A Final (I hope) post on this subject!

Any fair-minded person reading the correspondence between the Sharif of Mecca (Husayni, or Hussein) and Sir Henry McMahon, HM High Commissioner in Egypt, must conclude that Hussein had been promised an independent Arab nation in the whole of the Arabian peninsula bounded on the West by the Red Sea and Mediterranean, on the South by the Indian Ocean, on the East by the Arabian Gulf and the border with Iran-Persia, and the North along a line just south of parallel 37, subject to the following exceptions.  Britain claimed special rights over Basra and Bahgdad; the Trucial States were excluded and it was claimed by Britain that districts to the west of Damascus, Homs, Ham and Aleppo, not being wholly Arab and being a French interest must also be excluded. As far as Palestine was concerned, it didn’t rate a mention, although special international arrangements were suggested for Jerusalem.

Reading the submissions and conclusions of the Parliamentary Committee of March 1939 into this affair is fascinating.  Included are extracts from a debate in Parliament held in 1923. Earl Grey, Foreign Secretary during WW1 is quoted, “I think we are placed in considerable difficulty by the Balfour declaration itself. … it promised a Zionist home without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the population of Palestine. A Zionist home, my Lords, undoubtedly means or implies a Zionist Government over the district in which te hoome is placed, and if 93% of the population of Palestine are Arabs, I do not see how you can establish other than an Arab Government without prejudice to their civil rights. … I do see that the situation is an exceedlingly difficult one, when it (Balkour) is compared with the pledges which were undoubtedly given to the Arabs.”  Quite so!

In the same debate Lord Buckmaster remarked that there was nothing “in the nature of casual inconsistency”  but “that a deliberate pledge has been given on the one hand, which has been abandoned on the other”. He then summed up his view, ” I think we ought to say what we mean, and I think we ought to do what we say…. We certainly meant what we said in 1915. We did not do what we said in 1918″ and concluded that the British government should “go back to obedience to the promise that we gave at a moment when we were gravely beset by difficulties, to the relief of which the Arab help in no slight degree contributed”

Buckmaster was naive, Britain did not mean what it said in 1915, at least as far as the Eastern portions of the peninsula. In 1915 Britain had already concluded a treaty with Bin Saud who was to rule the Nejd, a significant area of East-Central Arabia. In a speech of 5th January 1918 the British Prime Minister declared “Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine are, in our judgement, entitled to a recognition of their separate national identities.”  There is much more, but how much evidence do we need. Britain promised Palestine to the Arabs, we either lied, or we broke covenant,

If you who are still wondering why the Mufti hated the British and sought help from Hitler in the 1930’s perhaps you should seek help not from history but an analyst, (you may interpret that however you wish).

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar