Statement of the Zionist Organization regarding Palestine, 1919
Proposals to be presented to the Peace Conference
The Zionist Organization respectfully submits the following draft resolutions for the consideration of the Peace Conference:
1. The High Contracting Parties recognise the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.
2. The boundaries of Palestine shall be as declared in the Schedule annexed hereto.
3. The sovereign possession of Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
4. (Provision to be inserted relating to the application in Palestine of such of the general conditions attached to mandates as are suitable to the case. )
5. The mandate shall be subject also to the following special conditions:
- I. Palestine shall be placed under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish National Home and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous Commonwealth, 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.
- II. To this end the Mandatory Power shall inter alia:
- a. Promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.
- b. Accept the cooperation in such measures of a Council representative of the Jews of Palestine and of the world that may be established for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and entrust the organization of Jewish education to such Council
- c. On being satisfied that the constitution of such Council precludes the making of private profit, offer to the Council in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural resources which it may be found desirable to grant
I. The Mandatory Power shall encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities practicable in the conditions of the country
II. There shall be for ever the fullest freedom of religious worship for all creeds in Palestine There shall be no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race
III. (Provision to be inserted relating to the control of the Holy Places)
The Boundaries of Palestine
The boundaries of Palestine shall follow the general lines set out below:
Starting on the North at a point on the Mediterranean Sea in the vicinity South of Sidon and following the watersheds of the foothills of the Lebanon as far as JISR EL KARAON, thence to EL BIRE following the dividing line between the two basins of tile WAD: EL Kook and the Wadi ET TEIM thence in a southerly direction following the dividing line between the Eastern and Western slopes of the HERMON, to the vicinity West of BEIT JENN, thence Eastward following the northern watersheds of the NAHR MUGHANIYE close to and west of the Hedjaz Railway
In the East a line close to and West of the Hedjaz Railway terminating in the Gulf of Akaba.
In the South a frontier to be agreed upon with the Egyptian Government.
In the West the Mediterranean Sea.
The details of the delimitations, or any necessary adjustments of detail, shall be settled by a Special Commission on which there shall be Jewish representation. Statement.
The historic title
The claims of the Jews with regard to Palestine rest upon the following main consideration:
1. The land is the historic home of the Jews; there they achieved their greatest development from that centre, through their agency, there emanated spiritual and moral influences of supreme value to mankind By violence they were driven from Palestine, and through the ages they have never ceased to cherish the longing and the hope of a return
2. In some parts of the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe, the conditions of life of millions of Jews are deplorable Forming often a congested population, denied the opportunities which would make a healthy development possible, the need of fresh outlets is urgent, both for their own sake and in the interest of the population of other races, among whom they dwell Palestine would offer one such outlet To the Jewish masses it is the country above all others in which they would most wish to cast their lot By the methods of economic development to which we shall refer later, Palestine can be made now as it was in ancient times, the home of a prosperous population many times as numerous as that which now inhabits it
3. Palestine is not large enough to contain more than a proportion of the Jews of the world I he greater part of the fourteen millions or more scattered through all countries must remain in their present localities, and it will doubtless be one of the cares of the Peace Conference to ensure for them, wherever they have been oppressed, as for all peoples equal rights and humane conditions A Jewish National Home in Palestine will, however, be of high value to them also Its influence will permeate the Jewries of the world, it will inspire these millions, hitherto often despairing, with a new hope it will hold out before their eyes a higher standard; it will help to make them even more useful citizens in the lands in which they dwell.
4. Such a Palestine would be of value also to the world at large, whose real wealth consists In the healthy diversities of its civilisations
5. Lastly the land itself needs redemption Much of it is left desolate Its present condition is a standing reproach. Two things are necessary for that redemption - a stable and enlightened government, and an addition to the present population which shall be energetic, intelligent, devoted to the country, and backed by the large financial resources that are indispensable for development Such a population the Jews alone can supply.
Inspired by these ideas, Jewish activities particularly during the last thirty years have been directed to Palestine within the measure that the Turkish administrative system allowed. Some millions of pounds sterling have been spent in the country particularly in the foundation of Jewish agricultural settlements.
These settlements have been for the most part highly successful.
With enterprise and skill the Jews have adopted modern scientific methods and have shown themselves to be capable agriculturists. Hebrew has been revived as a living language: it is the medium of instruction in the schools and the tongue is in daily use among the rising generation. The foundations of a Jewish University have been laid at Jerusalem and considerable funds have been contributed for the creation of its building and for its endowment. Since the British occupation, the Zionist Organization has expended in Palestine approximately œ50,000 a month upon relief, education and sanitation. To promote the future development of the country great sums will be needed for drainage, irrigation, roads, railways, harbours and public works of all kinds, as well as for land settlement and house building. Assuming a political settlement under which the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine is assured the Jews of the world will make every effort to provide the vast sums of money that will be needed.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews pray for the opportunity speedily to begin life anew in Palestine Messengers have gone out from many places, and groups of young Jewish men proceeding on foot have already reached Trieste and Rome on their weary pilgrimage to Zion.
The historic title of the Jews to Palestine was recognised by the British Government in its Declaration of November 2nd 1917, addressed by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Lord Rothschild and reading as follows:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours 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."