From the very beginning of the British Mandate for Palestine , there has been what has often become an impossible dilemma for all the parties concerned.  For the Jewish people it was the necessity for the attainment of independence and restored sovereignty over a land that had been under foreign occupation since the defeat of Shimon Bar Kochba in 135CE. by the Romans under the Emperor, Hadrian.

For the Moslem Arabs, who settled  the land after their conquest in the 7th century CE, it was their affirmation that they were part of the Islamic hegemony that had been established over centuries of Moslem rule either by the Caliphs in Baghdad and Cairo, or the Turks ruling from Istanbul, also by conquest in 1453.

For the British, it was how to establish their imperialist objectives by maintaining their sphere of influence in the region, hard won by their victory over the Ottoman Turks in World War One and their constant competition with their erstwhile allies, the French, who were establishing their own mandatory territories in Lebanon and Syria.

At the end of that “war to end all wars” a treat drafted in 1916 known as the Sykes-Picot Treaty, divided the Ottoman Empire between the British and the French.  During the war, the British, ever perfidious Albion, made promises to both the Jewish people and the Arabs , The Balfour Declaration of 1917, composed by Lord Arthur James Balfour, the British Foreign Minister stated this plainly in a letter to Lord Rothschild:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of the object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious’ rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”

This official promise was the basis for the League of Nations Mandate Commission, in 1919, to grant Britain trusteeship over to the ENTIRE region of the geographic area of “Palestine,”  for their acknowledgement of the right of the Jewish people to the land.That area included all of what is today the State of Israel, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and all of what is known today as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  A land of some 22,000 square kilometers (roughly the size of Pennsylvania) which, interestingly enough, has the Jordan River flowing through its center-it does not delineate its border.

However, there was a series of letters written to a Beduin Hashemite known as Prince Faisal, by another British civil servant, Lord Henry McMahon in 1915, which promised the Arab people under Faisal’s leadership, in payment for their contribution in the struggle against the Turks, that they would be granted independence under the protection of the British Empire at the end of the war.

At the war’s conclusion, after the British conquest of Damascus, Faisal set himself up as king, whereupon the French, suitably perturbed by this move  against their imperial desires, tossed him out of Damascus, almost bodily.

Whereupon Faisal, went complaining to the British that they had betrayed him. So, out of the former Ottoman province of Mesopotamia, the British, in the fulfillment of their obligation under the McMahon Letters, created a country known today as Iraq and installed Faisal as its king, Legally, juridically and according to promises made to the Arabs by the British, they had kept their promise. Iraq was for the Arabs, and “Palestine” was for the Jews.

As a matter of fact, King Faisal, at war’s end, had met, in London, with Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization and had agreed on a treaty known as the Faisal-Weizmann Treaty:

  • The agreement committed both parties to conducting all relations between the groups by the most cordial goodwill and understanding, to work together to encourage immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale while protecting the rights of the Arab peasants and tenant farmers, and to safeguard the free practice of religious observances. The Muslim Holy Places were to be under Muslim control.
  • The Zionist movement undertook to assist the Arab residents of Palestine and the future Arab state to develop their natural resources and establish a growing economy.
  • The boundaries between an Arab State and Palestine should be determined by a Commission after the Paris Peace Conference.
  • The parties committed to carrying into effect the Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for a Jewish national home in Palestine.
  • Disputes were to be submitted to the British Government for arbitration.

Weizmann signed the agreement on behalf of the Zionist Organization, while Faisal signed on behalf of the short-lived Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz.

Two weeks prior to signing the agreement, Faisal stated:

The two main branches of the Semitic family, Arabs and Jews, understand one another, and I hope that as a result of interchange of ideas at the Peace Conference, which will be guided by ideals of self-determination and nationality, each nation will make definite progress towards the realization of its aspirations. Arabs are not jealous of Zionist Jews, and intend to give them fair play and the Zionist Jews have assured the Nationalist Arabs of their intention to see that they too have fair play in their respective areas. Turkish intrigue in Palestine has raised jealousy between the Jewish colonists and the local peasants, but the mutual understanding of the aims of Arabs and Jews will at once clear away the last trace of this former bitterness, which, indeed, had already practically disappeared before the war by the work of the Arab Secret Revolutionary Committee, which in Syria and elsewhere laid the foundation of the Arab military successes of the past two years.[1

  • The agreement committed both parties to conducting all relations between the groups by the most cordial goodwill and understanding, to work together to encourage immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale while protecting the rights of the Arab peasants and tenant farmers, and to safeguard the free practice of religious observances. The Muslim Holy Places were to be under Muslim control.
  • The Zionist movement undertook to assist the Arab residents of Palestine and the future Arab state to develop their natural resources and establish a growing economy.
  • The boundaries between an Arab State and Palestine should be determined by a Commission after the Paris Peace Conference.
  • The parties committed to carrying into effect the Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for a Jewish national home in Palestine.
  • Disputes were to be submitted to the British Government for arbitration.

Weizmann signed the agreement on behalf of the Zionist Organization, while Faisal signed on behalf of the short-lived Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz.

 

:

The areas discussed were detailed in a letter to Felix Frankfurter, President of the Zionist Organisation of America, on 3 March 1919, written by Faisal,

“The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper.”(credit-Article on Faisal-Weizmann Agreement article in Wikipedia-also the above quotation)

In 1920, the Articles of the British Mandate were finalized at another conference in San Remo, Italy, attended by Great Britain, France, Italy, the United States and Japan, where the international obligation by Britain for the “Palestine” Mandate, were written into international law and ratified by the League of Nations and as all other treaties creating international law were formally included into the formation of the United Nations. The San Remo Treaty affirms the promise of the Balfour Declaration thusly”

The Conference was also attended by Chaim WeizmannNahum Sokolow, and Herbert Samuel, who presented a memorandum to the British delegation on the final settlement in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The article concerning Palestine was debated on April 24 and the next day it was finally resolved to incorporate the Balfour Declaration in Britain’s mandate in Palestine. Thus Britain was made responsible “for putting into effect the declaration made on the 8th [sic.] November 1917 by the British Government and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people; it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The resolution at San Remo was celebrated by mass rallies throughout the Jewish world.(credit-Jewish Virtual Library).

Therefore, according to recognized, affirmed, legal documentation, as of 1920, the lands promised to the Jewish people, the land that the British mandatory authorities were given in safe keeping to encourage “close Jewish settlement on the land”, should stretch from the border of Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea, including the Gaza Strip. Period.

However, we must remember that Great Britain is not known as perfidious Albion for naught. It seems that Faisal, the British installed King of Iraq, a Hashemite claiming descent from Mohammed, a member of a tribe tossed out of its ancestral homeland. which is, by the way, Saudi Arabia (known at the time of the Ottomans, as the Hedjaz) had a cousin named Abdullah. Abdullah was, to put it mildly, perturbed by what the British had done for his cousin, but had somehow left him out of the party.  Even though the British had completely fulfilled their promise to create an independent Arab state, Abdullah was not satisfied with the arrangement.

Winston Churchill (to whom I bear an eternal dislike for a reason that will soon become obvious) who was the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom, looked at a map and decided, on a spring day in a Jerusalem garden, as he would later put it, drew a line bisecting all the land from the Jordan River eastwards and created, in 1922, the “Hashemite Kingdom of Trans-Jordan” and gave it to Abdulllah. This flagrant breach of the mandate given to his country, to maintain and sustain for the development of the Jewish homeland, was torn asunder. At the stroke of the imperialist’s pen, three quarters of the land was handed over to an illegal squatter and a British puppet.

Unfortunately, with all their rage at this act of perfidy and betrayal, the Zionist movement had little recourse to undo this dastardly theft. The present king of “Jordan” has as much right to “his” country as a thief has to his booty. He is a descendant of interlopers and the benefactors of English betrayal of the Jewish people.

However, the remainder of the land, from the Jordan River westward, all 25% of the territory, was ruled by Britain till the end of the mandate on May 15th, 1948. Even though the British halted much of their obligatory services after the partition resolution of Nov. 29th 1947, they were ordered by the United Nations to maintain peace until the provisions of the resolution could be effectively carried out. Which, of course, in large part, they failed to do.

End of Part One