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Part III

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THE PALESTINE DIARY By Robert John and Sami Hadawi Third Edition 2006 from Amazon.com Paperback: Volume I 438 pages; ISBN: 1-4196-3570-0 Volume II 424 pages; ISBN: 1-4196-3569-7 Hardcover editions at Amazon.com_________________________________________________________

Part III of a IV part series by C.K. Garabed

In CHAPTER V headed The Balfour Declaration, we find on pages 76 and 77 the following:

Sykes was the official negotiator for the whole project of assisting the Zionists. He acted immediately after the meeting at Gaster’s house by asking his friend M. Picot to meet Nahum Sokolow at the French Embassy in London in an attempt to induce the French to give way on the question of British suzerainty in Palestine. James Malcolm was then asked to go alone to Paris to arrange an interview for Sokolow directly with the French Foreign Minister. Sokolow had been previously unsuccessful in obtaining the support of French Jewry for a meeting with the Minister: since the richest and most influential Jews in the United States and England, with the notable exception of the Rothschilds, who could have arranged such a meeting, were opposed to the political implications of Zionism. In Paris, the powerful Alliance Israelite Universelle had made every effort to dissuade him from his mission. Not that the Zionists had no supporters in France other than Edmond de Rothschild, ( Footnote: These included the socialist leader, Jules Guesde, who had joined Viviani’s National Government as Minister of State; Gustave Hervé; the publicist and future Minister de Monzie; and others. ) but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no reason to entangle itself with them. Now James Malcolm opened the door directly to them as he had done in London. Sykes joined Malcolm and Sokolow in Paris. Sykes and Malcolm, apart from the consideration of Zionism and future American support for the war, were concerned with the possibility of an Arab-Jewish-Armenian entente which, through amity between Islamic, Jewish and Christian peoples, would bring peace, stability and a bright new future for the inhabitants of this area where Europe, Asia Minor and Africa meet. Sokolow went along for the diplomatic ride, but in a letter to Weizmann (20 April 1917) he wrote: “I regard the idea as quite fantastic. It is difficult to reach an understanding with the Arabs, but we will have to try. There are no conflicts between Jews and Armenians because there are no common interests whatever.” ( Privately, Sokolow resented Malcolm as ‘a stranger in the centre of our work,’ who was ‘endowed with an esprit of a goyish kind.’ )

And on page 81:

In July 1917, a special mission consisting of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., and Justice Brandeis’ nephew, Felix Frankfurter, were charged by President Wilson to proceed to Turkey, against which the United States did not declare war, to sound out the possibility of peace negotiations between Turkey and the Allies. In this, Wilson may have been particularly motivated by his passion to stop the massacres of Armenian and Greek Christians which were then taking place in Turkey and for whom he expressed immense solicitude on many occasions. Weizmann, however, accompanied by the French Zionist M. Weyl, forewarned, proceeded to intercept them at Gibraltar and persuaded them to return home. During 1917 and 1918 more Christians were massacred in Turkey. Had Morgenthau and Frankfurter carried out their mission successfully, maybe this would have been avoided.

In CHAPTER VI headed Allaying Arab Alarm (1918), we find on page 98 the following:

While the Bolsheviks were making their declaration for independence, the British Assistant Foreign Secretary, Lord Robert Cecil, spoke to an audience of mainly Russian Jewish immigrants with ‘a fair number of anglicized middle-class Jews’, at the London Opera House. It was a thanksgiving meeting for the Balfour Declaration, organized by the English Zionist Federation and presided over by Lord Rothschild. ‘For such an audience it was a revelation to see Herbert Samuel—a man from a different world—on a Zionist platform and to hear him speak, in Hebrew, the consecrated words, “Next year in Jerusalem”.’ Later, they heard Cecil sum up the Government’s intentions in a loudly applauded sentence: “Our wish is that Arabian countries shall be for the Arabs, Armenia for the Armenians, ( This is the Sykes-Malcolm formula. But with no prospect of peace before defeat, the Turks had already disarmed and killed or deported into desert or mountainous places without food, hundreds of thousands of the Christian Armenians, whom they considered potentially subversive. Thus many Armenian areas were already free of their inhabitants. One of the non-Zionist Jewish arguments that summer against the formulation of the Balfour Declaration had been the fear that ‘such a declaration now contemplated would antagonize other sections of the population of Palestine and might result in the Turks dealing with the Jews as they had dealt with the Armenians.’ German-Jewish diplomatic activity with the Turks insured against this. ) and Judea for the Jews.”


And on pages 102-103:

On 14 April 1918, the Zionist Commission arrived in Palestine where they found the small Zionist colonies for the most part unmolested by the Turks due to the good offices of Abram Elkus, the American Ambassador to Turkey and of Dr. Glazebrook, American Consul at Jerusalem. With ample funds at its disposal, the Commission took over the Palestine office which had been maintained in Jerusalem by the Zionists since 1908. Weizmann carried with him a letter from Brandeis dated 13 January 1918, stressing what he thought should be the economical-social basis of the Commission’s work, as follows: “The utmost vigilance should be exercised to prevent the acquisition by private persons of land, water rights or other natural resources or any concessions for public utilities. These must all be secured for the whole Jewish people. In other ways, as well as this, the possibility of capitalistic exploitation must be guarded against. A high development of the Anglo-Palestine Company will doubtless prove one of the most effective means of protection. And the encouragement of all kinds of co-operate enterprise will be indispensible. Our pursuit must be primarily of agriculture in all its branches. The industries and commerce must be incidental merely—such as may be required to ensure independence and natural development.” The letter stressed that water rights and utility concessions should be secured for Jews, and further emphasized ‘getting Jews onto the land.’ These were significant policies pursued in later years. ( Footnote: Electricity rights in all Palestine—except in Jerusalem because of a previous Ottoman concession to an Armenian which could not be cancelled—were acquired in 1926 by a Jewish concern (The Rutenberg Company); a Water concession over the waters of the River Jordan was acquired by the same Company in 1927; and substantial Land concessions were acquired in the Dead Sea, coastal plain, and northern Areas. )


In CHAPTER X Samuel Starts A Jewish National Home (1920-1925), we find on pages 164-165 the following:

Storrs was the best of the types of British colonial official which characterized the Empire. He was, in the accepted sense, incorruptible. He saw his duty plainly: to implement ‘the declared policy of His Majesty’s Government.’ He prided himself on his mastery of local ‘parish-pump’ politics, but was insensitive and unaware of their relationship to the larger evolution of international relations, as were the makers of His Majesty’s Government policy. During the Arab revolt, he had discharged with kindness the overall direction of relief for the 7000 refugees, Armenian, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Moslem, who had first welcomed British troops to Es-Salt, a town across the Jordan, and had been forced to withdraw with them. As soon as was possible, he founded a Pro-Jerusalem Society for ‘The protection of and the addition to the amenities of Jerusalem, the provision and maintenance of parks, gardens and open spaces, the protection and preservation, with the consent of the Government, of the antiquities, the encouragement of arts, handcrafts and industries in consonance with the general objects of the Society,’ and certain other cultural activities. He borrowed the services of W.H. Maclean, the town-planner of Alexandria and Khartoum, to formulate ‘regulations which will at any rate preserve the unique character and tradition of Jerusalem,’ and appointed C.R. Ashbee, a disciple of William Morris, civic adviser and secretary to the society. From Ernest Richmond, once architect to the Egyptian Department of Waqfs, (charitable endowments0 and later Director of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine, he obtained a technical report on the state of the Dome of the Rock. Richmond also reported the discovery of the original furnaces and kilns in which the brilliant tiles of the mosque had been fired, many of which were now missing. Storrs, remembering that an Armenian had created a magnificent tiled ‘Persian’ bathroom for Sir Mark Sykes’ country home at Sledmere, invited the man (David Ohanessian, from Damascus, and other Armenian ceramicists from Kutahia) to design, paint, glaze and fire new tiles in the ancient furnaces. The Mufti, the Moslem religious leader in Palestine, launched an appeal to Islam for the necessary funds; and to Storrs’ appeal for funds to his Pro-Jerusalem society, liberal subscriptions came at first from Egypt, England and America, from Moslems, Christians and Jews ‘to a Jerusalem which represented all three.’ “I realized then the power of the name Jerusalem.” wrote Storrs.