Israel: An outpost of imperialism


Is it surprising that Israel, an alien state planted by brute force, has failed to win legitimacy even 60 years after it proclaimed its existence?

“WHAT is to become of the people of this country [Palestine] assuming the Turk to be expelled, and the inhabitants not to have been exterminated by the War? There are over half a million of these, Syrian Arabs – a mixed community with Arab, Hebrew, Canaanite, Greek, Egyptian and possibly Crusader blood. They and their forefathers have occupied the country for the best part of 1,500 years. They own the soil, which belongs either to individual landowners or to village communities. They profess the Mohammedan faith. They will not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants, or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water to the latter.”

Curzon wrote these prophetic words in a memorandum on “The Future of Palestine” on October 26, 1917, a week before his Cabinet colleague, the Foreign Secretary ArthurBalfour, issued the infamous declaration in a letter to Lord Rothschild on November 2, 1917. Curzon’s memo is hard to come by. It is not printed in the official series, Documents on British Foreign Policy, but was reproduced in 1939 in the then Prime Minister Lloyd George’s Memoirs of the Peace Conference. Fortunately it is reproduced in Palestine Documents(page 61), an excellent compilation by India’s outstanding scholar on the subject, Zafarul-Islam Khan. It is neglected because the publishers (Pharos, New Delhi 110 025) are not as well known.

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