ZIONIST PROPOSALS AT VERSAILLES 1919.
From the late nineteenth century, up until well into the early twentieth century, many Arabs believed that it was time for the Jewish people to return to the land- and they wanted them to come back for good, practical reasons.
"No national union and no national spirit has prevailed there (in Palestine). The motley impoverished tribes which have occupied it have held it as mere tenants at will, temporary landowners, evidently waiting for those entitled to the permanent possession of the soil" Sir John William Dawson, 1888, (Modern Science in Bible Lands - New York 1890 - pp. 449-450).
“The Jews of the Orient are at home. This land is their only fatherland. They don’t know any other.” Farid Kassab, a famous Syrian author, 1906
“ (I) held conversations with some of the leading sheiks, and they all expressed pleasure at the advent of the Jews, for they considered that with them had come ‘barakat’ – blessing, since the rain came in due season.” Dr. Moses Gaster, 1907.
"The resources of the country (Palestine) are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him.... At the same time, we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, and America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons [abna'ihi-l-asliyin], for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles [jaliya] to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land." Hussein Ibn-Ali, Sheriff of Mecca, Mecca's Al Qibla, in 1918.
In 1918 one of the most horrifying wars in history ended. Roughly 10 million soldiers from both sides had died. On top of that, about 20 million others had died of influenza. In all, about 30 million people- more than half the present population of Britain- had died as a result of that war. In the following year, 1919, the battered and bruised “victors” of the war got together in Paris to carve up what had once been the empires of Austria, Germany and Turkey. Palestine, of course, was one of the areas discussed and the land had been part of the Turkish empire for almost exactly 400 years….
"I was the head of the Foreign Office League of Nations section (at the Paris peace talks in 1919) and it so happened that the head of the FO section, who was dealing with the Palestine Mandate, and who was very devoted to the Zionist cause, was a certain Eric Forbes Adams. And so, every day in the delegation offices we used to argue about this matter and every day I would say "Eric it's no good. You can't take a lot of people into someone else's country without creating troubles of every possible description." And he became very exhausted and tired of me saying this rigmarole, which I constantly repeated, and he said, "Will you fix a date to lunch with me some time off, so I can make some arrangements.
When I got to the lunch on Friday week, who were the other guests but Lawrence of Arabia and the Emir Faisal, and I was converted to Zionism by those two men, Faisal making speeches and Lawrence of Arabia translating.
Faisal said to me "Of course we want Zionists to come to Palestine. We know what will happen. They'll bring vast sums of American and other capital from abroad. They'll bring in the greatest scientists (All the greatest scientists are Jewish) The territory of Palestine, now so arid and so much of it a desert, will be transformed. It will become a garden. It will blossom like the rose. We shall borrow their experts. We will work together. We will do the same in all the countries that we Arabs have turned into deserts. We shall make them flourish again, as they used to in the past..."
Philip Noel Baker, a Delegate at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
So, in 1919, there they all were round the table discussing the future of Palestine- The Zionist leaders under Chaim Weizmann, as well as the Arab leaders and Lawrence of Arabia. Basically what happened was this. The Arab team, led by Emir Faisal from Mecca, welcomed the Jewish delegation as cousins. They told them that they were very happy that the Jews were coming back to establish a homeland in Palestine but they wanted to know what the borders of this homeland would be so that both sides would be talking about the same thing.
The problem was this- Palestine was not a country with definite borders. It was a bit of a splodge that included practically anything you wanted to include. Talking about Palestine in those days was a bit like talking about Scandinavia. Does Scandinavia include just Denmark, Norway and Sweden or is Finland included? Then, what about Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania? Everyone has an opinion on what Scandinavia is but not all agree. It was the same with Palestine. It included all kinds of areas. Palestine even included Damascus and none of the Jews or Arabs would have considered including Damascus in the Jewish homeland as it was so important to the Arabs. So the Arabs were sympathetic but they wanted to know what the borders of this homeland would be.
Chaim Weizmann and his team drew up a set of proposals, which they presented to Faisal. Here is that set ofproposals. You probably won't have time to read the whole thing, but you youcan at least read what is written in blue, regarding the borders of the proposed Jewish state and the comments at the end.
From the Proposals Presented by the Zionist Organisation to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Zionist Organisation respectfully submits the following draft resolutions for the consideration of the Peace Conference:-
1 - The High Contracting Parties recognise the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.
2. The boundaries of Palestine shall be as declared in the Schedule annexed hereto.
3. The sovereign possession of Palestine shall he vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
4. (Provision to be inserted relating to the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached to mandates as are suitable to the case.)
5. The mandate shall be subject also to the following special conditions:-
(I.) Palestine shall be placed under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish National Home, and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, 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.
(II.) To this end the Mandatory Power shall inter alia:
(a) promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
(b) Accept the co-operation in such measures of a Council representative of the Jews in Palestine and of the world that may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and entrust the organisation of Jewish education to such Council.
(c) On being satisfied that the constitution of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural resources which it may be found desirable to grant.
(III.) The Mandatory Power shall encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities practicable in the conditions of the country.
(IV.) There shall be for ever the fullest freedom of religious worship for all creeds in Palestine. There shall be no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race.
(V.) (Provision to be inserted relating to the control of the Holy Places.)
The Boundaries of Palestine.
The boundaries of Palestine shall follow the general lines set out below:-
Starting on the North at a point on the Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity south of Sidon and following the watersheds of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as JISR EL KARAON, thence to EL BIRE, following the dividing line between the two basins of the WADI EL KORN and the WADI ET TEIM, thence in a southerly direction following the dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the HERMON, to the vicinity west of BEIT JENN, thence eastward following the northern watersheds of the NAHR MUGHANIYE close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway.
In the east a line close to and west of Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba.
In the south a frontier to be agreed upon with the Egyptian Government.
In the west the Mediterranean Sea.
The details of the delimitation's, or any necessary adjustments of detail, shall be settled by a Special Commission on which there shall be Jewish representation.
Great Britain as Mandatory of the League of Nations.
We ask that Great Britain shall act as Mandatory of the League of Nations for Palestine. The selection of Great Britain as Mandatory is urged on the ground that this is the wish of the Jews of the world, and the League of Nations in selecting a Mandatory will follow as far as possible the popular wish of the people concerned.
The preference on the part of the Jews for a British Trusteeship is unquestionably the result of the peculiar relationship of England to the Jewish Palestinian problem.
The return of the Jews to Zion has not only been a remarkable feature in English literature, but in the domain of statecraft it has played its part, beginning with the readmission of the Jews under Cromwell.
It manifested itself particularly in the nineteenth century in the instructions given to British Consular representatives in the Orient after the Damascus incident;
in the various Jewish Palestinian projects suggested by English non-Jews prior to 1881;
in the letters of endorsement and support given by members of the Royal Family and Officers of the Government to Lawrence Oliphant;
and, finally, in the three consecutive acts which definitely associated Great Britain with Zionism in the minds of the Jews,
viz.: the El Arish offer in 1901;
the East African offer in 1903,
and, lastly, the British Declaration in favour of a Jewish National Home in Palestine in 1917.
Moreover, the Jews who have gained political experience in many lands under a great variety of governmental systems, whole-heartedly appreciate the advanced and liberal policies adopted by Great Britain in her modern colonial administration.
It may be stated without doubt that all of these things account for the attitude taken by the Jews with reference to the Trusteeship, as evidenced by the following:-
On December 16th, 1918, the American Jewish Congress composed of delegates representing 3,000,000 American Jews adopted the following resolution:
"The American Jewish Congress instruct their delegation to Europe to co-operate with representatives of other Jewish Organisations and specifically with the World Zionist Organisation, to the end that the Peace Conference may recognise the aspirations and historic claims of the Jewish people with regard to Palestine, and declare that, in accordance with the British Government's Declaration of November 2nd, 1917, endorsed by the Allied Governments and the President of the United States, there shall be established such political administrative and economic conditions in Palestine, as will assure under the trusteeship of Great Britain, acting on behalf of such League of Nations as may be formed, the development of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth; it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which shall prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries."
Similar action was taken in Jaffa in the month of December, 1918, by a conference of representatives of the Jewish population in Palestine, and on January 4th, 1919, by Jewish Congresses representing about two million Jews of the reconstituted States of Austria-Hungary and of Poland.
The boundaries outlined are what we consider essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country. Palestine must have its natural outlets to the seas and the control of its rivers and their headwaters. The boundaries are sketched with the general economic needs and historic traditions of the country in mind, factors which necessarily must also be considered by the Special Commission in fixing the definite boundary lines. This Commission will bear in mind that it is highly desirable, in the interests of economical administration, that the geographical area of Palestine should be as large as possible, so that it may eventually contain a large and thriving population which could more easily bear the burdens of modem civilised government than a small country with a necessary limitation of inhabitants.
The economic life of Palestine, like that of every other semi-arid country, depends on the available water supply. It is, therefore, of vital importance not only to secure all water resources already feeding the country, but also to be able to conserve and control them at their sources. "
The Hermon is Palestine's real "Father of Waters," and cannot be severed from it without striking at the very root of its economic life. The Hermon not only needs re-afforestation but also other works before it can again adequately serve the water reservoir of the country. It must therefore, be wholly under the control of those who will most willingly as well as most adequately restore it its maximum utility. Some international arrangement must be made whereby the riparian rights of the people dwelling south of the Litani River may be fully protected. Properly cared for, these headwaters can be made to serve in the development of the Lebanon as well as of Palestine.
The fertile plains east of the Jordan, since the earliest Biblical times, have been linked economically and politically with the land west of the Jordan. The country, which is, now very sparsely populated, in Roman times supported a great population. It could now serve admirably for colonisation on a large scale. A just regard for the economic needs of Palestine and Arabia demands that free access to the Hedjaz Railway throughout its length be accorded both Governments.
An intensive development of the agriculture and other opportunities of Trans-Jordania make it imperative that Palestine shall have access to the Red Sea and an opportunity of developing good harbours on the Gulf of Akaba. Akaba, it will be recalled, was the terminus of an important trade route of Palestine from the days of Solomon onwards. The ports developed in the Gulf of Akaba should be free ports through which the commerce of the Hinterland may pass--on the same principle which guides us in suggesting that free access be given to the Hedjaz Railway.
In every part of the world on the Day of Atonement the Jews pray that "all nations may be united by a common bond, so that the will of God may reign supreme throughout the world." In the fulfilment of this prayer, the Jews hope that they will be able to take an honourable place in the new community of nations. It is their purpose to establish in Palestine a government dedicated to social and national justice; a government that shall be guided, like the community of old, by that justice and equality which is expressed in the great precept of our Lawgiver: "There shall be but one law for you and the stranger in the land."
All of which is respectfully submitted.
ROTHSCHILD (LORD WALTER ROTHSCHILD).
On behalf of the Zionist Organisation,
On behalf of Zionist Organisation of America,
JULIAN W. MACK.
STEPHEN S. WISE.
JACOB DE HAAS.
On behalf of the Russian Zionist Organisation,
On behalf of the Jewish Population of Palestine in accordance with Mandate received,
"We feel the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppression at the hands of powers stronger than themselves and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national goals together. We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our delegation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday to the Zionist organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper....we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home."
King Faisal, in a letter to leading American Zionist, Felix Frankfurter,1919.
The Zionist cause depends on rational northern and eastern boundaries for a self-maintaining, economic development of the country. This means, on the north, Palestine must include the Litany River and the watersheds of the Hermon, and on the east it must include the plains of the Jaulon and the Hauran. Narrower than this is a mutilation...I need not remind you that neither in this country nor in Paris has there been any opposition to the Zionist program, and to its realization the boundaries I have named are indispensable. US President Wilson to the British Cabinet 1920.
“We are poor and you are rich. Please come to Transjordan. I guarantee your safety.”
The Emir Abdullah of Transjordan, 1926.
THE AGREEMENT WITH THE EMIR HUSAYN 1915
The exchange of letters between the British and the Emir Husayn 1915.
The Sykes-Picot agreement 1915.
HOW MANY ARABS FOUGHT WITH THE BRITISH?
HOW MANY JEWS FOUGHT WITH THE BRITISH?
THE BALFOUR DECLARATION 1917.
The fall of Jerusalem 1917
Is Jordan Palestine?
ZIONIST PROPOSALS 1919
THE WEIZMANN/FAISAL AGREEMENT 1919
Lawrence’s Middle East peace plan
The League of Nations 1920
The San Remo agreement 1920
The White Paper 1922
The White Paper 1930
The Hope-Simpson report 1936
The British in Palestine 1936
The White Paper 1939
Winston Churchill on the Jews
THE FORSAKEN PROMISE