100 years of the Weizmann-Faisal Agreement (1919) in which King Feisal accepted the Balfour Declaration
by Ezequiel Doiny
In January 2019, just in about 4 months, the Faisal-Weizmann agreement will reach its 100th birthday. The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement between Jews and Arabs was signed on January 3rd, 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference. The Jews were represented by Chaim Weizmann, President of the Zionist Organization, the Arabs by Emir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who signed the agreement as a representative for the Arabs. Both wished to set up their own nations in land captured from the Ottoman Empire during WWI.
Emir Faisal and Chaim Weizmann agreed to cooperate against the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, which divided Ottoman land into British and French spheres of influence and gave Syria to the French. Faisal was afraid that the French would try to take over Syria and he hoped Damascus (not Jerusalem) would be the capital of the Arab Kingdom promised by the British.
When signing the agreement during the Paris Conference in 1919 Emir Faisal declared “We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilized peoples of the world.”
In the Weizmann-Faisal agreement Emir Faisal, representative of the Arabs, expressed approval for the Balfour declaration and Jewish settlement in Palestine in exchange for support in the creation of an independent Arab State in part of the land captured from the Ottoman Empire during WWI.
The Weizmann-Faisal agreement declares “In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantees for carrying into effect the British Government’s Declaration of the 2nd of November, 1917 (Balfour Declaration-SEH).
All necessary measures will be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil”
George Antonius, The Arab Awakening, 1938, pp. 437-439.
Emir Faisal’s family were given three Kingdoms in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in land that that had been part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years from 1517 to 1918 for a period longer than America has existed (America has been independent since 1776 for 242 years):
-Emir Faisal was appointed King of Iraq,
– Emil Faisal’s father Sharif Husayn (the Sharif of Mecca) became the King of Saudi Arabia after its independence from the Ottoman Empire during WWI,
-Emil Faisal’s brother Abdullah was appointed King of Jordan.
Although the Arabs were given three Kingdoms carved out from Ottoman’s land, Emir Faisal betrayed the Weizmann-Faisal agreement after him and his family were appointed kings declaring that: “Faisal’s preferred solution to the “Palestine Question”, which he admitted might not be practical at the moment was for a federation that would unite Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine under his leadership.”
Masalha, N “Faisal’s Pan-Arabism, 1921-33” pages 679-693 from Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 27, Issue # 4, October 1991 page 684.
Ezequiel Doiny is author of “Obama’s assault on Jerusalem’s Western Wall”