidental or non-essential differences. Assuming the land to be really similar throughout the category, it could be assumed as a first approximation that an agricultural system known to be successful in one part of the area might be applied over the whole area with local modifications. It would, however, be necessary to make a detailed survey with numerous experiments before one could be absolutely certain. The advantage of the aerial survey is that by thus mapping out the country the agricultural expert is put in possession of information about the relative areas of the different regions of his country, so that he can put into its proper perspective the problem of development.

“Personally I should think it dangerous to deduce from a survey of 10 per cent of an area what the properties of the remaining 90 per cent will be, and this is particularly true of Palestine, where the rainfall varies in belts across the country. It is impossible to reconcile the estimates of cultivable land given on pp. 12 and 13 of the report because of the great difficulty of defining cultivability and the great effect of variations in annual rainfall. Much land is necessarily on the margin; it can be cultivated in years of high rainfall with hope of profit, but in years of low rainfall it cannot. If you include all the land that can be cultivated profitably one year in five, you naturally get a much higher figure than if you take as your criterion a profit in four years out of five.

“Methods of dealing with this marginal land are continually being improved; both in Western Australia [6] and in Canada there has been much pushing out of cultivation into what was formerly waste, so that the definition of cultivability is widening continually.”

9. The aerial test survey was arranged for the purposes of Sir John Hope Simpson’s enquiry, and, as far as we know, was carried through in June and July. There was not much time for a study such as is indicated by Sir John Russell, nor do we know of experts in Palestine able to handle the photographs in that manner. The aerial photograph, as Sir John Russell puts it, records “land under cultivation” and “land not cultivated”; but not even for that purpose can these particular photographs be fully relied upon as, under the backward system of fellah cultivation, the growth of the crops is so low, and the soil sometimes so much overgrown with weeds, that in an aerial photograph it can easily be mistaken for uncultivated land. Moreover, the fact that the aerial survey was made after the grain had been harvested, increases the chances of error. Nor can an air-survey determine the degree to which terracing is possible–a thing of vital importance in the hill country.

10. The report identifies throughout cultivable land with land under cultivation. This confusion seems to be due to two erroneous premises. For the purpose of this survey, Sir John Hope Simpson accepts the definition of cultivable land as land “which is actually cultivated, or can be brought under cultivation with the labour and financial resources of the average Palestinian cultivator”; and in regard to the hill country, he assumes that all land so defined is actually under cultivation.

[7] 11. The wrong definition of “cultivable land” affects Sir John Hope Simpson’s judgment about the whole of Palestine, not about the hill districts only. The answer to the question of the extent of the “margin of land available for agricultural settlement by new immigrants” must not be based on the resources and agricultural methods of its poor and backward population. There are stretches of sandy soil in the maritime plain, fit for orange-plantations, and hills which, if terraced, could be planted with orchards and olive trees; there is land uncultivated because of insufficient rainfall, but capable of irrigation; there are districts which are now hardly cultivated, or waste, but which, if reclaimed at a considerable outlay of labour and money, would be amongst the most fertile in Palestine. But in each case technical knowledge and capital are required, such as are not at the disposal of the “average Palestinian cultivator.” A good part of the fertile land now in Jewish hands would, ten years ago, have had to be classed as “un-cultivable” under the definition accepted by Sir John Hope Simpson. Of the 650,000 dunams purchased by the Jews since the War, nearly one-half required heavy expenditure on draining and reclamation before the land could be used for settlement, and even in the plains of Esdraelon and Acre, considered the best area for cereals in Palestine, of a total of 260,000 dunams purchased by the Jews, only 140,000 had been actually cultivated by the previous tenants. But Sir John Hope Simpson seems to imply that all the land cultivated by Jews has been taken out of the total of cultivable land as defined by him; and in calculating the land reserve of the Jewish National Fund, starts from the [8] further assumption that all its land is cultivable (see below, pp. 36-7).

But not even all the land in Arab possession which can be cultivated “by the application of the labour and financial resources of the average Palestinian cultivator” is actually under cultivation. Messrs. Johnson and Crosbie, officials of the Palestine Administration, who, in the spring of 1930, undertook a detailed enquiry into conditions in 104 selected Arab villages, have found that 6.2 per cent of the land in their possession was “uncultivated but cultivable” (p. 20 of their Report); and this although the villages examined by them had less than the average holdings of land in their possession (see below, p. 17).

12. With regard to the hill country, Sir John Hope Simpson further states (p. 14)—

“Even the most rocky hillsides support trees, especially olives, and if capital were available, many of the cultivators of these exiguous and infertile plots would be able to gain a livelihood by cultivation of fruit trees and of olives. These cultivators have, however, no capital, and cannot afford to forgo even the meagre crops obtained, for the four or five years which are required before fruit trees render a return.”

But lack of capital is not a permanent obstacle to improvement, and Sir John Hope Simpson himself supplies (p. 78) the following example of what is possible in the hills-

“There is a small Jewish village called Motza, close to Jerusalem, where a farmer of the name of Broza has planted an orchard, on what seemed to be sterile and barren rock. The trees and vines have flourished, and what was a wilderness without vegetation of any kind [9] is now a fine orchard producing a large income for its proprietor. The result is the more praiseworthy in that the planter received no assistance from any Jewish or other sources, but created the property by his own exertions.”

One wonders whether the agricultural possibilities of “sterile and barren rock,” of the “wilderness without vegetation of any kind” could have been gauged from an aeroplane, or determined on the basis of an aerial photograph; or even whether a superficial examination on the spot itself would have revealed them.

13. In the plains also, the area of cultivated land can be extended by means of reclamation, irrigation, better adjustment to the type of cultivation applied, etc., and evidence to this effect can be found scattered all through Sir John Hope Simpson’s Report. Hence it is not clear why on the basis of a very doubtful definition of what is cultivable, and an equally doubtful survey, he should have started by radically cutting down the area of cultivable land, and have finished with a negative conclusion concerning the immigration of Jews, who, by their own means and their own efforts have already, even according to his own incidental admissions, done a great deal to develop the country.

If Sir John means to say that there would be more physical “room” for the Arabs of Palestine were there no Jewish immigration, his thesis requires no proof. If he means to show that if the Jews laid no claim to Palestine the Arabs would have a larger share in the abstract potentialities of the country, his thesis likewise requires no proof. If he means to show that the present condition of the Palestine fellaheen is not one of opulence, there is no room [10] for dispute on this point, nor any need of his elaborate (and very doubtful) statistics. And if his object is to show that, in a mainly mountainous country with a population of 90 to the square mile, no wide tracts cultivable by the methods of its present inhabitants are left uncultivated, and that even land not strictly speaking cultivated seldom remains unused and unclaimed if merely a few blades of grass or some reeds grow on it–no inquiry was needed to establish this fact. But if he means to say that the Arabs now inhabiting Palestine would be enjoying a better income had there been no Jewish immigration, no influx of Jewish capital, and no improvement or reclamation of land undertaken by the Jews, he has not even started to prove his case.

14. In the hill country, the Director of Surveys distinguishes between inhabited districts and an uninhabited zone, described as “the hill wilderness.” Reference Map Number 2 (scale 1- 750,000) which shows the line of demarcation, is too small to admit of close scrutiny; but it seems that the western boundary of the hill wilderness has been pushed forward into the inhabited hill district so as to include within the “wilderness” areas which are at present populated and under cultivation. Nor are the figures for the hill wilderness based on an actual survey of the hills; other expert estimates put its area considerably lower, the difference amounting to about one million dunams, which would add between 400,000 and 600,000 dunams to the cultivable area in the hills.

15. With regard to the plains, the difference between the estimate of the Commissioner of Lands, and that of the Director of Surveys accepted by [11] Sir John Hope Simpson, is less marked, amounting to about 21 per cent. The Director of Surveys bases his figure on surveys of 88 per cent of the area of the coastal zone, and of 75 per cent of the Jordan Valley. The definition of cultivability on which this computation is based is, of course, of material importance, and should be clearly stated before the lower estimate is accepted as final. Further from Map Number 2 it appears that the Survey Department regarded the administrative boundary between the districts of Gaza and Beersheba as the line of demarcation between the Plain of Philistia and the Negeb plateau. But the administrative boundary is not identical with the agricultural division between the Maritime Plain and the Beersheba district, and the result of its acceptance as such by the Survey Department is to reduce the area of the coastal zone by some 350,000 metric dunams. With regard to the Jordan Valley, Sir John Hope Simpson himself is inclined to think that the estimate of the Director of Surveys underrates the possibilities of that region, and that “a larger area of land may prove to be cultivable than there is at present recognised and included in the cultivable area” (p. 86). A comparison of these figures with the estimates of Mr. Strahorn, the soil expert of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, suggests that an area of about 400,000 metric dunams should be added to the estimate of cultivable land in the plains supplied by the Director of Surveys–an increase of roughly 10 per cent.

16. As for the Beersheba District, it is not clear why Sir John Hope Simpson should have written it off completely in his final conclusions. He himself states (p. 20)-

[12] “Given the possibility of irrigation, there is practically an inexhaustible supply of cultivable land in the Beersheba area. Without irrigation the country cannot be developed.”

Mr. Blake, geologist to the Palestine Administration (Geology and Water Resources of Palestine, G. S. Blake, Jerusalem, 1928, page 45), and Mr. Henriques, late Indian P.W.D. (Joint Palestine Survey Commission, Boston, 1928, page 404), agree in thinking that in certain parts of that region sufficient water could be found at an economic depth. But Sir John Hope Simpson has dismissed the Beersheba area so completely that not even the faintest trace of the reservation made in the passage quoted appears in his conclusions. Still, he himself does not maintain his negative attitude towards the Beersheba district when he tries to prove his high estimate of the “lot viable” in Palestine by Jewish demands for high units. He quotes the demand for 200 dunams per family at Tel Arad as normal and characteristic for the whole of Palestine, although Tel Arad, as shown in his own map, lies in the Beersheba district, near the border of the desert.

17. Sir John Hope Simpson entirely omits Transjordan, the hinterland of Western Palestine, with which it forms an economic, geographic and historic whole. And that Sir John Hope Simpson’s terms of reference did not name Transjordan is not an altogether valid excuse for that omission from a Report which more than once enters into subjects not named in its terms of reference. But even his brief excursion into Transjordan should have warned him against recommending the transplantation of Arabs from the Hills to the Plains of [13] Palestine, without suggesting recourse to Transjordan, which is physiographically akin to the hill districts of Palestine, and economically a part of them.

(b) The Number of Arab Families Dependent upon Agriculture.

18. Sir John Hope Simpson puts the Arab rural population of Palestine outside the Beersheba region at 478,390, and, counting 5.5 persons to a family, concludes that, the Arab rural population consists of 86,980 families.

19. Sir John Hope Simpson obtained these figures by calculations based on the Census of 1922, and on further data supplied by the Department of Public Health; he was told that the Arab population had increased by 26 per 1,000 a year, and that the average Arab family consisted of 5.5 persons. The alleged increase is hardly equalled in any other country, and points to the presence of a very large number of children; it can, therefore, hardly be reconciled with the comparatively small size given for the average family. Sir John Hope Simpson frequently refers to the Johnson-Crosbie Report, but does not seem to have noticed that the same Department of Public Health which furnished him with the figure of 5.5, some three months earlier furnished Messrs. Johnson and Crosbie with the figure of 6, as representing the average size of the rural Arab family; and that the 104 villages examined by the Johnson-Crosbie Commission, themselves gave the number of their inhabitants as 136,044, and of families as 23,573, which yields a ratio of 5.76 per family. Therefore, even if the Arab rural population has to be put at 478,390, it [14] is extremely doubtful whether this figure can be taken to correspond to 86,980 families.

20. But is all this population truly “rural” and “agricultural”? Sir John Hope Simpson seems to identify the Arab population of “the districts” with the Arab “rural population.” But “towns” in the tables from which he has taken his figures, denote “only those places . . . in which offices of the (Public Health) Department are situated,” and the “districts” include, therefore, many small towns, besides villages. (See Report of the Public Health Department of the Palestine Administration for 1924, p. 8.)

Next, even in every normal village, a part of the population is, and must be, engaged in occupations other than agriculture. Thus, Sir John Hope Simpson himself states (p. 157) that of the Jewish population resident in the agricultural settlements in Palestine, not more than 49.7 per cent “is actually engaged in agriculture” (which, as a matter of fact, is too low an estimate). Villages all over the world have their blacksmiths, carpenters, bootmakers, shopkeepers, carriers, teachers, etc. Besides, in Palestine villages there are local industries–weaving, lime-burning, charcoal-burning, etc. To assume that for every rural household a full, self-supporting holding is required, means to vitiate the calculation to a degree which deprives it of all practical value. Even if the average village artisan or trader owns a house, and possibly an orchard and a vegetable garden, or even a small holding, this does not mean that he would wish to become wholly dependent on agriculture, or would benefit by such a change.

[15] 21. Sir John Hope Simpson seems to assume that of all the countries in the world, Palestine alone knows no rural exodus; at least, he has made no allowance whatever for such migrations–he does not even mention their possibility. Indeed, if his figures are correct, the Arab urban population in Palestine would have formed a smaller percentage of its total Arab population in 1930 than in 1922, and that although he himself states (p. 156) that “the increase of population is even more marked in the towns than in the rural areas.” Lastly, if there is any truth in the allegations about numerous Arab villagers displaced by the Jews and unable to find new employment in agriculture, how can these allegations be reconciled with the total absence of a rural exodus?

22. To sum up- It is not certain that the Arab rural population has multiplied at the rate accepted by Sir John Hope Simpson; it is not likely that they should all have remained in the villages; the figure of 5.5 per family is contradicted by its very authors, the Public Health Department, and disproved by the Johnson-Crosbie enquiry; the population treated as rural does not all live in villages; all the inhabitants of villages are not engaged in agriculture. The figure of 86,980 families, which Sir John Hope Simpson puts against his area of cultivated land in Palestine is as unfounded an estimate as is the other; but whereas every questionable assumption in calculating the cultivable area of Palestine Went to reduce it, every questionable assumption with regard to the Arab rural families dependent on that reduced area, tends to enhance their number.

[16] (c) The Number of Arabs now Landless.

23. Sir John Hope Simpson writes in his conclusions (p. 142)-

“It also appears that of the 86,980 rural Arab families in the villages, 29.4 per cent are landless. It is not known how many of these are families who previously cultivated and have since lost their land.”

The statement in the first sentence is clear-cut, precise and specific. He does not say “less than one-third” or “more than one-fourth,” presumably because that might give an impression of a rough estimate; he speaks in decimals, which leave no room for doubt. The hint in the second sentence is equally clear. The Jews have invaded Palestine, bought up land over the heads of the Arab tenants, evicted them, sent them forth as homeless wanderers on to the roads, created a landless proletariat! No wonder 29.4 per cent of the 86,980 families are now landless.

24. But how has that figure of the “landless” among the rural Arab population been obtained? Its precision would suggest a census. There was none. It has been reached by applying to the 86,980 rural Arab families whose existence is presumed by Sir John Hope Simpson, the result which he imagines to have been obtained by Messrs. Johnson and Crosbie with regard to the 23,573 village families into whose condition they have enquired. If such a generalisation, bearing the appearance of specific and accurate knowledge, is at all admissible, it might at least be expected that the question whether the part is truly representative of the total has been carefully considered. But Table XXIII of the Johnson-Crosbie Report shows that the 104 [17] villages analysed by its authors leased 126,622 dunams–11 per cent of all the land they cultivated–from other villages, which seems to indicate that these 104 villages, which lease land from other villages, are poorer in land than their neighbours, who must have had surplus land at their disposal.

25. Even more surprising is Sir John Hope Simpson’s treatment of Table XXIV of the Johnson-Crosbie Report (p. 27); and the conclusions which he has based on that table have been of crucial importance in determining the policy of the White Paper of October, 1930. Sir John Hope Simpson has read into it things which it does not contain, and which can in no wise be deduced from the information it supplies. The rural population of the 104 villages is divided in that table into three categories-

(a) “Owner-occupiers living exclusively on their holdings”;

(b) “Owner-occupiers who also work as labourers”;

(c) “Labourers.”

And the very next paragraph of the Johnson-Crosbie Report, at the bottom of the page, explains that “there is no record of the holdings of tenant-farmers cultivating 245,275 dunams owned by absentee landlords, and 126,522 dunams leased from other villages”–i.e., of the holders of one-third of the total area cultivated by those villages. The first question which, even in the absence of the remark quoted above, anyone looking at Table XXIV of the Johnson-Crosbie Report, would have been expected to ask is- “And where are the tenants?” They are nowhere. They are mixed [18] up with others in that table, and there is no information about them in that Report. Even the most prosperous tenant in these 104 Arab villages, if he happens to own no land or trees of his own, is included among the “labourers.” The nomenclature of the table is faulty; Sir John Hope Simpson’s handling of it incomprehensible. The bottom has fallen out from his calculations, and the structure which he has raised, has collapsed.

26. We do not say that there are no landless in the Arab villages, but we do say that Sir John Hope Simpson’s conclusions about these matters are grossly misleading. Even were it known, or traceable, how many of these 29.4 per cent are genuinely “landless” and not tenants, it would still be necessary to ascertain how many of these are grown-up sons of farmers who will in time inherit their fathers’ holdings, and how many are artisans, etc., who do not aspire to be agriculturists. Lastly, if there is a certain number of altogether landless village labourers, or of villagers owning or holding insufficient land for their full maintenance, and who in consequence have to hire out their labour, such a class exists in all rural communities; nor could the 3,870 owner-cultivators in the 104 villages covered by the Johnson-Crosbie Report, each of whom owns more than 240 dunams, cultivate their land were there no labour available for hire. Unless, therefore, they are to be described as “kulaks” and proscribed as such, it is difficult to see on what the indignation over the existence of village labourers is based. In reality it is based on the implied suggestion that these people have been rendered landless by the Jews.

[19] 27. What is the number of Arabs who “to quote the Prime Minister’s letter of February 13, 1931, can be shown to have been displaced from the land which they occupied in consequence of the land passing into Jewish hands, and who have not obtained other holdings on which they can establish themselves, or other equally satisfactory occupation”? Eighteen months have elapsed since grave allegations concerning the displacing of tenants were first made against us before the Shaw Commission, and more than a year since wide publicity was given to them in the Shaw Report. None the less, no attempt whatever has been made to ascertain the facts by compiling a list, be it merely provisional, those who can allege any justified grievance in he matter. Nor did Sir John Hope Simpson, during the two months of his stay in Palestine, produce reliable data concerning the truth of those allegations. Still, having registered what must be described as his “discovery” of 29.4 per cent “landless,” he adds (p. 26)- “Everywhere there is the complaint that many of the cultivators have lost their land. Doubtless, this 29.4 per cent includes these landless men who previously were cultivators”; and a few lines below- “there are a large number of families which should be, but are not, cultivating land.” Did he mean to hint at a considerable part of his 25,572 “landless families” having been displaced by our colonisation? The trend of his report suggests that idea; indeed, forces it on the reader. Charges, unsupported by facts and figures, are thrown out in the form of dark hints.

28. Almost half the land bought by the Jews in Palestine since 1914 lies in the Emek (Valley of [20] Esdraelon), a cereal growing region; the other half in the coastal plain, where a considerable part of the soil is sandy and suitable for orange plantations, but not for cereals. This district was necessarily much more sparsely settled by the Arabs, who did not possess the necessary means for establishing plantations; in fact, a large section of the land in the coastal plain, which the Jews have acquired, was not previously cultivated at all.

29. With regard to the Emek, the district which had by far the more numerous Arab population, the Jewish Agency presented Sir John Hope Simpson with a list of all the 688 tenants who had been on the land previous to its purchase by the Jews, and who had had to leave in consequence of that purchase. The Jewish Agency had gone to considerable trouble and expense to ascertain the present whereabouts and position of these 688 former tenants, and found that 437 (almost two-thirds) still cultivated land in the same districts, 379 of them as tenants or owner-cultivators, and 58 as “haraths” (labourers on an annual contract); 89 were shepherds, and most of these had been shepherds before the sale of the land. Of the remaining 162, 37 had died, and of 41 the whereabouts were unknown; 50 were urban labourers 10 camel drivers, 4 craftsmen, 14 merchants, 4 vegetable vendors and 2 milkmen. Sir John Hope Simpson himself paints the condition of the Palestine fellah and cultivator in the darkest possible colours–“the Arab fellah cultivator is in a desperate position” (p. 64), “it is no exaggeration to state that the fellah population as a class is hopelessly bankrupt” (p. 69). It remains to be seen [21] whether those of the displaced tenants, who have ceased to work as agriculturists, have not established themselves, with the help of the compensation received from us, not merely “in an equally satisfactory occupation” (postulated in the Prime Minister’s letter of February 13th, 1931), but even in a better position; or whether, to use the words of Sir John Hope Simpson, they “should be, but are not, cultivating the land.”

30. Our list of displaced tenants was presented to Sir John Hope Simpson soon after his arrival in Palestine; he had ample time to cross-examine our representatives on any points which might seem to him doubtful or in need of further elucidation. He did not do so, but writes on page 51 of his Report-

The real result of this enquiry is to establish that of the 688 Arab families which cultivated in the villages in the Vale of Esdraelon which were purchased and occupied by the Jews, only 379 are now cultivating the land. Three hundred and nine of these families have joined the landless classes. In the cases described as “died” it is not the family that is extinguished but the head of the family who has died. Presumably the descendants are still alive, and earning their bread in some other walk of life than agriculture. It is also to be recorded that the number (688) does not by any means include all the families who were displaced. According to the records of the Area Officers at Nazareth and Haifa, the number of “farmers” displaced from these villages was 1,270, nearly double the number accounted for in the memorandum. In addition to farmers, there are, of course, many other residents who, though not in occupation, have interests in the land. With reference to these, the District Commissioner, Northern District, writes-

[22] “. . . . . It appears quite clear that the persons who claimed, or at any rate who received, compensations, by no means included all those who had interests in the land, who, according to the census figures, amounted to 4,900. The census figures are usually taken as being about 20 per cent, below the truth, owing to the objections to a census which was connected with military service . . .”

31. Had Sir John Hope Simpson conveyed to us his doubts or expressed his criticisms before publishing them in print, we should have informed him that the 37 tenants who died were not accounted for because the Jewish Agency knew only the names of the previous tenants, but not those of their sons, and consequently was unable to determine whether the son had remained in agriculture after the death of his father.

As for the statements quoted against us- in the first place, we should have asked for an agreed and consolidated figure; that of the 1,270 “farmers,” plus “many other residents, who, though not in occupation, have interests in the land,” even on the basis of Sir John Hope Simpson’s low co-efficient of 5.5 per family, hardly tallies with the census figure of a total of 4,900 inhabitants, even if this is raised by the very doubtful 20 per cent. But applying the co-efficient of 5.76 ascertained by the Johnson-Crosbie Commission, to the 688 tenant-families, we obtain a population of 3,692, which, together with farm-hands, labourers, and village artisans, might easily account for a population of 4,900 or more.

In the second place, we should have asked for the names of the 582 “farmers” who did not appear in our list, but are alleged to have been [23] displaced by us, and what they were. If they were labourers and farm-hands, it would have to be ascertained how many of them have moved with their masters, now re-settled on other land.

Lastly we would have asked for a more accurate description of the “many other residents” and of their “interests in the land.” Does Sir John Hope Simpson refer to village artisans, who had an indirect interest in the agriculture of those villages? If so, Sir John Hope Simpson has many such residents to add when it is a question of counting the number of people alleged to have been displaced by us, although he found none to deduct from the rural population when counting the number of Arab families in need of full agricultural holdings.

32. We consider ourselves entitled to demand that those who impugn the accuracy of our list of 688 tenants should at least try to be as clear and specific in their statements as we Were, e.g., that the names and professional character should be given at least of a certain number of the “farmers” displaced by us and not included in our list, and that similarly the professional character of some among the “many residents,” and the character of their “interests in the land,” should be defined. Until this is done in a satisfactory manner, we claim that no one has the right to reject our own statement in the way Sir John Hope Simpson has done, or describe it as “fallacious” as was done in the White Paper of October, 1930.

(d) The “Lot Viable” of an Arab Agricultural Family.

33. It has been shown that the figure of 6,544,000 dunams for the area of cultivable land [24] in Palestine is guess-work, of very doubtful value; the figure of 86,980 rural Arab families is wrong; the statement that 29.4 per cent of them are “landless” is based on the misreading of a statistical table. We do not know how many of the 86,980 families supposed to inhabit the “districts” of Palestine are actually engaged in agriculture; nor how many of those engaged in agriculture are landless; nor conversely, what is the number of land-owning or land-holding families among whom the total area now under Arab cultivation should be divided. We are completely in the dark as to the accurate numbers. Still, the propositions laid down by Sir John Hope Simpson with regard to the lot viable of the Arab farmer have now to be examined on their own merits.

34. According to the Johnson-Crosbie Report (p. 22) “a holding of 75 dunams seems to be necessary for an owner-cultivator, while a tenant requires 130 dunams.”

The difference is due to the rent which the tenant pays to his landlord, and to the fact that, as a rule, there are no fruit-trees on tenants’ land; tenants, however, form only about 20-25 per cent among the Arab cultivators in Palestine. Sir John Hope Simpson, presumably because “present day prices are but 50 per cent of those adopted by the Committee in arriving at its deduction,” puts the “lot viable” throughout at 130 dunams. There is no reason to assume that the prices of agricultural produce will become fixed at the exceedingly low level of 1930; and, curiously enough, Sir John Hope Simpson, while applying to the produce of the fellah the prices of 1930, calculates his cost of living [25] at the much higher rates of 1925-1926. These errors vitiate any conclusion because the facts are so distorted, first, by an assumption that the present low price level will continue always; and, secondly, by using two distinct price levels and applying the lower level to the value of the fellah’s produce and the higher one in calculating costs. But, anyhow, the economy of an Arab village is based, to a very high degree, on self-consumption–for in the villages examined by Messrs. Johnson and Crosbie, 86.7 per cent of the produce was consumed within the family of the farmer and only 13.3 per cent reached the market. Even assuming that there will be no recovery in the prices of agricultural produce, Sir John Hope Simpson would not be justified in raising on that basis the “lot viable” of the owner-cultivator by 73.5 per cent.

35. Table XVI in the Johnson-Crosbie Report (p. 14) shows that in the 104 villages the gross income from agriculture amounted to £799,232; of which £219,912, or 27.5 per cent, is income derived from olives and other fruit-trees. This fact indicates the importance of plantations for the fellah economy, even in “unirrigated tracts,” seeing that one dunam under fruit-trees yields an income three or four times as high as one dunam under cereals (£1.91 as compared with £0.51). It is, therefore, erroneous to calculate the whole of the area required for a fellah solely on the basis of cereal cultivation.

36. To fix the “lot viable” for “unirrigated tracts” alone, and multiply it by the total of Arab agricultural families–as Sir John Hope Simpson has done in his conclusions–would be [26] even if his figures Were correct, a more or less futile arithmetical exercise. About 60,000 dunams of orange-plantations in Palestine are in the hands of non-Jewish cultivators, and, on a low estimate, there are some 2,000 Arab market-gardeners, growing vegetables in the neighbourhood of towns; the income from ten dunams of orange-plantation or market-garden exceeds that from a holding of 130 dunams of unirrigated land under cereals. Subtracting these 8,000 families from the number of 61,408 owner-cultivators as given by Sir John Hope Simpson (p. 26), and their holdings–80,000 dunams–from his estimate of cultivable land, 5,644,000 dunams, we obtain an area of 5,564,000 dunams cultivated by 53,408 families, so that each cultivator who is neither an orange-grower nor a vegetable gardener tills an average of 104 dunams. But there are other plantations besides those of oranges and vegetables–bananas, olives, almonds, ordinary orchards, etc. Lastly, Sir John Hope Simpson himself admits that “where irrigation is available, and where dairying is possible, the holding may be reduced to 40 dunams, of which one-half irrigated” (p. 64), and in the Lower Jordan Valley alone, in which the Jews hold no land, he mentions 54,000 dunams under irrigation. Similarly, there are tens of thousands of dunams of irrigated land held by Arabs in the coastal plain, in Beisan, etc. What then, would be the point of even an accurate calculation ascertaining by how much the available area of Palestine would fall short of what might be required, were there nothing but treeless farms on unirrigated land?

37. Sir John Hope Simpson does not, however, altogether ignore the fact that “there are a number [27] of Arabs cultivating orange-groves and vegetables,” but he dismisses it with the remark that their number is not “material to the argument, and may be set off against the reduction in the area due to the German villages and to a certain area of land held by some of the churches.” Their number is not immaterial; and if Sir John Hope Simpson proposes to deduct the land held by German villages and the churches from the total area of cultivable land, he must similarly deduct their cultivators from the total number of non-Jewish cultivators, who, for simplicity’s sake, are usually described as “Arabs,” but in reality include all Mohammedans and Christians.

38. It has been shown that the conclusions of Sir John Hope Simpson rest upon four channels of investigation-

(a) The area of cultivable land;

(b) The number of Arab families dependent upon agriculture;

(c) The number of Arabs now landless;

(d) The “lot viable” of an Arab agricultural family.

Each of these channels we have once again traversed. Sir John Hope Simpson must expect his report to be judged by the accuracy of his facts; by the correct assumptions upon which those facts rest; by the adequacy of the definitions set up for his inquiry. No inquiry on the absorptive capacity of Palestine can lead anywhere which defines “cultivability” in terms which Sir John Hope Simpson has adopted. We have shown, among [28] other errors, that with regard to the area of cultivable land, the only new factor which Sir John Hope Simpson has brought into the equation–the air survey–is unreliable unless co-ordinated with actual tests to make certain that the reading of the air photographs is correct and that before his findings upon this device are accepted as the corner-stone of a new edifice, much checking remains to be done.

We have also shown that the line demarcating the hill wilderness from the rest has been drawn to include inhabited sections, and that administrative boundaries have been used to define agricultural areas.

Concerning the number of Arab families dependent upon agriculture, there has been an unwarranted reliance upon estimates which conflict with each other, and a misunderstanding of what a rural district really comprises in the Tables issued by the same Health Department which supplied him with his estimates and this, despite the warning issued by the Health Department in 1924, when it cautioned against precisely the use to which Sir John has put those figures. He has neglected to allow for a rural exodus and has assumed that every family resident in the villages should and must cultivate a holding.

With respect to the number of Arabs now land -less the conclusion has been demonstrated to rest upon a misreading of a Table prepared in a study made by investigators independent of his inquiry, where caution would have suggested seeing the questionnaire upon which the Table itself was based. As a result of that mistake tenants were called labourers and labourers in turn, called [29] “landless.” And finally, concerning the “lot viable,” it has been shown that a large portion of the erroneous conclusions reached rests upon the mistaken application of two different price-levels–using the higher one when calculating the cost of production, and the lower one when reaching the value of the produce; and, furthermore, entirely neglecting the simple fact that no matter what the fluctuations in the price level, the Arab fellah is but slightly affected because he brings only less than 15 per cent of his produce to market.

Sir John Hope Simpson and Palestinian Industries.

39. Sir John Hope Simpson states that “the large manufacturing industries are dependent upon the protection afforded by the import tariff” (p. 151). He has not stopped to give any evidence upon which to base this conclusion, nor, if correct, would this differentiate Palestine from most other countries whose infant industries have to face the present intense competition of full-grown rivals. It would appear that Sir John Hope Simpson has judged the future of the industries of Palestine under the assumption of world-wide free-trade–a condition which does not exist. He further states in his conclusions that there “is not any reason to believe that Palestine offers special attractions to large industrial concerns. The industries likely to succeed are those that are based on local products, or, being based on imported products, show special vitality. It would be a speculation dangerous to the economic future of the country if an attempt were made to start a textile industry in Palestine on a large scale.”

[30] 40. That those industries are likely to survive which “show special vitality” sounds convincing. But the great difficulty is to predict what industries will show “special vitality” or determine how that “vitality” is to be tested beforehand. Admittedly the human element counts for a great deal. Sir John Hope Simpson himself comments favourably upon the establishment of a factory for artificial teeth at Tel-Aviv. Had Sir John Hope Simpson been called upon to report in 1925 instead of in 1930, he would hardly, by his own criteria, have predicted that an industry so exotic as the manufacture of artificial teeth, which has to import its material from Canada and Belgium, and face certain extremely difficult technical problems, could succeed in establishing itself in Palestine and in capturing a considerable part of the world market. Similarly, who would have predicted that Switzerland was uniquely adapted to watch-manufacturing; or in the year 1875, have predicted that Boston, Massachusetts, would become the centre of safety-razor blade manufacture?

41. With regard to the “progress of industry in Palestine” Sir John Hope Simpson concludes-

“An examination of the figures of exports due to the existing industries does not support the view that the industry of Palestine is making very rapid progress. . . . . The totals of these figures for the past three years are the following-

£

1927 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426,983

1928 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426,160

1929 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 482,826

“In the first two of the three years, soap, an ancient indigenous industry, accounted for more than half the exports.”

[31] This last hint is obviously meant as a warning against ascribing too much of the merit to the Jews. But had Sir John Hope Simpson really desired to ascertain the rate of progress in the new industries, he possessed the key in his own Report. The best way of doing so, at least in the very rough-and-ready manner which contented him, would have been to subtract the exports of that “ancient indigenous industry” (soap) from the total industrial exports. The balance accordingly would have been primarily Jewish exports of manufactured products, minus that proportion of the soap export manufactured by the Jewish factory Shemen. The value of soap exports is published in the official reports of Palestine, and had this been deducted from the total utilised by Sir John Hope Simpson he would have obtained the following Table for industrial exports-

Exports other than soap.

£

1927 . . . . . . 193,97

1928 . . . . . . 203,237

1929 . . . . . . 268,691

In other words, the increase in the value of exports of industries neither “ancient” nor “indigenous” amounted during those years to roughly 38 per cent, which represents an even greater increase in volume because the price-level of manufactured products declined during those three years. A 38 per cent increase in three years is a rate of progress of which many countries would be proud. This rate of increase certainly does not lend support to the pessimistic conclusion of Sir John Hope Simpson concerning industries in Palestine.

[32] 42. In his judgment upon industries, Sir John Hope Simpson has relied more particularly, if not solely, upon the export market. In a country so primitive as Palestine, the criterion which Sir John Hope Simpson utilised does not do justice to the position. What the future of industries holds no man can predict. It depends upon ingenuity, faith, helpful attitude on the part of the Administration, new discoveries, and market surveys.

Sir John Hope Simpson’s pessimistic judgment on industry is not borne out by the Palestine Administration which, in its Report for 1928, wrote- “Further progress has to be recorded in industry. In several factories plant was enlarged and output increased; the local market and Syria and Egypt are steadily being won.”

Sir John Hope Simpson and Zionist Colonisation.

43. On pages 42-43 Sir John Hope Simpson goes into the question of the cost of colonisation in the Zionist settlements. It is not clear what his purpose was in entering into that subject. He was to enquire into the amount of land available in Palestine for new immigrants, into the effect of Jewish immigration and settlement on the non-Jewish sections of the population, into the economic position of the population, etc., but he was not asked by His Majesty’s Government to find out whether the Zionist Organisation, and more recently the Jewish Agency, have been good or bad stewards of the money subscribed for their work by world Jewry.

[33] 44. Still, as he chose to enter into such a disquisition, the Jewish organisations in Palestine readily supplied him with the material required. He states on page 42-

“The Jewish National Fund and the Keren Hayesod have very kindly submitted consolidated statements of their expenditure, which are printed as appendices 8 and 9 of this Report.”

This sounds like appreciation of the manner in which he was met. How did Sir John Hope Simpson requite it? It can fairly be assumed that he was fully conscious of the damage which our work might suffer if an unfavourable verdict was pronounced by him on our management of the millions of pounds entrusted to us by hundreds of thousands of voluntary subscribers. And it is thus that, in his Report (pages 42, 43), he has dealt with the statements submitted to him-

In the former (the Jewish National Fund Table), excluding the items “Urban Land,” “Urban Buildings,” and “Lands,” the sum of £1,545,659 appears to have been spent on agricultural colonisation. In the latter (Keren Hayesod Table) the items “Urban Colonisation,” “National Organisations,” “Investments” and “Jewish National Fund” do not appear to be expenditure on colonisation in the country. The balance is £3,345,531. Adding these two sums together, the total cost of agricultural colonisation by the Zionist Organisation appears to have been £4,891,190.* The number of persons actually settled for this sum is shown in Appendix 10–a statement submitted by the Jewish Agency.

  • The whole of this sum has not been expended on families actually settled. It includes an amount spent on land still in reserve.

“Population of Settlements- The total population of [34] the Zionist settlements in 1930 (included therein being the “supported settlements”) consisted of 4,408 adults and 2,364 children under 15 years of age. The cost of colonisation of a family has thus been very large.” Indeed, the cost of colonisation as indicated by Sir John Hope Simpson might well be described as “very large.” But in reality, Sir John Hope Simpson has reached his conclusion by misreading the Tables submitted to him. From that of the Keren Hayesod, reproduced on page 169 of his Report, he has included, besides “Agricultural Colonisation,” the following items in the cost of rural settlement-

Education

Religious Institutions,

Public Works,

Administration (Palestine Immigration Zionist Executive), and

Health,

Miscellaneous.

In other words, the entire expenditure on these services, incurred on behalf of a population of 170,000, was booked by him against the cost of the “agricultural settlement” of 6,772 individuals.

45. After Sir John Hope Simpson had been criticised in the Press for this extraordinary mistake, he inserted the following paragraph among the “Errata” printed in the Appendix containing Maps, and issued a few months after the Report –

“for “Adding these two sums . . . . Jewish Agency” read—

Of this balance, £1,179,027 is direct expenditure on agricultural colonisation. In addition, an unspecified portion of the expenditure on Education (£725,111), Public Works (£513,168), Immigration (£355,496), Health (£263,482), Religious Institutions, (£80,177), Administration, P.Z.E. (£182,811), and [35] Miscellaneous (£46,259) must have been in respect of colonisation in the settlements, the remainder representing expenditure in urban areas. The total cost of agricultural colonisation by the Zionist Organisation has thus been £2,734,636, together with an additional sum from the items detailed above. The number of persons actually settled is shown in Appendix 10–a statement submitted by the Jewish Agency.

46. Three points will be noticed about this “correction”-

(a) Sir John Hope Simpson contrasts the “unspecified portion” to be added to the cost of agricultural colonisation with the “remainder representing expenditure on urban areas.” The 6,772 colonists of the “Zionist settlements” for in only about 18 per cent of the total Jewish agricultural population of Palestine, and therefore must not be contrasted with the “urban areas.” Further, as those settlements have, according to Sir John Hope Simpson himself, a total population of 6,772, while the Jewish population of Palestine amounts to about 170,000, on a pro rata basis the “unspecified portion” amounts to about 4 per cent and the “remainder” to 96 per cent. Why has not Sir John Hope Simpson helped the readers of his “Errata” to at least some approximate idea concerning the relation of the “unspecified portion” to the “remainder”?

(b) It is not certain that even the “unspecified portion” of the expenditure incurred by the Jewish Agency under all these headings can legitimately be booked against “agricultural colonisation”; whether–to give only one example–the poll-tax levied by the Palestine Administration on immigrants, which the Jewish Agency has frequently [36] to pay on behalf of poor agricultural “pioneers,” should count as part of the cost of agricultural settlement?

(c) Sir John Hope Simpson has noted in his Report that, of the money spent by the Jewish National Fund on agricultural colonisation, part was “on land still in reserve,” and that the whole sum must not therefore be booked against the Zionist Settlements. But in the “Errata“ “the total cost of agricultural colonisation by the Zionist Organisation” is put at £2,734,636, which represents the sum total of the entire expenditure of the Jewish National Fund on agricultural colonisation (£1,545,659) and of the £1,179,027 spent by the Keren Hayesod for the same purpose. There is no trace of the reservation the need for which Sir John Hope Simpson himself had previously acknowledged.

47. To sum up- In Sir John Hope Simpson’s Report, the expenditure on the Zionist settlements was £4,891,190, minus an unspecified part of the £1,545,659 spent by the Jewish National Fund; in the “Errata” it is £2,734,636, plus an unspecified portion of the £2,166,504, all of which had previously been included in our expenditure on colonisation. In reality, our total expenditure on these settlements amounts to about £2,000,000.

48. How big is the land reserve of the Jewish National Fund? The foot-note on page 42, explaining that “not the whole” should be booked against the families actually settled, because “an amount” was spent on “land still in reserve” would suggest that the best part of the expenditure was on behalf of the families actually [37] settled. But on the next page, Sir John Hope Simpson states that as, of a total of 270,000 dunams owned by the Jewish National Fund, only 114,329 dunams were cultivated by the “Zionist Settlements,” 155,500 dunams (57.5 per cent) “are in reserve.” Again, his figure, which is to prove that we are provided with land for years to come, is inaccurate.

49. Sir John Hope Simpson assumes that all the land owned by the Jewish National Fund is cultivable; in reality, 53,200 dunams are not; they are suitable for afforestation, and are being used for this purpose, or they are set aside for urban development. Sir John Hope Simpson further assumes that there are no settlements on Jewish National Fund land other than those financed by the Keren Hayesod; in reality some 32,000 dunams are leased to other settlements. Consequently the Jewish National Fund’s reserve of cultivable land amounts to roughly 70,000 dunams, and not 155,500 dunams.

50. In discussing the “Zionist settlements,” Sir John Hope Simpson writes (page 43)-

“Of the 129,466 dunams actually the property of the Zionist Organisation, and included in the settlements, 15,137 dunams are leased to others, 11,958 dunams are shown as fallow, and 7,390 are “idle, fit for cultivation,” i.e., in all 34,485 dunams, or 26.6 per cent of the total cultivable area of these settlements was, for one reason or another, not cultivated during the last year by the settlers themselves.” The Zionist Organisation, as such, owns no land–presumably Sir John Hope Simpson means the Jewish National Fund. And he commits two further mistakes-

[38] (a) The 15,137 dunams, which he describes as leased to others, are in fact leased from others, and together with the 114,329 dunams of National Fund land mentioned by him in the next paragraph as held by these settlers, form the total of 129,466 dunams.

(b) The 11,958 dunams shown as “fallow” are not uncultivated, but left fallow in the ordinary rotation of crops–nor is this proportion excessive. If Sir John Hope Simpson applied the same terminology to Arab land, he would have to describe a much larger part of it as “uncultivated but cultivable,” on account of the system of crop rotation prevailing among the Arabs.

The amount of land in the colonies “idle but fit for cultivation” is, therefore, as stated by us, 7,340 dunams, and not 34,485 dunams, and forms 5.7 per cent, and not 26.6 per cent, of the total area held by them.

Sir John Hope Simpson and the Yemenites.

51. Sir John Hope Simpson writes, when discussing Jewish immigration (p. 124)-

“In many cases persons have been admitted who, if the facts had all been known, should not have received visas. A large number of these cases have been examined. A considerable number concern Yemenite Jews who immigrate from Aden. The following cases all concern immigration certificates which have been used during the last three months, and were issued by the representatives of the Jewish Agency at Aden;

(i) A man aged 30 with a wife aged 20 and a son aged 12. This would imply that the son was born when his mother was 8 years old.

[39] (ii) A man aged 28 with a wife aged 18 and their son aged 12. In this case the mother must have been six years old when the son was born.

(iii) A man aged 23 with a wife aged 10 and their daughter aged 5.

(iv) A man aged 35 with a wife aged 24 and their daughter aged 15.

(v) A man aged 35 with a wife aged 25 and their daughter aged 16.

(vi) A man aged 35 with his wife aged 26 and their son aged 15.

(vii) A man aged 30 with a wife aged 22 and a son aged 12.”

The Jews in the Yemen live in extreme misery and degradation. Whatever their profession, as a sign of contempt they are all entered as “scavengers.” Their orphans are the wards of the Imam, who, qua guardian, compels them to adopt Mohammedanism. The Yemenite Jews will incur the greatest dangers in order to rescue them from enforced conversion. It may be that one of the Jews on Sir John Hope Simpson’s list has thus smuggled out such an orphan; it may be that he has found it, stranded and destitute, at Aden, and instead of passing through the proper formalities of adoption, has simply declared it his own. Such action would be comprehensible, charitable, and pardonable.

52. The Jewish religion allows the marriage of boys from the age of thirteen upwards, and Yemenite Jews marry extremely young. Because of the primitive conditions under which they live, the number of women dying in childbirth is large. Looking back, with this thought in mind, at the cases cited by Sir John Hope Simpson, it is clear [40] that every one of them is possible on the assumption that the child is from a previous marriage of the father. Sir John Hope Simpson has assumed in every case that the child must be from the present wife. Indeed, had fraud been intended, in the absence of passports and birth registers these immigrants could easily have readjusted their respective ages.

53. On July 27th Sir John Hope Simpson left Palestine for Athens, there to write his report; the covering letter bears the date of August 22nd. He had therefore at the utmost three weeks in which to digest the material, and to write a report covering 185 printed pages.

This may account for some of its shortcomings. But he has pronounced a verdict upon the work, the dreams, the last hope of a suffering people. He had no right to hurry or to allow himself to be rushed. Shortage of time is no excuse in a judge. He has not done justice to his mission, to our work, or to the people who received him with the trust and respect which his previo

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