Saturday, March 21, 2009

British Mandate PRT 2 – The Balfour Declaration

Britain has made three secretive promises thatcontradicted with one another: First they divided the Arab nations amongst themselves, France and Russia. Then they promised those same exact lands to the Sharif of Mecca, Husayn ibn Ali, under Hashemite rule. After promising the Sharif of Mecca that he will have direct rule over all current and forming Arab states (including Palestine), the British went and promised the Jews a national homeland in Palestine. The last promise was made so that the British could gain the United States friendship and keep the Russian’s.

Despite all of these promises that the British made within the Middle-East, the most crucial of them all was the last promise; the promise of a national homeland for the Jews within Palestine, which is known today as being part of the Balfour Declaration. This final promise was what initially created the monster on both sides which lead to the major fighting between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

On November 2nd, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour released the following policy statement in the form of a letter to Lord Lionel Rothschild, who is head of the British Zionist Federation:

Foreign Office
2nd November 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government the following declaration of our sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

"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 this 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."

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

This is the famous Balfour Declaration. Even though it was at first only a written statement, it soon became a legal document that was written into the British Mandate for Palestine by the League of Nations.

This statement was highly debated before it actually went into print by the British. “It spoke of a "national home," not a state; it was to be "in Palestine," not "of Palestine"; and the rights of the non-Jewish population were to be respected (in the Jewish and British readings, this meant the individual rights of Arabs and not Arab national rights).” (Alan Dowty)

Despite all of these conditions, Zionists welcomed this statement as a major victory for Jews. For Jews this meant that the Zionist movement was becoming internationally recognized as a legitimate enterprise which was the result of the establishment of the Palestine Mandate from the Balfour Declaration which included guidelines of building a Jewish national home in Palestine.

This lead to the creation of a monster on both sides because the British has promised the Sharif of Mecca direct rule over all Arab states, including Palestine, and at the same time had promised a national homeland to the Jews. Moreover, it was very controversial because the Jews saw the Balfour Declaration statement as giving Jews ALL of Palestine as opposed to only receiving a national homeland WITHIN Palestine. Major outbreaks occurred after the release of this documentation because both the Palestinians and the Jews were unclear as to what they were each getting. Massive fighting outbreaks occurred to the point that Britain was no longer capable of controlling what they just did, and the monster that they just created, that they just picked up and left the two peoples to deal with it and sort out the miscommunication on their own. Thus, when looking at it from an objective point of view it is clear that the British are to blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict and that the British must and should take full responsibility of trying to fix what they did.


Dowty, Alan . Israel/Palestine. 2nd. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment