World War I Palestine: Zionists and Arabs

Figure 1.--.

World War I broke out in Europe (August 1914). Palestine at the beginning of the War was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The population was largely Arab with some Jewish settlements as a result of the European Zionist movement. The Germans sought to bring the declining Ottoman Empire into the War to draw Russian and British resources from the two main fronts of the War. The Ottomans joined the Central Powers (October 1914). They had suffered significan territorial losses in the Balkans and the Caucauses at the hands of the Russians and saw allying themselves with the Germans was one way of regaining lost territory from the beleagered Russians. The War quickly turned into a disaster when the Ottoman army invading the Russian Causcasses was decisively defeated. The Ottomons launched an offensive from Palestine soon after entering the War (November 1914). They crossed the Sinai and at some locations reached the Suez Canal, but were beaten back by the British. The British encoraged an Arab Revolt in Arabia which developed into a major threat to the Ottomans. The Arab Revolt assisted by T.E. Lawrence helped weakened the Ottomon position in Arabia and Palestine. Palestine turned from an Ottoman backwater into the frontline of World war I. The British made commitments to the Arabs about an independent Arab state after the War. They made condflictging commitments to their French ally. Zionists were initially split by the War. There were Zionists in all the major beligerant powers. The Balfour Declaration would largely change this. Thr British mounted a major offensive Against the Ottomans in Palestine. The British Egyptian Expeditionary Force commanded by Field Marshall Edmund Allenby af first made little progress against the Ottomons. The British finally took Jerusalem (December 1917). Australian Light Cavalry played an important role. The Ottomon Army in the Levant was was finally broken at the Battle of Megiddo (September 1918). The British with the Arab Army on its right then moved to seize Damascus. The British during the War made conflicting commitments to the Arabs, Zionists, and even the French. The result was that after the War they found maintaing order in the Palestine Mandate a very difficult under takibng. The Palestinian Arabs were unwilling to participate in Mandate institutions.

Palestine Under the Ottoman Empire

Palestine in the mid-19th century when Jreish writers began conceiving pf returning was a province of the declining Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine (1516). Local governors appointed by the Ottomans collected revenues which was forwarded to Constntinople. Thee Ottomans promoted important public works. Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem (1537). The Druse attenpted to establish their own state in northern Palestine during the early Ottoman era. Napoleon conducted one of his earliest campaigns in the Middle East, seizing Cairo and areas in Palestine (1798). He took Jaffa, Ramle, Lydda, Nazareth and Tiberias, but wa unable to take Acre. A Royal Navy squadron under Nelson destoyed the French fleet and made Napoleon's position untenable. Mehemet Ali of Egypt seized Palestine from the Ottomans. His son Ibrahim Pasha leading Egyptian troops took Acre (1831). The local Palestinian population revolted (1834). After considerableturmoil, the Ottomans regained control of Palestine (1840). The Palestinian Arab population played a role in the political reforms seeking to modernize the Ottoman Empire (1876 and 1908). Ottoman Palestine consisted of two administrative areas. There was the autnomous Sanjak (district) of Jerusalem which was subject to the High Porte in Constantinople. The Sanjak included an area from Jaffa to the River Jordan in the East and from the Jordan south to the borders of Egypt. The other area was part of the Willayat (province) of Beirut. This part was composed of the Sanjak of Balka (Nablus) from Jaffa to Jenin, and the Sanjak of Acre, which extended from Jenin to Naqura. Palestiniaqn Arabs had many important political and military posts under Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Empire was evolving in the late 19th century abd the plitical reforms resulted in a constitution and parliment. There were Arab representatives in the Parliament. In the first Parliament, the President of the Council of the House of Representatives was a Jerusalem Deputy , Yusif Dia Pasha Al Khalidi. The administration of Arab territories was entrusted to elected Administrative Councils. Those Councils were elected and existed in the provinces, districts, and sub-districts. Those Councils were vested with extensive powers in administration, finance, education, and development. The Ottoman Empire was, however, by the 19th century politically unstable. While the Empire was controlled by Turks, they were a minority within the Empire which included large number of Balkan Christians, Armenians, and Arabs. The Young Turks that seized control of the Government were not about to relinquish control to non-Turkish groups. Palestine remained under Ottoman rule until World War I. It is difficut to know the political attitudes of Palestinians to Ottoman rule. It was from the desert tribes, supported by the British, however, that effective resistace to Ottoman rule came after the Ottomans entered the War on the side of the Central Powers. The Koran and Jews

Arabs and Zionists

The Arans at the onset of World War I were a subject people. Middle Eastern Arabs populated the southern provinced of the Ottoman Empire. Primarily as a result of Russian encroachments, the Ottoman Empire had lost its Christian provinces in the Ukraine and the Balkans as well as Christian/Muslim provinces in the Caucauses. As a result, the Arabs were the Empire's largest minority. Arab nationalists saw the War as the possible road for liberation from the Ottomans. There was, however, considerable differences among Arabs over the future Arab state that would emerge from the Ottoman Empire. There were both secular and Islamic vissions and considerable difference of opinion among both of these main groups. There were in addition many local leaders who while they may expouse pan-Arabism, saw them selves as the future leaders. In addition, the Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire wre very poor with a largely uneducated population with only minimal interest in political issues. The Arabs for five centuries had lived in a cacoon imposed by both the Ottomans and Islam. This had prevented exposure to modern economics and political thought (the Reniasanmce, Reformation, and Enlightenmentg) thought. It also mean thast few Arabs had any knowledge or familiarity with great power politics that would shape the post-War world. Zionists also saw the possibility of gaining from the War, both through increased immigration and perhaps great power endorsement of a Jewish state. The Zionists were not, however, well situated to achieve their goals. They were still a small minority in Palestine, estimates suggest about 12 percent in 1914 and an even smaller percentage in other Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire did not initially enter the War when fighting broke out in Europe.

Chaim Weizmann

The World Zionist movement was dominated by Europeans. There were immigrants from the Middle East, especially Persia, but the overwealming number of immiogrants of the First Aliyah came from Europe, especially the leadership. The most prominany Zionist spokesman at the time of the War was Chaim Weizmann, a gifted statesman and scientist> He was respected in Britain and very knowledgeable about European Great Power diplomacy. Weizmann grasped from the onset of the War that the future of the Middle East would be determined by the outcome of the War and Great Power politics. Weizmann believed that the Allies would prevail and that British policy would be key to the future.

British Interest

Britain saw the Suez Canal as essential for its security (because it was the connection with India). This British imperial policy and British public opinion would play a major role in the future of the Mideast, especially Palestine which was located close to the Canal. Britain of all the European powers was most able to project its power into the Middle East because of the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy's conversion from coal to oil created further aspect to British policy. Britain did not have significan oil resources. It relied heavily on shipments from America. In the years before World War I, however, geologists began to nake important oil discoveries, first in Persia. This sigbificantly increased the Great Power stakes in the Middle East. British policy makers, however, were far from agreed over the future of the region.

Sharif Husayn ibn Ali

The Ottoman Empire included much of what is now Saudi Arabia, including Islam's most holy sites of Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz. The Hashimite/Hashemite family which claimed descent from the Prophet became the traditional guardians of the Islamic shrines. The family at the time of World war I was led by Sharif Husayn ibn Ali. Sharif Husayn even before the outbreak of the War dispatched his son Amir Abdullah to Cairo (February 1914). There he met with Lord Kitchener, the British agent and consul general in Egypt. Sharif Husayn sought British support for a revolt against his mominal overlords--the Ottomans. No one in Europe, including the British, dreamed that a great war was about to break out in Europe. Britain was not yet at war and had no interest in supporting an Arab revolt against the Ottomans. Kitchener thus gave Sharif Husayn an uncommital reply.

World War I (August 1914)

World War I broke out in Europe (August 1914). This came as a great surprise to European statemen, many of whom thought another major war was inconceivanle. Even after the War began, most Europeam leaders and militart experts thought it ould be a short war of movement. It almost was as the Germans drive thriyugh Belgium and into northern France driving toward Paris. The Russians precented the Germans from focus the full force of their army on France. The British helped slow down the German drive through Belgium. Then the French stand on the Marne (September 1914) turned the War into a long grueling struggle between the Central Powers and the Allies. Germany with Europe's strongest army had the advatage in a short war which could be sided in Europe. The Allies had the greatest human and economic resorces. And the British Royal Navy imposed an increasingly effective blockade on Germany. Thus as the War dragged on, the advantages shifted to the Allies. And the War expanded to areas outside of Europe, including the Middle East.

Ottoman Empire Enters the War (October 1914)

The Germans sought to bring the declining Ottoman Empire into the War to put draw Russian and British resources from the two main fronts of the War. The Ottomans joined the Central Powers (October 1914). They had suffered significan territorial losses in the Balkans and the Caucauses at the hands of the Russians and saw alling themselves with the Germans was one way of regaining lost territory from the beleagered Russians. The War quickly turned into a disaster when the Ottoman army invading the Russian Causcasses was decisively defeated. An Ottoman offensive from Palestine to take Suez was defeated by the British.

The Galipoli Offensive (1915)

The Allies needing a way to open up supply lines to the Russians and seeking gto known the Ottomans out of the War conceived of the Galipoli Offensive. The Australians were used along with New Zealand, British, and French troops in the costly Gallipoli campaign (1915). The concept was to releave the Russians who at the time were ill equipped and suffering enormous losses. The Australians 4 1/2 months of training near Cairo, the Australians were transported by ship to Turkey. They were deploye on the Gallipoli peninsula, together with New Zealand units. The landings were made at ANZAC Cove (April 25, 1915). They gained the steep slopes above the beach. Then the capaign became an Allied effort to break out and a Ottomon attemp to elinate the Allied beachhead. The fighting turned into a costly stalemate continued throughout the remainder of 1915. Finally the Allies withdrew (December 19-20). The Allies might have done this earlier, but a withdrawing force was very vulnerable. The Allies executed a successful deception campaign and managd to evacuate with minimal casualties.

British Support for the Arab Revolt

The British Government, after the outbreak of World War I (August 1914), recalled Lord Kitchner. He was appointed secretary of state for war. After the Ottoman Empire entered the War, Kitchner began to see the value of supporting the Arab Revolt. British resources defending Suez were very limited. They defeated an Ottoman offensive, but still saw Suez as endangered. Thus an Arab revolt diverting the Ottomans was of considerable advantage to the British. But the British interest in the Arab Revolt was more involved than just the immediate military advantage. Kitchner als saw the possibility of gaining support in the Arab world. The Ottoman Sultan had gained control of the Islamic caliphate. The caliph claimed the authority of the Prophet Muhammad in the Muslim world. The caliph was the traditional leader of the Islamic world. Kitchner saw an Arab caliph indebted to Briish as a great asset both during and after the War.

Future Arab State

Sir Henry McMahon, the first British high commissioner in Egypt, began to corespond with Sharif Husayn (July 1915). The correspondence essentially reflected the attitude of the British Government, but not legally bindinfing like a formal treaty. McMahon in his correspondence commited Britain to Arab indepence after the War. There were, however, substantial reservations. [Mahon] Husayn specified an area for am independent "Sharifian Arab Government" consisting of the Arabian Peninsula (except Aden which was a British protectorate) and the Fertile Crescent (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq). McMahon writing with the authority of the British government commited to an independent postwar Arab state, but subject to reservations. These included territory not entirely Arab and other territories over which Britain was not free "to act without detriment to the interests of her ally, France". Mahon described the territories as not purely Arab included: "The districts of Mersin and Alexandretta, and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo" (October 24, 1915). The desription here is not entirely clear. Arab spokesmen have, however, insisted that Palestine was within the area pledged to the post-War Arab state.

British-French Diplomacy: Sykes-Picot Agreement (February 1916)

Sharif Husayn and the Arabs were not the only group British policy had to contend with in the Middle East. Another important player was Britain's primary ally--France. The French had Arab colonial possessions and protectorates in North Africa, an interest in Suez, and desisgns on the Levant. After the failure of the Galipoli campaign to knock the Ottomans out of the War, British strategic planners began to conceive of a new offensive, to attack the Ottomans from the south, through both Mesopotamia and Palestine. The British Foreign Office before doing this wanted to make sure the French would not object. British and French officials secretly negotiated what has become known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement (Asia Minor Agreement) (February 1916). Mark Sykes has been called a vissionary British politican. François Georges-Picot was a seasoned French diplomat. The agreement envisioned the partition of the non-Turkish areas of the Ottoman Empire into French and British zones of control and interest. The British would obtain what is now Palestine, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq. France would obtain Lebanon, and Syria. Thus the Middle East would become colonial possessions of the two European powers for some 30 years. [Barr] Curiously when Arabs complain about colonialism, this is what they refer to and not the four centuries of Ottoman colonial rule. Palestine under the agreement was to be administered by an international "condominium" of the British, French, and Russians. (This was before the Revolution and the Tsarist Government were also signatories to the agreement). A problem with the Sykes-Picot Agreement was it involved the partition of some of the same areas that the British had pledged to Sharif Husayn.

The Arab Revolt (June 1916)

The Ottoman Turks had controlled the Arabsand the Middle East for four centuries. Sharif Husayn encouraged by his correspondence with the British launched the famed Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire (June 5, 1916). Husayn declared himself "King of the Arabs" (October 1916). The Arab revolt in the Hejaz broke out, surprising the Ottomans (June 5, 1916). British and French agents played a major role in inducung the Arab rising. The Arabs, however, had no real idea as to how to fight the Ottomans. The were also deeply divided by tribes which made any united actuin dufficult. The Arab Revolt was led chiefly by Col. T.E. Lawrence, Emir Faisal, and his father Sherif Hussein, "King of the Hejaz". The first major success was tsking the Ottoman garison at Aqaba. The Arab Revolt broke out in full force (January-September 1918). Conducted by guerrelia tactics conceived by Col. Lawrence Lawrence himself is a man of legend. He was a junior inteligence officer stationed in Egypt with the British Army. He had an academic background, hardly a person one would except to launch an important guerilla war. When weeks of arriving in Arabia, however, he helped the Arabs seize Aquaba whivh the Brirish thought was inpregnable and then launch the successful military operations of the Arab revolt. Lawrence helped knit together poorly armed, often hostile desert tribes and wage war against their well-armed Turkish overlords. They began blowing up trains in hit and run ttacks that the Turks were unable to defend against. The attraction for the Arab warrirs was largely the booty to be obtained in the attacks and not forging an Arab state. This was the vision of Sharif Husayn and Emir Faisal, along with Lawrence. [Schneider] The Arabs in a year largelky took control of Arabia cutting rail lines. Isolated Ottoman garrisons were besieged throughout the Peninsula. The Ottomans hard pressed by the British in Palestine were unable to deal with the Arab Revolt. The War then moved to Palestine as the the British pressed their attack from Egypt.

Balfour Declaration (November 1917)

Primeminister Herbert Asquith and his Liberal government had no uinterest in a Jewish entity in Palestine. They saw British support for such an entity as detrimental to British strategic aims in the Arab-populated Middle East. The Conservative (Tory) David Lloyd George became prime minister (December 1916). He chose Arthur James Balfour as his foreign secretary. Lloyd George and his Tory supporters were much more committed to preserving Britain's imperial position in the world. Lloyd George believed that Britosh possession of Palestine would help butress the security of Suez. Thus he was more interested in establishing British possession of Palestine than participating in an international "condominium" with the French. Here a factor was the British build-up in Egypt. British forces in Egypt wre expanded to 300,000 men for the offensive through Palestine toward Syria. It is not clear just when Lloyd George decided on Palestine, but he is known to have held the opinion (March 1917). He felt that a British army in possession of Palestine would more than offset the Sykes-Picot Agreement It is not fully understood just what promted Lord George's Government to make an initiative to Jews and Zionists. There are several factors that must have been part of the British decession. Neither Lloyd George or Balfour ever provided a clear statement as to their motivation. Surely the war situation was a factor, but there were several other factors that seem to have been important. Whatever the reasons, the Balfour declaration formally committed the British Government to the Zionist cause (November 1917).

British Offensive in Palestine (1917-18)

The High Command autorized Murray to proceed into Palestine. The British fight two battles in Gaza (March 26 and April 17-19). Each time they are driven back by the Ottomans. Murray attempted to desguise the defeat. Murray in the Second Battle of Gaza relieves his field commander, Dobell. Murray himself is in turn relieved and replaced by General Sir Edmund Allenby. He had commanded the British Third Army in France. He was the ablest British commande in the Egptian theater. He proceeded to attack toward Jerusalem in an effort to "take Jerusalem by Christmas" as Murray had been ordered. Alenby fought the Third Battle of Gaza (Battle of Beersheba) against the Turkish 7th and 8th Armies (October 31). This envolved one of the most famed actions of the campaign. Allenby was an old calvary man. He sent the Australian Light Horse Division on a daring mission to turn the Ottoman flank. (The Australian infanty had been committed to the Western Front.) The Australians fought a daring battle for the wells of Beersheba. Taking the Wells was criticalmas the horses needed water. The Australians staged perhaps the last successful calvalry charge, breaking through prepared Ottoman positions defended with barbed wire and machine guns. The Ottomans retired from Palestine. The Ottoman 8th Army fell back along the coast. The 7th Army retreated back to Jerusalem. Allenby used calvalry and aircraft to attack the retreating Ottoman troops (November 6-13). Ottoman reinforcements arrived. They were commanded by General von Falkenhayn who had planned the 1916 balle of Verdun. (After the huge losses and failing to take Verdun, he was replaced.) Falkenhayn with his reinforcements fought the Battle of Junction Station (November 13-14). This restablished an Ottoman front before Jerusalem, temporarily blocking the British. Allenby regroups his forces and renews the drive on Jerusalem (December 8-9). Allenby enters Jerusalem (December 8-9). The British realized that with their victory in Russia that the Germans would launch a massive offensuve in Spring 1918. As a result, some of Allenby's force was movd to France to strengthen forces on the Western Front. It was not until the summer that Allenby received needed replacements. The replacements were Indian troops. He prepared his final offensive against the Ottomans (September 18). Air supremecy left the Ottomon's blind as to where Allenby would trike. There was also a successful deception plan. The Battle of Meggido began with an attack along the Mediterranean coast (September 19-21). The attack opened a huge gap in the Ottoman right and Allenby pored his calvalry through that hole to rapidly exploit it. The whole Ottoman front collapsed. The Ottoman 8th Army was destroyed in the initial attack. The 4th and 7th Armies retreated north along the Jordan River. Allenby hotly persued them, hammering them with both calvalry and airpower (September 22-October 30). Turkish forces in Palestine were totally routed. This allowed the British to advance into Syria.

End of the War

Two British armies drice north towarsd into the Ottoman Empire from both Palestine and Mesopotamia. The collaose of the German Army on the Western Front meant that there was no further assistance available from Germany. The Ottoman Empire was forced to sign an armistice (October 31, 1918). Two week later the Germans were also forced signed an armistice ending the fighting (November 11). The Treaty of Sèvres ended the War with Ottoman Empire (August 10, 1920). The Treaty was never acceptable to the Turkish Nationalists whi came to diminate Turkey. The reasons did not concern Palestine. The Turkish Nationalists accepted the fact that they had lost their Arabl provinces.

Greater Syria

With the end of the World War fighting and the Paris Peace Conference, Arab nationalists attempted to create a Greater Syria Sharif Husayn's son Faysal. British military officials in Palestine and Syria feared an Arab rebellion, this time against them. The British and French issued a Joint Declaration, after the armistice with Turkey (November 1918). The British and French commited themselves to self-determination for the people of the region. The British proceeded to withdeaw from Syria (1919), but maintained their position in Palestine. The French moved into Lebenon, but not immeiately into Syria. A General Syrian Congress meeting in Damascus after the British left and elected Faysal king of Syria (March 1920). The Congress defined Syria as including Lebanon and Palestine. Arabs in Palestine saw this as effectively voiding the Balfour Declaration. This sparked anti-Jewish disorders. Arab mobs attacked the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem (April 4 to 8). The French moved into Syria (summer) and ousted Faysal. Palestinian Arabs who had been with Faysal in Syria returned to Palestine when the French ousted Faysal. They opposed the idea of a Jewish Homeland. The result was renewed Arab rioting targetting Jews, most prominantly in Jaffa.

Peace Settlement

The Allied victories left Palestine in British hands. This was only one of Britain's positions in the Middle East. In addition to Aden and Suez, thde British also occupied Mesopotamia as well as Lebanon and large areas of Syria--essentilly the Arab populated areas of the Ottoman Empire. British administration was affected by a range of factors. The British although victorious were essentially bankrupted by the War. The British public demanded the rapid demobilization of the Army. The Government also need to reduce commitments and expenditures. Other objectives included preventing any renewed Turkish hegemony in the Middle East and in particular to buttress the security of the Suez Canal. The conflicting commitments Britain made to the Arabs, French, and Zionists complicated their position in Palestine and achievement of their objectives. The Allies comvened in Paris to negotiate the terms of the peace treaties which would be imposed on the defeated Central Powers (January 1919 and January 1920). The Allies heard presentations from the many national groups that had been part of the now defunct empires (Austria-Hungary, German, Ottoman, and Russian). Most of these groups were European, but not all. Amir Faysal made a presentation for the Arabs and Chaim Weizmann made a presentation for the Zionists. Weizmann and Faysal med separately and reached an agreement (January 3, 1919). Tgey agreed to cooperate. Faysal wrote a proviso on the cooperation agreement in Arabic that his signature was contingent to Allied war commitments to Arab independence. The Arabs maintain that the British failed to fulfill their commitments after the War and thus the Faysal-Weizmann agreement as binding. The Allies faced the impossible task of sorting out the often conflicting demands of national self-determination, wartime promises, division of the spoils, and public desire to punish the Germans.

Mandate System

The Allies decided on a mandate system. The system was developed at the San Remo Conference (April 1920). The Allies also decided on the contries that would be assigned mandates. The British were asigned the mandate over Palestine. The French were assigned a mandate over Syria. >br>

Palestinian Mandate

The terms of the British Mandate in Palestine was were approved by the League of Nations Council (July 24, 1922). Formal authorization became effective (September 29, 1923). The United States Senate rejected the Versailles Treaty, primarily because of the League of Nations provisions. Thus the League approval of the mandate did not include any American commitment. The U.s. Congress by a joint resolution endorsed the concept of the Jewish national home (June 30, 1922). The League Mandate given to the British recognized the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and called upon the mandatory power to "secure establishment of the Jewish National Home." The League recognized "an appropriate Jewish agency" for advice and cooperation to that end. The League specifically recognized the WZO as the appropriate vehicle. The League formally established the Jewish Agency to facilitate immigration (1929). The League when establishing the Jewish Agency added a proviso that the "rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced." English, Arabic, and Hebrew were all to be official languages in the Palestine Mandate. The WZO saw the League approval of the Mandate system as an importan step toward the achiebement of a Homeland. There was no uninamity within the Zionist community at the time as to just what form a Jewish Homeland would take. A Jewish nation state was not seen as achieveable by many Zionists. Only gradually did this become the movement's goal. It was the experience with the Arabs and British in Palestine and the NAZI Holocaust that led to the proclamation of the State of Israel (1948). Arab spokesmen led by Sharif Husayn and his sons in cotrast opposed the terms of the League Mandate in Palestine. The Covenant of the League of Nations explicitly endorsed popular determination. And the Arabs were a clear majority in Palestine. They also pointed out that the League Convenant specifically declared that all obligations and understandings inconsistent with it were abrogated. The Arabs argued with some validity that this meant that both the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement were null and void.

Other Middle-Eastern Developments

The French had made no commitments to the Arabs. They quickly drove Faysal from Damascus (1920). The British in an effort to honor their war-tine pledges. provided him with a new throne in Iraq, a new state that Winston Churchill, then colonial secretary, cobbled together out of various Ottoman provinces. The Iraqi new state include a quarelsome mixture of Kurds in the north and Sunni and Shi'a Arabs. The British then installed Abdullah in Transjordan (March 1921). Transjordan was another British mandate.

British Administration

The British sought to bring about a peaceful accommodation between the Arabs, Jews, and others in Palestine. The first British high commissioner in Palestine was Sir Herbert Samuels. He had the unenviable job of establishing order between the antagonistic communities. From the beginning, Sammuels found that the Palestinian Arab leaders were opposed to any peaceful accomodation with the Zionist community. Samuels who was Jewish had two often conflicting principles: liberalism and Zionism. He permitted open Jewish immigration and land purchases. The result was the Third Aliyah (1919-23). During this relatively brief window, thousands of highly committed Zionists entered Palestine. Most had a secular Socialist orientation. They made amajor contribution to the kibutz system--a form of communal faming. Not only did the kibutzes make an important contribution to Jewish farming, but the communities formed allowed for a degree of collective defense that individual family farms would not have. Samuels in accordance with League standards proposed a move toward representarive institutions. He called for a legislative council, an advisory council, and an Arab agency comparable to the Jewish Agency. Had the Palestinian Arabs accepted this proposal, they would have dominated the legislative council and other Mandate institutions. They could have then moved to curtail Jewish immigration and land purchases. The Jews were in no position to oppose Samuel's proposal. They were clearly based on the League Covenant of the League of Nations and the mandatory system. Ironically it was the Palestinian Arabs who rejected Samuels' proposals. They apparently concluded that participation in Mandate institutions would represent acceptance of the Balfour Declaration and aJewish Homeland. ThecArabs rejected all of Samuels proposals, including a legislative council, an advisory council, and an Arab agency. This also essentially meant that there would be no institutional base in which the Arab and Jewish comminities could consult.


Barr, James. A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-48 (2011).


Schneider, James J. Guerrilla Leader: T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt (2011), 368p.


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Created: 8:32 PM 12/18/2006
Last updated: 1:30 AM 2/17/2012