A Win-Win Solution - Part II

A far-sighted Arab-Jewish agreement was arrived at 85 years ago, but was never fully implemented. This still-legal agreement provides the basis for a solution today and should become widely publicized and supported.

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
INN:RW
[Part one of this article can be read at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=4001.]

The True Basis For A Lasting Peace

A far-sighted Arab-Jewish agreement was arrived at 85 years ago, but was never fully implemented. This still-legal agreement provides the basis for a solution today and should become widely publicized and supported.

In 1919, following the end of World War I, an international Paris Peace Conference was convened by the victorious Allies to settle international questions. Delegations attended from around the world, including an official Arab and Zionist delegation. The Arab delegation was led by Emir Feisal I, who agreed that the entire Palestine territory of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 would become the Jewish national home. He expressed that position in separate letters to Zionist leaders Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Felix Frankfurter. In return for Arab support, the Zionists promised economic and technical assistance to the local Arabs and the Allied powers agreed to grant eventual sovereignty to many of the Arab peoples in the region that were previously under control of the former Turkish Ottoman Empire. This conference, and a subsequent one at San Remo, Italy, amicably settled the issues among the parties with voluntary, legally binding, international agreements.

In 1922, the League of Nations assigned Britain as the Mandatory to faithfully carry out these agreements. Yet, it was British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill who unilaterally divided Mandatory Palestine into an exclusively Arab sector (Trans-Jordan) and a Jewish sector. The Arabs received 76% of the original territory, comprising 35,000 square miles, located east of the Jordan River. That left the Jewish sector with only 10,000 square miles out of their original 45,000 square miles, which was still less than 1% of the combined Arab areas of five million square miles. That remaining Jewish sector is today contested over by the 'Palestinians', who claim the 'West Bank' and Gaza to create, in effect, a second Palestinian state (Jordan is mostly Palestinian). It was the British, in 1919, who began to undermine their own Mandate and to instigate the Arabs against Jews.

The Ariel Center for Policy Research in Israel has a policy paper, no. 147, titled, "Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine Under International Law" by Howard Grief, author of the forthcoming book by the same name. It ably summarizes the post-World War I settlement of the Palestine question and its subsequent betrayal by the British government entrusted with implementing it.

A few extracts from the executive summary will indicate its importance:

"Under this settlement, the whole of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan was reserved exclusively for the Jewish People as the Jewish National Home, in recognition of their historical connection with that country, dating from the Patriarchal Period. ...The Palestine aspect of the global settlement was recorded in three basic documents that led to the founding of the modern State of Israel: ...The British Government repudiated the solemn obligation it undertook to develop Palestine gradually into an independent Jewish state. ...The US aided and abetted the British betrayal of the Jewish People by its abject failure to act decisively against the 1939 White Paper despite its own legal obligation to do so under the 1924 treaty. The UN Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 illegally recommended the restriction of Jewish legal rights to a truncated part of Palestine. ...Despite all the subversive actions to smother and destroy Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty to the entire Land of Israel, they still remain in full force by virtue of the Principle of Acquired Rights and the doctrine of estoppel that apply in all legal systems of the democratic world."

It has been argued by scholars of international law that the agreements of the international Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and their formal assignment to Britain as the Mandatory by the League of Nations, continue to be legally binding on all parties under international law. In addition to Jewish legal claims based on the 1922 law, a case can be made that it is also morally binding and that England is guilty of bad faith for having engaged in deliberate sabotage of that agreement. A most promising beginning for Arab-Jewish relations in the Middle East was deliberately undermined by England and this part of history must be brought to bear upon the present conflict.

Israel has a right to make full land claims under that 1922 Mandate by the League of Nations. The Arabs should also be made aware that it was England that instigated them against the Jews in pursuit of British imperial interests and to the disadvantage of both Arabs and Jews.

Significantly, Arab support for a Jewish state was clearly manifested at the Paris Peace conference of 1919. This should also be part of the legally binding Arab obligations to accept a Jewish state with full rights. Emir Feisal I, son of Hussein, Sharif of Mecca, led the Arab delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Excerpts of two letters from Emir Feisal to Zionist leaders Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Felix Frankfurter indicate their friendly relations and high hopes for Jewish-Arab cooperation. Also note in the following text the term 'Palestine' clearly refers to the Jewish national home and not to any Arab entity or people.

From Emir Feisal to Dr. Weizmann: "His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish People, and realising that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following Articles:"

Article IV of the Feisal-Weizmann document states: "All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlements and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights, and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development."

From Emir Feisal to Felix Frankfurter: "We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race, having suffered similar oppressions at the hands of the powers stronger than themselves, and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together.

"We 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. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.

"People less informed and less responsible than our leaders and yours, ignoring the need for cooperation of the Arabs and the Zionists, have been trying to exploit the local difficulties that must necessarily arise in Palestine in the early stages of our movements. Some of them have, I am afraid, misrepresented your aims to the Arab peasantry, and our aims to the Jewish peasantry, with the result that interested parties have been able to make capital our of what they call our differences."

(To read the full text of the Feisal letters go to http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~samuel/feisal1.html and http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~samuel/feisal2.html.)

[Part 2 of 3]


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