Monday, 27 September 2010

The New Palestine Plan May 20, 1939

This is taken from The New Statesman, May 20, 1939.

The story of Palestine in the last twenty years is one of high hopes, of considerable achievment and of bitter disappointment. In accepting the Mandate we were undertaking a difficult but inspiring experiment - an experiment in nation making. The Palestinian Mandate, like other "A" class Mandates, required the Mandatory Power to fit its wards for self-government. But, unlike any other Mandate, it was complicated by the incorporation of another responsibility - the establishment in the country of  "a National Home for the Jewish people." Nor was that all . We started under the handicap of having during the war given pledges to Arabs and Jews, which, if they were not fundamentally incompatible, were likely to lead, as they have in fact led, to acute controversy and to open conflict. The Arabs objected from the outset both to the Mandate and to the Balfour Declaration. The Jews naturally acclaimed the new project, though there were different views amongst them as to how it was to be carried out and what it was ultimately to mean. The British Government, in the pride and confidence born of victory, entered cheerfully on its duties, and public opinion in general supported it.
The task was, as we saw it then , the making of a united Palestinian nation - the welding of two peoples into one, the harmonising of eastern and western civilisation, the creation of a State in which Arabs and Jews, whilst keeping their own culture, their own language and religion, would have common political and economic interests, ....

Over seventy years on. Depressed?