For both skeptics and realists there is no reason to be overly optimistic. Modern history presents a repetitive saga of Arab countries joining in an attempt to destroy the Jewish State. The method is irrelevant, the goal the same-Jews have no place in the little area they call Israel. Sadly for those nations, not only have they failed, but with each attempt Israel has become stronger and more secure. The same cannot be said for her enemies.
In researching my new novel, The Five Day War, I came across an unbelievable and exciting series of events. The Paris Treaty was an historic event, virtually unknown even to well informed Middle East observers that in light of recent events, might just point to a path for future peace and cooperation.
During World War I, the British faced a shortage of a chemical called acetone. This was a solvent needed for cordite, an essential component of their explosive weaponry. Winston Churchill, then first Lord of the Admiralty was made aware that Chaim Azriel Weizmann, a noted biochemist (and president of the Zionist Organization) had developed a method of converting grain into acetone. At Churchill’s request Weizmann demonstrated that he could successfully convert 100 tons of grain into 12 tons of acetone. The British were ecstatic, and began mass production of the process. This resulted in them being able to produce 90,000 gallons of acetone per year, allowing the Royal Navy and Army to fire 248 million shells against the enemy.
Most observers believe that as a reward for Weizmann’s war effort and contribution to victory, Prime Minister Lloyd George approved the signing of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. This called for the creation of a National Home for the Jewish People in Palestine.
In 1918 Weizmann traveled to Transjordan to meet Emir Faisal I, to begin discussion about the development of a Jewish Homeland alongside the Muslim nations of the Middle East. On January 3, 1919, the Faisal- Weizmann agreement was signed. It was known as the Treaty of Paris, and addressed disputes arising from World War I.
Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of which was that both Faisal and Weizmann had very little regard for the Palestinian Arabs.
The Balfour Declaration was approved by the League of Nations and the British Mandate.
Weizmann went on to become the first President of the State of Israel and Faisal was on to be the King of Hejaz and later was the King of Syria and the Kingdom of Iraq.
THEIR AGREEMENT CALLED FOR:
- Cordial goodwill and understanding between each nation
- The Zionist Movement would assist the Arab residents to develop natural resources and establish and economy
- Future boundaries of both states will be determined by a commission
- That the parties will each carry out their mandate of the Balfour Declaration
Two weeks before the signing, Faisal wrote to Felix Frankfurter, president of the Zionists of America movement (ZOA) stating: “The Arabs especially the educated ones—-look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Their proposals—are moderate and proper”
Sadly, geopolitical and historical events prevented the agreement from coming to fruition.
However, the world has since changed. Sunni Arabs realize that they cannot defeat Israel militarily, politically or economically, and an Iranian nuclear threat hanging over the balance is causing both Israel and the Sunni nations to live in fear. Some nations are even beginning to see the merits in a Faisal-Weizmann style agreement, especially with the growing economic pressure on the Sunnis in the areas of water, tourism, and industrial growth. With their increasing defense budgets, and the critical nature of the price of oil especially in view of US shale production makes it obligatory for the Sunnis to re-evaluate their relationship with Israel over the long run. They are coming to the self-realization that such rapprochement is in their self- interest. Many live in fear of the Iranian menace.
The growing Hezbollah-Hamas relationship with Iran and the corruption and impotence of the Palestinian Authority only reinforces the negative attitudes of the Sunni nations towards the Palestinian situation. The upcoming visit by the Hampton Synagogue to Bahrain together with the rumor that Bahrain will recognize Israel by the end of the year only further prove the point: We are living in a day in age that might very likely see the agreement of nearly a century ago come to fruition.