Suppose for sake of argument that the entire Middle East is aflame because of land, not religion.

If the Arabs only want the land that was taken from the Ottoman Empire by the British & the French in “Arabia” in 1917 by the Balfour Declaration, would they tolerate the Israelis living there?

It’s not so simple? Well au contraire.

The Balfour Declaration is a letter written by  Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild. A letter.

It’s not on any official paper. It’s not signed by anyone with the authority to promise anything like a new nation carved out of Arabia. Why is it so important?

It’s a Declaration that was, supposedly, “submitted to and approved by, “The Cabinet”.

It reads:

Foreign Office, November 2nd, 1917.

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of his majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to and approved by, the cabinet.  “His majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object. 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.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation. It’s signed Arthur James Balfour. (Here).

In 1917 the Middle East was a political mess. Boundaries of countries were muddled. The Ottoman Empire owned all of Arabia. Germany joined the Ottoman’s, (the Turks). Britain France and Russia had sort of carved up the area into what parts each wanted, sort of like deciding what part of the bearskin each hunter would get before the bear was shot.

Territory, not religion was on the minds of the nations in 1917 but few people will fight to the death so someone else can get the land.

Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab Revolt. The Arabs of the desert led by T. E. Lawrence, Emir Faisal and Auda Abu  Tayi were fighting for territory, not for Allah. That came later.

Lots of people easily can be induced to fight for and to die for their religion.

So the battles for the land had to be changed to a war between the religions. Propaganda for religion is very easy to create. It’s simple to exhort believers to die for the cause.

Is all of this just because of land? 

Peggy Lee sang: “Is that All There Is?”  

Maybe.

 

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