Friday, February 23, 2007

Stephen Pollard relays this little known story :

The "astonishing" truth, however, Gilbert went on, is that Lawrence was "a serious Zionist. He believed that the only hope for the Arabs of Palestine and the rest of the region was Jewish statehood - that if the Jews had a state here, they would provide the modernity, the 'leaven,' as he put it, with which to enable the Arabs to move into the 20th century."

I'm not perfectly surprised by this information. It makes sense, when we consider two known factors: First, That T.E. Lawrence was the cousin of Orde Charles Wingate, and that the Emir Feisal, Lawrence's good friend, looked favourably upon the Zionist project:

The McMahon Husayn correspondences were upstaged a year later by the Sykes Picot Agreement of 1916 (more). This agreement between Mark Sykes of Britain and Georges Picot of France proposed to divide Ottoman lands into zones of influence and control for France and Great Britain. The language of Sykes Picot did allow for lands to be controlled to a certain extent by Arab powers of the region, but the wording was very clear that France and Great Britain would enjoy rights that preceded issues of sovereignty in those areas. This agreement made it impossible for Great Britain to honor the terms of the McMahon Husayn correspondences.

Then in 1917 came the Balfour Declaration, which in no uncertain terms pledged the British Government's support for the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Palestine. At the time of this declaration, the Jewish resettlement of Palestine had been well underway but there were still only some 80,000 to 100,000 Jews out of a population of some 780,000 persons. In spite of this, the Zionist movement addressed the Paris Peace Conference outlining their proposals for a Jewish state in the land of Palestine. That same year, Zionist leader Dr. Chaim Weizmann met with the son of Sherif Husayn (Hussein) of Mecca in Aqaba and together they signed a document which pledged Arab support for the Balfour Declaration in exchange for support in establishing independent Arab states in Syria and Iraq.

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From a letter by Emir Feisal to Felix Frankfurter, March 3, 1919.

"I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of civilised peoples of the world."

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