“All Arab west bank settlements are in violation of the San Remo Conference”

I have heard this argument many times:

“All Arab west bank settlements are in violation of the San Remo Conference” or “its all Jewish lands as defined by the San Remo Conference”

April 19-26, 1920

The San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held at Villa Devachan in Sanremo, Italy. It was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime ministers of Britain (David Lloyd George), France (Alexandre Millerand) and Italy (Francesco Nitti) and by Japan’s Ambassador K. Matsui. The decisions of the San Remo conference confirmed the mandate allocations of the First Conference of London (February 1920).

April 25, 1920

The San Remo Resolution incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Under the Balfour Declaration, the British government had undertaken to favour the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

June 3, 1922

The British White Paper of 1922 emphasized that “the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian”, that the Balfour Agreement did not support “the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine”, and that British intended to “foster the establishment of a full measure of self government in Palestine”.

  • ‘Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded “in Palestine.”
  • In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims “the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development”.
  • ‘it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status. So far as the Jewish population of Palestine are concerned it appears that some among them are apprehensive that His Majesty’s Government may depart from the policy embodied in the Declaration of 1917. It is necessary, therefore, once more to affirm that these fears are unfounded, and that that Declaration, re-affirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sèvres, is not susceptible of change.’

So, lets further review the historical timeline:

July 14, 1915 – January 30, 1916

The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, or the Hussein–McMahon Correspondence, was an exchange of letters during World War I, between the Sharif of Mecca, Husayn bin Ali, and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, concerning the political status of lands under the Ottoman Empire. Growing Arab nationalism had led to a desire for independence from the Ottoman Empire.

In the letters Britain agreed to recognize Arab independence after WWI “in the limits and boundaries proposed by the Sherif of Mecca”, not including areas in which France had interests. This was in exchange for Arab help in fighting the Ottomans, led by Hussein bin Ali.

The future Balfour declaration of 1917, in which Britain promised a Jewish National Homeland in Palestine, was a contradiction to the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence. The debate regarding Palestine derived from the fact that it is not explicitly mentioned in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, but is included within the boundaries that were proposed by Hussein.

May 16, 1916

The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Russia, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in the Middle East should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The negotiation of the treaty occurred between November 1915 and March 1916.

The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.

An “international administration” was proposed for Palestine.

November 2, 1917

The Balfour Declaration was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Blogger Note: Is this the case? Has there been anything done, or still being done, to prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine? And, just because you destroy the non-Jewish communities in Palestine, that does not erase history of the people who lived there before 1948.

January 1918

Following the publication of the Balfour Declaration the British had dispatched Commander David George Hogarth to see Hussein bearing the message that the “political and economic freedom” of the Palestinian population was not in question.

Hogarth reported that Hussein “would not accept an independent Jewish State in Palestine, nor was I instructed to warn him that such a state was contemplated by Great Britain”.

Professor Hogarth was appointed the acting director of the Arab Bureau, for a time during 1916, Kinahan Cornwallis was his deputy. Hogarth was close with T.E. Lawrence. He worked closely with Lawrence to plan the Arab Revolt.

April 1918

A Zionist Commission for Palestine, headed by Chaim Weizmann, a leader of Zionism in Britain, visited Jerusalem.

June 16, 1918

The Declaration to the Seven was a document written by Sir Henry McMahon and released by the British Government in response to a memorandum issued anonymously by seven Syrian notables in Cairo who were members of the newly formed Party of Syrian Unity, which had been established in the wake of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the publication by the Bolsheviks of the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, The memorandum requested a “guarantee of the ultimate independence of Arabia”.

The Declaration to the Seven is notable as the first British pronouncement to the Arabs advancing the principle of national self-determination. The Declaration stated the British policy that the future government of the regions of the Ottoman Empire occupied by Allied forces in World War I should be based on the consent of the governed.

Blogger Note: The non-Jewish communities in Palestine have neither consented nor are they governed without their communities and the State of Palestine. In 1948 there were two countries created in Palestine, the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. This is not made up, the truth of reality in history is still real. Lies and captured land cannot not erase recent history. The West Bank must also be an independent country.

September 1918

General Allenby after the Battle of Megiddo ordered a halt to the advance after the rout of Turkish forces outside Damascus in order to allow the city to be captured by Arab forces, thus bolstering the Arab claim to the independence of Syria.

Ottoman Syria refers to divisions of the Ottoman Empire within the Levant, usually defined as the region east of the Mediterranean Sea, west of the Euphrates River, north of the Arabian Desert and south of the Taurus Mountains.

November 9, 1918

France and Britain circulated a statement in Syria:

The object aimed at by France and Great Britain in prosecuting in the East the War let loose by the ambition of Germany is the complete and definite emancipation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations.

December 5, 1918

The Eastern Committee of the Cabinet, previously known as the Middle Eastern Committee, had met to discuss the government’s commitments regarding Palestine.
Lord Curzon chaired the meeting. General Jan Smuts, Lord Balfour, Lord Robert Cecil, General Sir Henry Wilson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and representatives of the Foreign Office, the India Office, the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Treasury were present. T. E. Lawrence also attended.

According to the minutes Lord Curzon explained the Hussein, Sykes-Picot, and Balfour commitments:

“The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . .

Great Britain and France—Italy subsequently agreeing—committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, [and the Sharif of Mecca] who was an ally at that time . . . A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine ‘should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done—and this, of course, was a most important proviso—to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine.”

1919

The Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office drafted a confidential memorandum on the issue for the use of Britain’s delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference. With reference to Palestine, the memorandum read:

“H.M.G. [His Majesty’s Government] are committed by Sir Henry McMahon’s letter to the Sherif on 24 October 1915, to its inclusion in the boundaries of Arab independence.”

June 28, 1919

Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations

ARTICLE 22.

To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.

The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League.

The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances.

Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.

Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the Mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience and religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.

There are territories, such as South-West Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilisation, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.

In every case of mandate, the Mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.

The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the Mandatory shall, if not previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.

A permanent Commission shall be constituted to receive and examine the annual reports of the Mandatories and to advise the Council on all matters relating to the observance of the mandates.

April 19-26, 1920

The San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held at Villa Devachan in Sanremo, Italy. It was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime ministers of Britain (David Lloyd George), France (Alexandre Millerand) and Italy (Francesco Nitti) and by Japan’s Ambassador K. Matsui. The decisions of the San Remo conference confirmed the mandate allocations of the First Conference of London (February 1920).

The San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed.

Under the Balfour Declaration, the British government had undertaken to favour the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

During the Conference of San Remo, two “A” mandates were created out of the old Ottoman province of Syria: the northern half (Syria and Lebanon) was mandated to France, the southern half (Palestine) to Great Britain. The province of Mesopotamia (Iraq) was also mandated to Great Britain. Under the terms of an “A” mandate the individual countries were deemed independent but subject to a mandatory power until they reached political maturity. When King Fayṣal of Damascus opposed the French mandate over Syria, he was expelled by the French Army.

It was agreed –

(a) To accept the terms of the Mandates Article as given below with reference to Palestine, on the understanding that there was inserted in the process-verbal an undertaking by the Mandatory Power that this would not involve the surrender of the rights hitherto enjoyed by the non-Jewish communities in Palestine; this undertaking not to refer to the question of the religious protectorate of France, which had been settled earlier in the previous afternoon by the undertaking given by the French Government that they recognized this protectorate as being at an end.
(b) that the terms of the Mandates Article should be as follows: The High Contracting Parties agree that Syria and Mesopotamia shall, in accordance with the fourth paragraph of Article 22, Part I (Covenant of the League of Nations), be provisionally recognized as independent States, subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The boundaries of the said States will be determined, and the selection of the Mandatories made, by the Principal Allied Powers. The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory, to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of 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 of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
(c) Les mandataires choisis par les principales Puissances alliés sont: la France pour la Syrie, et la Grande Bretagne pour la Mesopotamie, et la Palestine. [The officers chosen by the principal allied Powers are: France for Syria and Great Britain for Mesopotamia and Palestine.

March 8, 1920

A Syrian state – to include Lebanon and Palestine – was proclaimed by the General Syrian Congress. Faisal was elected King. A number of British officials in Palestine, including General Edmund Allenby, who had captured Jerusalem, urged London to recognize Faisal’s claim to rule Palestine.

August 10, 1920

The Treaty of Sèvres was one of a series of treaties that the nations constituting the Central Powers were made to sign subsequent to their defeat in World War I. The treaty was signed in Sèvres, France. The three principles of the British Balfour Declaration regarding Palestine were adopted in the Treaty of Sèvres:

ARTICLE 95. The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of 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 of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Palestine officially fell under the British Mandate.

June 3, 1922

The Churchill White Paper (also known as The British White Paper of 1922) emphasized that “the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian”, that the Balfour Agreement did not support “the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine”, and that British intended to “foster the establishment of a full measure of self government in Palestine”.

The main provisions of this white paper are summarized by these quotations from it:

  • “The tension which has prevailed from time to time in Palestine is mainly due to apprehensions, which are entertained both by sections of the Arab and by sections of the Jewish population. These apprehensions, so far as the Arabs are concerned are partly based upon exaggerated interpretations of the meaning of the [Balfour] Declaration favoring the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, made on behalf of His Majesty’s Government on 2 November 1917.”
  • ‘Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded “in Palestine.” In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims “the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development”‘.
  • ‘it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status. So far as the Jewish population of Palestine are concerned it appears that some among them are apprehensive that His Majesty’s Government may depart from the policy embodied in the Declaration of 1917. It is necessary, therefore, once more to affirm that these fears are unfounded, and that that Declaration, re-affirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sèvres, is not susceptible of change.’
  • ‘During the last two or three generations the Jews have recreated in Palestine a community, now numbering 80,000… it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on the sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection.’
  • ‘This, then, is the interpretation which His Majesty’s Government place upon the Declaration of 1917, and, so understood, the Secretary of State is of opinion that it does not contain or imply anything which need cause either alarm to the Arab population of Palestine or disappointment to the Jews.’
  • it is not the case, as has been represented by the Arab Delegation, that during the war His Majesty’s Government gave an undertaking that an independent national government should be at once established in Palestine. This representation mainly rests upon a letter dated 24 October 1915, from Sir Henry McMahon, then His Majesty’s High Commissioner in Egypt, to the Sharif of Mecca, now King Hussein of the Kingdom of the Hejaz. That letter is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty’s Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir. Henry McMahon’s pledge.

July 24, 1922

The British Mandate for Palestine, shortly Mandate for Palestine, or the Palestine Mandate was a League of Nations mandate for the territory that had formerly constituted the Ottoman Empire sanjaks of Nablus, Acre, the Southern part of the Vilayet of Syria, the Southern portion of the Beirut Vilayet, and the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, prior to the Armistice of Mudros. The draft of the Mandate for Palestine was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations, supplemented via the 16 September 1922 Trans-Jordan memorandum and then came into effect on 29 September 1923 following the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne. The mandate ended at midnight on 14 May 1948. The Palestine Mandate legalized the temporary rule of Palestine by Great Britain.

The preamble of the Mandate read:

The Council of the League of Nations: Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them;

March 27, 1923

Lord Grey had been the foreign secretary during the McMahon-Hussein negotiations. Speaking in the House of Lords, he made it clear that he entertained serious doubts as to the validity of the British government’s interpretation of the pledges which he, as foreign secretary, had caused to be given to Hussein in 1915. He called for all of the secret engagements regarding Palestine to be made public. Many of the relevant documents in the National Archives were later declassified and published. Among them were the minutes of a Cabinet Eastern Committee meeting, chaired by Lord Curzon,which was held on 5 December 1918. Balfour was in attendance.

The minutes revealed that in laying out the government’s position Curzon had explained that: “Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future”.

July 24, 1923

The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland. It officially settled the conflict that had originally existed between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied British Empire, French Republic, Kingdom of Italy, Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Greece, and the Kingdom of Romania since the onset of World War I. The original text of the treaty is in French. It was the result of a second attempt at peace after the failed Treaty of Sèvres, which was signed by all previous parties but later rejected by the Turkish national movement who fought against the previous terms and significant loss of territory. The Treaty of Lausanne ended the conflict and defined the borders of the modern Turkish Republic. In the treaty, Turkey gave up all claims to the remainder of the Ottoman Empire and in return the Allies recognized Turkish sovereignty within its new borders.

NOTE: Rejected by the new Turkish nationalist regime, the Treaty of Sèvres was replaced in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne, which voided previous Allied demands for Kurdish autonomy and Armenian independence but did otherwise recognize Turkey’s current boundaries.

A confidential government memorandum, prepared in 1924 by the Middle East Department of Britain’s Colonial Office, depicted the Balfour Declaration as war-related. The memorandum recited that the Balfour Declaration had a definite war object:

It was designed to enlist on behalf of the Allies the sympathy of influential Jews and Jewish organizations all over the world. The Declaration was published at a time when the military situation was exceedingly critical. Russia had dropped out of the Alliance. Italy appeared to be at her last gasp; and the Germans, freed from anxiety in the East, were massing hugh (sic) forces on the Western front in preparation for the great offensive of 1918. The promise to the Jews was in fact made at a time of acute national danger.

The Department addressed the geographic issue in the McMahon letter and gave a reading consistent with the Palestine Arab reading. The Department wrote:

The natural meaning of the phrase “west of the district of Damascus,” has to be strained in order to cover an area lying considerably to the south as well as to the west of Damascus city.

D.F.W. van Rees, vice-chair of the Permanent Mandates Commission, understood the impact on the Arabs of Britain’s reneging on the McMahon commitment. Van Rees stated at a Commission meeting in 1930:

No one would deny that the initial cause of the hostility of the influential Arabs lay in the deep disappointment which they felt upon realising that their national and political aspirations would not be fulfilled … The British Government was held responsible for this disappointment. It was said that the British Government had broken its solemn promises to the Arabs, and that the Zionists, using their influence with the British Government, had succeeded in obtaining the Balfour Declaration, which was an insuperable obstacle to the realisation of the national ambitions awakened by and during the war.

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