...that forcibly establishing a Jewish state in Palestine against the wishes of its pre-existing non-Jewish majority - a state which would be surrounded by 200 million Arabs and one billion Muslims who are overwhelmingly sympathetic to the plight of the pre-existing population, and which would require for its continuing existence the repeated involvement of those Western powers who engineered its creation in the first place - would turn out to be a source of perpetual grievance and escalating instability that threatens regional war involving the countries of the entire Mid East and far beyond...
A TRAVELER returning from the Near East is at once struck by the utter Ignorance of Europeans and Americans concerning the true situation in Palestine — an ignorance due largely to the fact that in London there is, practically, only one of the important daily papers that will print anything detrimental to the schemes of the Political Zionists. Besides the English press the other sources of information upon which America has been dependent for its news of Palestine have been the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Zionist propaganda. The latter, with its harrowing stories of pogroms in Europe, and its misrepresentations of the situation in the Near East, has been able to awaken not a little sympathy for the Zionist programme. But there certainly are reasons why Americans should endeavor to realize fully what is happening in Syria, and this quite promptly.
The Political Zionists, through their propaganda, systematically endeavor to give the world a false conception of the Palestinians. They would have us believe, to quote the words of Zangwill, that 'Palestine is not so much occupied by the Arabs as over-run by them. They are nomads. . . . And therefore we must gently persuade them to ''trek." ‘ Examine the literature of the leaders of Zionism, and it will be found that this false position is reiterated again and again. True, nomads are found in Palestine, as everywhere throughout the Orient; but to foist upon the intelligent public the idea that the population of this land is made up of Bedouins, or even of Arabs, is a deliberate attempt to deceive it…
There can be no question that the blood of the present Palestinian, or Syrian, includes that of the Jew as well as of the Amorite, Hittite, Phoenician, Philistine, Persian, Greek, Latin, and Arab. Such a fusion is not unlike that found in the veins of many Americans whose ancestors have lived here for several generations. When the whole population of Palestine became Mohammedan, there is little doubt that a large percentage of the Jews were also forced to accept this faith; their descendants are now classed by the Political Zionists as ‘Arabs.’… These are the people whose status the Political Zionist proposes to reduce by securing the control of the country; and who — what is still worse — must be persuaded to 'trek.’
Much has been written upon the historic claims of the Jews to this territory, which they held for less than five hundred years, prior to two thousand five hundred years ago. But how about the claims of the Palestinian, who possessed the land before the Jew and who is still in possession, having lived there for over five thousand years?
The Palestine News, the official journal of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under Allenby, published, on November 14, 1918, a declaration, which had been agreed to by the British and French Governments, and communicated to the President of the United States, informing the people that their aim in waging the war in the East was 'to ensure the complete and final emancipation of all those people so long oppressed by the Turks, to establish national governments and administrations which shall derive their authority from the initiative and free will of the peoples themselves,’ and 'to assure, by their support and practical aid, the normal workings of such governments and administrations as the people themselves have adopted.’
In the twelfth of the fourteen points enumerated by President Wilson to Congress, January 8,1918, he demanded that the nationalities then under Turkish rule should be assured of 'an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.’ His second principle, stated in his address at Mount Vernon, July 4,1918, reads: 'The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship shall be upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its exterior influence or mastery.’
The edict of England and France, which was published in every town and village in the land about the time the Armistice was signed, has been violated in every essential particular; nor have the principles and demands of Mr. Wilson been observed. 'An unmolested opportunity of autonomous development’ has been denied the inhabitants. The questions 'of territory, of economic arrangement, or political relationship’ have been settled contrary to the will of ‘the people immediately concerned’; and it has been done ‘upon the basis of the material interest or advantage’ of another people 'for the sake of its exterior interest or mastery.'
…The Grand Mufti, who is the ecclesiastical head of the Moslems in Jerusalem, on hearing the news concerning the mandate, still refused to believe that the British, who had pledged themselves to protect small powers, and who had promised that their rights should not be violated, would allow the Christians and Moslems of Palestine to be ruled by Political Zionists. The Moslems, he said, looked upon Great Britain as their best friend; they had welcomed the arrival of the British armies; and in spite of all appearance to the contrary, he still believed that Great Britain would treat them fairly. The Grand Mufti was anxious that it should be understood that he and his followers were not anti-Jews, but that they objected to their country's being exploited by Jewish foreigners, and to their efforts to make both Christians and Moslems their vassals. While the Zionists during the past years had collected through propaganda immense sums from all parts of the world, he said, the Moslem and Christian natives of Palestine, by reason of the Turkish oppression and the war, were without funds. All that they asked for was a number of years in which to get on their feet economically. The Moslems, the Grand Mufti told the writer, had no objections to the same quiet development of Jewish colonies going on as in the past. What they did strenuously object to was the plan of the British government to turn over their land to the Political Zionists, for the purpose of establishing a Jewish state.
The highly respected Aref Pasha, President of the Moslem and Christian League, which had been formed to stem the tide of Jewish immigration, said that the Moslems, understanding Great Britain's love for justice, decided to fight their coreligionists and to throw in their lot with her. Not less than 130,000 Moslems, many of them deserters from the Turkish army, fought with the British. The Moslems of India also figured prominently in the same cause. Now, however, they find that the British victory means for them vassalage under the Jews; the people, he said, preferred the tyranny of the Turk to being ruled by the Jew.
The Christian inhabitants of the land hold the same view. Last spring no less than 20,000 people held a demonstration in Jerusalem in order to show the administration and the foreign consuls their bitter opposition to this Jewish movement. Following this demonstration, many of the Christians proceeded to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and took a solemn Oath that they would resist with their lives the Jews' efforts to rule them. So far as is known to me, not a single representative of any of the religious communities in Palestine favors the project. The views of the Christians are summed up in the following message, which a highly honored citizen of the country dictated to the writer as he was leaving the port of Jaffa, requesting that it should be made public. ‘The Moslems and Christians welcomed the British occupation because they did not know that their country had been sold to the Jews. The honor of England is in jeopardy. The Christians of the whole world do not know of this treachery, nor did the three hundred million of Moslems know of it. But some day it will be known, because it will surely mean another war...'
It is the opinion of nearly every non-Jewish British official in Palestine, not only that Britain's reputation for justice and fair dealing is at stake, and that a great wrong is being done the inhabitants of the land, but that there are serious dangers ahead for the Empire. They believe that, if immigration from Russia, Roumania, and Poland is to be allowed to any great extent, so that the Jews will be in the majority, — will have, as they say, at least fifty-one per cent, — not only racial riots and massacres will result, but there will be a continual menace to the Empire, especially because of the interest of the Moslems of other lands in Jerusalem and in their coreligionists…
The Palestine problem can be easily and effectively disposed of by the British government with dignity and honor, to the satisfaction of the Christians and Moslems in Palestine and throughout the world, as well as of the many Jews who are opposed to this political movement. This can be accomplished by simply carrying out the provisions of the League of Nations and all the pronouncements that Great Britain has made. The loosely worded and ambiguous Balfour declaration does not prevent this; for if the non-Jewish inhabitants are granted their civic rights, which can mean only that they will have a voice in the government in proportion to their population, then justice will be rendered them, and the problem will be solved. Unless this is done, governing by a mandate, as many British maintain, is simply another phrase for a power's taking possession of a country, and ruling it as it desires. And unless this is done now, before the status of the Christian and the Moslem is compromised, and before the country becomes full of Russian, Roumanian, and Polish Jews, so that they will be in a majority, a grave injustice will be committed, which will be resented more and more by the Christians and Moslems of the world as they become familiar with the situation in their Holy Land.
Previously in this series: