Posted on: February 2, 2007 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 41

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I begrudge no one, regardless of their views, the right to speak up and passionatelydershjpgfinal.jpg defend what they believe is right. In no matter is this more important than in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the US role in it.

But Dershowitz’s “contribution” to the debate is destructive to all involved. This is not a court case where the arena is set up for each side to zealously defend their case using whatever means necessary.

Dershowitz’s attack on Carter is built on argumentative chicanery and rhetorical trickery. Most of all, it is all too often a personal attack that doesn’t deal with the facts. In this milieu, we already have more than enough of that.

Here’s another example of how Dershowitz twists things to create his case against Carter. He quotes Carter, then writes his comment as follows:

“’It is inconceivable that any Palestinian, Arab leader, or any objective member of the international community could accept this illegal action as a permanent solution to the continuing altercation in the Middle East,’ he (Carter) wrote of Olmert’s plan last year in USA Today.

“Carter has, in effect, told Palestinian radicals to continue to do what they are doing: mainly to terrorize Jewish civilians and then whine to the world about Israeli responses to terrorism.”

Carter was actually referring to Olmert’s potentially disastrous “convergence plan” which has since been shelved.

The result of Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza has been a disaster for Palestinians and provided little gain for Israel, which is relieved of the burden of the pointless settlements in Gaza, but has been subject to rocket fire from the Strip for much of the time since the withdrawal.

Olmert’s plan to replicate this failed idea on the West Bank would have been an unmitigated catastrophe. All the problems with Gaza would have been replicated, except that Israel would have retained a large chunk of the West Bank under Olmert’s plan, which would have inevitably been seen by the Palestinians as a land grab. Indeed, no Palestinian leader could have accepted it, and the result would almost certainly be an enormous increase in the number of Palestinians willing to do whatever it took to harm any Israelis they could.

Carter was opposing a plan that would have increased suffering for both Palestinians and Israelis. On Planet Dershowitz, that’s called inciting Palestinians to terrorism.

Finally, Dershowitz blasts Carter for refusing to debate him. Yet his own articles demonstrate clearly why Carter should indeed refuse such a debate.

Dershowitz is not well-versed even in the Israel-Palestine conflict, let alone the broader Middle East. The question of whether or not he’s an “expert” does not even bear consideration–he’s not even a well-informed layman. I say this not because of his views. Many people hold views similar to his who are experts (Dennis Ross, David Makovsky, and a whole host of experts and fellows at many think-tanks and academic institutions come to mind). He simply isn’t particularly knowledgeable about this; not surprising since it’s not his field.

Dershowitz is, however, a masterful debater and an expert at constructing an argument. His article demonstrates precisely why he has made a name for himself on this issue and why he should not be debated about it. Because of his skill, he can win a debate, but he cannot do so based on his grasp of the facts.

As he did with Carter, Dershowitz bases his argument on personal attacks, on shading the facts, distorting the meaning of words and building upon a phony foundation. That makes him a very good lawyer. It makes him also a very dangerous person in the political arena, and I would stand by that even when (as he has done) he says things I agree with.

Consider that Dershowitz makes these two statements during the course of his article:

1. “I would like to join with President Carter in working for peace in the Middle East. But peace will not come if we insist on blaming one side in the conflict.”

2. “That is the core of the conflict. It is Palestinian terror, not Israeli policy, which prevents peace.”

Can it possibly be any clearer that Planet Dershowitz is not a place for civilized and rational discourse?

41 People reacted on this

  1. How can anyone question the argument that the Jewish settlements on the West Bank are illegal? How could Dershowitz, a lawyer, not start with that fact? He seems to think it has little relevancy.

  2. I am a Jewish New Yorker and a retired lawyer and writer and am in full agreement. Good for my mental state to realize there are more and more American Jews who feel as I do. It was getting lonely out there a while back. Keep the faith.

  3. Well-written rebuttal to Dershowitz’s shady arguments and innuendos. Let’s all work to get this widely read.

  4. Dear JPN

    Thanks for all the great information surrouding the controversy of the release of former President Carter’s book and other aspects of the search for peace in the Middle East.

    I have been following the comments of Professor Dershowitz on this subject for many years. What strikes me is Dershowitz’s unswerving consistency in never criticizing the actions of the state of Israel, working to minimize and explain away Isreali behavior, no matter how inhumane,unlawful or deadly the behavior. Dershowitz has never been interested in facts, or justice but merely in lending a leading voice to the perpetuation of an unjust status-quo. In this regard, Dershowitz’s instincts and behavior are reminiscent of the apoligists for Stalin in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Dershowitz is an apparatchik. The question remains, why is he so prolfic in the media?

  5. Bluestein writes of, “Dershowitz’s unswerving consistency in never criticizing the actions of the state of Israel…” I suspect it’s worse than that. I suspect that what he and his ilk are unswerving in is only Israeli government policy when that policy is uncomprisingly expansionist.

    I doubt that they would hesitate to criticize official Israeli government policies were those policies to reflect the opinion of a majority of Israelis (and of American Jews too): that trading land for peace is the only viable option, i.e., the only option which holds out for Israel a chance to survive in the coming decades.

    AIPAC is not a promoter of “Israeli government policies”. It and its followers are promoters of right-wing, bellicose policies. It is to be hoped that American politicians will begin to understand this, as increasing numbers of American Jews come to understand it and to act on that understanding in an effort to save Israel.

    Dershowitz’s prescription is a prescription for the destruction of the State of Israel.

  6. Alan Dershowitz has been given time on BookTV (C-Span) to “refute” Carter. Like Mitch, I have no problem with someone disagreeing with Jimmy Carter. But in allowing Dershowitz time for his attack, they are breaking with their typical format. I have been watching for years, plus I looked through a couple of hundres shows in the archives, and I did not find a single instance where an author is invited on to “refute” another author. In all cases, an author discusses his/her [recently published] own book.
    Clearly some pressure has been exerted on C-Span and I urge people to e-mail them and demand an explanation.



    Link to web site and description of program:

  7. what Ellen says above about C-Span allowing such a one sided view presentation is real cause for alarm.

    It has been my impression that Carter called for International debate between thinking peoples, not a ‘take on all comers’ challenge. He has achieved much of what he asked for in that regard, yet Dershowitz wants to make a ‘personal’ issue out of it.

    You will also find that Dershowitz’s part 4 on Gather has considerably backed off on his Carter attack, diverting it to another (Finklestein or some such)… now acting like a ‘fiend’ of Carter … more disingenuous I suspect.

  8. I greatly admire all of you who have the fortitude to get through an article by Alan Dershowitz. I no longer can do so. There are certain people who lose the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Richard Nixon was one of these. Alan Dershowitz is another.

    I look back on the Greek tragedy of Nixon’s fall from grace with some sadness. There were times when reading Dershowitz, however, that I did not know whether to laugh or cry. He once claimed in a Jerusalem Post article, for example, that Hezbollah wanted Israel to attack civilians in Lebanon. Is Dershowitz claiming to be in contact with Hezbollah, and is he accusing Israel of attacking civilians? Apparently so.

    If you want to know why Dershowitz has now turned on Norman Finkelstein, take a look at Finkelstein’s EBook, “Beyond Chutzpah,” (available from Amazon) in which Finkelstein focuses his piercing intellect on Dershowitz’s nonsense. The funny part of this one is Dershowitz’s claim that Finkelstein is a “holocaust revisionist.” I wonder if Dershowitz is aware that Finkelstein’s parents were holocaust survivors?

  9. I am encouraged by the articulate response of some of the readers. Mr. Dershewitz’s arguments with regards to the Palestinian Israeli conflict have always lacked proper support and have always been antagonistic in nature and without substance. As a Palestinian American I have always felt that when Someone attacks another in debate on this subject by calling the other Anti-Semitic, to me that was a sign that that “Someone” has lost the argument and pulled the last “Trump Card” in that “Someone’s” hand. Mr. Dershowitz seems to only have that type of a card in his hand. Peace to one and All.

  10. Alan Dershowitz gets exceedingly so much attention from the “left” because he himself is a longstanding leftist, who has broken ranks to support the Jewish National Homeland. This type of dissent is simply intolerable among liberals, who morph their attention-spans at any given moment, acting in unison–or at least in the pretense of same.
    “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.” –J. Carter
    So I ask, who knows better of International law, Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, or Jimmy Carter, a president who, by the end of his single term was having his vetoes routinely and repeatedly overridden by a profoundly Democratic Congress?
    Bella Abzuk, one of the first women in congress and a prototype of feminist liberalism, was also an opponent of Mr. Carter and considered him an anti-Semite, decades before it became fashionable, following 9-11-2001.
    Mr. Carter’s first and most prolific fault is that he is a liar. His statements are replete with ½ truths, ¼ truths and outright fabrications. The fact that all his lies point in the same general vicinity, namely, as accusations against Israel and vicariously against Jews as a culture, also makes Carter an anti-Semite and a punk.
    The fact that as President, Carter vigorously supported the Christian Shah of Iran, who victimized hundreds of thousands of Iranian Muslims and maintained the most brutal secret police in the world at the time (Savak) also makes him a world-class hypocrite.
    Signed: another leftist supporter of Israel, from the lower-east-side of Manhattan, who’s parents were commies and civil-rights activists (in the 1960s):

  11. Isador Farash is as ill informed as Dershowitz. After the Shah of Iran was deposed, the US supported the overthrow of the democratically elected government in a coup by the military and those loyal to the Shah. This was during the administration of Dwight Eisenhower.
    From that time on, our government and the CIA supported the Shah. It was a lack of “vigorous” support for the Shah by Carter’s administration that enabled Khoumeni to come to power. Carter’s mistake was to allow the Shah to come to the US for humanitarian reasons–medical treatment.
    The Shah was hardly a “Christian”. He was a Muslim but he tried to push his subjects too far toward modernity and he was brutal and oppressive to his people which is why they overthrew him twice.

  12. Elinor Zind:
    What kind of crap are you talking?
    Eisenhower had nothing to do with Carter and predated Carter’s admin. by decades. The earlier ‘Shah of Iran’, who was in power during and after WW2 was officially allied with Hitler. His son, also known as the “Shah” of Iran, was in power during the Carter admin., brutally repressed the Iranian peasants, which constituted basically everyone–except a very small inner circle. This Shah also ran an infamous death squad known as ‘Savak’, which tortured men, women and children and removed eyeballs from people (en masse) whomever was suspected of descent or, had witnessed anything else this “SS” brigade did.
    Carter was as kissie-face (and politically and financially supportive) with this Shah (the son of the Nazi Shah of Eisenhower circa) as he was with the Dictators in Saudi Arabia (his long term financial benefactors) and later, with the inventor of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat.
    It has also been credibly reported that Carter ordered a brigade of U.S. ‘Green Berets’ into Mecca (the Golden Temple) at the request of the Royal Saudi family, after a few hundred Islamic religious ‘zealots’ had staged a revolt and takeover of that Mosque. There were no prisoners. (see: The Secret War Against the Jews by Luftus and Aarons, available on
    I disagree with Dershowitz’s conclusion that Carter is motivated by money.
    He is motivated by resentment of Jews. He was raised to see Jerusalem as a Christian holy place, and rejects any notion that Israel should control it.
    Carter is the worst type and most dangerous of all propagandists, a ‘bed-time-story teller’. He clips little bits-and-pieces of various bumper-stickers and pastes the segments together, to form a new and profoundly inaccurate and misleading amalgam of innuendo, slander, liable and just flat-out bull-jive.
    Your comments have done nothing to intelligently further the conversation.

  13. While I agree with most of Mitchell Plitnick’s excellent article, I do take exception with this statement:

    “Dershowitz is not well-versed even in the Israel-Palestine conflict, let alone the broader Middle East. The question of whether or not he’s an ‘expert’ does not even bear consideration–he’s not even a well-informed layman.”

    I believe, on the contrary, that Dershowitz is so well-versed that he knows exactly how to craft his intentional lies to skirt the truth and play on the emotions and prejudices of his intended audiences.

    It reminds me of the time in 1971 when I was drafted and I “failed” the multiple choice intelligence test, getting a score of 1 out of 100. The military shrink said to me, “Son, I know you knew the correct anwsers because a random score would have been 25 of 100.”

  14. Elinor Zind exposed Isidor Farash’s complete fakery. Of course Zind said nothing about Eisenhower being connected to Carter but Farash twists Zind’s words to create a fantasy statement by Zind in the same exact way that Dershowitz twists Carter’s words to create a fantasy straw man to argue against.

    Farash’s claiming to be proved a lefty because his parents were lefties is patently ridiculous.

  15. However, Zind confused the “Shah” that I had earlier referenced (the son and hereditary supreme ruler of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with his Father, Reza Shah . Eisenhower dealt with the Father, not the Son. I don’t know why she confused the conversation but I endevored to go back to the topic, Carter, who had no dealings with the Father, Reza Shah. To you, Mr. “Wonderwheel”, this equates to “complete fakery”. Try reading and retaining before you attack. I just love the way these peacenicks have zero inhibition towards emediate emotional and verbal abuse of others, while they claim to stand for ‘peace and tranquility.’.
    You think you can have peace without truth but such a peace is only a peace of the foolhearted, and a very temporary one at that.
    My earlier posted stated:
    “Signed: another leftist supporter of Israel, from the lower-east-side of Manhattan, who’s parents were commies and civil-rights activists (in the 1960s):”
    Two separate proofs. I could have simply said:
    “Signed: another leftist supporter of Israel, from the lower-east-side of Manhattan,”.
    Now, since you inquired, here are my left-leaning qualifications:
    1. Supporter of labor
    2. Supporter of raising minimum wage
    3. Supporter of a MAXIUM wage
    4. Oppose Wall Street corporate domination of day-to-day life.
    5. Oppose mass-mergers of large companies.
    6. Marched against Vietnam war from age 5-15.
    7. Member of Clinton ’92 National Finance Committee; was ultimately ejected just before inauguration for my strong stances in favor of ecology, alternative energy.
    8. Vegan diet for 29 years.
    9. Co-founder of the New Jersey Green Party. Parted company after I was told to forget running for Governor, because the group had already made up its mind that they were seeking an Arab.
    10. Refused invitation to co-charter 2000 Gore steering committee.
    11. Support affirmative action
    12. Support gun control
    Now my descent from the “Borg Collective”: Oppose abortion as a method of birth control. Woops! That makes me a “faker”, right? Nonetheless, abortion is not a peaceful act.
    Support the treaties of Versailles and San Remo and the Charter of the League of Nations, which mandated a Jewish National Homeland and did not even mention the words “Arab” or “Muslim” once.
    Support the 1947 U.N. Resolution, which called for Israel to be created around defendable borders encompassing “traditional neighborhoods”, which of course included all of Jerusalem, as Jerusalem is the single most traditional ethnic neighborhood, in the entire history of the world.
    Plus my parents were followed around by the FBI for being Civil Rights activists and labor organizers in the 1960’s. You got a problem with those qalifications? Where are your’s Mr. “Wonderwheel”, if that is even your name—which I doubt. If not, don’t go around accusing others of “complete fakery”.
    PS> In the 1960’s and early 1970, both Jane Fonda and Ralph Nader were also vocal supporters of Israel, before AND AFTER the 1967 war–which is now again the center of controversy, due to existing borders which include Jerusalem.

  16. F.Y.I.:
    MSNBC– “Violence breaks out at disputed Israel holy site
    Some Muslims angry at Israeli renovation near sacred Al-Aqsa mosque”
    “The compound, home to the golden-capped Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa mosque, is the third-holiest site for Muslims, who believe that it is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.”
    “On Thursday, U.N. ambassadors from the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference called on the U.N. Security Council “to take immediate and urgent action in order to bring an end to Israeli intransigence and violations against the blessed Al Aqsa mosque.”
    In point of historical fact, the Islamic Prophet Mohammed passed away in 632-AD. in 638-AD (6 years thereafter) Jerusalem came under Muslim rule after a protracted battle against the “Holy-Roman” Leigons. In 691-AD, some 59 full years after Mr. Mohammed left this earth, Adb al-Malik built the ‘Dome of the Rock’ on Temple Mount in the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. The dome was formally a Catholic Church of ‘Saint Mary of Justinian’, during the Islamic Prophet Mohammed’s entire life. THE WORD “JERUSALEM” IS NOT TO BE FOUND ONCE IN THE ENTIRE TEXT OF THE QUR’AN. The only reference to Jerusalem in the entire Qur’an is found in 17:104 which states:
    “And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel, dwell securely in the PROMISED LAND, and when the second warning shall come to pass, We will gather you together in a mingled crowd”
    [emphasis added by capitalization].
    No one has explained the following:
    a) Who (other then God) could have possibly “PROMISED” the fore referenced land to the “Children of Israel”. b) What “land” could have possibly been referred to as being “Promised”–other then JERUSALEM, having been “promised” to the “children of Israel” by God (Allah), and lastly, c) How is it that Mr. Mohammed “ascended to heaven” 59 long years after his last mortal breath, peace be upon him.

  17. Rabbi Milgram, this is NOT an excellent rebuttal of Derschowitz. It is scarcely a rebuttal at all. Mitch provides one example, and other that that it’s a lot of adjectives smearing Derschowitz.

    Particularly bizarre is Mitch’s statement:
    “The result of Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza has been a disaster for Palestinians and provided little gain for Israel”.

    Mitch seems to claim that Israel’s leaving Gaza was inevitably a disaster. Of course, staying would be a disaster too, right?

    Israel’s evacuation of Gaza – even if they retained a security boundary around it at first – provided an opportunity for the Palestinians to demonstrate peaceful intentions. They could have formed a peaceful government, focused on developing economy, education, and health. They could have then also received the bulk of West Bank, ALL WITHOUT GIVING UP ANYTHING AT ALL.

    That is, they could have found themselves in a position where:
    (1) they are starting their negotiation with Israel already having all of Gaza and most of West Bank, and
    (2) having demonstrated peaceful intentions, Israel would lack the claim of “security needs” for holding onto land, or building a barrier that makes travel difficult for Palestinians, etc.

    Instead, the Palestinian took to daily rocket fire into Israel, and proved unable to coalesce around a peaceful government.

    That is, Mitch is correct to say that Israel’s evacuation of Gaza was a disaster, but not because of Israel.

    If you review the material of Jewish Voice for Peace, what you will see is that they go out of their way to interpret every situation, every problem, as Israel’s fault. This is nuts, and it sure ain’t no way to peace. Faulting the appropriate party in any circumstance, whether it is Israel or Palestinians or both, would be a real contribution.

  18. To Art M.:
    I would also add that certain neighborhoods within Gaza were ‘traditional’ Jewish neighborhoods, with an unbroken Jewish presence, dating back to the exile to Babylon (circa 600-BC). While these were few and relitively small and admittedly, the Palestinian-Arabs were all over the rest of Gaza, nonetheless, according to 1947 U.N. Resolution, these neighborhoods were mandated to be part of Israel. When Israel chose to evacuate all of Gaza under P.M. Ariel Sharon’s orders, he thereby defied AND RENDERED FALSE, Jimmy Carter’s long-standing and often repeated accusation(s), that Sharon was only interested in aquiring MORE Israeli land and would NEVER trade any in return for peace. In a bizzare way, Carter was CORRECT because Sharon traded these ancient Jewish towns for incomming Katusha rockets–not peace. Carter never made any mention of his previous statements being rendered untrue (even after Sharon fell victom to a massive stroke) and of course, we all know that the remaining Gaza Arabs did not lift a finger to peacefully wave goodby to the departing Jews.

  19. I applaud Isidor Farash’s activist background and for bringing history into the discussion, albeit not always in a thorough manner. No mention is made of the CIA assisting in the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadeq government in Iran which was followed by the younger Pahlavi Shah. Farash does a thorough job describing the horrors of the Shah’s SAVAK, but not the institutionalized nature (including Carter) of U.S. support for this regime, which Iranians finally threw off at the time of our hostage crisis. With this history, is there any wonder why Teheran remains so distrustful of the U.S.?
    Farash claims that Arafat was the inventor of modern terrorism. Propaganda of the “Denial” type, considering the well documented, brutal ongoing campaign of Zionist militias (Begin, Shamir) inside the British Mandate in the late 1930’s and 1940’s which drove the British out and the question of Palestine into the infant U.N. Where, by the way, Truman took the one-sided recommendations of UNSCOP and shepherded a yes vote on partition through without a democratic vote ON THE MERITS of the issue. Rather, enormous pressure with sticks and carrots was used to secure the two-thirds needed, finally awarding 56% of land to a new nation of Israel at a time when the Jewish National Fund owned only 6.59% of the land, and was only one-third of the population. Jumping back 30 years before this, I think Farash’s conviction that “the Charter of the League of Nations … did not even mention the words Arab or Muslim” is wrong. The charter must have made passing or inferential reference to the Balfour Declaration, since Balfour was, for the British, the “legal” foundation for Jewish immigration into Palestine, and “a homeland” (not a state!). If it did not, this wasin any event unequivocally the context in which the mandate was set up. And, Balfour explicitly states that the founding of the Jewish homeland shall in no way prejudice the rights of the indigenous inhabitants. That would be, of course, the Palestinians, the large majority of whom are Arab and Muslim.
    Two critical books of history might help Farash, who also sprinkles his political arguments with some Biblical allusions. “The Bible Unearthed”, by Israel Finklestein, the Israeli archaeologist and director of the dig at Megiddo. And for the politics, Clayton Swisher’s account of the Syrian and Palestinian tracks during the 1990’s, “The Truth About Camp David”, is the best I’ve read. If anyone knows another which exposes why peace was not made, please post it here.

  20. To: Carl Zaisser:
    Thanks for the (finally) scholarly discussion.
    You wrote:
    “. . Propaganda of the “Denial” type, considering the well documented, brutal ongoing campaign of Zionist militias (Begin, Shamir) inside the British Mandate in the late 1930’s and 1940’s which drove the British out . . ”
    The traditional “British’ legal definition of “terrorism” is any militant who is unrecognized by His/Her Majesty’s government. In theory, this could include a billion or so Hindus, if England simply elected to dis-recognize the government of India.
    The traditional United States definition of “Terrorism” is any militant who deliberately targets civilians.
    Using the more magnanimous U.S. reading (which is also more common throughout the world), Begin, Shamir and Company would NOT qualify as “terrorists” because their targets were combatants (British military). Mr. Arafat on the other hand, invented the art of modern terror by engaging new forms of artistry to target, for example, Israeli athletes in Munich, hijacking of airlines and so forth. He is more solely responsible than anyone for the invention of the metal detector.
    FYI: Sharon (who you did NOT mention) would better fit the more sensible U.S. definition, because he led two well recognized retaliatory ‘hits’ against Arab civilian towns, following Arab massacres of Jewish kibbutzim. I do not deny this or excuse it, even in clear retaliation. I just mention it because I think you have your facts and definitions blurred.
    You also wrote:
    “the Charter of the League of Nations … did not even mention the words Arab or Muslim” is wrong. The charter must have made passing or inferential reference to the Balfour Declaration, since Balfour was, for the British, the “legal” foundation for Jewish immigration into Palestine, and “a homeland” (not a state!). If it did not, this wasin any event unequivocally the context in which the mandate was set up. And, Balfour explicitly states that the founding of the Jewish homeland shall in no way prejudice the rights of the indigenous inhabitants. That would be, of course, the Palestinians, the large majority of whom are Arab and Muslim.”
    Incorrect sir.
    The Balfore language says that ‘nothing shall be done to prejudice the rights of CHRISTIANS or other local inhabitants’ (slightly paraphrased). It does NOT say “Arab” or “Muslim” and it certainly does not say: “indigenous inhabitants” as surely many of those would be Jews. The Balfore declaration was not a legal passing of title but rather an acknowledgement of the legal passing of title already underway through treaties between the parties. Please see: for a very well stated explanation. By the way, while the United States was not a member of the League of Nations, Pres. Wilson and the U.S. Congress officially ratified the Balfore language in a separate document in the early 1920’s.

  21. Art,

    Israel is the vastly stronger power in the conflict. It exercises direct or indirect control over all the Palestinian territories, including Gaza. Palestinians do not have a state that can exercise a legitimate monopoly over violence. They are deprived of their basic human and political rights. So, in light of these realities, I do not think it is ridiculous to say that Israel has the prime responsibility for mitigating or resolving the conflict.

    The Gaza withdrawal is a case in point. JVP has an excellent background on Gaza, Israel’s continuing control over Gaza after its disengagement, and the events leading up to Israel’s re-invasion. You say that if Palestinians “could have formed a peaceful government, focused on developing economy, education, and health.” But how can Gaza develop its economy when Israel has sealed it off from the rest of the world? Forming a government which can do things like stopping the Qassams requires a population that respects its authority. Israel deliberately conducted the withdrawal in a manner that weakened rather than strengthened the PA.

    Nor do I agree that if Palestinians could just stop the violence, everything would be alright -Israelis would be convinced of the Palestinians’ peaceful intentions, the Separation Barrier would be removed, Israel would withdraw from all of the West Bank, Palestinians would have freedom of movement, etc. First, I do not think it possible to expect a total cessation of Palestinian violence as long as Palestinians are deprived of their basic political & human rights. Second, even if Palestinians were to cease the violence, both Palestinians & Israelis will always have reasons to distrust each other.

  22. Dershowitz makes these two statements…

    Amazing. Excellent point.

    It’s particularly ironic that he charges Carter with one-sidedness considering Carter’s own statement on pages 205-206 (emphasis mine):

    “There are two interrelated obstacles to permanent peace in the Middle East:

    1. Some Israelis believe they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians; and

    2. Some Palestinians react by honoring suicide bombers as martyrs to be rewarded in heaven and consider the killing of Israelis as victories.”

    Carter’s even-handedness in is manifested throughout the book. That notwithstanding, there is a vast asymmetry here, a power differential.

  23. “a power differential.”
    Lets see, 1.2 billion Muslims versus 14 million Jews (in the world).
    About 600 million Muslims surrounding Israel alone, versus about 8 million Hebrews.
    Something like 80/1 “differential”
    People accuse Israel of being evil but the fact is that they would have to be CRAZZZZZZZZZY to start trouble with this number of adversaries. Strange that no one accuses them of being crazy. Because “crazy” might be excusable whereas ‘evil’ only has one reward: Lampshades.

  24. Peter, I think that your note is self-contradictory (but I’d be the last person to say that I’ve never written such a note myself upon reflection…).

    Israel had to continue to surround Gaza after leaving, until it could be determined whether the borders could be safely NOT monitored for arms shipments. I really think that you already know that.

    Israel is NOT the stronger party is many essential ways. In particular, Palestinians freely brainwash their children to act as human bombs, with quiet smiling acquiesence of the political left in the West. There is no simple defense against human bombs. This REQUIRES massive reaction of the type that Israel offers. I also think that you already know this too.

    Peace is really in the hands of Palestinians, not Israel. I think you must know by now that there is NOTHING Israel could do, short of removing every Jew from the Middle East, that would satisfy Hamas, Jihad and Hezbollah.

    It does not help to cite JVP “analyses”. JVP “analyses” are carefully filtered to trash Israel. JVP is not a “peace” group. It’s well known in the San Francisco Bay Area by now, but perhaps not elsewhere.

  25. If this forum was a U.S. cable TV channel, Farash’s sound bite that Arafat “is more solely responsible than anyone for the invention of the metal detector” would be highly effective. It simply isn’t true. Men like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir DID attack the soldiers of the “legally manadated government”, Britain, as well as leading their outlawed militias many times in attacks like the massacre of Arab villagers at Deir Yassin. Shlomo Ben Ami, an Israeli historian and negotiator at Camp David while serving as Ehud Barak’s Interior Minister, said about this period in Zionist and Israeli history, “The reality on the ground was that of an Arab community in a state of terror facing a ruthless Israeli army whose path to victory was paved not only by its exploits against the regular Arab armies, but also by the intimidation and at times atrocities and massacres it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community. A panic-stricken Arab community was uprooted under the impact of massacres that would be carved into the Arabs’ monument of grief and hatred.” There were many of these incidents, including one in which the Irgun bombed the British headquarters in the King David Hotel, coordinated with the official Zionist army, the Haganah, killing 91 British, Arabs and Jews (15). Norman Finklestein recently commented on this kind of indiscriminate attack and state culpability for civilian deaths. He was referring more directly to the kinds of current Israeli attacks when missiles are fired into crowded sections of Gaza at a suspected militant and 10 to 20 civilians end up getting killed. He said, “They said when you have so much, so many civilians killed — I don’t particularly like the phrase “collateral damage” — when you have so many civilians killed, B’Tselem (the Israeli human rights organization) says it hardly makes a difference whether you are purposely targeting them or not, the state has responsibility.” Now throw in Sharon’s attack at Qibya in 1953 with another large total of villagers killed, and it seems that way before Arafat came onto history’s stage, Zionist Jews were showing how to get the objectives accomplished with ruthless terror. They drove the British out of Palestine and then drove 83% of the entire Arab population out in 1948. Watch, and learn. I also suggest, Farash, that you don’t use a definition of terrorism as defined by the United States, “any militant who deliberately targets civilians.”. That clever collection of words precludes the inclusion of “state terrorism”, very conveniently I might add. So you see, I think it is you who has your facts and definitions blurred. Another example. We were both paraphrasing when we spoke of the Balfour declaration. I used the term indigenous inhabitants, you the rights of CHRISTIANS or other local inhabitants. The part in the Balfour Declaration after stating the intention of the Brits to establish a Jewish “homeland” (again, not a state) in Palestine, says, “…it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …”. The Jewish population in Palestine at that time was between 8 and 11% of the total, not “many” as you stated. That calculates to about 90% of the remainder being referred to in this part of Balfour as Palestinian Arabs, who were overwhelmingly Muslim. Additionally, the idea that the clandestine dealings of France and Britain, known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, represented some kind of “legal treaty” is ludicrous. In British law, it was the Balfour Declaration which was the official coming out for a policy which included Jewish immigration from Europe. As you stated, several years later the U.S., acquiescing to realpolitik (the dominance of Britain and France in the world and Middle East at that time), endorsed Balfour. But at the time of Balfour’s passage President Wilson was skeptical and sent a commission, the King-Crane Commission (just Google it), to comprehensively interview all sectors of the population within the proposed mandate areas to see if democracy was being served in accordance with his Fourteen Points for the League of Nations. After these surveys, in which no party was excluded from being heard, the commissioners recommended (in much more detail than I include here but do look it up) the following to Wilson regarding Balfour. “…the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference (Paris), and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.” (p. 32 of 69) Completed in 1919, Britain forced Wilson to delay publication of his commission’s report, and it came out in 1923. That was the VERY LAST TIME that the United States had any accurate, reliable information about how the Middle East could have been remade, happily (take a good long look ar the artificially created British Iraq), in a democratic manner which would have gained the support of the overwhelming majority of people in the region. As Robert Frost wrote, “And that has made all the difference.”

  26. Zaisser:
    The primary difference between you and me: I make a genuine effort to be fair, as can be abundantly evidenced by my numerous statements which seem to jump over the tennis-net and show objectivity, such as my assertion that Sharon might have been more fairly labeled a “terrorist” then other people you mention. This statement would be considered no less then heresy to the average “Likud” party member. In fact, just the other day I was at a pro-Israeli book signing event wherein the “managers” of the event appeared to be opening the entire floor for questions, when in reality they had pre-screened audience members for “appropriateness” of content and naturally, I was not being allowed to say anything in public. So I made a “point-of-order” fuss and without at all knowing what I intended to ask in the first place, one of the audience (who had gotten to speak) accused me of being a “liberal”. In fact, I have had this “L” word shot at me in numerous venues, including a (Jewish) group email which accused me of being a “petty little liberal”. And that’s exactly the problem. We have replaced the virtuous world of ideas and honest, factual discussions with that of strict, ideological “camps” from which no descent is permissible. Those who can’t figure me out have concluded that I merely function as a ‘fecal disturber’. I can assure you and everyone that I am none of these things. I am a bringer of the best news I know: The truth. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally render a mis quote or have a point of historical fact successfully rebutted. It just don’t happen dat much.
    Now, onto your statements:
    “Men like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir DID attack the soldiers of the “legally mandated government”, Britain, . . . “
    What would this point have anything to do with people needing to go through metal detectors before boarding airliners? Of course, nothing. Moreover, who denied it? Not myself. I in fact acknowledged it in the post that you endeavored to rebut. But, unlike myself, you would prefer to argue then to find points of agreement. Gotta love them peace-mongers. They (you) want everyone ELSE to make peace, except themselves. Soldiers killing other soldiers. You wish to define that as “terrorism” then every single war in the history of mankind would also have to be so defined. More importantly, doing so provides a smoke-screen (cover) for despots like Hitler and Saddam, who are then leveled into equal status with legitimate combatants shooting at other combatants. By the way, Ehud Barak visited my office several years ago. That does not mean that everything he or any of his underlings ever said is either factual or sensible.
    Massacres at “Deir Yassin” and Qibya. Yes. Acknowledged and not excused. However, the Japanese have managed to get over their loss of several hundred thousand civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Arabs however, and their supporters, dwell on this event that each cost about 100 civilian lives, like it was another “crucifixion” of Jesus. In fact, these were revenge massacres for several attacks against civilian Jewish towns by Arab militants, which as I said, does not excuse it though, should have been mentioned in any discussion. I did mention it. You omitted it. Also, these events you highlight were at the culmination of many, many years of attacks against Jewish civilians in Palestine, most of which had occurred before 1947. It was also after the worldwide loss of 40% of the total Jewish population, with the expressed complicity of the Arab militancy in the area and especially their ring-leader, the “Grand Mufti” Al Hussseini, who had been appointed to his post as leader of the Jerusalem Arabs by the British government, while they had indicted Menachem Begin as a “terrorist” (well before 1947). To recap: Begin had attacked soldiers and Al Husseini attacked civilians. Al Husseini was promoted to head-of-state status and Begin had been indicted. Arafat was Al Husseini’s nephew and like Al Husseini, was not born in Palestine. Of note is also the fact that between the years of 1919 and 1947, about 3,500 Arab intellectuals, politicians, community leaders and even clerics were assassinated by hit squads, NOT OF JEWS but of their own Arab brothers (Many under the orders of the Grand Mufti). These were people who favored peaceful relations with their Jewish neighbors. They became “traitors” and were summarily executed without trials. All of this before 1947. So, while I grieve for your civilian victims of Deir Yassin and Qibya, I grieve more for the much larger group of Arab civilians murdered in the middle of the night by other Arabs, over political differences during the preceding period. Up until his recent death, Mr. Arafat was still personally ordering the execution of fellow Arabs, whom he had concluded were helping the Israelis. No trial. No lawyers. One bullet in the keppie. Lastly, one must account for the treatment of Hebrews in other Muslim countries, directly after the 1947 partition plan. Not all of these people made it out alive and those that did left significant property and possessions behind.
    “A panic-stricken Arab community was uprooted under the impact of massacres that would be carved into the Arabs’ monument of grief and hatred.” Jews of course could not be “panic stricken” because they had already seen the inside of hell (and survived), while these Arabs spoken of had merely seen a brief and minor taste of (mainly) their own medicine.
    “ . . . current Israeli attacks when missiles are fired into crowded sections of Gaza at a suspected militant and 10 to 20 civilians end up getting killed. . . ”
    I do not agree with these sorts of measures and generally believe that no military solution of these types can succeed. However, is Israel being held to a higher standard then other nations? The Soviets (under Brezhnev) started a war in Afghanistan over three KGB agents who had been kidnapped and murdered. The French government made public statement warning of nuclear retaliation, if terrorist attacks were perpetrated on their soil. Again, peace is a wondrous and beautiful thing, made even more beautiful when someone ELSE has to pay the price of world-wide harmony.
    “Zionist Jews were showing how to get the objectives accomplished with ruthless terror.” I said MODERN terror. All terror (against civilians) is by definition “ruthless”. However, the use of planted explosives against civilians and hijacking of airlines interrupted everyone’s lives and became a new escalation of terror. This was mainly the doing of Arafat & company.
    . . “then drove 83% of the entire Arab population out in 1948”
    By accounting of the United Nations, 750,000 Arabs departed after 1947 and were replaced by 465,000 Jews incoming from other Arab and Muslim nations were they were unwelcome and in danger. The difference then was under 300,000. How do you turn this into 83%?? Left behind were about 1-million Arabs who assumed normal lives as Israeli citizens. There is also a genuine dispute as to the circumstances of these Arabs departure. The most famous quote on this subject came from the former Prime Minister of Syria, Mr. Khalid al cAzam, who had the following to say on the subject in 1973: “…..the summons of the Arab Governments to the population of Palestine to leave and take refuge in the neighboring Arab countries…..this collective flight served the Jews and strengthened their position without effort. …..Since 1948, we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes, when we ourselves were the ones who induced them to leave….” (Semites and Anti-Semites by Prof. Bernard Lewis). It should also be noted that each and every Arab nation involved with the Israeli war of independence was subsequently overthrown by a military coup in the years that followed. These events also constituted a great impediment to peace because in all instances, including incidentally the Saddam regime, the incoming governments replaced more friendly ones that were possibly on the verge of warming up to the notion of an Israeli presence.
    “I also suggest, Farash, that you don’t use a definition of terrorism as defined by the United States, “any militant who deliberately targets civilians.”. That clever collection of words precludes the inclusion of “state terrorism”, very conveniently I might add.”
    But, Zaisser, that is our official definition and also the definition of many other modern nations. The definition you prefer, namely anyone who is not recognized as a nations by the nation making the claim, provides even greater Leigh way for abuse, not lesser. I would also hasten to add that you are (in your above statement) beginning to sound like the bald-headed Mike Meyers character in “Austin Powers”. Its not a matter of my convenience. I didn’t invent the definition. I just think it makes more logical and ethical sense then your definition, which, appears to wrap itself around Jerusalem at the exclusion of hundreds of other places. Lets talk Sudan. You got any problem with the millions of dead, displaced and enslaved (civilian) Blacks in the South, at the hands of mainly Arabic tribes from the north? Would Apache helicopters have helped their plights? What about the food-markets being blown to shreds in Iraq? These are places where women and their young children are collected in large numbers. Oh, I forgot: That too is the result of state sponsored “terror” by the USA. Right?
    “The Jewish population in Palestine at that time was between 8 and 11% of the total . . “
    I have no idea what you are talking about, which is understandable since I don’t think you do either. Are you referring to all of the Mandate “Palestine” of 45,000 sq. miles, including modern Jordan? Any what year are we speaking about? In 1906, the population of Jerusalem was reported to contain 40,000 Jews and 7,000 total Moslems, some of which were undoubtedly Turks and other non-Arabs. You play a “shell game” with the numbers. By the way, after the acquisition of 37,000 of those sq. miles by Jordan, Muslim inhabitants who were acquired with that land were ultimately granted Jordanian citizenship and residency, while Jews were specifically excluded. To recap: Jews goy 8,000 sq. miles and over 1-million Arab citizens. Jordan got 38,000 sq. miles and NOT ONE SINGLE JEW WAS ALLOWED TO REMAIN WITH THE LAND. What kind of bull-jive are you peddling?
    ““…the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference (Paris), and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.”
    But all of this took place. Each and every word of it.
    ” greatly reduced Zionist program” 45,000 sq. miles became 8,000 sq. Miles.
    “only very gradually initiated” Understatement of the century.
    “This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited”
    Which it was by statute and greatly more so through the busting of those statutes by Her Majesty’s government, who wrongly blocked even those numbers of quota from materializing (See: “From Time Immemorial” by Joan Peters).
    “and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.”
    Which it was. In reality, Jordan became a distinctly Muslim commonwealth (in its 4/5ths of “Palestine”) while Israel is a shared commonwealth, between Jews, Muslims, Christians and others—within the remaining 1/5th.
    I intend a follow-up on this subject to deal with the legal basis for the “Jewish National Homeland”. Its just that you have given me a headache, from which I need a bit of down time.

  27. Isador – For someone who is throwing a lot of numbers around you got a major one dead wrong. The non-Jewish population left in the territory that became the State of Israel in 1948 was about 150,000, NOT over one million as you state. The total population of Israel in 1949 was just a bit over one milion of which over 80% were Jewish.

    It was almost the year 2000 before the number of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel reached one million. Just Google it. Here’s a ref. to get you started:

    However the numbers game is a dead end, a waste of time. Better to use this space to explore how those of us who live here in Israel/Palestine are going to get out of the mess we are in.

  28. Delivered as promised below:
    The first point to recon is that borders of a new nation are not legally temporary. While “international” (Treaty) law can change and be amended from time-to-time, once a legal border is established and exists, they can not be phased in-and-out of existence, at the mere whim of others. But that is what happened to the 1919-1924 birth certificate of the Jewish National Homeland.”
    “As part of the settlement in which the Arabs received most of the lands formerly under Turkish sovereignty in the Middle East, the whole of Palestine, on both sides of the Jordan, was reserved exclusively for the Jewish people as their national home and future independent state.”
    (I am sorry about having to re-post all of this material but I have figured out that people who are generally opposed to the points I am trying to make will tend to avoid clicking-through to the link, unless they think that others are reading the materials.)
    “Under the terms of the settlement that were made by the Principal Allied Powers consisting of Britain, France, Italy and Japan, there would be no annexation of the conquered Turkish territories by any of the Powers, as had been planned in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 9 and 16, 1916. Instead, these territories, including the peoples for whom they were designated, would be placed under the Mandates System and administered by an advanced nation until they were ready to stand by themselves. The Mandates System was established and governed by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, contained in the Treaty of Versailles and all the other peace treaties made with the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Covenant was the idea of US President Woodrow Wilson and contained in it his program of Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918, while Article 22 which established the Mandates System, was largely the work of Jan Christiaan Smuts who formulated the details in a memorandum that became known as the Smuts Resolution, officially endorsed by the Council of Ten on January 30, 1919, in which Palestine as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration was named as one of the mandated states to be created. The official creation of the country took place at the San Remo Peace Conference where the Balfour Declaration was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers as the basis for the future administration of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home”
    “The moment of birth of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty thus took place at the same time Palestine was created a mandated state, since it was created for no other reason than to reconstitute the ancient Jewish state of Judea in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and the general provisions of Article 22 of the League Covenant. This meant that Palestine from the start was legally a Jewish state in theory that was to be guided towards independence by a Mandatory or Trustee, also acting as Tutor, and who would take the necessary political, administrative and economic measures to establish the Jewish National Home. The chief means for accomplishing this was by encouraging large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would eventually result in making Palestine an independent Jewish state, not only legally but also in the demographic and cultural senses.”

    The details for the planned independent Jewish state were set forth in three basic documents, which may be termed the founding documents of mandated Palestine and the modern Jewish state of Israel that arose from it. These were the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Britain by the Principal Allied Powers and confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. These founding documents were supplemented by the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924 respecting the Mandate for Palestine. It is of supreme importance to remember always that these documents were the source or well-spring of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over Palestine and the Land of Israel under international law, because of the near-universal but completely false belief that it was the United Nations General Assembly Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 that brought the State of Israel into existence. In fact, the UN resolution was an illegal abrogation of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty to the whole of Palestine and the Land of Israel, rather than an affirmation of such rights or progenitor of them.
    The San Remo Resolution converted the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 from a mere statement of British policy expressing sympathy with the goal of the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state into a binding act of international law that required specific fulfillment by Britain of this object in active cooperation with the Jewish people. Under the Balfour Declaration as originally issued by the British government, the latter only promised to use their best endeavors to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. But under the San Remo Resolution of April 24-25, 1920, the Principal Allied Powers as a cohesive group charged the British government with the responsibility or legal obligation of putting into effect the Balfour Declaration. A legal onus was thus placed on Britain to ensure that the Jewish National Home would be duly established.
    “The term “Jewish National Home” was defined to mean a state by the British government at the Cabinet session which approved the Balfour Declaration on October 31, 1917. That was also the meaning originally given to this phrase by the program committee which drafted the Basel Program at the first Zionist Congress in August 1897 and by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist Organization. The word “home” as used in the Balfour Declaration and subsequently in the San Remo Resolution was simply the euphemism for a state originally adopted by the Zionist Organization when the territory of Palestine was subject to the rule of the Ottoman Empire, so as not to arouse the sharp opposition of the Sultan and his government to the Zionist aim, which involved a potential loss of this territory by the Empire. There was no doubt in the minds of the authors of the Basel Program and the Balfour Declaration regarding the true meaning of this word, a meaning reinforced by the addition of the adjective “national” to “home”. However, as a result of not using the word “state” directly and proclaiming that meaning openly or even attempting to hide its true meaning when it was first used to denote the aim of Zionism, ammunition was provided to those who sought to prevent the emergence of a Jewish state or who saw the Home only in cultural terms. . . . ”
    “There was no doubt that when Palestine was named in the context of Article 22, it was linked exclusively to the Jewish National Home, as set down in the Balfour Declaration, a fact everyone was aware of at the time, including the representatives of the Arab national movement, as evidenced by the agreement between Emir Feisal and Dr. Chaim Weizmann dated January 3, 1919 as well as an important letter sent by the Emir to future US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter dated March 3, 1919. In that letter, Feisal characterized as “moderate and proper” the Zionist proposals presented by Nahum Sokolow and Weizmann to the Council of Ten at the Paris Peace Conference on February 27, 1919, which called for the development of Palestine into a Jewish commonwealth with extensive boundaries. The argument later made by Arab leaders that the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine were incompatible with Article 22 of the Covenant is totally undermined by the fact that the Smuts Resolution – the precursor of Article 22 – specifically included Palestine within its legal framework. . . “
    And so on and so forth. For the record, I DO NOT make a claim that Israel is now entitled to expand its borders, for practical reasons and reasons of maintaining some level of common sense and fairness to the Muslim populations of the region. I DO make the claim that Israel has already compromised and been compromised against its will and against its legal rights and therefore, more compromise should not be expected of them. The Arab people (as a whole) have not been historically oppressed or persecuted — except by themselves and each other, while the Hebrews have been persecuted throughout recorded history by virtually everyone else. Only a small fractional pocket of Arab people have become a true battered “underclass” of citizenry. While tragic and very sad and to be corrected, this was nonetheless the ultimate result of their own doing and the long term mistakes of the Arab leadership. Had the Arabs of the 20th century welcomed the Jews as their lost cousins, they might (today) still be 2nd class citizens in Israel but ironically, far better off then the average Arab living in a variety of Mid East countries (with the possible exception of the oil-rich). By the way, my reading of the Qur’an (specifically Sura 17) calls for this sort of close cooperation between the Jewish and Muslim factions, at least in “The Promised land” (a.k.a. Palestine.)

  29. Fred Schlomka:
    Without comparing our respective living situations and general set of problems, the question being debated was a percentage of Jews versus Muslims after 1947. The statement I questioned was:
    “They drove the British out of Palestine and then drove 83% of the entire Arab population out in 1948.”. Perhaps I mis-spoke on the total numbers but I still debate the percentages asserted and the circumstances of the Arab departures, which was the crux of the discussion.
    “Overall, the Jewish State was to be comprised of roughly 5,500 square miles and the population was to be 538,000 Jews and 397,000 Arabs. The Arab State was to be 4,500 square miles with a population of 804,000 Arabs and 10,000 Jews.3a Though the Jews were allotted more total land, the majority of that land was in the desert.”
    “At the time of the 1947 partition resolution, the Arabs did have a majority in western Palestine as a whole — 1.2 million Arabs versus 600,000 Jews.7 But the Jews were a majority in the area allotted to them by the resolution and in Jerusalem.”
    You wrote:
    “However the numbers game is a dead end, a waste of time. Better to use this space to explore how those of us who live here in Israel/Palestine are going to get out of the mess we are in.”
    OK. Lets explore. When I visited Israel in 1984, the Arabs were borderline friendly. The curator of the Al Aska mosque literally begged me to come inside and one Palestinian-Arab youth invited himself to be my house guest in the USA. So, in order to figure out how to return to those times, one must ascertain what has gone wrong since. Those who point to 1922 or 1947 or 1967 or 1973 can never explain what happened AFTER 1984. Can you?
    The possible answers are not limitless. Here are two:
    1. The legitimization of Arab militancy. This began with the meeting Between Mr. Arafat and Pope John Paul II. It continued with the false notion by various U.S. presidents that Mr. Arafat was part of any sort of solution. The final act in this series was when the peace talks of 2,000 broke apart and one of the last discussions between Mr. Arafat and Mr. Clinton was when Chairman Arafat told President Clinton that no Jewish temple existed in Jerusalem prior to very modern times. At that moment, Clinton realized that Arafat was not just a hard negotiator but he was . . not right . . . in the head.
    2. The continued indoctrination of Arabs in general and the world at large about the litany of false allegations involving each and every aspect of the history of the region. This resumed in earnest soon after the above referenced failed negotiations, when, early in 2001 the Arab league met in Cairo and passed a resolution that the Holocaust never happened and was merely a contrivance, done to assist “Zionists” with their illegal confiscation of Arab land. Soon thereafter, Sen. George Mitchell returned from his “fact-finding” mission in Egypt with a report that did not mention either of these two issues at all.
    On Sept. 11, 2001, the USA was attacked by Al Qaeda.
    I for one see a direct relationship between Mr. Arafat’s actions of Sept/Oct 2000 and Bin Laden’s actions of Sept/2001. I further assert that Chairman Arafat was well aware of the Al Qaeda timetable in play, when he started making ridiculous demands and assertions, such as that 5 million Arabs get to become voting Israeli citizens.
    If my assumptions are correct, then, your first error is to believe that Israel is involved in any independent dispute with radical Islam. If you read the Qur’an, it warns the faithful not to think they know when “Judgment day” is coming and not to try to speed up the coming of that day. In fact, Iranian President Ahmadinejad belongs to a splinter group of Islam that pro-actively believes that “Judgment day” will only arrive when the ‘faithful’ make it so. [Translation: Now, if not sooner]. This theological offshoot was once considered so radical that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared such beliefs as blasphemous and outlawed the teachings of this sect from Iran. Times change. It is this sort of ‘intellectual’ migration which is now at the center of the dispute being experienced within Israel. That being so, capitulation to the ever-increasing demands of the Arab street will not solve your problems. It would only multiply them. In 1984, all they wanted was a decent job. By 1990, Chairman Arafat wanted ½ of Jerusalem (only because he knew it was impossible). By 2000, when Mr. Barak came up with a creative solution that seemed to address this demand, Mr. Arafat waned 5 million new Arab residents of Israel, just to make sure that no serious peace plan would become possible. By 2006, the Arab leadership (Hamas) will only settle for the complete removal of the Jewish National Homeland. What will the next demand be? Of course, we already know because they are telling us on various recorded tapes, being shown on Arab satellite TV. Namely, the complete removal of any non-Islamic nations from Egypt to Spain. Next after that will be Spain to Finland and eventually, yes, everywhere else including the Amazon Rain Forrest and Tibet.
    So, the solution to your local problems are actually the same solutions that apply to the rest of the world. Namely, turning the clock back on Islam to a more reasonable period in time. You will hear the clerics say that ‘reform’ or amendment of their scriptures is not possible under Islamic law but the fact is that their teachings have been amended repeatedly by themselves. The idea, for example that the Islamic Prophet Mohammed “ascended to heaven” at the sight of the Dome of the Rock is a relatively new concept in Islam. Yet, this is what the young are being taught. We are doing little or nothing to debate it.
    At the same time, we must vigorously debate the litany of historical inaccuracies being propagated throughout the Muslim world and especially so within the Israeli sphere of influence. Joining these false beliefs of history is not going to slow down the advancing of ‘Judgment Day’. Hence, much of the material contained on this web site (and others like it) is only adding fuel to the fire. I will tell you the same thing I told Shaul Mofaz: Educate, educate, educate.
    The Israelis wrongly think that this means they can “teach the Arabs a lesson” through superior retaliation. They can not. There are too many of them and they are indoctrinated from the age of 5 years old to believe that such a fate is glory. They can only be set strait with the truth. The truth about history and the truth about their own Scriptures.
    Educate, inform and enlighten.
    That is the best solution, if one in fact exists. You want to impress a Catholic, speak Latin at them. You want to impress a Muslim, quote the Qur’an.
    Jewish ‘Biblical rights’ does not impress them—it only pisses them off. Personal experiences of (Jewish) friends or family being blown to bits does not impress them either because they have 5 stories for each one of yours and by next year it will be 10 personal stories, since most of these are fabrications anyway.
    Lastly, I suggest the U.S. President use his considerable leverage to insist that Egypt and Jordan take charge of the matters on the ground in both Gaza and West Bank, respectively. That solution would solve then entire problem, since both Egypt and Jordan have permanent peace treaties with Israel.

  30. i love to read your attempts to be fair and your accusations of how I am not. this is why the ENTIRE argument Israel puts forth is the largest irony in history. but one thing I don’t like, and I surmise most others do not either who have interacted with you over this topic, is the vicious edge to the personal comments to everyone you respond to. this makes you marginal to the serious discussion. so, have a nice day …

  31. Carl Zaisser:
    When you think you can speak for others, of course by sheer probabilities, some will agree with you. I quote from a post off a Muslim web log:
    I also just started reading this blog and I must admit I enjoy reading your posts. As a Muslim, a Palestinian and a bad speller, I must say I feel a certain brotherly connection with you. I say this even though I totally disagree with you on Palestine and Israel.
    It is great to see a Jew feel comfortable at a Muslim blog. . . . . . I reach out to you with a greeting of Salam Wa Alaikum and hope that we can meet next year in Jerusalem.
    Now he and I are friends. You and I shall probably never be friends because unlike Issac, you appear to have made up your mind first and reasoned your way backwards, to establish the circumstances you promote.
    I can’t be sure who started first with whom, you or I, and I have no intension of re-reading each and every comment and quoting. However, speaking as a whole, I try not to start up with anyone and my tone, which at times can be sharp, is generally in-kind with the person with whom I am conversing. You started the disrespectful practice of using my last name and I continued when addressing you.
    Have a great weekend.

  32. Isidor Farash:

    I was a referring to characterizations of people’s comments as “crap”, and “bull jive”, or that my comments “gave you a headache”. I am sure you realize that people don’t take these kinds of agressive characterizations lightly. As far as using your last name and thus addressing you disrespectfully, that is YOUR perception, and not the TRUTH. I for one have no problem with people addressing me by mine, but if you do, please accept my apology and do recall in my very first sentence responding to comments you had made to others, I began, “I applaud Isidor Farash’s activist background and for bringing history into the discussion …”. That sounds rather like respect, not disrespect. Too bad you had to mischaracterize my character based on a positive comment on your contribution here. But that is a famous tactic used to shoot down someone’s character to try to bolster your own arguments.

    Beyond that, Neville Mandel’s “The Arabs and Zionism before World War 1” and Elie Kedourie’s “Palestine and Israel” illumine one of your points, how the World Zionist Org with their Basel Program consciously hid their intentions of the usurpation of land which belonged to other people in Palestine. And, though the United States REJECTED the League of Nations and thus Article 22 which you refer to, Britain acted at that time, in regard to other so-called “international agreements” much the was the United States acts now within the so-called “Quartet” with the so-called Road Map (to Nowhere, as Israeli Tanya Reinhart calls it). In other words, Britain with wingman France manipulated and bullied the so-called “international community” after WW1. As I said, if ANYONE wants to get a real sense why the Jewish Homeland project has met with such stiff resistance over the past 90 years, a thorough reading of the DEMOCRATIC DOCUMENTED SURVEY by President Wilson’s King-Crane Commission (just google it) is a must. The world powers completely ignored the will of the people throughout what became the mandated territories.

    Irrespective of what one Arab leader might have said, and of the political context in which he might have spoken, ALL Israeli historians, from Segev to Shlaim to Pappe to Ben Ami now agree on the facts that Palestinian Arabs were driven out of their villages by an organized campaign of terror, encapsulated in the title of Pappe’s recent book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”. Forget the myth, which is now dispelled even by these Israeli historians and which the birth myth of Israel required, that the Arabs all ran away voluntarily. The Ben Ami quote from the earlier posting is clear about what went on. And Norman Finkelstein says the first fifty pages of Ben Ami’s book (“Scars of War, Wounds of Peace”) sums up nicely what all, perhaps with the exception of you and Bernard Lewis, believe to be the truth, which what you do say you have to offer.

    And here’s ANOTHER extremely important reason why you are masquerading as a truth teller. People who are interested in figuring out the birth of this problem are quite capable of following the modern developments also. Your characterization of the collapse of Camp David, the culmination of the Oslo process, is the Clinton-Dennis Ross-Barak fantasy version of reality. You are STILL peddlng the version that Barak made a “generous offer” which Arafat rejected and then started the second intifada. Clayton Swisher, Middle East Institute, in “The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story about the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process” has moved the discussion way past the Clinton-Barak lies which you STILL put forward as truth. I think it’s very nice that you know Mr. Barak and Mr. Mofaz. Personally, I wouldn’t let Barak into my office if I had one. He is the single most important reason why BOTH the Syrian and Palestinian tracks failed in the 1990’s. Of course, with Sharon and Netanyahu agitating against him, the Americans constantly fell for his whining about what he couldn’t sell to the Israeli public and was immediately backed up by those “honest brokers”, Clinton and Ross. The Camp David myth is ALL LIES, Isidor, and if you are really serious about having the truth under your tent, read Swisher’s book which even Shlomo Ben Ami cites in his.

    It is a good idea to strip these conflicts down to their political factors and educate against the religious mythical components. But if you want to do that with stories about the flight to heaven and even resurrection and rapture, you also have to do it with the god gave us the land myth. See Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein’s book, “The Bible Unearthed” (and its pejoratively termed so-called “minimalist” predecessors) for a shattering of the Old Testament stories.

    If its about TRUTH, investigate the sneaky tactics of Zionism (if ALL was fair in love and war THEN, why isn’t ALL fair in love and war NOW???-an important question)leading up the Zionist-Assimilationists clashes in London during WW1, the Israel creation myth in 1948, the Camp David failure story.

    You know, I’ve been all over the Middle East many times myself, including walking 200 miles throughout Israel and occupied Palestine in 1982. What Israel needs to do, as Shlomo Ben Ami says, is TALK to Hamas and see how flexible it might be. And then, sign the agreement that Barak and Clinton should have offered Arafat (which he would have signed) at the summit they pressured him to attend by PROMISING that Clinton would not blame Palestinians for if it failed, that is, full Palestinian sovereignty on the 22% of Palestine according to the pre-67 lines. That’s spelled FULL SOVEREIGNTY for FULL NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS. Anything less, that is, trying to squeeze Palestinians so that illegal settlements are kept (greed, even according to the heavily pro-Zionist columnist Thomas Friedman) will lead to more of the same.

    By the way, what are the sources of your hunches that Arafat and Bin Laden are consciously in-sync? I certainly hope not Dick Cheney or Bill O’Reilly.

  33. Carl Zaisser:
    You asked:
    “By the way, what are the sources of your hunches that Arafat and Bin Laden are consciously in-sync?”
    I will address this question of my pure opinion now and reserve comments to your other statements for later, as I have another full-time job to handle.
    1) After Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, Mr. Arafat was on the first plane out to visit and support Mr. Saddam. Essentially, Mr. Arafat would eagerly support anyone who could make progress in the Pan-National Arab cause.
    2) Mr. Arafat kept his real intentions somewhat dormant for many years, while being a participant in various peace meetings and ultimately signing the Oslo Accords, in 1993. Common sense would suggest that this was done while preparations for a wider uprising were in play. Certainly, Mr. Arafat’s action of Oct-Dec. 2000, were completely incompatible with the Oslo language.
    3) Mr. Arafat’s strategy made perfect sense for someone who’s aim was to ignite a regional war. Namely, keep sending groups of teenagers out rioting, to provoke the IDF to pop one or two at a time. (By the way, I vigorously argued against the use of live ammo in this ongoing “riot control” and for about 3 weeks in early 2001, the IDF actually discontinued using live rounds, in favor or rubber bullets.)
    The net effect of this massive rioting and civil disruption (and stoning and burning of Jewish Holy sights) was more and more dead rioters, and more juicy photo-opportunities for the Arab news agencies — by which to further ignite their planed regional and global “intimate”.
    When I was a young man, I had a poster of Farrah Faucet on the back of my bedroom door.
    Without first-hand knowledge, based on my intuition and knowledge of history and my reading of Islam, I can still guarantee you that Osama Bin Laden’s bedroom door was adorned with a poster of Chairman Arafat.

  34. for Isidor Farash:
    Talk about beginning with your own frame of reference and working backwards (which by the way, I did not, more speculation on your part – I had a completely open mind toward all this when I set out from Tel Aviv on foot in 1982 but found my silver bullet with WW1 history, the King-Crane Commission Report, and generally the statistics for population and land ownership from 1885 to 1947)… you have offered nothing but your own speculation backed up by no evidence whatsoever of a collaborative effort between Arafat and Bin Laden. Why not try the obvious? The connection is that after 122 years of Western imperialism in the Middle East beginning with Britain’s invasion of Egypt in 1885, Muslims have had enough and have decided to take action in multifarious and unconnected ways. To suggest otherwise is to invest in a conspiracy theory. These people all have different reasons for acting. Bin Laden was upset, as Al Qaeda has proclaimed, about Palestine. But Arafat probably didn’t give a damn about U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, as Bin Laden did. And Saddam himself had no interest in getting into bed with fundamentalist terrorist, nor did Hafez al-Assad. These fundamentalists were a threat to secular leaders like the latter two. Arafat’s connection with Saddam was clear. He gave financial support to Palestine and was a leader who wasn’t afraid to stand up to the U.S. or Israel. In the pinch which developed, the Kuwaiti crisis, Arafat acted genuinely, but stupidly from a diplomatic perspective. And by the way, Yasir Arafat’s leadership, whether you like his tactics or not, put the Palestinian question on the world’s agenda at a time when Israeli prime ministers were still pretending that there was no such thing as a Palestinian people. So why WOULDN’T Bin Laden put a poster of Arafat on his door? Generally, suggesting such a connection reeks of the U.S. government fabricating things like Mohammed Atta meeting Saddam’s people in Prague, or Saddam trying to buy yellow cake from Nigeria, and all the other fabrications which enabled Bush to con the American people into the lovely war he’s got going on now. It is irresponsible to leak this kind of thing out, based on NOTHING. However, you live in a free country so do it if you have to. And, Brother, you REALLY need to read up on the dirt at Camp David. The starship left the “Generous offer-Arafat began the Second Intifada” station eons ago. Read the Swisher book, endorsed by William Quandt who worked on the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David peace agreement, and referred to by Shlomo Ben Ami, Israeli negotiator at Camp David. Definitely NOT endorsed by Dennis Ross, Barak’s handmaiden and the most biased “honest broker” in the history of the Middle East conflict.

  35. Carl Zaisser:
    I said from the offset that my PERSONAL OPINION was that Mr. Arafat was in synch with Osama Bin Laden. I was very clear and especially so in my follow-up that no direct evidence is being relied on. Only my intuition, based on circumstantial conditions and my reading of peoples nature. You want to turn that into a controversy about facts? There is no factual controversy, other than that of your construction.
    When I do quote facts, I go to great lengths to present a full (complete) statement and often I accompany these statements with citations and reference points. You insert reference-points in between incomplete thoughts and statements, making it very difficult to absorb, let alone debate.
    You wrote (for example):
    ” . . . found my silver bullet with WW1 history, the King-Crane Commission Report, and generally the statistics for population and land ownership from 1885 to 1947)… ” All of this without any exact (specific) points and therefore, with only very general citations. You make yourself sound like you know what you are talking about but only you would actually know if these statements have any basis in truth.
    When I took to reading about the subject, I was actually reluctant because (like many) I had my own pre-disposed position wherein I assumed that both sides substantially shared in the responsibility for today’s mess. This turned out to be a false assumption. By the time I got done with volume five, I was actually quite convinced that Israel was being held to an impossible standard, by which no other nation would be expected to attain.
    Suppose, for example that Mexico decides to reclaim parts of the U.S. South West and while in the process, starts shooting off katusha rockets into civilian USA neighborhoods? What would the USA do?
    When Jacques Chirac met with Mr. Arafat and Mr. Barak with Ms. Albright, at the point in time when Mr. Arafat stormed out of the meeting and Ms. Albright followed him, Mr. Chirac said to Mr. Barak: “We had our experiences with them (Muslims). We learned our lesson. We (French) gave them their demand.” Barak answered, “yes, but you gave them Algeria, while the Palestinians want Jerusalem. What would you have done if their demand was for Paris?”
    In the end, two things happened: a) Mr. Barak offered to divide Jerusalem, which was (of course) an insult and profoundly unacceptable and cause for the most recent “intafata”.
    b) The Muslims ostensively got Paris.
    With your referencing about British imperialism in Egypt, (as if the Hebrews were somehow connected to that as well) you don’t mention how 20-M Muslims have spread out in all parts of Europe during the past decades. You don’t explain the ongoing terrorism in India (between people who are genetically almost identical). 98% of which is NOT reported in the Western media. You don’t explain how the Muslim Jangaweed in Northern Sudan have been exterminating their Muslim (though black Mandingo) brothers and sisters, by the tens and hundreds of thousands in Khartoum. You (like Mr. Carter) are instead, fixated on Israel and their perceived injustices, some of which are probably true.
    As Bernard Lewis puts it, you have adopted the “Arab Cause as a stick, by which to beat the Jews.”
    To quote a famous civil-rights leader and friend of the American Muslim community:
    “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism”
    –Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    (as reported in: “The New Anti-Semitism” by Prof. Phillis Chesler)
    Even I don’t believe that everyone who uses the term “Zionists” in a negative light is necessarily guilty of anti-Semitism”. But it just goes to show how people’s reference-points can change dramatically with the passing of time. What has occurred since this quote was fresh? A LOT of changing of the historical record, that’s what. It is little coincidence that the Holocaust denial movement has begun in earnest, at a point in time when most of the people with tattooed forearms are dying off of old age. Just as George Orwell would have expected.
    When I was a teenager, my non-Jewish friends would explain the Holocaust as the result of “the Jews not fighting back”. We don’t hear that one so much anymore.

  36. To Isidor Farash:

    All this business about Britain being charged at the San Remo conference by the usual suspect, the “international community”, to legally carry out the completion of the Balfour Declaration on BOTH the East and West banks of the Jordan, is a straw man argument and not worth too much time in picking apart, aside from a few comments. I think the last 90 years since Balfour and the history of nothing but resistance in the Arab and Muslim world to European, i.e., British and French designs on the former Ottoman Empire pretty much speaks volumes about the “international”legitimacy of the post WW1 decision making period. Margaret McMillan published “Paris 1919” in 2001. She is a professor of history at the University of Toronto and provost of Trinity College. She received her Ph.D. from Oxford. She is also the granddaughter of the British prime minister David Lloyd George, who along with Clemenceau from France ran roughshod over President Wilson’s attempts to bring democratic consultation with local peoples in figuring out how to restructure many of the world’s conflicts at the talks in Versailles. Richard Holbrooke wrote in the Foreword to “Paris 1919”, “measured against the judgment of history and consequences, it (“Paris 1919”) is a study of flawed decisions with terrible consequences, many of which haunt us to this day.” McMillan devotes 17 pages to Palestine in the 500 page book.
    Ronald Sanders, in “The High Walls of Jerusalem: A History of the Balfour Declaration”, details the blow by blow epic struggle waged in London during the war years in trying to sway the British government between Jewish Assimilationists and Jewish Zionists. Chaim Weizmann prevailed in that struggle by convincing Sir Mark Sykes (whom T.E. Lawrence in “7 Pillars …” describes as “a bundle of prejudices, intuitions and half-sciences …” who later after seeing the fulfillment of his efforts in Syria said, “I was wrong: here is the truth.”) and others that a Jewish homeland in Palestine would be a bulwark for British foreign policy in the Levant. When things got down to the nitty gritty of deciding borders for the proposed mandates of Britain and France, McMillan (pg. 423) says Weizmann pushed for the most generous border and tried to convince Britain to include the East bank territories, i.e., what became Transjordan. England liked the idea, “for its own ends: to limit French influence and to protect railway routes … between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.” But France refused, and the idea died there. There is no other mention, other than perhaps Zionist caprice in the Basel Program (I don’t know) or in Weizmann’s head, of the idea of a Jewish homeland in Jordan, so the idea that Zionism has “been compromised” is an interesting, though curious place for your contention that the recommendations of Wilson’s King-Crane Commission were actually carried out. This is not what the commissioners had in mind with their conclusions. In a subsequent posting I will include more of their report to show, a) what Arabs wanted, and b) what Arabs didn’t want, in their own lands, irrespective of what a group of European Jews meeting in Basel, Switzerland decided they wanted and convinced a European power to take by force for them.
    As far as San Remo, McMillan says that whatever was decided there, was “in theory … not valid until they were confirmed by the League of Nations. Not surprisingly, a League dominated by Britain and France did this in 1922.” I am sure you know that the United States did NOT ratify and did NOT join the League of Nations, so whatever Britain and France pushed through for their own imperialistic designs, was not legally binding in the United States. And whatever the U.S. congress might have done was NOT in accord what Wilson’s democratic approach as embodied in his Fourteen Points discovered King-Crane to the Middle East to collect petitions (proposals) for a sane way of dividing up the former Ottoman territories. We can attribute that to realpolitik, and Zionist lobbying in the United States, not to democracy. Ninety years later, nothing has changed after that shining moment of King-Crane when the U.S. actually had some useful intelligence as to how to best steer our foreign policy in the Middle East. Of course, Lloyd George and Clemenceau gave lip service to Wilson’s ideas of a democratic fact finding commission, but demurred at naming their own commissioners because in fact, after the secret Sykes-Picot agreements, the “pipedreams of backward peoples”, as Churchill described Arab aspirations, were of no consequence. Wilson was ignored. Britain and France were the powers behind ALL these conferences and agreements, so to turn around and contend that somehow the international community charged Britain with carrying out all this stuff is ludicrous. Kind of like saying that the Quartet has charged the United States with carrying out the so-called “roadmap”. The United States IS the Quartet, the others are the fig leaf. And behind the United States stands what Israel says it wants, and doesn’t want. Swisher makes that abundantly clear from his insider accounting of the Syrian and Palestinian tracks, including Camp David. Which you REALLY need to catch up on before you start advocating a Nobel Peace Prize for Ehud Barak, who was the chief problem Bill Clinton faced beside himself, irrespective of the propaganda spin the U.S. and Israel put on the negotiations afterwards. Israeli socialist Nathan Weinstock, in “Zionism: False Messiah”, say that in Palestine things were completely out of hand by 1929. The predictions of King-Crane and the amount of military force required to implement Balfour came to fruition. Of course Britian did what it needed to do just to keep its head above water amidst the chaos, kind of like Bush in Iraq. But for you to contend that Menachem Begin and the Irgun, and Shamir and the Stern Gang, were “soldiers”, flies in the face of your earlier logic that Britain was in charge through all the treaties you cite, but then when Zionism didn’t like the results “on the ground” and not according to its theoretical plans, they could just take up arms and become “soldiers”. These guys were terrorists like any others. As was Sharon, until he became a mass murderer at Sabra and Chatilla. But I do thank you for throwing me the Sharon bone. Even though he has always been an anti-peace settlement renegade (they call him Mack Truck Sharon), it does go a long way to prove your objectivity and fairness.

  37. For Isidor Farash:

    Note to others: sorry to post these excerpts at length. However, they bear witness to the beginnings of the disastrous modern imposition of European political will over the people of the Middle East and in hindsight it can be said that President Wilson’s commissioners had a clear vision based on democratic consultation, which was ignored at the post WW1 peace conferences, for how a modern Middle East with less conflict might have got its start.

    Below are the numbers of petitions collected throughout the Levant by President Wilson’s King-Crane Commission in a democratic attempt to find out what the people of the region wanted in the aftermath of Ottoman rule, quite contrary to the little meeting between Sykes and Picot which was only about the imperial designs of the two great powers. Included also is the commissioners summary of the petition for a united, greater Syria, and their comments on Zionism. These are excerpted from the 70 page report of the commission which is online.


    The tables of summaries of petitions made to the Commission, written or oral or both, reveal the range of the discussions in the conferences, and the chief positions taken by the people. They are given by Military Districts, as well as for Syria as a whole, because the petitions vary considerably with the Districts.

    Total Number of Petitions Received: 1863.

    No. Per Cent.
    A -Territorial Limits
    *1 For United Syria 1500 80.4
    2 For Separate Palestine 6 0.32
    3 For Separate Palestine under British if French have Syrian Mandate 2 0.1
    4 For Autonomous Palestine within Syrian State 24 1.29
    5 For Independent Greater Lebanon 203 10.9
    6 Against Independent Greater Lebanon 1062 57.0
    7 For Autonomous Lebanon within Syrian State 33 1.76
    8 For Inclusion of Bokaa with Damascus 4 0.21
    9 For Inclusion of Bokaa with Lebanon 11 0.59
    10 For Inclusion of Cilicia within Armenian State 3 0.16
    11 For Inclusion of Cilicia with Syrian State 2 0.1
    B -Independence:
    1 For Absolute Independence of Syria 1370 73.5
    2 For Independence of Iraq (Mesopotamia) 1278 68.5
    3 For Independence of ail Arab Countries 97 5.2
    C -Form of Government
    1 For Democratic Kingdom 1107 59.3
    2 For Emir Feisal as King 1102 59
    3 For Democratic Representative Government 34 1.82
    4 For Guarding of Rights of Minorities 1023 54.9
    5 Arabic to be Official Language 5 .27
    6 For Abolition of Foreign Capitulations 10 53
    7 For Autonomy of all Provinces of Syria 19 1.02
    D -Choice of Mandate
    1 British-
    a For British Mandate 66 3.53
    b For British Mandate if Mandate is obligatory 0
    c For British “Assistance” 4 0.21
    Total British First Choice 70 3.75
    d For British Mandate as Second Choice 41 2.19
    **e For British “Assistance” as Second Choice 1032 55.3
    2 French-
    For French Mandate 271 14.52
    For French Mandate if Mandate is obligatory 1 0.05
    For French “Assistance” 2 0.1
    Total French First Choice 274 14.68
    For French Mandate as Second Choice 3 0.15
    For French “Assistance” as Second Choice 0
    3 American-
    For American Mandate 57 3.05
    For American Mandate if Mandate is obligatory 8 0.4
    For American “Assistance” 1064 57.0
    Total American First Choice 1129 60.0
    For American Mandate as Second Choice 8 0.4
    For American “Assistance” as Second Choice 3 0.15
    4 Choice of Mandate left to Damascus Conference 23 1.23
    E -Zionist Program
    1. For Complete Zionist Program (Jewish State and Immigration) 11 0.59
    2. For Modified Zionist Program 8 0.4
    3. Against Zionist Program 1350 72.3
    F -Protests and Criticisms:
    1 Anti-British-
    General Anti-British Statements 3 0.15
    Specific Criticisms of Administration 0
    Protests against Interference with free access to Commission 0
    2 Anti-French-
    a General Anti-French Statements 1129 60.5
    b Specific Criticisms of Administrations 24 1.29
    c Protests against Interference with free access to Commission 11 0.59
    3 Anti-Arab-
    a General Anti-Arab Statements 35 1.87
    b Specific Criticisms of Administration 4 0.2
    c Protests against Interference with free access to Commission 0
    4 *** Against 22d Article of League Covenant 1033 55.3
    5 Against Secret Treaties, especially treaties dividing Syria 988 52.9

    *”United Syria” means a Syria without Palestine treated as a separate country. In effect, it is intended as a declaration against Zionism.

    **The high figures given for American and British “assistance,” rather than for a mandate, are because the people ask first for complete independence.

    ***The reason for opposition to Article XXII is set forth by the secretary later in the report.


    I. The Value of the Petitions as an Estimate of Public Opinion in Syria:

    The 1863 petitions received by the American Commission in Syria and the summary tables prepared from them cannot of course be regarded as a mathematically accurate analysis of the real desires of the peoples of Syria. There are at least five unavoidable difficulties that have qualified their accuracy.

    1. The number of the petitions from the different sections of Syria is not proportional to their respective populations, e. g., O. E T. A. [Note: These initials stand for “Occupied Enemy Territory Administration,” but are commonly used as a word, “Oeta,” as “British Oeta,” “French Oeta,” or “Arab Oeta.”] South, with thirteen cities at which delegations were received is represented by only 260 petitions, while 1,157 petitions were received from O. E T. A. East, in which but eight cities were visited. As the Commission progressed northward the petitions became more numerous, due to the increased time afforded for knowledge of the Commission’s coming, for the preparation of petitions, for the activities of propaganda agents, and for the natural crystallization of public opinion.

    2. The number of petitions from the different religious organizations is not proportional to the numerical strength of the religious faiths. This Is especially true of the verbal requests made by delegations. In O. E. T. A. South, for instance, on account of the number of sects of the Christian faith, 53 delegations of Christians were received, and only eighteen delegations of Moslems, whereas the Moslem population is fully eight times as large as that of the Christian. This disparity does not, however, hold for the total number of petitions, verbal and written, as it was corrected in part by the large number of petitions from Moslem villages presented to the Commission at Aleppo and other northeastern points.

    3. A number of petitions show clearly the influence of organized propaganda. This is sometimes evidenced in the petitions themselves by numerous similarities of phrasing, by many identical wordings, and by a few instances in which printed forms, obviously intended as models for written documents, have been signed and given to the Commission.

    In addition to the internal evidence, there were also many external indications of systematic efforts to influence the character of the petitions. The same Arab agent was observed in four cities of Palestine, assisting in the preparation of petitions. Similar activities on the part of French sympathizers were observed In Beirut.

    4. In addition to this general propaganda, which was entirely legitimate as well as natural and inevitable, it is certain that a small number of petitions were fraudulently secured. In two cases the signatures were in the same handwriting. Three instances of “repeater” signatures were discovered. In addition, the seals of new organizations, purporting to be Trade Unions of Beirut, were discovered to have been ordered by the same propaganda agent a few days before the arrival of the Commission. All possible precautions were taken to insure authenticity of petitions and signatures, but in view of the character of the Commission’s survey and the limited facilities for close checking, the genuineness of all cannot be guaranteed.

    5 The value of the individual petitions varies also with the number of signatures, although mere numbers cannot be taken as the only criterion. For example, some petitions signed by only a small Municipal Council may represent a larger public opinion than a petition signed by a thousand villagers. The number of signatures is 91,079;* 26,324 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A. South, 26,884 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A West, and 37,871 for the Petitions of O. E. T. A. East. This represents a general average of 49 signatures for each petition. The number of signatures varies widely from this average, but the totals for the different programs are fairly well equalized.

    Yet despite these five qualifications, it is believed that the petitions as summarized present a fairly accurate analysis of present political opinion in Syria. The great majority of irregularities offset one another. The preponderance of Christian petitions in Palestine is balanced by the flood of Moslem appeals at Aleppo. The activities of French sympathizers in Tripoli probably did not influence the character of the petitions presented much more than the contrary efforts of the Independent Program representatives in Amman.

    The petitions are certainly representative. As the classified list of delegations received by the Commission clearly indicates, the petitions came front a wide range of political, economic, social, and religious classes and organizations. It was generally known throughout Syria that the American Commission would receive in confidence any documents that any individual or group should care to present. In the few cities in which the military authorities sought to exert control, directly or indirectly, over the delegations, without exception the opposition parties found opportunities to present their ideas to the Commission, if not always orally, at least in writing.

    *NOTE: These figures indicate the magnitude of the popular interest in the Commission’s work and the vast amount of material it had to handle. The reader should again be reminded that “O. E. T. A. South” was British, or Palestine, “O. E. T. A. West” was French, or Syrian; “O. E. T. A. East” was Arab, and “O. E. T. A. North” was French.

    II. Definite Programs Revealed in the Petitions:

    Before considering the special requests contained in the petitions, it is advisable to present the six distinct political programs that were clearly revealed in the petitions, and that in some instances were developed during the investigation of the Commission. Of the 1,863 petitions for Syria, 1,364 are exact copies of some of these programs and many others have close resemblances. They are:

    l. The Independence Program. The first petitions received by the Commission, those at Jaffa on June 11, except in the case of the Zionist statements, do not give evidence of any agreed and elaborated policy for the future of Syria. The petitions varied greatly in content and wording. There were, however, four of the twenty petitions at Jaffa that contained what may be termed an Independence Program with three “planks” in its platform:

    (a) The Political Unity of Syria, including Cilicia on the north, the Syrian Desert on the east, and Palestine, extending as far as Rafa on the south

    (b) Absolute Independence for Syria;

    (c) Opposition to a Zionist State and Jewish Immigration.

    This program became the dominant note in the petitions presented in O. E. T. A. South. At Jerusalem eight of the twenty-three petitions received contained the Independence Program with practically identical wording. At Haifa and Nazareth, two of the last cities visited in the district, it constituted 35 and 10 respectively of the 60 and 18 petitions presented. Of the 260 petitions from O. E. T. A. South, 83, or 32 per cent, were simply the Independence Program, while many others closely resembled it. One printed form of this program was received by the Commission as a petition at Jenin, June 22, and doubtless other printed copies had been models for many of the petitions received in the last cities visited.

    2. The “Damascus” Program: The original Independence Program was expanded on July 2 by the General Syrian Congress’ meeting at Damascus into what came to be known as the Damascus Program. This program contained the three points of the Independence Program modified by asking “assistance” for the Syrian State from America, or, as second choice, from Great Britain, and expanded by adding:

    (a) A rejection of Art. 22 of the League Covenant;

    (b) A rejection of all French claims to Syria

    (c) A protest against secret treaties and private agreements (by inference the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration);

    (d) Opposition to independence for Greater Lebanon;

    (e) Request for a democratic, non-centralized government under Emir Feisal; and

    (f) A request for the independence and economic freedom of Mesopotamia.

    Three petitions with the Damascus program in full had been received by the Commission prior to its adoption by the Syrian Congress. After that date 1,047 of the 1,473 petitions received during that period contained this program. Of that number 964 were on printed blanks, of which there were seven distinct “forms” with the program printed in full.

    3. The Lebanon Programs: There are three distinct types of Lebanese programs that appear in the petitions:

    (a) The French Independent Greater Lebanon. This program asks for complete independence and separation from Syria for the Greater Lebanon, including the Valley of Bekaa and in some instances Tripoli. France is asked for as the mandatory Power. 139 of the 146 petitions received in O. E. T. A. West contain this program, with practically identical wording. Of these twenty are on three varieties of printed forms.

    (b) The Independent Lebanon Program. Another distinct program asks for the same points with the exception of a French Mandate. 33 of the 36 petitions with the wording of this program are on two varieties of printed forms. In eight instances requests for a mandate are added in writing.

    (c) The Autonomous Lebanon Program. This program asks for a greater Lebanon as an autonomous province within a United Syrian State. No mandate is mentioned. 49 petitions are copies of this program, three of them on a printed form.

    4. The Zionist Program: Eleven petitions with varying wording favor the Zionist Program of a Jewish State and extensive Jewish immigration. These are all from Jewish delegations. Eight other petitions express approval of the Zionist colonies in Palestine without endorsement of the complete program. :Four of these latter are statements by Arab peasants that they are on good terms with the Jewish colonies.

    F-Protests and Criticisms

    Another distinct classification is that of protests and criticisms. Criticisms against nations have been divided into: (a) General statements criticising national claims, character or policies, without making specific references, b) specific criticisms, usually of alleged mismanagement or corruption in the local military administration (c) protests against the interference of the local military authorities with free access to the American commission.

    1. Three general anti-British statements were presented.

    2. The general anti-French statements were much more numerous, 1,129 (60.5 per cent) due largely to the fact that such a protest is included in the Damascus program. There were also 24 specific criticisms of French administration in O. E. T. A. West, and 11 protests against deportation, armed guards, threats, and intimidation said to have been used by the French administrative authorities in O. E. T. A, West, to prevent individuals with anti-French views from appearing before the commission.

    3. General criticism of the Arab government appeared in 35 petitions, always from Christian sources, and expressing fear as to the fate of the Christians under an independent Arab rule. In addition the administration of O. E. T. A. East is criticized in four petitions.

    4. The Damascus program protest against applying Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations to Syria is included in 1,033 (55.3 per cent) petitions. This article states that “certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a state of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatary, until such time as they are able to stand alone.” This protest is in line with the Damascus program plea for complete independence and the fear already referred to that a mandate might impair the full freedom of Syria. It is interesting to note that this protest did not appear until after the 22nd Article had been published in a statement given by the Commissioners to all the newspapers in Damascus.

    5. One more protest is a part of 988 (52 per cent) petitions, a protest against secret treaties, treaties dividing Syria without the consent of the Syrians, and private agreements. The Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour declaration are not mentioned, but it is usually understood that they are referred to. This protest is included in the Damascus program and also received support from other elements

    These statements-chiefly tabular- prepared by the secretary, of the results of the inquiry into Syrian opinion, need to be supplemented by a historical account prepared by the General Adviser Dr. Lybyer. This account will help to put concretely the entire situation, and to give the atmosphere of our inquiry, and so complete the basic data as presented in the field.


    The whole area visited by the commission during the 42 days from June 10 to July 21 is Occupied Enemy Territory under the supreme authority of General Allenby. The administration is conducted under the Turkish laws, with small local modifications, in many cases continuing in office part or all of the officials left behind by the Turks. A system of military governors and officers assigned to special duties, such as financial and medical advice, liaison work, etc., parallels the civil administration. The whole area is in four portions, known respectively as O. E. T. A. (Occupied Enemy Territory Administration) South, West, East and North, and administered under the guidance respectively of English, French, Arab, and French officers. The order of description followed below is by these areas, and is nearly coincident with the itinerary of the commission, the only exception being that much of O. E. T. A. East was visited before O. E. T. A West. Fifteen days were spent in the South, ten in the West fifteen in the East, and two in the North.


    III-Specific Requests as Given in the Tables:

    A-Territorial Limits:

    1. The largest percentage for any one request is that of 1,500 petitions (80.4 per cent) for United Syria, including Cilicia, the Syrian Desert, and Palestine. The boundaries of this area are usually defined as “The Taurus Mountains on the north- the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers, and the line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al Juf on the east; Rafa and the line running from Al Juf to the south of Akaba on the south, and the Mediterranean Sea on the West.” In addition to being the first plank of the Damascus program, a United Syria received strong support from many Christians in all the O. E. T. As., as the number of petitions indicates.

    2. In opposition to Syrian Unity, six of the nineteen pro-zionist petitions ask for a separate Palestine, and presumably it is implied in the others.

    3. In addition, two Christian groups in Palestine asked for a separate Palestine under the British, in preference to a United Syria under the French.

    4. Twenty-four petitions, chiefly from Christian sources in O. E. T. A. South, asked for an autonomous Palestine within the Syrian State. For many other delegations this was doubtless implied in the general request for independence and a non-centralized government.

    5. In opposition also to a United Syria are the 203 petitions (16.9 per cent) asking for an independent Greater Lebanon. One hundred and ninety-six of these came from Lebanon and 139 are copies of the French-Lebanon program.

    6. The request for a United Syria is made even more emphatic by the 1,062 protests against an Independent Greater Lebanon. These include the Damascus program petitions and some from Protestant and other Christian sources in Lebanon.

    7. Thirty-three Lebanese delegations representing both Moslems and Christians, fearing the economic future of a separate Lebanon, asked for autonomy within a Syrian State. Others also regarded autonomy as implied in the request for independence and a non-centralized government.

    8-9. The Valley of Bekaa is usually regarded as an integral part of Greater Lebanon. Eleven petitions, however make especial reference to its inclusion, while eight ask that the Valley remain in the Damascus area.


    1. The second largest percentage of all, 1,370 (73.5 percent), is for “Absolute Independence,” the second cardinal point of the Damascus program, supported generally by all Moslem delegations. It is certain from the oral statements that accompanied the petitions that the term “Absolute Independence” was seldom used in the sense of an entire freedom from any foreign guidance, such as that of a mandatory under the League of Nations, inasmuch as the request was frequently combined with a choice of mandate, and in all but a few cases with either a choice of mandate or a request for foreign “assistance.” While a few of the Young Arab clubs certainly desired freedom from all foreign control, the great majority asked for independence and defined a mandate to mean only economic and technical assistance, because of a widespread fear that the mandatory arrangement would be used to cloak colonial annexation.

    2-3. Only a slightly smaller number, 1,278 (68.5 per cent), asked for the independence of Iraq, or Mesopotamia. To these should be added 93 of the 97 petitions for the independence of all Arab countries as in only four petitions do both requests appear, and the second includes the first. The phrasing “for all Arab countries” was first used in Palestine, and dropped for the special mention of Iraq in the Damascus program. A total of 1,371 petitions, therefore, asked for the independence and economic freedom of the Iraq regions.

    C-Form of Government;

    1-2. The establishment of a “democratic, non-centralized, constitutional” kingdom is one of the points of the Damascus program, as the number of petitions for it 1,107 (59.3 per cent), indicate. All but five of these petitions, also, ask that Emir Feisal be made the king. These petitions were especially numerous in O. E. T. A. East, where 1,005 of 1,157 request both a kingdom and the Emir as king. This part of the program had apparently not been developed when the commission was in Palestine, as only five of 260 O. E. T. A. South petitions referred to a kingdom, and only two mentioned Emir Feisal.

    3. A request for a democratic representative government, presumably of a republican character, came to the commission from 26 Christian groups in O. E. T. A. West, and eight groups in O. E. T. A. East, a total of 34 (1.8 per cent) . This request was usually made in opposition to the Moslem idea of a Syrian kingdom under Feisal.

    4. The request for proper safe-guarding of the rights of minorities included in the Damascus program was also made by many of the Christian groups in the Lebanon. The total is 1,023 (54.9 per cent)~ This request received a more united support from both Moslems and Christians than any other, except anti-Zionism.

    5-6. Five requests for the retention of Arabic as the official language (rather than Hebrew) and ten requests for the abolition of foreign capitulations (officially annulled by the Turks, but without sanction of the Powers), came from scattered points in O. E. T. A. South.

    7. Nineteen (1.02 per cent) petitions were received for the autonomy of all the provinces of Syria. This is in addition to the separate requests for autonomy of Lebanon and Palestine. Once more it should be said that many regarded a large measure of local autonomy as implicit in the general idea of a democratic. non-centralized government, but these nineteen groups made special reference to it.


    1-2-3. The petitions favoring the Zionist program have been analyzed above in the discussion of programs. In opposition to these are the 1,350 (72.3 per cent) petitions protesting against Zionist claims and purposes. This is the third largest number for any one point and represents a more widespread general opinion among both Moslems and Christians than any other. The anti-Zionist note was especially strong in Palestine, where 222 (85.3 per cent) of the 260 petitions declared against the Zionist program. This is the largest percentage in the district for any one point.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *


    1. The Commission spent nine days in Damascus, six of which were filled up with interviews, held with representatives of religious and political groups, councils and boards of the Government, and prominent officials and other notable persons of every grade, including even the Emir Feisal and General Allenby. More time was spent here than anywhere else in Syria, because Damascus will he the capital of United Syria, if such be created, and an Arab government over O. E. T. A. East is already in operation there, showing much activity and endeavoring by accomplishment, display, and intrigue to prepare the way for the larger unity. During the Commission’s visit, the “Syrian Congress” met, whose charter and program are described below. The bazars were placarded with the signs “We want absolute independence,” and these were removed by government orders. The interview of the Commission with the Mufti, Radi, and Ulema was published with considerable accuracy in the local newspapers (of course by no act or permission of the Commission) and this gave rise to animated discussions on the part of the people and the press. The Commission accepted hospitality from the Emir Feisal on two occasions.

    In the midst of the stay in Damascus a trip was taken southward to Amman and Deraa for the purpose of conferring with people from the edge of the desert. The note received from all Moslems was for complete independence without protection or a mandatory power; but recognizing that they need financial and economic advice, they proposed after the recognition of independence to ask advisers from America. Eloquent Arab orators appealed to America, as having freed them, to uphold their independence before the Peace Conference, saying that they hold our country responsible before God for completing the work we have begun. The Christians, who are few in these areas, were in great fear. They desire that a strong mandatory power be appointed over Syria, so that they may have full protection; they prefer that Britain be that power, and that the area be annexed to and governed with Palestine.

    After leaving Damascus, a day was spent at Baalbek, where was encountered first the struggle for and against annexing “Hollow Syria” (known as the Bekaa) to the Greater Lebanon. After ten days in O. E. T. A. West, the Arab area was entered again by the road from Tripoli to Homs. Delegations were heard at Homs and Hama, after which three days were spent in Aleppo. Besides hearing delegations of all important Allepine groups and opinions, visits were paid to the centers of relief for refugee Armenians.

    The claim for the independence of Mesopotamia was presented very vigorously in the north. Certain groups at Aleppo were much interested, however, in pushing the boundary of Syria well to the east, so as to include the Syrian desert.

    2. Attitude of the Occupying Government. -The higher Arab officials include a number of men of dignity, ability, intelligence, and apparent honesty and patriotism. Practically all are Syrian born. Some of them, as General Haddad Pasha, chief of police and gendarmerie, and Said Pasha Zoucair, financial adviser, have been trained under British Administration in Egypt, and others, as Col. Yussef Bey, aide-de-camp of the Emir Feisal, General Jaafar Pasha, Military Governor of Aleppo, and Ihsan Allah Djabri, Mayor of Aleppo, have had their education and experience in the Turkish service. Most of the lower officials in this area (as well as in the other O. E. T. A. regions) have simply been continued from the Turkish regime, and in many cases are said to practice extortions and malversations much as under the former Government.

    Every effort was made to do honor to the Commission and execute its wishes. Sometimes ostentatious attempts were made to give the impression of absolute non-interference with freedom of access to an expression before the Commission.

    3. Wishes of the People.- The declarations in O. E. T. A. East were much nearer to unanimity than in the South or the West, as may be seen by a glance at the Tables of “Petition Summaries.” The greater part of the declarations both oral and written. conformed to the resolutions of the Syrian Congress at Damascus, which is discussed separately below. This program was reached by the action of conflicting forces, in the presence of a general feeling that it was overwhelmingly important for reasons of national safety to reach unity of expression. The pressure brought to bear by the Government and the different political parties was of undoubted weight in bringing into line opinions of a more extreme sort, such as those in favor of independence in the highest degree and those which called for a perpetual strong mandatory control. But on the whole there can be no doubt that the main elements of this program represent the popular will as nearly as that can be expressed in any country.

    The people of the area declared themselves almost unanimously for United Syria, for its complete independence, and against any help from France, and against the Zionist program. The Moslems were in nearly unanimous agreement upon a request for American assistance. The Jews asked for autonomy for themselves, and the Zionist scheme for their brethren in Palestine. The Druses were for the Arab Government under a British mandate. The Christians were divided, partly by sects and partly by geographical location. All of the few Christians in the south, including Latin Catholics were for a British mandate, with America in case for any reason Britain cannot come. So also were the Greek Orthodox of Damascus and a portion of the Greek Orthodox farther north. The small groups of Protestants were for an Anglo-Saxon mandate, some preferring America and some Britain. The Orthodox Syrians were for America. All the Catholics (except at Amman and Deraa) and the Maronites were for France. Nearly all of the Christians were for a strong mandatory control.

    4. The Syrian Congress at Damascus.- From the time of reaching Jerusalem, the Commission began to be told of a congress that was in preparation, to be held soon at Damascus, which would for a large part of the population determine the question of a mandate. Sessions were held while the Commission was at Damascus, and on the last day there, a deputation presented to the Commission the program that had been prepared.

    The Congress was not elected directly by the people, or by a fresh appeal to the people, the reason given being that time was lacking to revise the voting lists and carry through a new scheme. At the last Turkish election, before the war, electors were chosen to select deputies for the Turkish parliament. The survivors of these electors chose the members of the Damascus Congress. Criticisms were made against the plan of choice to the effect that it was unconstitutional and extra-constitutional, that the electors had mostly belonged to the Party of Union and Progress, and that the members of the Congress were not distributed in proportion to population. Sixty-nine members attended, and about 20 others from the west and north had been elected, but bad not arrived. There were a number of Christians in the Conference, but no Jews, though some Jews among the electors were said to have given their approval. Much evidence goes to show that the program prepared represents well the wishes of the people of Syria. The program is as follows:

    “We, the undersigned, members of the General Syrian Congress, meeting in Damascus on Wednesday, July 2, 1919, made up of representatives from the three Zones, viz., the Southern, Eastern, and Western, provided with credentials and authorizations by the inhabitants of our various districts, Moslems, Christians, and Jews, have agreed upon the following statement of the desires of the people of the country who have elected us to present them to the American Section of the International Commission; the fifth article was passed by a very large majority; all the other articles were accepted unanimously.

    “1. We ask absolutely complete political independence for Syria within these boundaries. The Taurus System on the North; Rafeh and a line running from Al-Juf to the south of the Syrian and the Mejazian line to Akaba on the south; the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers and a line extending east of Abu Kamal to the east of Al-Juf on the east; and the Mediterranean on the west

    “2. We ask that the Government of this Syrian country should be a democratic civil constitutional Monarchy on broad decentralization principles, safeguarding the rights of minorities, and that the King be the Emir Feisal who carried on a glorious struggle in the cause of our liberation and merited our full confidence and entire reliance.

    “3 Considering the fact that the Arabs inhabiting the Syrian area are not naturally less gifted than other more advanced races and that; they are by no means less developed than the Bulgarians, Serbians, Greeks, and Roumanians at the beginning of their independence, we protest against Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, placing us among the nations in their middle stage of development which stand in need of a mandatory power.

    “4. In the event of the rejection by the Peace Conference of this just protest for certain considerations that we may not understand, we, relying on the declarations of President Wilson that his object in waging war was to put an end to the ambition of conquest and colonization, can only regard the mandate mentioned in the Covenant of the League of Nations as equivalent to the rendering of economical and technical assistance that does not prejudice our complete independence. And desiring that our country should not fall a prey to colonization and believing that the American Nation is farthest from any thought of colonization and has no political ambition in our country, we will seek the technical and economic assistance from the United States of America, provided that such assistance does not exceed twenty years.

    “5. In the event of America not finding herself in a position to accept our desire for assistance we will seek this assistance from Great Britain, also provided that such assistance does not infringe the complete independence and unity of our country, and that the duration of such assistance does not exceed that mentioned in the previous article.

    “6. We do not acknowledge any right claimed by the French Government in any part whatever of our Syrian country and refuse that she should assist us or have a hand in our country under any circumstances and in any place.

    “7. We oppose the pretentions of the Zionists to create a Jewish commonwealth in the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, and oppose Zionist migration to any part of our country; for we do not acknowledge their title, but consider them a grave peril to our people from the national, economical, and political points of view. Our Jewish compatriots shall enjoy our common rights and assume the common responsibilities.

    “8. We ask that there should be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country. We desire that the unity of the country should be guaranteed against partition under whatever circumstances.

    “9. We ask complete independence for emancipated Mesopotamia and that there should be no economical barriers between the two countries.

    “10. The fundamental principles laid down by President Wilson in condemnation of secret treaties impel us to protest most emphatically against any treaty that stipulates the partition of our Syrian country and against any private engagement aiming at the establishment of Zionism in the southern part of Syria, therefore we ask the complete annulment of these conventions and agreements.

    “The noble principles enunciated by President Wilson strengthen our confidence that our desires emanating from the depths of our hearts, shall be the decisive factor in determining our future; and that President Wilson and the free American people will be supporters for the realization of our hopes, thereby proving their sincerity and noble sympathy with the aspiration of the weaker nations in general and our Arab people in particular.

    “We also have the fullest confidence that the Peace Conference will realize that we would not have risen against the Turks, with whom we had participated in all civil, political, and representative privileges, but for their violation of our national rights, and so will grant us our desires in full in order that our political rights may not be less after the war than they were before, since we have shed so much blood in the cause of our liberty and independence.

    “We request to he allowed to send a delegation to represent us at the Peace Conference to defend our rights and secure the realization of our aspirations.”

    The program mostly speaks sufficiently for itself. Various points in it are commented upon elsewhere in this report. It is the most substantial document presented to the Commission, and deserves to be treated with great respect. The result of an extensive and arduous political process, it affords a basis on which the Syrians can get together, and as firm a foundation for a Syrian national organization as can be obtained. The mandatory power will possess in this program a commitment to liberal government which will be found to be very valuable in starting the new state in the right direction.


    The commissioners make to the Peace Conference the following recommendations for the treatment of Syria:

    We recommend, as most important of all, and in strict harmony with our Instructions, that whatever foreign administration (whether of one or more powers) is brought into Syria, should come in not at all as a colonizing Power in the old sense of that term, but as a Mandatary under the League of Nations with the clear consciousness that “the well-being and development” of the Syrian people form for it a “sacred trust.”

    (1 ) To this end the mandate should have limited term, the time of expiration to be determined by the League of Nations, in the light of all the facts as brought out from year to year, in the annual reports of the Mandatary to the League or in other ways.

    (2) The Mandatary Administration should have, however, a period and power sufficient to ensure the success of the new state, and especially to make possible carrying through important educational and economic undertakings, essential to secure founding of the State.

    (3) The Mandatary Administration should be characterized from the beginning by a strong and vital educational emphasis, in clear recognition of the imperative necessity of education for the citizens of a democratic state, and for the development of a sound national spirit. This systematic cultivation of national spirit is particularly required in a country like Syria, which has only recently come to self-consciousness.

    (4) The Mandatary should definitely seek, from the beginning of its trusteeship, to train the Syrian people to independent self-government as rapidly as conditions allow, by setting up all the institutions of a democratic state, and by sharing with them increasingly the work of administration, and so forming gradually an intelligent citizenship, interested unselfishly in the progress of the country, and forming at the same time a large group of disciplined civil servants.

    ( 5 ) The period of “tutelage” should not be unduly prolonged, but independent self-government should be granted as soon as it can safely be done, remembering that the primary business of governments is not the accomplishment of certain things, but the development of citizens.

    (6) It is peculiarly the duty of the Mandatary in a country like Syria, and in this modern age, to see that complete religious liberty is ensured. both in the constitution and in the practice of the state, and that a jealous care is exercised for the rights of all minorities. Nothing is more vital than this for the enduring success of the new Arab State.

    (7) In the economic development of Syria, a dangerous amount of indebtedness on the part of the new state should be avoided, as well as any entanglements financially with the affairs of the Mandatary Power. On the other hand the legitimate established privileges of foreigners such as rights to maintain schools, commercial concessions, etc., should be preserved, but subject to review and modification under the authority of the League of Nations in the interest of Syria. The Mandatary Power should not take advantage of its position to force a monopolistic control at any point to the detriment either of Syria or of other nations; but it should seek to bring the new State as rapidly as possible to economic independence as well as to political independence.

    Whatever is done concerning the further recommendations of the Commission, the fulfillment of at least the conditions now named should be assured, if the Peace Conference and the League of Nations are true to the policy of mandataries already embodied in “The Covenant of the League of Nations.” This should effectively guard the most essential interests of Syria, however the machinery of administration is finally organized. The Damascus Congress betrayed in many ways their intense fear that their country would become, though under some other name, simply a colonial possession of some other Power. That fear must be completely allayed.

    B. We recommend, in the second place that the unity of Syria be preserved, in accordance with the earnest petition of the great majority of the people of-Syria

    (1) The territory concerned is too limited, the population too small and the economic, geographic, racial and language unity too manifest, to make the setting up of independent states within its boundaries desirable, if such division can possibly be avoided. The country is very largely Arab in language, culture, traditions, and customs.

    (2) This recommendation is in line with important “general considerations” already urged, and with the principles of the League of Nations, as well as in answer to the desires of the majority of the population concerned.

    (3) The precise boundaries of Syria should be determined by a special commission on boundaries, after the Syrian territory has been in general allotted. The Commissioners believe, however, that the claim of the Damascus Conference to include Cilicia in Syria is not justified, either historically or by commercial or language relations. The line between the Arabic-speaking and the Turkish-speaking populations would quite certainly class Cilicia with Asia Minor, rather than with Syria. Syria, too, has no such need of further seacoast as the large interior sections of Asia Minor.

    (4) In standing thus for the recognition of the unity of Syria, the natural desires of regions like the Lebanon which have already had a measure of independence, should not be forgotten. It will make for real unity, undoubtedly, to give a large measure of local autonomy, and especially in the case of strongly unified groups. Even the “Damascus Program” which presses so earnestly the unity of Syria, itself urges a government “on broad decentralization principles.”

    Lebanon has achieved a considerable degree of prosperity and autonomy within the Turkish Empire. She certainly should not find her legitimate aspirations less possible within a Syrian national State. On the contrary, it may be confidently expected that both her economic and political relations with the rest of Syria would be better if she were a constituent member of the State, rather than entirely independent of it.

    As a predominantly Christian country too, Lebanon naturally fears Moslem domination in a unified Syria. But against such domination she would have a fourfold safeguard; her own large autonomy: the presence of a strong mandatary for the considerable period in which the constitution and practice of the new State would be forming, the oversight of the League of Nations, with its insistence upon religious liberty and the rights of minorities; and the certainty that the Arab Government would feel the necessity of such a state, if it were to commend itself to the League of Nations. Moreover, there would be less danger of a reactionary Moslem attitude, if Christians were present in the state in considerable numbers, rather than largely segregated outside the state, as experience of the relations of different religious faiths in India suggests.

    As to predominantly Christian country, it is also to be noted that Lebanon would be in a position to exert a stronger and more helpful influence if she were within the Syrian state, feeling its problems and needs and sharing all its life, instead of outside it absorbed simply in her own narrow concerns. For the sake of the larger interests, both of Lebanon and of Syria, then, the unity of Syria is to be urged. It is certain that many of the more thoughtful Lebanese themselves hold this view. A similar statement might be made for Palestine; though, as “the Holy Land” for Jews and Christians and Moslems alike, its situation is unique, and might more readily justify unique treatment, if such treatment were justified anywhere. This will be discussed more particularly in connection with the recommendation concerning Zionism.

    C. We recommend, in the third place that Syria be placed under one Mandatary Power, as the natural way to secure real and efficient unity.

    ( 1 ) To divide the administration of the provinces of Syria among several mandataries, even if existing national unity were recognized- or to attempt a joint mandatary of the whole on the commission plan: -neither of these courses would be naturally suggested as the best way to secure and promote the unity of the new State, or even the general unity of the whole people. It is conceivable that circumstances might drive the Peace Conference to some such form of divided mandate, but it is not a solution to be voluntarily chosen, from the point of view of the larger interests of the people, as considerations already urged indicate.

    (2) It is not to be forgotten either, that, however they are handled politically the people of Syria are there, forced to get on together in some fashion. They are obliged to live with one another-the Arabs of the East and the people of the coast, the Moslems and the Christians. Will they be helped or hindered, in establishing tolerable and finally cordial relations, by a single mandatary ? No doubt the quick mechanical solution of the problem of difficult relations is to split the people up into little independent fragments. And sometimes, undoubtedly, as in the case of the Turks and Armenians, the relations are so intolerable as to make some division imperative and inevitable. But in general, to attempt complete separation only accentuates the differences and increases the antagonism. The whole lesson of the modern social consciousness points to the necessity of understanding “the other half,” as it can be understood only by close and living relations. Granting reasonable local autonomy to reduce friction among groups, a single mandatary ought to form a constant and increasingly effective help to unity of feeling throughout the state, and ought to steadily improve group relations.

    The people of Syria, in our hearings, have themselves often insisted that, so far as unpleasant relations have hitherto prevailed among various groups, it has been very largely due to the direct instigation of the Turkish Government. When justice is done impartially to all; when it becomes plain that the aim of the common government is the service of all classes alike, not their exploitation, decent human relations to be secured-a foundation which could not be obtained by dividing men off from one another in antagonistic groups.

    The Commissioners urge, therefore, for the largest future good of all groups and regions alike, the placing of the whole of Syria under-a single mandate.

    D. We recommend, in the fourth n place, that Emir Feisal be made head of the new united Syrian State.

    (1) This is expressly and unanimously asked for by the representative Damascus Congress in the name of the Syrian people, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that the great majority of the population of Syria sincerely desire to have Emir Feisal as ruler.

    (2) A constitutional monarchy along democratic lines, seems naturally adapted to the Arabs, with their, long training under tribal conditions, and with their traditional respect for their chiefs. They seem to need; more than most people, a king as the personal symbol of the power of the State.

    (3) Emir Feisal has come, too, naturally into his present place of power, and there is no one else who could well replace him. He had the great advantage of being the son of the Sherif of Mecca, and as such honored throughout the Moslem world. He was one of the prominent Arab leaders who assumed responsibility for the Arab uprising against the Turks, and so shared in the complete deliverance of the Arab-speaking portions of the Turkish Empire. He was consequently hailed by the “Damascus Congress” as having “merited their full confidence and entire reliance.” He was taken up and supported by the British as the most promising candidate for the headship of the new Arab State-an Arab of the Arabs, but with a position of wide appeal through his Shefifian connection, and through his broad sympathies with the best in the Occident. His relations with the Arabs to the east of Syria are friendly, and his kingdom would not be threatened from that side. He undoubtedly does not make so strong an appeal to the Christians of the West Coast, as to the Arabs of the East, but no man can be named who would have a stronger general appeal. He is tolerant and wise, skillful in dealing with men, winning in manner, a man of sincerity, insight, and power. Whether he has the full strength needed for his difficult task it is too early to say, but certainly no other Arab leader combines so many elements of power as he, and he will have invaluable help throughout the mandatary period.

    The Peace Conference may take genuine satisfaction in the fact that an Arab of such qualities is available for the headship of this new state in the Near East.


    E. We recommend, in the fifth place, serious modification of the extreme Zionist program for Palestine of unlimited immigration of Jews, looking finally to making Palestine distinctly a Jewish State.

    (1) The Commissioners began their study of Zionism with minds predisposed in its favor, but the actual facts in Palestine, coupled with the force of the general principles proclaimed by the Allies and accepted by the Syrians have driven them to the recommendation here made.

    (2) The commission was abundantly supplied with literature on the Zionist program by the Zionist Commission to Palestine; heard in conferences much concerning the Zionist colonies and their claims; and personally saw something of what had been accomplished. They found much to approve in the aspirations and plans of the Zionists, and had warm appreciation for the devotion of many of the colonists and for their success, by modern methods, in overcoming natural obstacles.

    (3) The Commission recognized also that definite encouragement had been given to the Zionists by the Allies in Mr. Balfour’s often quoted statement in its approval by other representatives of the Allies. If, however, the strict terms of the Balfour Statement are adhered to -favoring “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights existing in non-Jewish communities in Palestine”-it can hardly be doubted that the extreme Zionist Program must be greatly modified.

    For “a national home for the Jewish people” is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the “civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission’s conference with Jewish representatives, that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase.

    In his address of July 4, 1918, President Wilson laid down the following principle as one of the four great “ends for which the associated peoples of the world were fighting”; “The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship 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 own exterior influence or mastery.” If that principle is to rule, and so the wishes of Palestine’s population are to be decisive as to what is to be done with Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non-Jewish population of Palestine-nearly nine tenths of the whole-are emphatically against the entire Zionist program. The tables show that there was no one thing upon which the population of Palestine were more agreed than upon this. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted, and of the people’s rights, though it kept within the forms of law

    It is to be noted also that the feeling against the Zionist program is not confined to Palestine, but shared very generally by the people throughout Syria as our conferences clearly showed. More than 72 per cent-1,350 in all-of all the petitions in the whole of Syria were directed against the Zionist program. Only two requests-those for a united Syria and for independence-had a larger support This genera] feeling was only voiced by the “General Syrian Congress,” in the seventh, eighth and tenth resolutions of the statement. (Already quoted in the report.)

    The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms. The officers generally thought that a force of not less than 50,000 soldiers would be required even to initiate the program. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist program, on the part of the non-Jewish populations of Palestine and Syria. Decisions, requiring armies to carry out, are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not gratuitously to be taken in the interests of a serious injustice. For the initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a “right” to Palestine, based on an occupation of 2,000 years ago, can hardly be seriously considered.

    There is a further consideration that cannot justly be ignored, if the world is to look forward to Palestine becoming a definitely Jewish state, however gradually that may take place. That consideration grows out of the fact that Palestine is “the Holy Land” for Jews, Christians, and Moslems alike. Millions of Christians and Moslems all over the world are quite as much concerned as the Jews with conditions in Palestine especially with those conditions which touch upon religious feeling and rights. The relations in these matters in Palestine are most delicate and difficult. With the best possible intentions, it may be doubted whether the Jews could possibly seem to either Christians or Moslems proper guardians of the holy places, or custodians of the Holy Land as a whole.

    The reason is this: The places which are most sacred to Christians-those having to do with Jesus-and which are also sacred to Moslems, are not only not sacred to Jews, but abhorrent to them. It is simply impossible, under those circumstances, for Moslems and Christians to feel satisfied to have these places in Jewish hands, or under the custody of Jews. There are still other places about which Moslems must have the same feeling. In fact, from this point of view, the Moslems, just because the sacred places of all three religions are sacred to them have made very naturally much more satisfactory custodians of the holy places than the Jews could be. It must be believed that the precise meaning, in this respect, of the complete Jewish occupation of Palestine has not been fully sensed by those who urge the extreme Zionist program. For it would intensify, with a certainty like fate, the anti-Jewish feeling both in Palestine and in all other portions of the world which look to Palestine as “the Holy Land.”

    In view of all these considerations, and with a deep sense of sympathy for the Jewish cause, the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference, and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.

    There would then be no reason why Palestine could not be included in a united Syrian State, just as other portions of the country, the holy places being cared for by an International and Inter-religious Commission, somewhat as at present under the oversight and approval of the Mandatary and of the League of Nations. The Jews, of course, would have representation upon this Commission.

  38. to Isidor Farash:

    If you reviewed the things I have written here going back a week or so ago, you’ll find that as little as possible have I talked about myself. Rather, I have tried to rebut your points, and given sources. Neither have I made it a regular practice to attack you by saying such things as, “You’re the kind of person that …”. You have done this regularly. It is a character assassination type approach, again, meant to bolster your arguments by claiming over and over that the opposite side isn’t capable of making an argument.
    But now, with the insinuations of anti-Semitism, even going so far as to quote Martin Luther King and then telling me I am the same as Jimmy Carter in his one-sided criticism of Israel, I have to say a few things about myself. First, I also was brought up, as a Catholic (I am not one now!), to respect Jews as the forerunners of the Catholic faith. I spoke up against Reagan going to Bitburg, and have spoken up against anti-Semitism when I have encountered it. It was in this spirit that I traveled from Greece to Israel, Palestine and Egypt in the winter of 1982 where I walked the 200 miles I had previously mentioned over a one month period. I felt guilty, as an American, not knowing anything about the Middle East in the wake of Camp David, and the words West Bank, Gaza strip, Golan Heights, were words I told myself it was time to learn more about. Unlike you, I was not indoctrinated into political activism by my parents and had pretty much avoided all of it up to then. I was actually teaching myself a few catch phrases of Hebrew for the trip until I crossed the Green Line one day and a boy told me, as I spoke greetings in Hebrew to him, “This is Arab village.” I read and walked, and talked, to both Israelis and Palestinians after the next few months. This got me started. I have spent the time since educating myself more about it, and was especially concerned to find the “roots”, i.e., was there a first cause and who was responsible for it. As I mentioned, I found it and it was clearer than expected.
    I don’t know anything about the other issues you mentioned in enough scholarly detail to intelligently comment on them. Yes, they are also abhorrent situations. I agree with you. I call a senator or a rep about these things when I get a notice to do so. But the Question of Palestine is what I do know about, and that is why I comment on it. If you want to continue to say things like calling me “obsessed” because of this, then do so but know that I recognize it is because you like to blend this tactic into your formidable presentation of history as you see it. I choose not to do that, and if you want my advice, people generally respond better to an argument if all this extra baggage isn’t laid on top of it. As far as Carter, he is the ONE president who helped Israel make peace and this is what he most knows about, although his Carter Center has also monitored elections worldwide. Also, he is a Sunday school teacher and no doubt an avid Christian, so the Holy Land, as he referred to Israel-Palestine in a recent comment on a letter I sent to him, is important to him. Mountains out of mole hills? I think so.

  39. Carl:
    Forgive me for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. I will refrain from doing so any more. Feel better? Something tells me you’re not.
    You spent a giant amount of space detailing what the poling results of the nations in the region wanted after WW1. A similar condition has prevented the Kurds from acquiring their mandated nation and for quite similar reasons, namely, it was not desirable to the other powers in the area. So what? Who would have expected differently from the Arabs, who saw Israel as a thorn against the greater Pan-Arab nation they wanted, or from the Christians, who, back then were mostly fixated on the future Mel Gibson movie, (already in the making)? Plus, the last thing in the world that the Arab leaders wanted was a country (any country) with a functional democracy and a standard of living far exceeding their own. That would ruin their whole day, and so it did. For it to be a Jewish nation? Ten times worse.
    The legal title and rights to the Jewish National Homeland are not contained in “Sykes-Picot.”
    You wrote:
    “As far as San Remo, McMillan says that whatever was decided there, was “in theory … not valid until they were confirmed by the League of Nations. Not surprisingly, a League dominated by Britain and France did this in 1922.” I am sure you know that the United States did NOT ratify and did NOT join the League of Nations”
    Incorrect on multiple fronts.
    The legal owner of the land was Turkey, not the USA, not England, not France, not Saudi Arabia, etc.
    “San Remo” marked the point in time when Turkey formally agreed to give up title of all the Arab, Jewish, Kurdish and Armenian areas, in favor of several independent recipients. And that is exactly how wars have been settled since the beginning of recorded history. The looser gives up and accepts the various conditions of the winner(s), in return, the looser is allowed to keep (at least some) of their stuff, whether it be land or other. For you to explain away Versailles and San Remo, you are likewise explaining away all the Arab nations that were empowered at the same time.
    The Balfore document was merely an acceptance of the principles by England, and they had their own reasons for doing so, if perhaps somewhat disingenuously. The adoption of Balfore into the League of Nations charter became an acceptance, not by the world, (because most of the world was NOT a member of the League of Nations.) but by those nations who were members, including Egypt, Persia (Iran) and Iraq. The world need not accept or reject balfore, or the various treaties either, as they had no say. The direct parties to the contract, e.g. Turkey and the recipients, e.g. the Hebrews were the parties to the contract. If, say for example, the Turks later decided to change their minds and re-claim Saudi Arabia, this too would be a dispute between the contracted parties. The “League of Nations” only functioned in its capacity to try to prevent a repeat of WW1. Those who say that the legal rights to Jewish sovereignty were the result of Balfore, or the League’s adoption of it, might as easily say that such rights evaporated completely, when the League disbanded.
    Lastly, President Wilson signed a congressional declaration in (I think 1923) which independently supported the Balfore Amendment. This act did not make Balfore any more or less legitimate either. Just supported by the U.S.A.

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