Page:Zionism 9204 Peace Conference 1920.pdf/57

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Officer with the British authorities of Palestine. It returned in October 1918, but Zionists have so far done little to set forth a practical scheme for the administration of Palestine under their auspices.

The Jews of Palestine divide themselves into two very distinct sections. The old inhabitants are descendants of refugees from Spain and Portugal who began to settle there early in the sixteenth century, and of successive generations of pilgrims who had gone there to study and live a life of contemplation and die in the land of their fathers. These are persons of not much initiative and largely dependent on a somewhat mischievous system, known as Halukah ('distribution') because the money collected for Palestine among the Jews of Europe and America was distributed between them. Halukah benefits correspond with the allowances made to 'remittance men' in the Colonies.

The second class, however, consists of genuine colonists, agriculturists, students, and even painters and sculptors, who have come to Palestine during recent years from Russia, Rumania, and elsewhere, some of them the victims of persecution, seeking a refuge anywhere, but others drawn to Palestine and Palestine only by the ideals of the Chovevi Zion and the Zionists. They came from love of the country, and a real desire to revive it, and make it again a land of milk and honey. To this class also a considerable number of the officers and men of the Jewish regiments which served in Palestine are likely to belong.

An interesting suggestion for the new Zionist situation is set forth in a communication to the Jewish Chronicle of November 15, 1918. The letter assumes that Palestine is to be under British suzerainty, but to be forthwith administered by a 'Jewish Commonwealth'. Inasmuch as the Jews are at present by no means a majority of the population, the principle of self-determination cannot yet apply; but it is admitted to he essential that such a Commonwealth must be acceptable to the present inhabitants, and that no landowner should be expropriated. It suggests that such