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Arab Illegal Immigration to Palestine before 1948 (Nakba), British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume I - Page 210. Chapter VII: Immigration: Section 3: Acquisition of Palestinian Citizenship: Section 4: Illegal Immigration:

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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine


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(iv) fictional marriage of foreign women to (a) Palestinian citizens; and (b) permanent residents who are not Palestinian citizens.

Of these methods only (2) and (3) are susceptible of record, (1) and (4) being conjectural. Moreover, it was not until 1936 that the collection of data was placed on a firm foundation. Methods (1) and (3). were the characteristics, of varying intensity, between 1919 and 1939. Method (2) was characteristic of the period May to September, 1939 : the outbreak of war then made the provision of shipping almost negligible. Method (4) is always utilized to some extent but has probably been of no great significance since the outbreak of war.

54. It is clear that there is necessarily much that is conjectural in an estimate of the volume of illegal immigration. The estimated number of Jewish illegal immigrants at April, 1939, is generally held to be of the order of 30,000 to 40,000. The Jewish Agency indeed add 37 ,000 to the official estimates of the Jewish population of Palestine. Since then most of the illegal immigration has been recorded, though of recent months the method of secret entry has been employed. By and large the estimated number of Jewish illegal immigrants since April, 193!). is of the order of 20,000 to 25,000. It follows that the Jewish population may now include between 50,000 and 60,000 illegal immigrants who have settled in Palestine at any time since 1!)20 when the first Immigration Ordinance was enacted. The number of Jewish illegal immigrants recorded during 1945 is 370. In addition there has been during recent months some illegal entry by evasion of controls and therefore unrecorded. Its volume is conjectural but it may be of the order of 3,000 persons.


55. Arab illegal immigration is mainly of the types described in the first paragraph of this memorandum as casual, temporary and seasonal. It is illegal in the sense that the entry and the mode of entry do not conform with the provisions of the Immigration Ordinance and it is therefore not susceptible of statistical record. On the other hand it is not illegal in the sense that the immigrants settle permanently in Palestine. The main causes of these movements are found in

(a) differences in the crop prospects between Palestine and the neighbouring territories; and

(b) the attraction of higher wages in Palestine when 'boom' conditions exist.

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