HC Deb 14 December 1925 vol 189 cc945-6
11. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state how much land has been made available for and taken up by Jewish settlers in Palestine since the mandate for Palestine was granted to Great Britain; and what steps are being taken to secure suitable land for approved immigrants and to assist such persons to settle on the land?


In his report on the administration of Palestine for 1920–1925, which was recently published by the Stationery Office, the late High Commissioner stated that Jewish bodies and individuals were now in possession of 319 square miles of land in Palestine as against 177 square miles before the War. The introduction of a new system of land registration is now engaging the attention of the Palestine Government. Until it has been introduced, little progress can be expected in the disposal of State lands

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that there are no State lands chat could be made available for more rapid settlement by suitable colonists?


There is a certain number of State lands, as I have explained, but until the new system of registration and examination has been gone into fully, regarding any possible claim which might arise in connection with the occupation of these State lands, it is impossible to set aside any particular areas for colonisation,


Are there not vast tracks of land, in the nominal ownership of persons in Palestine, which are not used? What steps are the Government taking to see that these lands, which are at present unused, shall be available for settlement?


Will the hon. Gentleman keep in mind the fact that, whilst there is land available in Palestine, no preference should be given to Jews as distinct from Arabs, or, in other words, that there should be equal treatment of all concerned?


In reply to the last question, I would point out that practically the only State lands so far allocated have been allocated to Arabs. But undoubtedly there is a good deal of unoccupied and uncultivated land in Palestine, and, when the necessary investigations have been made, it will be available for further settlement by both races.