Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Point of Order: Was 'Palestine' Twice Promised?

The Arabs have alays maintained that a "Palestine" was included in the British pledge made during the McMahon-Hussein talks.

I found this:

§33. Mr. de ROTHSCHILD asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government have made any promises or pledges to the Arab-speaking populations of Palestine or neighbouring countries which invalidate in any way the Balfour Declaration of 2nd November, 1917, or the clauses of the Mandate for Palestine as approved by the League of Nations?

§The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Dr. Drummond Shiels) I have been asked to answer. The position in regard to this question was fully stated in the White Paper (Cmd. 1700) of 1922, to which I would refer the hon. Member. His Majesty's Government have always held that there is nothing in their pledges that could invalidate the Balfour Declaration or conflict with the terms of the Mandate.

§Colonel HOWARD-BURY Is it not the case that on 24th October, 1915, Sir Henry McMahon made a declaration stating I am empowered in the name of the British Government to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the limits of the boundaries proposed by King Hussein and that these limits included Palestine?

§Dr. SHIELS As regards the first supplementary question, I think it is true to say that the facts which I have stated are perfectly well known. The position is that which the British Government have always taken up in this matter. In regard to the second supplementary question, the pledge to which my hon. and gallant Friend referred was not made to the Palestinian Arabs, and the British Government have always taken the view that Palestine was excluded from that pledge.

There we have it.


Liatris Spicata said...

I'm not sure I fully understand the import of this, but it sounds quite significant. Specifically, I gather responsible people at the time believed Jews had the right to all of Palestine. Is that correct?

And what did the British at the time, and the League Mandate, mean by Palestine. My understanding is that the Mandate gave the Brits the right to divide Palestine into two parts, which they did, with the dividing line being the Jordan River.

Would it then follow that Jews, whose interests are now represented by the state of Israel, have legal right to the land "from the river to the sea"?

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