Britain in Palestine Britain*s historic responsibilities for the Israel

Report
Perfidious Albion: Britain’s Broken Promises – The
Balfour Declaration and its impact on the Israeli/
Palestinian Conflict: What are our Responsibilities?
Theodor Herzl,
First Zionist
Conference 1895
His vocation: to sail to
Israel “to
restore a political
existence to my people”
Lord Shaftesbury – support for Jewish
Restoration
But why did he and subsequent leaders
ignore the Arabs already living in the
land for centuries ? This is the crucial
question that returns again and again in
our reflections:
A solution for a suffering people at the
expense of the people already living in
the land…..
Complex motivation I
1. The Government’s Imperial thinking - needs of empiresecure the route to India, still the jewel in the Crown; guard
the Suez Canal. This would become more important later.
2. The Great War unexpectedly turned the imperial spotlight
from the west to the east. It is well-known what was
happening on the western Front – the agony of the deaths in
the trenches of the Somme and the Gallipoli disaster - sheer
horror at the number of casualties – both British and French.
Complex Motivation II
3. The role played by both Jewish Zionism and
Christian Zionism.
5. Bring America into the War through the support of
US Zionists. (A supposed reason offered by the
Zionists?)
6. Genuine sympathy for the plight of the Jews on the
part of Balfour and his colleagues.
Balfour’s conversion to Zionism
Tom Segev relates how, one night, Balfour and Weizmann
walked backwards and forwards for two hours, after the
latter had dined with Balfour:
The Zionist movement spoke, Weizmann said, with the
vocabulary of modern statesmanship, but was fuelled by a
deep religious consciousness. Balfour himself, a modern
statesman, also considered Zionism as an inherent part of
his Christian faith. It was a beautiful night; the moon was
out. Soon after, Balfour declared in a Cabinet meeting, “I
am a Zionist.”
Segev, p.41. From The Letters and Papers of Chaim
Weizmann.
4. Key players in the British Government
Herbert Asquith, Prime Minister who
led Britain into World War I
Lord Curzon- 1st Marquis of Kedlestonopposed the BD
David Lloyd George- Chancellor
of the Exchequer in 1911- ardent
Zionist
Edwin Montagu – liberal
politician and anti Zionist opposed the BD – felt it was
Herbert Samuel – cousin of Edwin
Montagu
Herbert Samuelfirst High
Commissioner in
Jerusalem
Balfour 1919: What were the intentions of the
British Government?
‘… Take Syria first. Do we mean, in the case of
Syria, to consult principally the wishes of the
inhabitants? We mean nothing of the kind… So
whatever the inhabitants may wish, it is France
they will certainly have. They may freely choose;
but it is Hobson’s choice after all … The
contradiction between the letter of the Covenant
and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in
the case of the ‘independent nation’ of Palestine…
For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through
the form for consulting the wishes of the present
inhabitants of the country.’
Walid Khalidi
. The Sykes- Picot Agreement 1916
Sir
Mark
Sykes
Sykes
–
Picot
Letter
1916
Mark Sykes and Georges Picot (2)
Between them they carved up areas that would become
British and French spheres of influence : the agreement
meant a clear decision to divide the whole of what is
today’s
today’s Syria,
Syria, Iraq,
Iraq, Lebanon,
Lebanon, Israel,
Israel, Jordan
Jordan and
and southern
southern
Turkey
intoofspheres
Frenchor
Turkey into
spheres
British of
orBritish
Frenchorcontrol
control
or
influence,
leaving
only
Jerusalem
and
part
of
influence, leaving only Jerusalem and part of Palestine
Palestine (on Russian insistence) to some form of
(on
Russian
insistence)
to
some
form
of
international
international administration. Only the area comprising
administration.
area and
comprising
the present-day
the present-day Only
Saudithe
Arabia
the Yemen
Arab
Saudi
Arabia
theleft
Yemen
Arab Republic
Republic
wereand
to be
independent.
For were to be
left
independent.reasons,
For understandable
reasons,
Britain
understandable
Britain and France
chose
to
keepFrance
this agreement
and
chose to secret.
keep this agreement secret.
. Alliances and Promises- the
McMahon Correspondence 1915
McMahon, Sir Henry 18621949
British High Commissioner
of Egypt – promises made
to the Sharif of Mecca in
return for supporting a
rebellion against the
Ottoman Empire
He was promised the Arab
state of his dreams. Did it
include Palestine?
The Sharif of Mecca- Hussein Ibn Ali 1853-1931
Sharif Hussein
His son, Feisal at the Paris Peace Conference
1919- T.E.Lawrence is second on the right
Lawrence of Arabia
The key role of Chaim Weizmann and
his influence on Balfour
Chaim Weizmann (2)
was born in Russia in 1874, in Motol, now Belarus, but then in
the “Pale of Settlement”, that area of Russia to which the Jews
had been confined since the time of Catherine the Great. From
an early age he became interested in chemistry and managed to
study in Berlin and then Freiburg in Switzerland. He met his
future wife Vera Chatzman in Switzerland. He was the whole
time seeking for ways to realise the Zionist dream. Theodor
Herzl’s death was a huge blow to him and he left for England in
1904 where he became a biochemistry lecturer at the University
of Manchester and soon a leader among British Zionists. In fact
he told his wife that the two passions of his life were Zionism
and chemistry. Passions that endured to the end of his life.
David Ben Gurion in the Hall where he
1948 – Al Nakba – massacre of Deir Yassin
Jewish
military
briefing,
Deir
Yassin
Palestinian refugees driven out of Galilee
The Determination to Return
Dheishe Refugee
Camp, Bethlehem
Aims of the Balfour Project
• to acknowledge where British policy towards
Palestine was marked by duplicity, denial and
racism.
• pardon for our nation’s wrongdoing
- from Palestinians for having ignored their
legitimate aspirations and from Jews for our part in
the centuries of anti-Semitism.
• integrity in our nation’s future dealings with Jews,
Palestinians, and all peoples.
Steps towards Reconciliation- what
would a spirituality look like?
1. Remembering
The Peaceable Kingdom
2. Truth-telling
3. Justice-making
DominusFlevit
4. Forgiveness
5 Sacrifice
To Struggle with a Reconciling Heart

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