Jewish proposal for Jewish Homeland, 1919
From the Proposals Presented by the Zionist
Organisation to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Zionist Organisation respectfully submits
the following draft resolutions for the consideration of the Peace Conference:-
1 - The High Contracting Parties recognise
the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the
Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.
2. The boundaries of Palestine shall be
as declared in the Schedule annexed hereto.
3. The sovereign possession of Palestine
shall he vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to
Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
4. (Provision to be inserted relating to
the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached
to mandates as are suitable to the case.)
5. The mandate shall be subject also to
the following special conditions:-
(I.) Palestine shall be placed
under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure
the establishment there of the Jewish National Home, and ultimately render
possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, 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.
(II.) To this end the Mandatory Power shall
(a) promote Jewish immigration
and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present
non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
(III.) The Mandatory Power shall encourage
the widest measure of self-government for localities practicable in the
conditions of the country.
(b) Accept the co-operation in such measures
of a Council representative of the Jews in Palestine and of the world that
may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine
and entrust the organisation of Jewish education to such Council.
(c) On being satisfied that the constitution
of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council
in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural
resources which it may be found desirable to grant.
(IV.) There shall be for ever the fullest
freedom of religious worship for all creeds in Palestine. There shall be
no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and
civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race.
(V.) (Provision to be inserted relating
to the control of the Holy Places.)
The Boundaries of Palestine.
The boundaries of Palestine shall follow
the general lines set out below:-
Starting on the North at a point on the
Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity south of Sidon and following the watersheds
of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as JISR EL KARAON, thence to EL
BIRE, following the dividing line between the two basins of the WADI EL
KORN and the WADI ET TEIM, thence in a southerly direction following the
dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the HERMON, to
the vicinity west of BEIT JENN, thence eastward following the northern
watersheds of the NAHR MUGHANIYE close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway.
In the east a line close to and west of
Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba.
In the south a frontier to be agreed upon
with the Egyptian Government.
In the west the Mediterranean Sea.
The details of the delimitation's, or any
necessary adjustments of detail, shall be settled by a Special Commission
on which there shall be Jewish representation.
Great Britain as Mandatory of the League of
We ask that Great Britain shall act as Mandatory
of the League of Nations for Palestine. The selection of Great Britain
as Mandatory is urged on the ground that this is the wish of the Jews of
the world, and the League of Nations in selecting a Mandatory will follow
as far as possible the popular wish of the people concerned.
The preference on the part of the Jews
for a British Trusteeship is unquestionably the result of the peculiar
relationship of England to the Jewish Palestinian problem. The return of
the Jews to Zion has not only been a remarkable feature in English literature,
but in the domain of statecraft it has played its part, beginning with
the readmission of the Jews under Cromwell. It manifested itself particularly
in the nineteenth century in the instructions given to British Consular
representatives in the Orient after the Damascus incident; in the various
Jewish Palestinian projects suggested by English non-Jews prior to 1881;
in the letters of endorsement and support given by members of the Royal
Family and Officers of the Government to Lawrence Oliphant; and, finally,
in the three consecutive acts which definitely associated Great Britain
with Zionism in the minds of the Jews, viz.: the El Arish offer in 1901;
the East African offer in 1903, and, lastly, the British Declaration in
favour of a Jewish National Home in Palestine in 1917. Moreover, the Jews
who have gained political experience in many lands under a great variety
of governmental systems, whole-heartedly appreciate the advanced and liberal
policies adopted by Great Britain in her modern colonial administration.
It may be stated without doubt that all
of these things account for the attitude taken by the Jews with reference
to the Trusteeship, as evidenced by the following:-
On December 16th, 1918, the American Jewish
Congress composed of delegates representing 3,000,000 American Jews adopted
the following resolution:
"The American Jewish Congress instruct
their delegation to Europe to co-operate with representatives of other
Jewish Organisations and specifically with the World Zionist Organisation,
to the end that the Peace Conference may recognise the aspirations and
historic claims of the Jewish people with regard to Palestine, and declare
that, in accordance with the British Government's Declaration of November
2nd, 1917, endorsed by the Allied Governments and the President of the
United States, there shall be established such political administrative
and economic conditions in Palestine, as will assure under the trusteeship
of Great Britain, acting on behalf of such League of Nations as may be
formed, the development of Palestine into a Jewish Commonwealth; it being
clearly understood that nothing shall be done which shall prejudice the
civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,
or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in other countries."
Similar action was taken in Jaffa in the
month of December, 1918, by a conference of representatives of the Jewish
population in Palestine, and on January 4th, 1919, by Jewish Congresses
representing about two million Jews of the reconstituted States of Austria-Hungary
and of Poland.
The boundaries outlined are what we consider
essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country. Palestine
must have its natural outlets to the seas and the control of its rivers
and their headwaters. The boundaries are sketched with the general economic
needs and historic traditions of the country in mind, factors which necessarily
must also be considered by the Special Commission in fixing the definite
boundary lines. This Commission will bear in mind that it is highly desirable,
in the interests of economical administration, that the geographical area
of Palestine should be as large as possible, so that it may eventually
contain a large and thriving population which could more easily bear the
burdens of modem civilised government than a small country with a necessary
limitation of inhabitants.
The economic life of Palestine, like that
of every other semi-arid country, depends on the available water supply.
It is, therefore, of vital importance not only to secure all water resources
already feeding the country, but also to be able to conserve and control
them at their sources. "
The Hermon is Palestine's real "Father
of Waters," and cannot be severed from it without striking at the very
root of its economic life. The Hermon not only needs re-afforestation but
also other works before it can again adequately serve the water reservoir
the country. It must therefore, be wholly under the control of those who
will most willingly as well as most adequately restore it its maximum utility.
Some international arrangement must be made whereby the riparian rights
of the people dwelling south of the Litani River may be fully protected.
Properly cared for, these headwaters can be made to serve in the development
of the Lebanon as well as of Palestine.
The fertile plains east of the jordan,
since the earliest Biblical times, have been linked economically and politically
with the land west of the Jordan. The country which is now very sparsely
populated, in Roman times supported a great population. It could now serve
admirably for colonisation on a large scale. A just regard for the economic
needs of Palestine and Arabia demands that free access to the Hedjaz Railway
throughout its length be accorded both Governments.
An intensive development of the agriculture
and other opportunities of Trans-Jordania make it imperative that Palestine
shall have access to the Red Sea and an opportunity of developing good
harbours on the Gulf of Akaba. Akaba, it will be recalled, was the terminus
of an important trade route of Palestine from the days of Solomon onwards.
The ports developed in the Gulf of Akaba should be free ports through which
the commerce of the Hinterland may pass--on the same principle which guides
us in suggesting that free access be given to the Hedjaz Railway.
In every part of the world on the Day of Atonement
the Jews pray that "all nations may be united by a common bond, so that
the will of God may reign supreme throughout the world." In the fulfilment
of this prayer, the Jews hope that they will be able to take an honourable
place in the new community of nations. It is their purpose to establish
in Palestine a government dedicated to social and national justice; a government
that shall be guided, like the community of old, by that justice and equality
which is expressed in the great precept of our Lawgiver: "There shall be
but one law for you and the stranger in the land."
All of which is respectfully submitted.
This page was produced by Joseph
ROTHSCHILD (LORD WALTER ROTHSCHILD).
On behalf of the Zionist Organisation,
On behalf of Zionist Organisation of America,
JULIAN W. MACK.
STEPHEN S. WISE.
JACOB DE HAAS.
On behalf of the Russian Zionist Organisation,
On behalf of the Jewish Population of
Palestine in accordance with Mandate received,
Middle Eastern Political and Religious
Brooklyn, New York
to a friend
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