Palestine: A Possible Solution
Life, Mr. Justice Holmes used to say, is made up mainly of problems that can never be solved. Palestine looks like one of those insoluble problems. But it has to be solved, or the urge toward a new world order of peace encounters a serious check. If the problem of Palestine defies solution with present premises, sooner or later the new premise of Russia will enter into the argument. And the world already has more than enough of the Russian premise.
Since the Balfour Declaration, much water has run under the bridges, water more and more stained with blood. At the time of the Declaration, the solution proposed appeared practicable as well as just. Palestine had been wrested from the Turks by the British. The British had been put in position to liberate the Arab-speaking territories from the Turkish yoke by the entry of America into World War I, an event that turned British defeat into British victory. The Palestinian Arabs had taken no part in the struggle for the expulsion of the Turks. They had no political organization whatever. They had no national feeling. It was therefore entirely reasonable for the British to assume that they had a right to dispose of Palestine in such a way as might comport with their own interest and the interest of world peace. It was also entirely proper that the British should have consulted the interests of America. All these interests were embodied in the Balfour Declaration, interpreted by the Zionists—with Balfour’s tacit consent as authority—as a plan to set up a Jewish homeland in Palestine, a homeland that should be an independent Jewish state so soon as the Jews, through immigration, should have attained to the position of a substantial majority.
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