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Palestine and the Secret Treaties

  • Victor Kattan (a1)

Extract

The Sykes-Picot agreement is the foremost example of Western double-dealing in the Middle East since the discovery of oil. The agreement, formalized in an exchange of notes between the British Foreign Secretary and the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom in London, is named after its principal negotiators Sir Mark Sykes (1879-1919) and Georges-Picot (1870-1951). As one of several overlapping arrangements affecting the postwar settlement in West Asia secretly negotiated during the First World War, the agreement provided for the division of the region into spheres of influence comprised of nominally independent Arab states under the “tutelage” of British and French advisers.

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Copyright

References

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1 See Antonius, George, The Arab Awakening: The Story of the Arab National Movement 248 (1938).

2 See The Husayn-McMahon letters, July 1915-March 1916, in 3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict 521 (Moore, John Norton ed., 1974).

3 Id. at 11, para. 4.

4 Id. at 12.

5 Id. at 11.

6 See South-west Asia: Middle East. Map illustrating Territorial Negotiations between H.M.G. [His Majesty’s Government] and King Husein 1918. MFQ 1/357. TNA.

7 Id.

8 See Fitzgerald, Edward Peter, France’s Middle Eastern Ambitions, the Sykes-Picot Negotiations, and the Oil Fields of Mosul, 1915-1918, 66 J. Mod. Hist. 713 (1994).

9 Mitchell, Timothy, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil 48 (2011).

10 Id.

11 Id.

12 See Ferrier, R.W., 1 The History of the British Petroleum Company 241 (1982).

13 The word “uphold” instead of “protect” is employed in British draft of the Sykes-Picot agreement. See Baar, James, A Line in the Sand: Britain, France, and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East 91 (2011).

14 See The Sykes-Picot Agreement, May 16, 1916, in 3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict 25, para. 1 (Moore, John Norton ed., 1974).

15 See The Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917, in 3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict 3132 (Moore, John Norton ed., 1974).

16 See 4 The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl (Raphael Patai ed., 1960). See also, 2 Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, Cd. 1742, testimony of Dr. Theodore Herzl, 211-221 (1903); 1 Report of the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration With Minutes of Evidence and Appendix, Cd. 1741, especially 6, para. 37 (1903); and Balfour, A.J., 149 Parliamentary Debates, Commons, July 10, 1905 , col. 155.

17 See Herzl’s diary entry in 4 The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl 1473-1474. See also, Rabinowicz, Oskar K., New Light on the East Africa Scheme, in The Rebirth of Israel: A Memorial Tribute to Paul Goodman 7879 (Cohen, Israel ed., 1952) (on Lloyd George’s role in the Uganda scheme). See further, Lloyd George’s draft of the Jewish Colonization Scheme for East Africa in Africa (East) Jewish Settlement 1903 and accompanying correspondence in FO 2/785 TNA.

18 See clauses 5 and 7 of The Sykes-Picot Agreement, supra note 14, at 26.

19 See BAAR, supra note 13, at 32-35.

20 See Balfour’s memorandum to the British Foreign Secretary, Curzon, August 11, 1919, in Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, 345 (Woodward, E.L. & Butler, Rohan eds., 1952).

21 See Moore, supra note 2, at 25-26 (emphasis added).

22 See The Hogarth Message, January 1918, in 3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict 3334 (Moore, John Norton ed., 1974).

23 Id. at 34.

24 Id.

25 See The Anglo-French Declaration of November 7, 1918, in 3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict 3738 (Moore, John Norton ed., 1974).

26 See Covenant of the League of Nations art. 22.

27 Id.

28 See Baar, supra note 13, at 37-47.

* The “Declaration of October, 1915” was a reference to the letter sent from McMahon to the Sharif saying that Britain was prepared to recognize the independence of the Arab countries.

29 See 50 Parliamentary Debates, Lords, 21 June 1922, cols. 994-1034.

30 See Articles 2, 4, 6, and 7 of the British Mandate of Palestine in Annex 391, 3 L.N.O.J. 1007-1012 (1922).

31 See League of Nations, Permanent Mandates Commission, Minutes of the Thirty-Second (Extraordinary) Session devoted to Palestine, held at Geneva from July 30th to August 18th, 1937, including the Report of the Commission to the Council, Official No. C.330. M.222. 1937. VI, pp. 178-179 (Mr. Ormsby-Gore).

32 Baar, supra note 13, at 80 (Lloyd George describing Arab help as “essential”).

33 5 Foreign Relations of the United States 1-14 (1919).

34 5 Foreign Relations of the United States 807–812 (1919). See also, Proceedings of a Meeting, War Office, 29 October 1919 to discuss reconnaissance for an oil-pipe line across the Arabian Desert in Political, Turkey Files, 1919-1920, FO 371/4231 TNA.

35 See Susan Pedersen, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire 272-274 (2015).

36 Mitchell, supra note 9, at 102-103.

37 On the decision to grant Mesopotamia independence in 1932 see Pedersen, supra note 35, at 261-286. Faisal’s grandson Faisal II of Iraq was murdered by Iraqi nationalists in 1958 ending Hashemite rule in Iraq.

38 See Mitchell, supra note 9, at 104 citing Zachary Lockman, Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Pales Tine 1906-1948, 243 (1996).

39 See Appendix A in Antonius, supra note 1, at 413-427.

40 See Report of a Committee Set Up to Consider Certain Correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and the Sharif of Mecca in 1915 and 1916, Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, March 1939, Command Papers 5974.

41 See Juridical Basis of the Arab Claim to Palestine, December 21, 1938, Political Eastern, Palestine and Transjordan (1939), FO 371/23219 TNA.

42 Letter to H. F. Downie, Esq. OBE, Colonial Office, January 19, 1939, (E6/6/31), FO 371/23219 TNA.

43 See Antonius, supra note 1, at 248.

44 As Azzam Tamimi explains, with the sole exception of Yasser Arafat, all the other Founding Fathers of Fateh in 1959 were members of the brotherhood. See Azzam Tamimi, Hamas: Unwritten Chapters 18, note 18 (2007). During the first intifada, the Palestine branch of the brotherhood established Hamas.

45 Id. at 169.

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Palestine and the Secret Treaties

  • Victor Kattan (a1)

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