The Legal Veracity of the Balfour Declaration

Amb. Alan Baker

Copy of the Balfour Declaration sent to Lord Walter Rothschild, November 2, 1917

With the 2017 centenary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration,1 which acknowledged the right of the Jewish people to their national homeland in Palestine, the international community is witnessing a highly orchestrated attempt by the Arab League and the Palestinian leadership to question its legal veracity.

This campaign is one of the means of manipulation of the international community used by the Palestinian leadership to cast doubt and undermine the historic and legal basis and rights of the Jews in the area.

Sadly, and completely at odds with history and international law, this campaign appears to be receiving support from other countries.

In the context of the Balfour Declaration centenary, the Palestinian leadership called on the Arab League at its September 2016 summit meeting in Nouakchott, Mauritania, to institute “an international criminal case for the crime committed against our nation by the UK for issuing the Balfour Declaration.”2

The Palestinian leadership launched a “Balfour Apology Campaign” with a disturbing statement to the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2016, in which Mahmoud Abbas stated:

100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.3

Abbas went on to formally demand an apology from the UK for issuing the Balfour Declaration.4

In October 2016, the UK-based “Palestinian Return Centre,” a group affiliated with the Hamas terror organization and acknowledged by the UN as an official NGO (non-government organization), hosted a public seminar in the British House of Lords, condemning the Balfour Declaration and reiterating the call for a British apology.

Was the Declaration Legal?

This campaign has given rise to a number of questions regarding the legal veracity of the Balfour Declaration and its continued relevance and status today in the context of the Israel-Palestinian dispute.

Perhaps the basic question is the legally binding nature of the document, since it was clearly not, in and of itself, an international agreement, but a letter acknowledging and declaring a national commitment by the British government, issued by the British Foreign Secretary to the Jewish leadership of the day in Palestine.

The following points sum up the international legal status of the document:

  1. International law and practice have consistently recognized and accepted unilateral declarations officially issued, considered binding as far as the government is concerned.
  2. This practice was recently codified by the International Law Commission in its 2006 “Guiding Principles applicable to unilateral declarations of States capable of creating legal obligations.”5
  3. Citing several examples of unilateral declarations issued over the years by heads of state and foreign ministers as indicative of their authors’ intention to commit themselves internationally. The International Law Commission determined that such public declarations create legal obligations to be respected by other states.
  4. The legal effect of a declaration is determined by its content, the factual circumstances in which it was made and the reactions to which it gave rise. The historic circumstances prevalent in 1917, the clear intention of Britain in issuing the Declaration, as well as the subject-matter of the Declaration – establishing a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine – are all indicative of the intention that the Declaration would be considered binding.

On March 28, 1921, British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill was challenged over the Balfour Declaration by a former mayor of Jerusalem, Mousa Kazim el Husseini. Churchill responded:

Our position in this country is based upon the events of the war, ratified, as they have been, by the treaties signed by the victorious Powers. I thought, when listening to your statements, that it seemed that the Arabs of Palestine had overthrown the Turkish Government. That is the reverse of the true facts. It has been the armies of Britain which have liberated these regions.

Winston Churchill in doorway receiving Mousa Kasim Pasha el Husseini at reception at Government House, Jerusalem. Emir Abdullah of Jordan stands on the left behind Mrs. Churchill. (Library of Congress)

5. The fourth principle states “a unilateral declaration binds the State internationally only if it is made by authority vested with the power to do so. By virtue of their functions, heads of State, heads of Government and ministers for foreign affairs are competent to formulate such declarations.” As such, the Balfour Declaration, issued by the British Foreign Secretary, clearly represents the formal and official authority of the British government and voiced a very precise intention of the British government as to the character and governance of Palestine.

6. The International Law Commission principles endorse the obligatory nature of unilateral declaration once accepted by other states. Since the Balfour Declaration was subsequently incorporated by the international community into binding international treaties, and as such accepted by states, its obligatory character became all the more evident. By the same token, having created legal obligations, such a declaration cannot be arbitrarily revoked.
The subsequent incorporation of the Balfour Declaration into international multilateral instruments further solidified its internationally binding nature. This is evidenced in the following instruments:

  1. In the San Remo Declaration, dated April 25, 1920,6 the Allied Powers – Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, together with the United States as a neutral observer and the Jewish leadership in Palestine – confirmed the pledge contained in the Balfour Declaration concerning the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

It was agreed to include in the League of Nations mandate the following provision:

The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, 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.

2. The League of Nations Mandate, dated July 24, 1922, entrusted to Great Britain the powers of Mandatory over the territory of Palestine.7

The Council of the League of Nations, composed of Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan as permanent members, and Belgium, Brazil, Greece, and Spain as non-permanent members, stated in the preambular provisions:

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might 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; and

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.

The Mandate was subsequently approved by all 52 members of the League of Nations.

3. UN Charter, Article 80

Recognizing the need to ensure the continuation of the rights derived from the Mandate, even after the expiry of the League of Nations in 1946, Article 80 of the UN Charter, often referred to as the “Palestine Clause,” states in the context of the International Trusteeship System:

…nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.8

This article was drafted further to representations by the Jewish leadership at the San Francisco conference, in order to protect both the existing rights of states, as well as those of “any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

In light of the above, there can be absolutely no doubt that the 1917 Balfour Declaration was a legally binding document, properly issued by the authorized representative of the British government, conveying a clear intention regarding the rights of the Jewish People to territory of Palestine, and subsequently accepted and adopted by the international community in the framework of international treaties.

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Amb. Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.


Israel’s president invites Royal Family to Israel for Balfour Declaration centenary

Reuven Rivlin extended the Royal invite to mark 100-years since Britain formally issued support for a Jewish state

By Stephen Oryszczuk

The Prince of Wales visiting his grandmother on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Princess Alice of Greece’s, final resting place in Jerusalem for the first time. @ClarenceHouse/PA

Israel’s president has invited the Royal Family to visit Israel to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

President Reuven Rivlin conveyed the message to visiting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, saying: “This is a very important year in the history of the relations between Israel and the UK.”
During the two men’s meeting in Jerusalem, Rivlin added: “We will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and I am greatly honoured to extend an official invitation to the Royal family to visit Israel to mark this event.”
Last year, Prince Charles travelled to Jerusalem for the funeral of Rivlin’s predecessor Shimon Peres, where he met Israel’s current president after the service.
Were the Queen and Prince Philip to visit, it is likely that they would attend the grave of Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was recognised as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ by Yad Vashem for sheltering Jewish refugees in Athens. She is buried at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “We would sincerely hope that the invitation from the President of Israel is welcomed and accepted by those who advise the Royal Family on foreign visits.”
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said: “It is not only high time but well beyond time for a Royal visit to Israel. I have been extremely proactive in advocating that a visit should happen.”


Alan Dershowitz: Israel Does Not Cause Antisemitism

By Alan Dershowitz: In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel’s fault that there is “growing anti-Semitism around the world.” Balfour — who is a descendant of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago — wrote the following: “the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world.” He argued further that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “owes it to the millions of Jews around the world” who suffer antisemitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic, in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end antisemitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing antisemitism.

Roderick Balfour’s views are simply wrong, both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews “around the world” because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext. Modern-day antisemites, unlike their forbears, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse de jure.

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To prove the point, let us consider other countries: Has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China’s occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey’s unwillingness to end the conflict in Cyprus? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia’s invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the antisemites rather than on the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Moreover, Benjamin Netanyahu’s responsibility is to the safety and security of Israelis. Even if it were true that antisemitism is increasing as the result of Israeli policies, no Israeli policy should ever be decided based on the reaction of bigots around the world. Antisemitism, the oldest of bigotries, will persist as long as it is seen to be justified by apologists like Roderick Balfour. Though Balfour does not explicitly justify antisemitism, the entire thrust of his letter is that Jew-hatred is at least understandable in light of Israel’s policies.

Balfour doesn’t say a word about the unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to accept Israel’s repeated offers of statehood. From 1938 through 2008, the Palestinians have been offered and have repeatedly rejected agreements that would have given them statehood. Even today, the Palestinian leadership refuses to accept Netanyahu’s offer to sit down and negotiate a final status agreement without any pre-conditions. Nor does Balfour mention Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorists groups that constantly threaten Israel, along with Iran’s publicly declared determination to destroy the state that Lord Balfour helped to create.

It’s all Israel’s fault, according to Balfour, and the resulting increase in antisemitism is Israel’s fault, as well.

Roderick Balfour ends his letter by essentially joining the boycott movement against Israel. He has declared his unwillingness to participate in the Centenary Celebration of the Balfour Declaration, until and unless Israel takes unilateral action to end the conflict. So be it. I am confident that the author of the Balfour Declaration would have willingly participated in this celebration, recognizing that no country in history has ever contributed more to the world – in terms of medical, technological, environmental and other innovations — in so short a period of time (69 years) than has Israel. Nor has any country, faced with comparable threats, ever been more generous in its offers of peace, more committed to the Rule of Law or more protective of civilians who are used as human shields by those who attack its own civilians.

So let the Celebration of the Balfour Declaration go forward without the participation of Roderick Balfour. Let Israel continue to offer a peaceful resolution to its conflict with the Palestinians. And let the Palestinians finally come to the bargaining table, and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in the way that the Balfour Declaration intended.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, and author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law and Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for the Unaroused Voter. This article was previously published by the Gatestone Institute.

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We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

By Yaffa Abadi: It is a scary and somewhat daunting phrase that captures the truth about many aspects of interpersonal relationships. When it comes to the Jewish people as a unit, this too rings true. Most of the time our own worst enemy is, in fact, ourselves.

As the century mark of the Balfour Declaration is coming along, I have become engrossed in researching the process that led to the Declaration and what we can learn from it up until today. To me, this seems like a prime example where the Jews of the diaspora came together as a unit to fight for the continued existence of the Jewish people. But, as my research expands, a certain name keeps coming up. A thorn in the rosebush of this Jewish unity.

His name was Edwin Montague and in my mind, he represents one the biggest problems facing world jewry to this very day. Montague was the single Jew working in the British Cabinet during World War One and his family was one of the most prominent and influential families in British and Jewish affairs. With such a seemingly large influence in the secular world, you would assume that obviously this was a huge positive for the Jews at the time. One foot in the door of British politics!

Think again.

Montague was one of the most staunch anti-Zionists around, making it his life’s work to resist Zionist endeavors. In his writings, he makes his views clear, claiming ‘Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom.

His attitude towards the Zionist movement came to life when he used his influence to try put an end to one of the most important letters leading up to the establishment of Israel and what led me to Montague in the first place – the Balfour Declaration. He tried his very best to stop this meaningful Declaration from being accepted. However when he saw that this was not possible, he was sure to add phrases that blurred the lines and added a sense of ambiguity about the nature of the homeland that the Jewish people would eventually receive.

Montague is an example in history that parallels some of the biggest threats we have today. From the anti-Israel Neturei Karta ‘a group of Orthodox Jews which rejects Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. based off of their supposed religious ideals, to extreme left movements such as J Street who parade as Zionist organisations but whose actions, such as drawing parallels between Israel and Hamas and constantly condemning Israel’s protective efforts, proves it to be another Jewish movement that can act as a magnet to anti-Zionists.

While the size of movements such as these may not be large, any sort of threat coming from within our own people is something the Jewish Nation has suffered from the most throughout our history as a nation.

Going back to ancient times, we are reminded of the story of Kamsa and Bar Kamsa. A petty argument between these two Jewish men which led to the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash (temple). This cruel destruction of our most Holy temple did not begin from an outer force, but rather from the hatred that was bred within the Jewish community.

It is strikingly clear that while, as Jews living in Israel, we face many threats from outer forces, one of our worst enemies is none other than ourselves. From the biblical times, seen throughout our history and highlighted with Montague’s involvement in the Balfour declaration, this threat of Jews against Israel is very real still today and must be countered by remaining loyal and united even in the face of our differences.

Let us learn from our mistakes, and take action to ensure the continuity of our people. Let us look forward to celebrating the century mark of the Balfour Declaration as a symbol where our unity as a Jewish nation overcame all.

People take part in the 51st annual Israel parade in Manhattan, New York May 31, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz.


Lord Rothschild discusses cousin’s crucial role in ‘miracle’ Balfour Declaration

Speaking ahead of the 67-word letter’s centenary, Jacob Rothschild describes the historic declaration which paved the way for Israel’s existence

By Stephen Oryszczuk: The current and fourth Lord Rothschild has described the Balfour Declaration that helped pave the way for the creation of Israel as a “miracle” and revealed new details about his cousin Dorothea’s crucial role.

Speaking ahead of the 67-word letter’s centenary, they are his first ever public comments on the show of support from then-foreign secretary Lord Balfour to the second Lord Rothschild, his eccentric uncle Walter, and were made in a rare TV interview with former Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub as part of the Balfour 100 project.

Jacob Rothschild, 80, head of the family’s banking dynasty, said the declaration of support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine went through five drafts before finally being penned on 2 November 1917, adding: “It was the greatest event in Jewish life for thousands of years, a miracle… It took 3,000 years to get to this.”

The way it was achieved was extraordinary, he said. “It was the most incredible piece of opportunism. You had an impoverished would-be scientist, Chaim Weizmann, who somehow gets to England, meets a few people, including members of my family, seduces them, he has such charm and conviction, he gets to Balfour, and unbelievably, he persuades Lord Balfour, and Lloyd George, the prime minister, and most of the ministers, that this idea of a national home for Jews should be allowed to take place. I mean it’s so, so unlikely.”

Lord Rothschild

The letter “changed the course of history for the Middle East and the Jewish people,” said Taub, who interviewed Rothschild at Waddeston Manor in Buckinghamshire, a country pile bequeathed to the nation by the family in 1957, where the Declaration is kept.

It was written to Walter Rothschild, a naturalist and collector, who was first and foremost interested in ornithology (the study of birds), said Jacob, and a “deeply eccentric man who rode around Tring Park on giant tortoises and whose carriage was pulled by zebras.

Walter only became interested in Zionism in later life, but Rothschild said he had been “deeply committed to Israel since the 1960s and have been there every year since”.

However, he said his family at the time was divided on the idea of Israel, noting that some members “didn’t think it was a good thing that this national home be established there”.

He also revealed for the first time the role of his cousin Dorothy de Rothschild, who acted as a critical go-between while still in her teens. Describing her as “devoted to Israel,” Rothschild said: “What she did, which was crucially important, was to connect Weizmann to the British establishment, and extraordinarily, she told Weizmann how to integrate, how to insert himself into British establishment life, which he learned very quickly.”

Her letters, which are stored at Waddeston, detail her later dealings with a range of Zionist leaders, and her advice on the organisation of the Zionist Conference, and Rothschild said she had a profound effect on him, introducing him to Israel and the family’s philanthropic foundation in 1962.


Balfour Descendant Touts 2-State Solution, Marking 1917 Edict’s Centennial

By Tamara Zieve

Descendant of signatory of Balfour Declaration sends special message to conference, which marks 100 years since historic letter sent.

Windsor – The 5th earl of Balfour Roderick Balfour expressed hope that a two-state solution could be achieved this year, as he conveyed pride in his family’s legacy, the centenary of which was celebrated at Limmud FSU in Windsor this weekend.

The Balfour Declaration, dated November 2, 1917, was sent by Lord Roderick Balfour’s relative, former British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild. It expressed Britain’s support for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Israel.

The text of the letter was incorporated into the Treaty of Sevres with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine.

“I am very honored to hear that an element of your symposium will be a commemoration of the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration,” Balfour said in a special message to the conference, which was read out during a festive gala on Saturday night.

An exhibition about the Balfour Declaration was displayed throughout the event (the first Limmud FSU ever to be held in Europe), which drew some 700 Russian-speaking Jews to the UK from more than 20 European countries for three days of intensive Jewish learning.

“My family is very proud of the importance to Jewish people everywhere of this initiative by the British government of the day,” the letter read. “The relevance to you all here today is that the imperative for it stemmed from the appalling Russian pogroms at the turn of the 20th century. Thus, and this what we are most proud of, the declaration was first and foremost a humanitarian act trying repatriate a talented but much-persecuted people to the land of the original Judaic roots.”

In October, a campaign was launched at an event hosted at the British Parliament’s House of Lords, calling on the UK to apologize for the declaration. A petition for a British apology and compensation for the Palestinians garnered only 1,278 supporters, failing to meet the 10,000 signatures in six months required to merit a response from the Parliament. Balfour described blaming the declaration for political turmoil in the Middle East as “over-simplistic.”

“The borders imposed by Sykes-Picot were never going to be fit for purpose and nobody in 1917 could have foreseen the Holocaust or the extraordinarily high birth rate among the Palestinians in recent decades,” his letter read.

“How much more we could celebrate the centenary if we saw a two-state solution emerge this year, which in effect would bring closure on one of the central tenets of the declaration,” he concluded.

During the event, Limmud FSU bestowed an Honorary Balfour Declaration Award upon Board of Deputies of British Jews President Jonathan Arkush for his contributions to British Jewry.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Roderick Balfour was the great-grandson of Lord Balfour.


British PM hails ‘remarkable, tolerant’ Israel, slams anti-Semitism in Labour

In speech to Conservative Friends of Israel, Theresa May calls Balfour Declaration ‘one of the most important letters in history’

In a speech overflowing with praise and support, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday hailed the State of Israel as “a remarkable country” and “a beacon of tolerance,” said UK ties with Israel were “crucial,” promised to raise the bilateral trade relationship to new heights, and described the Balfour Declaration as “one of the most important letters in history.”

In an address to her Conservative Party’s Friends of Israel, May also castigated the opposition Labour Party for “turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism.”

The speech at a CFI luncheon, which received a standing ovation from the 800 guests, underlined May’s ongoing support of Israel, maintaining the approach of successive Conservative prime ministers — and contrasting with the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, a relentless critic of the Jewish state.

As the UK forges “a new role for itself on the world stage,” in the wake of its decision to leave the European Union, May said it would seek to be “open, outward-looking, optimistic” and that “Israel will be crucial to us as we do that.” This, she said, was “because I believe our two countries have a great deal in common. As the (Israeli) ambassador Mark Regev said, we have common values; we work together, on health, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, technology; and we can help each other achieve our aims.”

May firmly rebutted the so-called BDS movement against Israel, declaring: “I couldn’t be clearer: The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is wrong, it is unacceptable, and this party and this government will have no truck with those who subscribe to it.”

She said she planned to “take our trading and investing relationship with Israel to the next level,” and noted that several ministers would visit Israel in the coming year.

Ahead of 2017’s centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the establishment of modern Israel, May said the UK was entering a “special time,” and highlighted that the Declaration was signed by a Conservative foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour. “It is one of the most important letters in history,” she declared. “It demonstrates Britain’s vital role in creating a homeland for the Jewish people. And it is an anniversary we will be marking with pride.”

The Balfour Declaration (Wikipedia)

Addressing concerns about anti-Semitism in the UK, the prime minister said it “has no place in politics and no place in this country… It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. And it is disgusting that these twisted views are being found in British politics.”

May announced that the UK was now adopting an internationally backed charity’s formal definition of anti-Semitism in a “ground-breaking step towards eradicating anti-Semitism.” (The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s, IHRA, an intergovernmental organization backed by 31 countries, agreed to a definition in May it hopes will become widely adopted globally.)

This move, she said, means that “there will be one definition of anti-Semitism — in essence, language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. And anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”

British opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) sits in the audience ahead of the Labour leadership announcement, during the Labour Party Leadership Conference in Liverpool on September 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

In reference to Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who recently sang ‘Am Yisrael Hai’ (The People of Israel Live) at a Labour Friends of Israel lunch, May said “no amount of karaoke can make up for turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism.” She added: “No matter what Labour say — or sing — they cannot ignore what has been happening in their party.”

Unlike Corbyn, Watson is a staunch supporter of Israel, and recently visited at the head of a Labour Friends delegation.

May called Israel a “remarkable country,” and elaborated: “We have, in Israel, a thriving democracy, a beacon of tolerance, an engine of enterprise, and an example to the rest of the world about how to overcome adversity and defying disadvantages”.

Recalling her visit to Israel in 2014 as home secretary, she said that “seeing isn’t just believing; it is understanding, acknowledging and appreciating… It is only when you walk through Jerusalem or Tel Aviv that you see a country where people of all religions and sexualities are free and equal in the eyes of the law… It is only when you travel across the country that you realize it is only the size of Wales — and appreciate even more the impact it has on the world.”

She added: “And it is only when you witness Israel’s vulnerability that you see the constant danger Israelis face, as I did during my visit, when the bodies of the murdered teenagers, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, were discovered.”

May noted with pleasure that CFI has “already taken 34 of the 74 Conservative MPs elected in 2015 to Israel.”

Turning to the recent decision to freeze a portion of aid that Britain gives to the Palestinian Authority pending an investigation into allegations that the PA is paying salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists, May promised that “no British taxpayers’ money will be used to make payments to terrorists or their families.” Every penny of aid must be “spent in the right places and in the right way.”

She said the UK was also looking into allocating greater funds for peaceful coexistence projects in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Regarding the peace process, May said the way to achieve a two-state solution is for “the two sides to sit down together, without preconditions.”

She also praised the UK’s Jewish community: “We should be so proud of the contribution Britain’s Jewish community’s made to our country. From business to the arts, public services to education, that contribution is exemplary,” she said.


Netanyahu denounces campaign to apologise for Balfour Declaration

Israel’s prime minister dismissed calls for Britain to say sorry for supporting the establishment of a Jewish state as ‘amazing’

Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the campaign in the UK for an apology for the Balfour Declaration – suggesting it was driven not by territorial dispute but by the very existence of the Jewish state.

The Israeli prime minister’s comments to the Jewish News came as Anglo-Jewry gears up to mark the centenary of Britain’s historic pledge and just weeks after the House of Lords launch of a campaign to push for an apology for the 1917 declaration – which he dismissed as “amazing”.

Addressing the second Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, he said: “The Balfour declaration recognised this land as the home of the Jewish people which obviously had consequences later down the line.

“But if the Palestinians are challenging 100 years later even the idea that the Jewish people have a home here you know they’re not really gung-ho on a state – a nation state for the Jewish people. It’s very revealing about the true source of this ensuring conflict.

“It’s not about territory, even though that’s an issue. It’s not about settlements, even though that’s an issue – it’s not the issue. It was never and is still not about the Palestinian state. It was always about the Jewish state. The fact there was a challenge to the Balfour declaration 100 years later tells us we haven’t come very far.”

In a tweet, Justin Cohen said:
“In answer to my question, @netanyahu denounces campaign for UK apology over Balfour Declaration as ‘amazing’ #JMS2016

Although the premier didn’t say what he will do for the centenary, Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK and the PM’s former spokesman, has previously spoken of bilateral plans to mark the occasion. A programme of events is also being finalised by the Balfour 100 Committee, comprising dozens of Jewish community and Israel organisations.

Netanyahu also used the summit to rubbish claims that Israel is facing increasing international isolation – insisting the opposite is the case.

With a diary comprising 250 meetings with presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers this year, he said: “The great powers of Asia, Africa and Latin America, they’re all coming to Israel. It’s happening at an unbelievable pace. I wish we had a little isolation because I could use the time.”

He said warmer relations were being driven by cooperation on tackling terrorism, Israel’s technological prowess and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – claiming he encourages visiting leaders to host direct talks without preconditions.

“Israel has all of a sudden become a cyber security and digital health power. We have a car industry all of a sudden. All of these countries understand that not only to protect themselves against terrorism but to seize the future – everything is becoming technologies – and Israel is a global force in technology.” He predicted that “it’s only a matter of time before this bilateral change is going to be reflected in the way countries vote in the UN”.


Why will Abbas sue Britain over the Balfour declaration but not over the creation of Jordan?

”Before WW1 the Jewish Homeland was part of the Ottoman Empire longer than America has existed. Jordan and Israel were created from Ottoman land. Why not a UNSC resolution against JORDAN? If Israel is forced to return Ottoman land why not Jordan?

Why will Abbas sue Britain over the Balfour declaration but not over the creation of Jordan?

by Ezequiel

On July 29, 2016 the Atlantic reported that “Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian National Authority president, said the Palestinian Authority would sue Britain for its support of the Balfour Declaration, a document which in 1917 laid the groundwork for Israel’s founding…”

America has existed for 240 years. The Ottoman Empire Occupied the Jewish Homeland for more than 320 years, from the early 1500s until 1922, a period longer than America has existed.

The settlements are not Illegal: Israel has as much claim to Ottoman Land as Jordan. Israel and Jordan were both created from Ottoman Land, if there is no UNSC resolution demanding Jordan to return Ottoman land, there cannot be a UNSC resolution demanding Israel to return Ottoman Land.

The land was part of the Ottoman Empire before WW1. Why would there be a UNSC resolution against Israel but not one demanding Jordan to return occupied Ottoman land?

If there is a UNSC resolution against Israel, there must also be one against Jordan. “Why exclude Jordan? Jordan was created in British Mandate Palestine, must be part of the solution. Jordan’s Queen is Palestinian, the next King will the son of a Palestinian, most of the population is Palestinian, …”

Part 1

The Muslim Colonists (First published by Ezequiel Doiny in Gatestone Institute)

The current Palestinian narrative is that all Muslims in Palestine are natives and all Jews are settlers. This narrative is false. There has been a small but almost continuous Jewish presence in Palestine since the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome two thousand years ago, and, as we will see, most of the Muslims living in Palestine when the state of Israel was declared in 1948 were Muslim colonists from other parts of the Ottoman Empire who had been resettled and living in Palestine for fewer than 60 years.

There are two important historical events usually overlooked in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

One is the use that Muslim rulers made of the jizya (a discriminatory tax imposed only on non-Muslims, to “protect” them from being killed or having their property destroyed) to reduce the quantity of Jews living in Palestine before the British Mandate was instituted in 1922. The second were the incentives by the Ottoman government to relocate displaced Muslim populations from other parts of the Ottoman Empire in Palestine.

Until the late 1800s entire ancient Jewish communities had to flee Palestine to escape the brutality of Muslim authorities. As Egyptian historian Bat Ye’or writes in her book, The Dhimmi:

“The Jizya was paid in a humiliating public ceremony in which the non-Muslim while paying was struck in the head. If these taxes were not paid women and children were reduced to slavery, men were imprisoned and tortured until a ransom was paid for them. The Jewish communities in many cities under Muslim Rule was ruined for such demands. This custom of legalized financial abuses and extortion shattered the indigenous pre-Arab populations almost totally eliminating what remained of its peasantry… In 1849 the Jews of Tiberias envisaged exile because of the brutality, exactions, and injustice of the Muslim authorities. In addition to ordinary taxes, an Arab Sheik that ruled Hebron demanded that Jews pay an extra five thousand piastres annually for the protections of their lives and property. The Sheik threatened to attack and expel them from Hebron if it was not paid.”

The Muslim rulers not only kept the number of Jews low through discriminatory taxes, they also increased the Muslim population by providing incentives for Muslim colonists to settle in the area. Incentives included free land, 12 years exemption from taxes and exemption from military service.

Bat Ye’or continues:

“By the early 1800s the Arab population in Palestine was very little (just 246,000) it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s that most Muslim Colonists settled in Palestine because of incentives by the Ottoman Government to resettle displaced Muslim populations because of events such as the Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War and World War 1. Those events created a great quantity of Muslim Refugees that were resettled somewhere else in the Ottoman Empire… In 1878 an Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to Muslim colonists. Muslim colonists from Crimea and the Balkans settled in Anatolia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.”

Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, writing in his Annotated Map, “Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire,” also notes that there were about five million Muslims displaced due to the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War, Balkan wars, the Turkish war of independence and World War I.

Sergio DellaPergola, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in his paper “Demography in Israel/Palestine: Trends, Prospects and Policy Implications,” provides estimates of the population of Palestine in different periods. As the demographic data below shows, most Muslims living in Palestine in 1948 when the State of Israel was created had been living there for fewer than 60 years:

1890: Arab Population 432,000

1947: Arab Population 1,181,000

Growth in Arab population from 1890 to 1947: 800,000

The Yazidi in Iraq and the Christian Copts in Egypt are not “settlers” and “occupiers;” neither are the Jews in Israel. They are victims of a common enemy that seems to want a Middle East free of non-Muslims.

Part 2

(Article first published by Ezequiel Doiny in in November 2015)

“Before World War I Palestine was a part of the province of Southern Syria in the Ottoman Empire. In 1916, before WWI ended, the British and the French signed the secret Sikes-Pikot agreement defining their proposed spheres of influence in the Middle East if they won the war. According to the agreement, France was allocated to Northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, while the British would rule over Palestine and southern Iraq.

In 1920, following the provision of the Mandate to France and Britain at San Remo, the UK took control of British Mandate Palestine (Mandatory Palestine) in what is today Israel and Jordan, land captured from the Ottoman Empire.

The McMahon-Hussein correspondence (1915) reveals details of a secret deal between Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner of the UK in Egypt, and the Sharif of Mecca, Hussain Bin Ali, by which the British would give control of lands captured from the Ottoman Empire to the Arabs (Palestine was included within the boundaries that were proposed by Hussein) if the Arabs assisted the British in fighting the Turks during WWI.

In 1921 the UK created the Emirate of Transjordan (Jordan) in the land of Mandatory Palestine East from the Jordan river and appointed Abdullah, son of the Shariff of Mecca, as King of Jordan. (Brittain also appointed Abdullah’s brother Faisal as King of Iraq). Jordan was officially under British Mandate Palestine and obtained independence in 1946.

In 1967 British General Glubb explained the reason for the Balfour Declaration in an address he gave in the Middle East Institute in Washington (“The Arab-Israeli Impass” (Khadduri, 1968)): “In 1917 Russia made peace with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and in autum of 1917 Britain and France realized that in the spring of 1918 all the Central Powers would turn on them. And this was the absolute crisis of the War…so in the Autumn of 1917 they decided something had to be done to get the US into the war before they were exhausted. And from the documents that we now have available we see that it was thought that the Balfour Declaration would bring the US into the war…”

The British issued the Balfour Declaration because they needed American Support in WWI, they used American support for Israel to save themselves during WWI and after they won the war they betrayed Israel (and America). In 1948 when the British Mandate of Palestine ended and the Jewish State of Israel was created, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt (all puppet Kingdoms from the UK) attacked the newborn Jewish State. Most of the officers of the Jordanian Arab Legion were British:

Command (under British General John Bagot Glubb),

Divisional Headquarters (under Brigadier Lash), Artillery Batteries/troops (under Lt-Col Hearst),

1st Brigade (under Col. Goldie),

1st Regiment (under Lt-Col. Blackden),

3rd Regiment (under Lt-Col Newman),

3rd Brigade (under Col. Ashton),

2nd Regiment (under Maj. Slade)

(Source: Laffin (1982a), Lunt (1999), Collins & Lapierre (1972).

In 1948 General Glubb lead the Jordanian Arab Legion commanded mostly by British Officers to expel all the Jews from Hebron, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Not only they did ethnic cleansing but they destroyed dozens of ancient synagogues and 60,000 Ancient Jewish Tombstones in the Sacred Ancient Jewish Cemetery of Mount of Olives to try to erase all evidence of Jewish History in the West Bank. In 1956, after his service in Jordan, the criminal General Glubb, responsible for ethnic cleansing of Jews, was knighted by the Queen. General Glubb was appointed Knight Commander of The Order of Bath by Queen Elizabeth.

Jews returned to east Jerusalem in 1967 after Israel won a defensive war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The 1967 war ended almost 20 years of illegal Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and allowed Jews to return home. (Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria should be called Liberated Jewish Cities instead of “Settlements” since they are communities liberated by the Jewish people from Arab invaders not colonial outposts taken from native residents.)

The Palestinians did not demand to create a State in the West Bank (judea and Samaria) while it was controlled by Jordan from 1948 till 1967. They only started demanding a Palestinian State there after Jordan lost it to Israel. The same way, if all of Israel was currently being controlled by Jordan the Palestinians would not care to create a State of Palestine. The Palestinians’ main goal is not to create a Palestinian State, it is to destroy Israel, it bothers them that it is under Jewish and not under Arab rule, their goal is not to create a Palestinian State but to re-establish Muslim rule.

During the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967, Islamic Armies tried to destroy Israel but failed. Because they lost in the battle field they changed their strategy of direct military confrontation and started falsely posing as the under dog, victims of Jewish aggression to gain the sympathy of the World Powers. In reality the Palestinian are not weak, they are strong because they are part of something much bigger, the Palestinians are an integral part of the Arab Nations, a spear-head inside Israel of the dozens Islamic States that surround Israel and want its destruction.

If a Palestinian State is created in the West Bank, Hamas will take over and attack Israel from the West Bank as it does from Gaza.

The Palestinian Media Watch translated an interview by one of Hamas founders Mahmoud al-Zahar to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam in which he said “transfer what it has [in Gaza] or just a small part of it to the West Bank, we would be able to settle the battle of the final promise [to destroy Israel] with a speed that no one can imagine…[Some] have said Hamas wants to create an Islamic emirate in Gaza. We won’t do that, but we will build an Islamic state in Palestine, all of Palestine…”

After what happened in Gaza, the two-state solution is no longer feasible. The two state solution is actually a one state solution because it will enable Hamas to attack Israel from the West Bank making normal life in Israel impossible.

The Palestinians already have a State in Jordan. Since the US/EU claim the Arab-Israeli conflict can be solved though a UNSC resolution why not submit one declaring that Jordan is Palestine?

Most of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, the previous King said “Jordan is Palestine, Palestine is Jordan”. The Queen of Jordan Rania Al-Yassin was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents Faisal Sedki Al Yassin and Ilham Yassin from Tulkarm, Jordan has a Palestinian Queen, the next King of Jordan will be the son of a Palestinian. If Jordan is recognized as the Palestinian State the Arabs currently living in Israel can continue but they will be Jordanian Citizens. Jordan was also part of British Mandate Palestine, it must also be part of the solution.

Jews have been persecuted and expelled from most Middle East Countries and they managed to find refuge in Israel, a country smaller than New Jersey. reported that since 1948, 850,000 Jews have been expelled from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia,Yemen and other Middle East Countries.

The same way that in Iraq the Yazidi deserve a small area as a safe heaven where they can live in security, the same way that in Egypt the Copts deserve a small area where they can live in security, Jews deserve a safe heaven where they can live safely from Islamic aggression. After what happened in Gaza the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank became unfeasible because it will endanger Israel. The only place a Palestinian State can be created is in Jordan where the Palestinians already are the majority of the population.”

Part 3

The “Two State Solution” is not as Kerry claims the only option. There is a much better and honest option which is to recognize that the Palestinians already have a State in Jordan. Since the US/EU claim the Arab-Israeli conflict can be solved though a UNSC resolution why not submit one declaring that Jordan is Palestine?
Most of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, the previous King said “Jordan is Palestine, Palestine is Jordan”. The Queen of Jordan Rania Al-Yassin was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents Faisal Sedki Al Yassin and Ilham Yassin from Tulkarm, Jordan has a Palestinian Queen, the next King of Jordan will be the son of a Palestinian. If Jordan is recognized as the Palestinian State the Arabs currently living in Israel can continue but they will be Jordanian Citizens.

It is not honest for those who seek a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict to ignore that Jordan was also part of British Mandate Palestine. Jordan must also be part of the solution.

A UNSC declaration of “Palestine” must also include Jordanian land. Jordan was created in British Mandate Palestine. Jordan must be part of the solution. Jordan must also contribute some land.

On November 22, the Tower Magazine reported that “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly confirmed for the first time that he turned down a peace offer in 2008 that would have provided for an independent Palestinian state containing all of the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank (with land swaps), and a tunnel connecting the two areas.

Abbas made his comments in an interview on Israel’s Channel 10, which has been broadcasting a three-part series on the peace talks of 2000 and 2008. According to both Abbas and Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister in 2008, Olmert presented Abbas in September of that year with a map that delineated the borders of the future State of Palestine. Abbas said that he “rejected it out of hand” because he claimed not to be an expert on maps, and because Olmert’s domestic scandals meant that he would shortly leave office (Olmert was later convicted of corruption). While both Olmert and other Palestinian leaders have previously said that Abbas turned down a peace proposal, this is the first time that the Palestinian Authority president has admitted as such.

At 24:05 of the video, Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker asked Abbas: “In the map that Olmert presented you, Israel would annex 6.3 percent [of the West Bank] and compensate the Palestinians with 5.8 percent [taken from pre-1967 Israel]. What did you propose in return?”

“I did not agree,” Abbas replied. “I rejected it out of hand.”

At 26:53 of the video, Drucker pressed again:

Drucker: Why, really, did you not accept Olmert’s offer?

Abbas: He [Olmert] said to me, “Here’s a map. See it? That’s all.” I respected his decision not to give me the map. But how can we sign something that hasn’t been given us, that hasn’t been discussed?

The existence of the peace offer was first reported by The Tower’s Avi Issacharoff in 2013, when Olmert told him that he presented Abbas with a map proposal during talks at the Prime Minister’s Residence. Shortly after Olmert’s presentation, Abbas redrew that version of the map from memory, in order to make sure that he and Olmert were on the same page. Issacharoff acquired a photograph of that map…

As Issacharoff wrote:

Abbas silenced those present so that he could concentrate. He wanted to sketch out Olmert’s map from memory. The Israeli Prime Minister had told him that as long as Abu Mazen did not sign his initials to the map and endorse it, Olmert would not hand over a copy. Abu Mazen took a piece of letterhead of the Presidential Office and drew on it the borders of the Palestinian state as he remembered them.

Abbas marked the settlement blocks that Israel would retain: The Ariel bloc, the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adumim bloc (including E1), and Gush Etzion. A total of 6.3% of the West Bank. Then Abbas also drew the territories that Israel proposed to offer in their place: In the area of Afula-Tirat Zvi, in the Lachish area, the area close to Har Adar, and in the Judean desert and the Gaza envelope. A total of 5.8% of the West Bank. Abu Mazen wrote on the left side of the letterhead the numbers as he incorrectly remembered them (6.8% and 5.5%), and on the back he wrote the rest of the details of the proposal: Safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank via a tunnel, the pentilateral committee to administer the Holy Basin, the removal of the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and the absorption of 5,000 Palestinian refugees, 1,000 each year over five years, inside the Green Line.

Abbas’ hand-drawn map, sketched on the stationery of the Palestinian Office of the President and obtained by in the course of this investigative report about the clandestine negotiation between Olmert and Abbas, was published here yesterday exclusively. The two men met 36 times, mostly in Jerusalem and once in Jericho, and arrived at a formula that was to be the basis for a lasting agreement between the two parties. But in the end, peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians were not signed, despite the far-reaching proposal made by Olmert. As an official matter, the Palestinian Authority has not responded.

The next day, Abbas called off talks, saying that he had to attend a meeting in Jordan.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had a similar recollection when interviewed by Al Jazeera in 2009:

Olmert, who talked today about his proposal to Abu Mazen, offered the 1967 borders, but said: “We will take 6.5% of the West Bank, and give in return 5.8% from the 1948 lands, and the 0.7% will constitute the safe passage, and East Jerusalem will be the capital, but there is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin.” Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: “I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine – the June 4, 1967 borders – without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places. This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign.

Abbas’ comments on Channel 10 were first picked up in English by veteran reporter Mark Lavie.

On November 2011 the reported that “In her new memoir, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirms that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas rejected generous territorial concessions offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.

When she traveled to Jerusalem in May 2008, Olmert invited Rice to dinner to outline his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Rice recounts that she was shocked by how far the Israeli leader was willing to go. Olmert was prepared to give up nearly the entire West Bank and to divide Jerusalem with the Arab world.

Olmert offered to make Jerusalem the capital of two states – Israel in the western part and a Palestinian capital in the east. The Old City of Jerusalem would be administered by a committee made up of so-called wise people including Palestinians, Jordanians, Saudis, Americans and Israelis.

“They will oversee the city, but not in a political role,” Olmert told Rice. And he offered another concession – offering to allow 5,000 Palestinian refugees to settle in Israel.

Rice was incredulous. “Am I really hearing this? I wondered. Is the Israeli prime minister saying that he’ll divide Jerusalem and put an international body in charge of the Holy sites?”

The following day, Rice brought Olmert’s proposal to Abbas in Ramallah. He rejected it, telling Rice the PA could not agree to a deal that prevented nearly 4 million Palestinians from being able to “go home” (i.e., to return to their ancestors’ former homes in pre-Six Day War Israel).

On Sep. 16, 2008, Olmert presented Abbas with a similar plan for a two-state solution. The Palestinians said no, effectively killing the Olmert plan.

More detail on the breakdown of the talks comes from the Palestine Papers – documents about a decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that were stolen from PA negotiator Saeb Erakat’s office, leaked to al-Jazeerah and posted on the media outlet’s website in January.

As the Jerusalem Post noted on Tuesday, these documents show that PA negotiators talked out of both sides of their mouths – speaking publicly about compromise with Israel on Palestinian refugees while privately describing the “right of return” as an individual right that must be extended to 7 million Palestinians – a formula most Israelis regard as a demographic blueprint for the destruction of their country.

The documents also show that Washington was apparently unaware that, in preparation for the September 16 meeting, the PA was trying to come up with plans to avoid reaching a binding agreement with Israel and to avoid blame for failing reach a final-status agreement with the Jewish state.”

Abbas rejected Olmert’s offer because it would have required him to give up on the “right of return” for most Palestinians. Lt. Col. (ret) Jonathan Halevi explained in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that Abbas supports a phased plan for Israel’s destruction “…Beneath the moderate guise that Abbas tries to project is a Palestinian leader who unreservedly supports terror and demands to implement what the Palestinians call the “right of return.”

…What the Palestinians mean by “right of return” according to Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative is simple enough and was ratified as an official law by the Palestinian parliament with Abbas’s approval.

According to the 2008 Law of the Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees:

“The right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and property, while receiving compensation for their suffering, is an inalienable and enshrined right that cannot be compromised, replaced, reconsidered, interpreted otherwise, or subjected to a referendum.

The right of return is natural, personal, collective, civil, political, passed on from father to son; it is not nullified by the passage of time or by the signing of any agreement and it cannot be abolished or waived in any way.

The Palestinian refugees shall not be resettled or displaced as an alternative to the right of return.

Anyone who violates the provisions of this Act shall be guilty of the crime of treason and will be subject to all criminal and civil penalties prescribed for this crime.

Anything that contradicts this law is considered null and void, and any legislation or agreement that will derogate from the right of return or contradict the provisions of this Act shall be deemed null and void.”

In other words, even after an Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders and the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state, the conflict will remain unchanged and Palestine will demand the “return” to Israel of the millions of refugees and their descendants. The Palestinian demand for “return” entails the transfer of millions of Jews from their homes and the end of the state of Israel…”

Even though it was Abbas who rejects the two state solution and rejected Olmert’s peace-offer in 2008, Obama and Kerry blame Israeli settlement construction for the collapse of talks and increase of Palestinian terror.

On October 16 Elliot Abrams wrote in Mosaic Magazine that “Secretary of State Kerry made an unhelpful, mistaken, ill-informed comment about the current wave of Palestinian violence yesterday when speaking at Harvard.

Here is the comment Kerry made:

“So here’s the deal. What’s happening is that unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement.”

Kerry does not know what he is talking about. There has simply not been “a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years.” There has been a steady growth in settlement population, though the bulk of that growth is in the major blocs–such as Ma’ale Adumim–that Israel will clearly retain in any final agreement. Kerry’s imprecision is another problem. Does he mean there has been a massive increase in the number of settlements? That’s flatly false. Does he mean a massive increase in settlement size, as existing settlements expand physically? That’s also flatly false. The so-called “peace map” or “Google Earth map” of the West Bank has changed very little.

The frequent Palestinian claim that Israel is “gobbling up” the West Bank so that “peace will be impossible” is what Kerry is here repeating when he says “a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody.” It’s a false claim and he should know it. If that is not what Kerry meant, he should be far more careful when he speaks about such an explosive topic–and at such an explosive moment.

Moreover, his claim is plain silly. The slow but steady growth in population in settlements is a completely unpersuasive explanation for the sudden outbreak of violence. That outburst of violence and terror appears linked to lies about Israel changing the status quo at the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif. But whatever its explanation, the false linkage to settlements is of a piece with the Obama administration’s continuing obsession with that subject–despite all the evidence. It’s remarkable that the Secretary of State, who has spent so much time with Israelis and Palestinians and has visited Jerusalem repeatedly, has not bothered to learn the basic facts. He is instead parroting Palestinian propaganda. In fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under pressure and criticism from settler groups because he has restrained settlement population growth beyond the security barrier. To suffer those political attacks and then hear criticism from the secretary of state about a “massive increase in settlements” helps explain the lack of confidence Israeli officials feel in the Obama administration.

Mr. Kerry is doing something else here that is even worse: blaming the victims. The State Department has of course condemned acts of terror, but here in a question and answer period we get beyond official statements and see what Kerry really appears to think. He seems to believe that the real culprits, when Palestinians stab Israelis to death, are people who build a new housing unit in a settlement.

The Kerry remarks at Harvard were morally obtuse and factually wrong.”

Kerry Links Palestinian Terror to Settlement Expansion by Elliott Abrams

Kerry lies when he says that settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. Settlements occupy now about 1.7% of the West Bank and during Olmert’s term they occupied about 1.6%, new homes were built inside existing settlement land, no new land was taken, there was virtually no expansion outside previous areas. As blogger Elder of Zion wrote “ …how the ~1.7% of settlement land today makes peace so much harder than ~1.6% 20 years ago?”

On November 10 blogger Elder of Zion wrote “At Binyamin Netanyahu’s appearance at the Center for American Progress, he said that the settlements were not an obstacle to peace.

He answered that “There have been no new settlements built in the past 20 years.The additions have been in existing communities. The map has not materially changed.”

I’m not sure if that is 100% true; I know of three formerly illegal outposts that became legal, and I cannot imagine that there haven’t been more illegal outposts in 20 years that have escaped being demolished. But the larger point is true – there has been essentially no new settlements, as opposed to how they are characterized. and Netanyahu said this:

“By the way, Google this. Because this is just repeated, ad nauseum, so it assumes the cachet of self-evident truth, that we’re ‘gobbling up land’ and so on. We’re not gobbling up land….I mean the total amount of built up land is just a few percent. And the addition, if you look at it over time, it’s got to be a fraction – maybe one tenth of one percent? Maybe I’m off, maybe it’s 3/10ths of one percent. That’s the land that’s being “gobbled up.” That’s a factual question. That is not something that should be debated. And yet it’s become an axiom, that we are gobbling up land. We’re not.”

…(In response to Netanyahu’s statement, Peace Now wrote) “The “one percent argument” is a classic example of how supporters of the status-quo use a fraction of the truth to misrepresent the truth on the ground in the West Bank. Yes, the actual built-up area of West Bank settlements takes up only a little more than 1% of the West Bank. But the settlements’ built-up area is just the tip of the settlements iceberg. The impact of the settlements goes far beyond this 1%.

Almost 10% of the West Bank is included in the “municipal area,” or the jurisdictional borders of the settlements. These borders are so large that they allow settlements to expand many times over onto land that is completely off-limits to Palestinians.

In addition, almost 34% of the West Bank has been placed under the jurisdiction of the settlements’ “Regional Councils.” That is, more than an additional 1/3 of the West Bank has been placed under the control of the settlers, off-limits to Palestinians.

In total, more than 40% of the West Bank is under the direct control of settlers or settlements and off-limits to Palestinians, regardless of the fact that only a small portion of this land has been built on by settlers.”

Elder of Zion responded “Let’s say that this is 100% true. Then this means that Peace Now agrees that there has been no fundamental change in the West Bank map since the PLO rejected Israeli peace offers of 93%-95% of the land in 2001 and 2008!

Somehow, the 40% Israel controls didn’t stop Barak and Olmert from offering nearly the entire West Bank for a Palestinian state. If they could offer it, so could the current Israeli government. So the 40% figure is a red herring, meant to obscure the fact that the intransigent party is the Palestinian side.

…Peace Now and J-Street know this. If you read their literature you can see that they try very hard to distract their readers from these facts by mentioning things that aren’t relevant. Their central claim to raise cash, that Israel – and especially the reviled Likud government of Netanyahu – is gobbling up land is shown to be a lie.

Yet this Peace Now and J-Street lie of Israel “gobbling up land” is repeated without any shame by the White House, by the New York Times, and by many other sources who don’t even bother to read Peace Now reports with a critical eye. Because their own documentation proves their public lies!”

Arutz 7 reported that “US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted Wednesday that the escalating wave of Arab terror in Israel showcases what would be in store if the Palestinian Arabs were not to achieve statehood.

During a speech in Washington, Kerry emphasized the United States’ commitment to advancing the two-state solution, which he called “the only viable alternative.”

…Stressing that unrest and violence have hurt both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, Kerry contended “the current situation is simply not sustainable.”…

Kerry calls the situation “not sustainable” yet Abbas said that “…the Palestinians can wait without making concessions in part because “the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.”

On May 29, 2009 CAMERA reported that “Washington Post Deputy Editorial Editor Jackson Diehl recounts his recent conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in today’s issue of the newspaper.

It seems that yet again Israel offered Palestinians a state on virtually the entire West Bank, and yet again a Palestinian leader — this time the one widely described as moderate — rejected the offer.

Diehl writes:

In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank — though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert “accepted the principle” of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees — something no previous Israeli prime minister had done — and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

Abbas turned it down. “The gaps were wide,” he said.

Diehl also quotes Abbas as rejecting, again, the notion that he should recognize Israel as the Jewish state, and as saying that the Palestinians can wait without making concessions in part because “the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.”

In 2013 Kerry told the Foreign Affairs Committee “I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting,” the secretary of state said. “I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.”

He added: “Everybody I talk to in the region and all of the supporters globally who care … want us to move forward on a peace effort. They’re all worried about the timing here. So there’s an urgency to this, in my mind, and I intend, on behalf of the president’s instructions, to honour that urgency and see what we can do to move forward.”

Although the conflict exists since 1948, Kerry claims there is an “urgency” to solve it in a short two year window because Obama’s term in office is coming to an end. On March 2015 Newsmax reported that “The White House on Wednesday suggested it could reverse its decades-old policy of using its veto in the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel. It could refuse to veto resolutions related to the Palestinians or introduce a measure of its own, The Wall Street Journal reported. The U.S. could also lend its support to a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders, a senior White House official told The New York Times.”

Obama is in a rush to pass a UNSC resolution imposing a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank before his time in office ends. He knows that the next administration will not be willing to concede this to the Palestinians without taking into consideration Israel’s security needs.

Obama has to pass this UNSC urgently before his term comes to an end to tie the future US President’s hands. Future administrations will have no choice but to obey to Obama’s UNSC resolution.

To justify the UNSC resolution, Obama needs to create a sense of urgency. Abbas is escalating the violence through stabbing attacks to create the sense of urgency that Obama needs. Abbas wants to provoke an Israeli reaction which Obama can use as an excuse to justify the anti-Israel UNSC resolution.

The Palestinian Media Watch translated an interview by one of Hamas founders Mahmoud al-Zahar to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam in which he said “transfer what it has [in Gaza] or just a small part of it to the West Bank, we would be able to settle the battle of the final promise [to destroy Israel] with a speed that no one can imagine…[Some] have said Hamas wants to create an Islamic emirate in Gaza. We won’t do that, but we will build an Islamic state in Palestine, all of Palestine…”

Those who advocate for a solution in the UNSC cannot ignore that what happened in Gaza can also happen in the West Bank. After Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas took power and started missile attack against Israel. If a Palestinian State is created in the West Bank Hamas will attack Israel with missiles from the West Bank as it does from Gaza.

John Kerry is dishonest in not acknowledging that after Gaza the situation has changed and imposing a solution in the UNSC will make the situation much worse, it will make life in Israel impossible and lead to war. Only a person that does not care for the safety of Israel’s citizens would advocate for this. For Kerry it doesn’t matter this UNSC resolution will make the conflict worse and lead to war, he wants to impose it at all costs.

Demanding an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank will make the situation far worse not better. The “Two State Solution” is not as Kerry claims the only option. There is a much better and honest option which is to recognize that the Palestinians already have a State in Jordan. Since the US/EU claim the Arab-Israeli conflict can be solved though a UNSC resolution why not submit one declaring that Jordan is Palestine?
Most of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, the previous King said “Jordan is Palestine, Palestine is Jordan”. The Queen of Jordan Rania Al-Yassin was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents Faisal Sedki Al Yassin and Ilham Yassin from Tulkarm, Jordan has a Palestinian Queen, the next King of Jordan will be the son of a Palestinian. If Jordan is recognized as the Palestinian State the Arabs currently living in Israel can continue but they will be Jordanian Citizens.

It is not honest for those who seek a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict to ignore that Jordan was also part of British Mandate Palestine. Jordan must also be part of the solution.

Ezequiel Doiny is a writer based in Maryland. His work has appeared in Conservative Papers, Arutz 7, Gatestone Institute, United with Israel and The Jewish Press.


From the Lions of Africa To The Lions of Judah

The Curious Tale of John Henry Patterson

by Geoffrey Clarfield (November 2016)

This article was written to honour and commemorate the birth of Lt. Colonel John Henry Patterson, DSO (10 November 1867 – 18 June 1947).
I had the pleasure of living and working in East Africa for 16 years. Our children spent much of their childhood there. As a family we were often on Safari, meaning that we would take our jeep, Land Rover, or Land Cruiser, pack up our tents, store food and camping equipment and go out into the bush of wild East Africa. We stayed in rustic tented camps, often in remote tribal areas which were sites where as an anthropologist, I was doing research.

On other occasions we stayed in the tourist lodges that are located within the famous game parks such as the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, or the desert parks of northern Kenya where Karen Blixen used to go hunting, and where later, conservationist Joy Adamson returned her orphaned lions to a life in nature.

I also had the pleasure of meeting people who had known Karen Blixen and who had been close friends of Joy Adamson and her husband, George, who were both immortalized in the Walt Disney film Born Free, one of the first ecological and environmental romances of the mid 20th century.

On one occasion we were camped above the shores of Lake Manyara, the former hunting grounds of Ernest Hemingway and the subject of his book, The Green Hills of Africa, which describes his experience as a big game hunter. We had gone out with another family. They and their children were in one tent. We and our youngest son were in another tent. Each one of us had his vehicle parked behind their respective tents. We had oil lamps behind each of our jeeps and two more lamps. The whole site marked out a diamond shape, each with a lamp in each corner, insuring that we were well lit and marked, and in the hope that this would prevent visits from wild animals who hunt by night. All our food was sealed and kept in the jeeps. After dinner and the usual star gazing, we zipped up our tents and admired the full moon through the mosquito netting screens of our tents as we dozed off to sleep.

At about four in the morning we heard footsteps; loud, strong and animal like. We heard the distinctive grunts of lions. My wife, our son and I were frozen with fear. I saw and felt one of the lions pass by our tent. There were about four of them. We did not make a sound. And the next two hours were among the longest two hours I’ve ever experienced.

As the sun came up we peeked through the cracks in our tent and saw that 2 to 3 lions were camped out under a nearby tree. By that time we were able to call over to our friends in the opposite tent. At a certain point our friend leapt out of his tent and jumped into his Jeep. He turned it on and faced it towards the Lions who then disappeared into the bush. We eventually composed ourselves, made ourselves breakfast, packed up our belongings and drove out of the game Park, away from these ferocious beasts.

They were probably not man-eating lions and for this we were lucky. Immediately I thought about the most famous encounter with a man-eating lion that a European has ever had in this part of the world, and which I had read about in a number of books. The man in question’s name was John Henry Patterson. And hard as it is to believe, he was to become the ultimate founder of the Israeli Army.

During the late 19th century, the sun never set on the British Empire. And, as the British had become committed to ending the East African slave trade, a slave trade that historians now believe was almost as large as the trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought Africans to the West, the British willy-nilly became the masters of what are today the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In order to consolidate these three territories, they decided to build a railway, from the Indian Ocean to what is now the city of Kampala, the capital of the western highlands of East Africa, and served by its international airport called Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Historians have called it the Lunatic express.

I have ridden on the Lunatic express. It still runs from Kampala to Nairobi in the Kenyan highlands near Mount Kenya and then, all the way down to Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast. The dining car still serves wonderful meals using silverware from pre-independence times. The route passes through plains, filled with the kind of Baobab trees that we know from the illustrations of the book The Little Prince, and the Taru desert is a marvel to behold. And then you reach sight of the palm studded Indian Ocean beaches, just beyond the last stop in Mombasa.

Many men had to die until the railway was finished. The most dramatic part of the story was when the railway had reached the plains of Tsavo, now one of Kenya’s most beautiful game parks. It had stopped being built because man eating lions were terrorizing the workforce, invading their tents and regularly carrying off workers to eat in the bush in the middle of the night.

These workers were not Africans. At that time, Africans were living completely an almost completely tribal existence and had no experience of or desire to take on the menial, repetitive labor that was the backbone of the Industrial Revolution. And so, instead, the British had imported thousands of poor Hindus and Muslims from the Indian subcontinent to build the railway and whose descendents became the commercial middle classes of 20th century East Africa, who ran the supermarkets and shops that we frequented when we lived in Nairobi.

At a certain point, the workers went on strike and the lions kept on eating them. The workers believed that these Lions had supernatural powers and that it was hopeless to oppose them. The British had to invite one of the most famous lion hunters and soldiers of that era, an Irish-born soldier named John Henry Patterson to track and kill them.

Patterson was born, most likely, because we are not quite sure about his origins, into an upper class military family of Protestant Irishmen. It was most likely that he began his career at the age of 17 and showed exceptional prowess as a military man and as an Army engineer in India. The fact that he already spoke Hindi, the language of the workers, and had been a successful tiger hunter in India, made him the ideal person for the job.

It took much improvisation, and many close calls in the construction of many traps, as well as a large number of all nighters until Patterson finally killed the Lions. He then became the hero of the workers. The stuffed lions are still on display in the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He also managed to oversee the construction of bridges over the rivers of Tsavo. And so, months later, the railway finally reached Uganda and thus incorporated East Africa into the modern world system, opening it up to European settlement, colonial status and finally independence after World War II.

John Henry Patterson was born in 1867 and was in his late 20s when he was called to Tsavo. He was a tall man, handsome, disciplined, tough, honest, and had a way with the women. He was also a gifted raconteur, public speaker and writer. His successful killing of these man-eating lions saved scores of men’s lives and the story became the basis of his book, The Man Eaters of Tsavo. The book became an instant bestseller at the beginning of the 20th century. It was read with relish by Theodore Roosevelt. The upper classes, middle income classes and newspaper readers read it with enthusiasm, as did the newspaper editors and literary world. Even, the Prince of Wales had a copy.

Within a short time the book turned Patterson from a well-known British officer and big game hunter into an international celebrity, as famous as the earlier 19th century explorers such as Burton, Stanley and Livingstone who also became literary celebrities, writing books about their search for the source of the Nile and opening up East Africa, just a few years before Patterson arrived there.

Newly married, Patterson returned to England where he was the talk of the town, making friends with England’s most famous theatre actors and being hosted by aristocrats close to the royal family, who were largely the movers and shakers of the British Empire before the death of Queen Victoria, when the Empire was at its apex and when it was the most powerful Empire in the world. Patterson had arrived.

Patterson also fought in the Boer war and was decorated, and this locked in a pattern where he went back and forth from the colonies to the capital city of London until after WWI when he moved to the US.

But all was not light and success with John Henry Patterson. At a certain point, he was appointed the first game warden of East Africa. While on safari, north of Isiolo, a violent area of nomadic tribes which I know well, he was travelling with a married couple. In the middle of the safari, the husband apparently shot himself during a bout of malarial fever. After his travelling companion’s death, it took many weeks for Patterson’s safari to return to Nairobi. The rumor and gossip mill of that new colonial capital suggested that Patterson had had an affair with the dead man’s wife and had arranged for his death. The case eventually reached the House of Lords where Patterson was cleared of any wrongdoing, but even Winston Churchill had his doubts and expressed them in writing at the time. Curiously, none of Churchill’s biographers have written up this anecdote and at the time, Churchill had to retract his accusation or face legal action in the courts. Not surprisingly, at the age of 44 in 1911 John Henry Patterson resigned his full-time commission with the British Army.

By then he had published his second book about his further adventures in East Africa and was still quite the celebrity and man about town. Within 36 months England was at war, in the war to end all wars and which was at fever pitch in the trenches of France. Patterson was looking for some way that he could use his skills and experience in the war effort. He was well connected among the military and civilian elite of the British Empire and one of his close colleagues and friends was now the head of the Egyptian expeditionary force based in Cairo.

What Patterson’s admirers did not know, was that from an early age, Patterson read the Bible, both the old Testaments and New Testament. And, he was more interested in the Old Testament than the New Testament. He saw the ancient Israelite military heroes — Moses, Joshua, Debora and the Maccabees — as role models. He saw these ancient Israelites as good people, as people who had to deal with war, and achieved much good for their people, and who had overall been just, despite their failings. And, he was fascinated that these people’s descendants survived as a persecuted, cowed minority among the British and Europeans of his time. Yet at the start of World War I, Patterson had had almost no interpersonal experience with actual living Jews.

It’s said that the past is a foreign country. And so we have to delve deeply into the start of World War I to imagine what life was like. At that time, the elites of Britain believed that the war would be over soon, that they would walk over the Germans and the Austro Hungarians with their French allies to the West and with their Russian allies to the East, but this was not the case. As well, America decided to be neutral and the war was not going well.

During WWI the cabinet of the British government was made up of relatively wealthy men from the upper middle classes. They had many prejudices. One of them was that Jews were disproportionately represented in the modern world economy. The other was that the Jewish people had suffered unfairly for 2000 years and deserved a state of their own.

These early British Christian Zionists, or at least some of them were also theological restorationists. This meant that from their evangelical Christian perspective, they believed that when all Jews had finally returned to the land of Israel, they would eventually convert to Christianity and bring on the second coming of Christ.

From within the Jewish community there was a parallel birth of Zionism. Zionism produced a number of unique men, two of whom are central to our story and to the story of John Henry Patterson. The first was Joseph Trumpledor and the second was Vladimir Jabotinsky. Both of them came from within the Russian Empire, both of them were somewhat secular although they had a strong Jewish identity. Trumpledor was a one-armed Russian Jewish war hero who had been decorated by the Tsar. Jabotinsky, a son of the port city of Odessa had organized Jewish self-defense against the pogromists. Jabotinsky studied law in Rome and was a journalist for a liberal Russian paper. Trumpledor was a soldier, an officer.

Both men believed that World War had given the Jewish people an opportunity to learn once again the art of war and self-defence, which had been dead to the Jewish people since the Romans conquered Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the war, the three men found themselves in Cairo and Alexandria. John Henry Patterson had come to Cairo to ask his friend Gen. Murray, the head of the British forces in Egypt for some sort of military job. Trumpeldor and Jabotinsky were there in the hope of persuading the British government to create battalions of Jewish soldiers to liberate the land of Israel from the Ottoman Turks, who had already joined the Germans and the Austro Hungarian side. These Young Turks had already begun the slaughter of the Armenians, a slaughter that was the 20th century rehearsal for the Holocaust.

Zionist Jews and many Jews from Arab lands had begun to return to the land of Israel in the late 19th century. Some, like Theodore Herzl, hoped that either the Ottomans would support the reconstitution of a Jewish state in the land of Israel, or that the European powers would do so.

At the beginning of World War I, the Turks in the land of Israel expelled almost every Jew and declared that they could not return. They tortured and imprisoned many and stated that after the war, no Jews would be allowed to return or come to Palestine. They quickly forced thousands of Jews to flee to Egypt in a reverse exodus. The British authorities in Egypt created refugee camps for them. At the same time these Jewish refugees received support in cash and kind from the then prosperous Jewish communities of Cairo and Alexandria.

Jabotinsky had enrolled as a private in the British Army, as a foreigner. Both he and Trumpeldor lobbied the British to create an all Jewish fighting force that would help liberate the land of Israel from the Turks. Surprisingly the British accepted. However they stipulated two conditions. The first was that the score of soldiers would work as a supply group, yet at the same time to be trained as fighting infantrymen. The second was that they would not fight in Palestine for there was as yet no official British plan to invade Palestine and therefore they would have to fight the Turks where ever the Allies fought the Turks.

The British explained that they needed a Mule Corps, men who could bring the ammunition, water, medicine and food from the rear lines to the front lines, especially when under fire, and that this was a very dangerous mission. Jabotinsky felt it was demeaning and did not join. Trumpeldor, the older of the two accepted for as a man who had experienced many battles, he realized and he was proven right, that eventually almost all of his soldiers would end up fighting on the front lines.

General Murray was looking for an officer with training and experience to command these troops and it was almost miraculous that he chose Patterson. No one knew that Patterson had a deep and abiding love and respect for the Jewish people. I’ve read his biography and two of his books and there is no evidence in him of any of the traditional anti-Semitism that characterized so much of British society at the beginning of the 1900s. On the contrary, he believed that the spirit of the Maccabees lay dormant in the soul of every Jewish man and it was Patterson’s military and moral obligation to show the world that this was the case.

Recruiting a corps with its own Jewish insignia attracted the interest of many of the men in the refugee camps of Egypt who had just personally experienced the brutality of the Turks in Israel. Hundreds enlisted and they were trained as full infantry soldiers. They learn how to use the rifles which had been liberated from the Turkish soldiers who had failed in their attempt to conquer the Sinai. They also learn how to use their bayonets. They learnt all aspects of military discipline. They learned how to care for their mules. And, they learned the strict drilling patterns of the British Army, excelling at inspection and parade.

Patterson insisted that they have a Jewish chaplain, that their food be kosher and that they have the same rights to an alcoholic bar and drinking privileges as all other soldiers. But since his Jewish soldiers themselves were un-interested in drinking, the bar was closed down.

He often insisted on and joined the men at Sabbath prayers and encouraged the singing of Hatikvah at points during drills and inspection. The British commanders were so impressed with these new recruits that they allowed them to parade through the streets of Alexandria on their way to the front and be blessed by the grand Rabbi of Alexandria.

One must remember that the Turkish army at the beginning of World War I had been rigorously trained by the Germans over the last 20 years. They had up-to-date guns and ammunition. Their discipline was excellent and their motivation high. Moreover, at the beginning of the war, the Ottoman Sultan declared that this war against the allies was a Jihad.

The Zion Mule Corps was facing a strong enemy. So soon after their successful training in Egypt this Zion mule Corps, the first fully Jewish fighting force in 2000 years, was ready to be sent to one of the bloodiest fronts of World War I, the beaches of Gallipoli in the Dardanelles. Patterson had appointed Joseph Trumpeldor as his second-in-command. They became fast friends until Trumpeldor’s death after the war, while defending a village of Jews from Arab marauders in the north of Israel.

The campaign in Gallipoli was designed by the British to overwhelm Turks and open the road to Constantinople, creating a front on the south eastern side of the Germans and Austro Hungarians that would strengthen Russia’s hand and surround the Germans and Austro-Hungarian, supposedly ending the war. Instead, the Turks killed hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers and fought them to a standstill on the shores of Gallipoli. For those who’ve seen the Mel Gibson film Gallipoli, you get a taste of what happened. It was trench warfare as bad as that of the Western front, as wave upon wave of British and Allied soldiers tried to struggle up to the hills that were so well fortified by the Turks. The fighting went on for months until the allies finally withdrew.

In the midst of this slaughter, the Zion mule Corps under the leadership of John Henry Patterson and Joseph Trumpeldor stood firm. Day in and day out the soldiers of the Zion Mule Corps brought ammunition, water, food and medicine to troops on the front line.

At times the troops that they were supporting were so depleted, that they themselves took up their rifles and bayonets dived into the trenches, fighting the Turks face-to-face. Trumpeldor had been right in his recognition that ultimately this force would have the opportunity of fighting on the front lines.

Not everything went smoothly however. Patterson tells us a story of one of his new recruits who was separated from the troops and was arrested by the French allies. As he only spoke a mishmash of Hebrew, Arabic and English, the French concluded that he was Turkish spy and lined him up to be shot. In the nick of time, one of his fellow Zion mule Corps soldiers got wind of what was happening and as he spoke French, persuaded the French and explained to them that this man was their ally. This saved his life.

Patterson noticed that it took this soldier a full six months to work through this trauma, notwithstanding that they were suffering bombardment and being shot at every day. There was no understanding of PTSD in those days.

A number of Zion Mule Corps men were killed by Turkish snipers, shrapnel and bombs. But this did not affect their discipline and dedication. Patterson wrote that whenever the Zion Mule Corps had anything to do with soldiers from New Zealand or Australia, these colonial outliers of England treated them with equality and respect. Many of the Zion mule Corps soldiers were redecorated for their service and bravery. And like many of the soldiers in Gallipoli they lost comrades. Patterson and Trumpeldor had to return to Egypt to recruit more volunteers.

Word had gotten around the people in camps of Egypt that the Zion Mule Corps were a success. Despite the fact that they had suffered casualties and many had been wounded many more young men were willing to take the training and join on this dangerous mission, for they felt that by fighting the Turks in Gallipoli, they were taking the first steps to liberate Palestine the land of Israel from heavy hand of the Turkish oppressors. Events proved them right!

And so Patterson and Trumpeldor went back for second round of fighting. The Dardanelles in Gallipoli can get very cold during the winter. And so Patterson found a neglected stone house under a tree which he turned into the Mule corps shared winter barrack and with some luck which protected his soldiers from enemy fire. As they readied the structure and as they were digging in to the floor, they discovered an ancient marble tombstone with Hebrew writing and Jewish symbols on it. Patterson believed it could be from the time of Solomon, but it was most likely from the Hellenistic and Roman period when Jews had established synagogues and communities across the Roman world. Patterson and his men believed this to be a good luck charm and their structure survived shelling, providing them with warmth and protection in between their dangerous forays to supply the allied lines.

Patterson noticed that his brave, hard fighting new Jewish recruits, whom he likened to the Maccabees, would do anything to retrieve the body of a dead comrade and unlike the British they would cry and moan at the funeral of any of their fallen comrades.

He also found that they were musical and that they sung in English, Hebrew and Arabic. He found many of the melodies were sad and touching. Yet it was Patterson who inserted the singing of Hatikvah into the regimental culture of this new fighting unit, who insisted on Sabbath prayers and eating kosher food, which Patterson felt was only fair, since these men were risking their lives for King and country and, for the soon to be liberated land of Israel.

When the British finally realized that they could not penetrate Turkish defenses they withdrew. Yet Patterson wrote that in his military opinion that the men on the beaches of Gallipoli had held up a major part of the Turkish army, which otherwise could have sorely weakened the Allied effort if they had been distributed across different fronts. There may be something to his theory.

120 men of this fighting force returned to England and promised to remain in touch. The British, for their part, suggested that if indeed there was to be an invasion of Palestine, these men could form a new exclusively Jewish unit to do so and they would be kept together.

By this time, Jabotinsky was in London sharing a house with Chaim Weitzman, the head of the Zionist organization, and Jabotinsky was lobbying for a full Jewish Legion of 50,000 men who would fight with the British to liberate Palestine from the Turks.

Meanwhile Patterson who was being wined and dined by high society in London at the time wrote a book about his experience With the Zion Mule Corps in Gallipoli, which was widely read and which helped the Jews who wanted to return to the land of Israel to fight, to gain the support of the elites and opinion makers.

After two years of war, and just before the Bolshevik revolution, the British were desperate. The Americans had not yet entered the war and partly on the basis of the success the Zion mule Corps and the lobbying of both Christian and Jewish Zionists, his Majesty’s government published the Balfour Declaration obligating the British towards the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.

Patterson quickly re-established an alliance with Jabotinsky and together they lobbied the British government for the right to create a Jewish Legion that would fight the Turks in Palestine. By this time, after the Russian revolution, the Jewish immigrant population resident in Great Britain were free of the idea that by fighting for the British they were also fighting for her ally the Tsar and his anti-Semitic generals, as the Bolshevik revolution took Russia out of the war. They now felt that their Jewish loyalties and British loyalties were one.

However Patterson, to his shock and surprise, found that significant numbers of the Jews of upper class Britain were totally against the formation of the Jewish Legion. At one high-level meeting of government ministers and representatives of the British Jewish community, Patterson, with private Jabotinsky at his side suggested that whoever was in the room that did not support the government’s Balfour Declaration and the commitment to a Jewish Legion should kindly leave the room. Everyone stayed.

In retrospect we have to conclude that only a celebrity can get away with this kind of behavior. Patterson was that kind of celebrity; an insider in the system, handsome, famous, and eloquent, battle hardened and confident that he had transformed a rabble of men into fearless Jews and decorated fighters in one of the most violent theaters of World War I. The Jewish Legion was on its way!

Jabotinsky and Weizmann knew very well that if any Jew was to be appointed the head of this legion, he would not be up to take on the deeply ingrained anti-Semitism in the British military establishment as well as among the upper ranks of the British Jewish community, who were staunch assimilationists and who quietly opposed and sometimes not so quietly opposed to Zionism.

Patterson once again took on the training of raw recruits, this time with Jabotinsky as his second in command, with a full Jewish chaplain, kosher food, and of course, the singing of Hatikvah. Once again the Jews excelled. This time they were trained as fully fledged infantrymen.

They successfully completed their training and were granted the honor of a full parade, with bayonets fixed, through the streets of London and through the Jewish areas of that city where native Jews greeted them with awe and ecstasy, as the Jews of London were witnessing the first fully Jewish Legion to walk the face of the earth in 2000 years.

At that time, any English-speaking citizen of the British Empire must have imagined that Jewish and British interests were one, for the soldiers had been promised that they would fight Turks exclusively in the liberation of Palestine and now with the Balfour Declaration, the fight would be for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.

They arrived once again in Egypt and the British under General Allenby began to push the Turks out of Gaza and Jerusalem. Allenby is famous for his humility entering Jerusalem on foot. He did not want to come in on a horse, as his Savior Jesus, had walked the streets of Jerusalem on foot.

Eventually the British Army began to prepare for the push across the Jordan. There were some very hostile men around Allenby who we can say with some confidence were classical anti-Semites. They did not want the Jewish Legion to succeed and they did not want to honor the Balfour Declaration. As Patterson writes, they wanted to turn it into a mere piece of paper. The fact that the British were pouring hundreds of thousands of pounds, enormous amounts of soldiers and military material to support an ambivalent Arab revolt against the Turks under the supervision of T. E. Lawrence, meant that these officers did not want five or 6000 well motivated Jewish soldiers to show up their rather expensive project. And so they maneuvered to send the Jewish Legion into the Jordan Valley during the height of the summer with some its impossible heat and its malarial mosquitoes and insured that the Jewish Legion was exposed on one of the most dangerous and exposed parts of the Turkish front.

Patterson in later years recognized that this was indeed the case in these near impossible conditions and that their placement had been designed to demoralize and break up his men but this did not happen. Instead they re-doubled their efforts and began to harass the Turks so successfully, that Turkish soldiers began to desert and go over to the British as captives of the Jewish Legion.

Patterson, who understood the power of psychological warfare, once offered one of these Turkish prisoners to return to his own lines. The reasoning was that the Turk had told him that his commanding officers had said that the British were barbarians and mistreated all prisoners of war. Clearly this was not the case and so Patterson offered to return the man to his lines but the prisoner refused. Clearly he preferred to be a prisoner of the Jewish Legion as did many others who surrendered.

During one of many skirmishes one of Patterson’s few non-Jewish soldiers went missing. Many months later on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Patterson was finally writing a letter of condolence to the man’s wife telling her that he was probably dead or at best, missing in action. As Patterson was sitting in his tent after sending out the letter by dispatch, a voice was heard outside of the tent flap.

Patterson felt that he was hearing things until the missing soldier walked through the door of his tent. He had been captured by the Turks and imprisoned in Damascus. When Allenby’s troops entered Damascus he escaped and managed to return to the lines. Patterson quickly telegraphed the soldier’s wife to make sure that the telegram would get there before Patterson’s official letter telling her that her husband was no longer among the living.

The hostility of the British military authorities in Palestine included giving inadequate tents and medical attention to the Jewish battalion. Many of them died of diseases like malaria. Periodically Patterson would threaten to resign and every once in a while he would send out a letter above his authority to rectify these attacks. On one occasion he sent a letter to General Allenby himself. Each time he threatened to resign, the British gave in because Patterson was a celebrity and they knew he could return to London and easily use the press to seek justice for him and his men.

Just to give you an idea of the level of anti-Semitism they had to deal with, when Patterson was outside of his camp, a high-ranking British officer entered the camp and began to verbally and physically abuse a number of Jewish soldiers. Patterson quickly returned and ordered his Jewish soldiers to fix bayonets and surround the officer until he formally apologized. Any officer other than Patterson would have been court-martialed and shot for such behavior, but Patterson had that same crazy Anglo-Irish charm that his counterpart among the Arabs, T.E. Lawrence also seemed to have and which Patterson used it in support of his much abused under-appreciated and remarkable soldiers.

When the Bolsheviks pulled out and the Americans arrived, the war was soon over. The British were in control of the land of Israel. They were supposed to hand over to the civil administration but before doing so, higher-ups the British administration encouraged the Arabs of Jerusalem and Haj Amin al Husseini to carry out a classic pogrom against Jews in Jerusalem itself.

For three days in 1920, Arabs murdered, raped and killed Jews, while the British posted armed guards at the gates of Jerusalem and let no one in. Jabotinsky managed to get some former Jewish legion members and guns and defend the defenseless Jews until the Arabs backed off.

The British then tried Jabotinsky for treason and sentenced him to 15 years hard labor. Eventually he only served one year in prison in the port city of ACCO. An international outcry supported by Patterson about Jabotinsky eventually caused him to be freed, but banned by the British from entering Palestine from then on. Ultimately he was decorated by the British military authorities.

Earlier, but soon after the war was over, when the Jewish Legion was still functional, the British authorities prevented them from entering Jerusalem for the Passover Seder of 1918. The Jewish Legion was in Gaza at the time and Patterson made sure they had the best Passover Seder that he could give them. Patterson celebrated with them the ancient liberation of the Jews from Egypt, a thousands of years earlier and as descendants of these Israelites, they  now commemorated the Exodus, in the land of Israel.

Soon after the war, Patterson left the Army. He began the war as Lt. Col. and ended the war as Lt. Col. He was given no further decorations. It is clear in retrospect that this was because of Patterson’s outright support for the Jewish right to return to the land of Israel, for an interpretation of the Balfour Declaration that was supposed to be implemented in its spirit and to the letter, and for his near impossible transformation of a group of untrained, untried Diaspora Jews into a world-class fighting force that was mentioned positively in dispatches by General Allenby himself. As the British administration on the ground became more and more pro-Arab, and anti-Zionist, the Jewish Legion was disbanded as the thousands of Jews who had been expelled from Palestine by the Turks began to return to the land of Israel.

In addition to Trumpeldor and Jabotinsky, Patterson’s soldiers included the following men:

Gershon Agron, (future Mayor of Jerusalem).

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, second Israeli President.

Yaakov Dori, Haganah leader; first Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

Levi Eshkol, third Israeli Prime Minister.

Eliyahu Golomb, founding member of the Haganah.

Nachum Gutman, Israeli Painter

Dov Hoz, Zionist activist, Haganah fighter.

Bernard Joseph, later Dov Yosef, Governor of Jewish Jerusalem during the 1948 siege.

and finally, a young man David Gruen, who later adopted the name David ben Gurion.

But the story does not end there. Jabotinsky understood that World War I had weakened the British.

He believed that ultimately, the creation of the Jewish state would need the political backing of the United States. He explained and persuaded Patterson that the Zionist movement must move its focus from London, capital of the British Empire, to New York and Washington D.C., the power centers of the United States, and that it would be essential to galvanize the American Jewish community and its sympathizers in support of a Jewish state.

Jabotinsky died in New York in 1940 while trying to raise a Jewish army of Jewish soldiers from the United States to once again join the British and the fight against the Nazis. Ultimately the British did agree to form a Jewish Legion, whose soldiers wore Jewish stars as armbands and with the star of David on their arms participated in the liberation of Jews in the concentration camps.

Patterson spent the rest of his life in the United States constantly speaking and writing on behalf of Zionist causes. He became close friends with a Jewish professor named Benzion Netanyahu. Together they worked tirelessly in favor of implementing the Balfour Declaration and the creation of the State of Israel. The year before Patterson died, Netanyahu invited him to the circumcision of his son, Jonathan. Jonathan was named after John Henry Patterson. At this Brit Milah, Patterson gave the eight-day-old Jonathan a silver cup which is kept by his family. It says:  “To my dear godson, Johnathan, from your godfather, John Henry Patterson.”

Jonathan or Yonatan in Hebrew, died leading the rescue at Entebbe, not far from the railway line, the Lunatic Express, that John Patterson had worked so hard to bring into existence in the late 1890s.

It was John Henry Patterson’s ultimate wish that his own ashes would eventually be buried among the soldiers of the Jewish Legion in the land of Israel. In December of 2014, the remains of John Henry Patterson were brought to Israel for internment. They were brought by his grandson, Alan Patterson. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony. This is what he told him:

Your grandfather immediately saw the great potential of these Jewish warriors. He taught them. He himself re-instilled in them: He said you are the descendants of Joshua, you are descendants of Judah the Maccabee. He said this. He was versed in the Bible. He was versed in the land of old. He was versed in our heroic past. But he said: You can recreate that historic past in the present. The future is yours if you have the will, if you have the faith, if you have the discipline.

Your grandfather wanted to be buried next to his beloved soldiers, here in Avichail, in the Land of Israel, and I feel it’s an obligation of our people, of our state, and of mine personally, to fulfill his testament. I wanted to say that to you personally…

“We salute you, John Henry Patterson.”