Friday, May 03, 2013

The Other, Fourth Partition (and The Temple Mount in 1916)

I, along with others, usually note that the Jews suffered through what were, for all intents and purposes, acts of territorial compromises multiple times but did not achieve through them any peace.  Moreover, not only were they basically rejected by the Arab side, but those acts of geographical diminution only spurred the Arabs to increase their violence, their terror, their pressuring of governments supportive of Zionism and so forth.

I counted three, basically.

The first was the truncation of the Jewish National Home as a territory on both banks of the Jordan River, as originally agreed upon during the Versailles Peace Conference in January 1919 although the Zionist claim to extend the northern border to the Litani was not finalized.

That resulted in the postponement of the terms of the Mandate in the territories east of the Jordan River which became permanent illegally and facilitated the establishment of an Arab state in Palestine: the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:

ART. 25.
In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions, and to make such provision for the administration of the territories as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided that no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.

The second, the Partition Proposal of the Peel Commission, was never quite adopted although two years later, the proposal became the 1939 White Paper which reversed the underpinnings of the League of Nations decision to grant Great Britain the mandate ("the establishment of self supporting independent Arab and Jewish States within Palestine has been found to be impracticable. It has therefore been necessary for His Majesty's Government to devise an alternative policy...His Majesty's Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country") based on this 1922 truth, that

...recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country

as written in the preamble.

The third was the 1947 UN Partition Recommendation.  That attempted to fix that

Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed...the boundaries as described in Part II of this Plan are to be modified in such a way that village areas as a rule will not be divided by state boundaries unless pressing reasons make that necessary.

I have now read an article by Uri Heitner in Kivvunim Chadashim [New Firections], No. 28, June 2013, pgs. 251-257.  In it he quotes Levy Eshkol, when, serving as Israel's Prime Minister in the post-1967 period, in a meeting with Gunnar Jarring on December 15, 1967 and in a unfinished and unsent communication with Amos Keinan of August 18, 1968, who considered there was yet an earlier partition of Israel's territory: when the Sykes-Picot Agreement was done in 1915-16.

That agreement stemmed, in part, from the British pro-Zionist desire:

At a Cabinet meeting David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, "referred to the ultimate destiny of Palestine."...In a discussion after the meeting with fellow Zionist Herbert Samuel, who had a seat in the Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board, Lloyd George assured him that "he was very keen to see a Jewish state established in Palestine."


Prior to the departure of Sykes to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov in Petrograd on 27 February 1916, Sykes was approached with a plan by Samuel. The plan put forward by Samuel was in the form of a memorandum...Of the boundaries marked on a map attached to the memorandum he wrote:

"By excluding Hebron and the East of the Jordan there is less to discuss with the Moslems, as the Mosque of Omar then becomes the only matter of vital importance to discuss with them and further does away with any contact with the bedouins, who never cross the river except on business. I imagine that the principal object of Zionism is the realization of the ideal of an existing center of nationality rather than boundaries or extent of territory...

In other words, Eshkol, a Labour/Socialist Zionist, was quite well aware that the British had reduced the area of the Jewish National Home already in 1915.

And, as I emphasized in bold above, the Temple Mount was even then a recognized issue.


No comments: