The May 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement
This secret agreement
France and Russia
was concluded by British diplomat, Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat Georges Picot. In seeking to divide the entire Middle East into areas of influence for each of the imperial powers but leaving the Holy Lands to be
jointly administered by the three powers, it clashed materially with the McMahon Agreement. It was intended to hand Syria, Mesopotamia, Lebanon
and Cilicia (in south-eastern Asia Minor) to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf and Baghdad including
Arabia and the Jordan Valley
to the British.
Although intended to be
secret, the Arabs learned about the agreement from communists who found a copy in the Russian government’s archives.
The 1917 Balfour
The Balfour Declaration
is contained in the following letter from Lord Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Lord Rothschild, president
of the British Zionist Federation,
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.
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."
I should be grateful
if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
The declaration was accepted
by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922 and embodied in the mandate that gave Great Britain
administrative control of Palestine as d escribbed in more
THE SAN REMO CONFERENCE 1920
After ruling vast areas
of Eastern Europe, South-western Asia, and North Africa for centuries, the Ottoman Empire lost all its Middle
East territories during World War One. The Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920 abolished the Ottoman Empire and
obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North
Africa. It was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
The status of the Ottoman
Empire’s former possessions was determined at a conference in San Remo, Italy on April 24-25, 1920 attended by Great Britain,
France, Italy, Japan and as an observer, the United States.
Syria and Lebanon were
mandated to France while Mesopotamia (Iraq)
and the southern portion of the territory (Palestine) were mandated to Britain, with the charge to implement the Balfour Declaration.
While the Balfour Declaration
was in itself not a legally enforceable document, it did become legally enforceable by being entrenched in international law
when it was incorporated in its entirety in a resolution passed by the Conference on April 25. Significantly, the only change
made to the wording of the Balfour Declaration was to strengthen Britain’s
obligation to implement the Balfour Declaration. Lord Curzon described the San Remo
resolution as “the Magna Carta of the Zionists”.
Though borders were not
yet precisely defined, the conference gave Palestine a legal
identity. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister at the time used the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" that was often used in subsequent documents.
The conference's decisions
were confirmed unanimously by all fifty-one member countries of the League of Nations on
July 24, 1922 and they were further endorsed by a joint resolution of the United States Congress in the same year,
Remo resolution received a further US endorsement in the Anglo-American
Treaty on Palestine, signed by the US and
Britain on December 3, 1924, that incorporated the text of the Mandate
for Palestine. The treaty protected the rights of Americans
living in Palestine under the Mandate and more significantly it also made those rights and provisions part of United States
treaty law which are protected under the US constitution. The U.S. Senate ratified
the treaty on February 20, 1925 followed by President Calvin Coolidge on March 2, 1925 and by Great Britain on March 18, 1925.
Britain was specifically charged with giving effect to the establishment
of the Jewish National Home in Palestine that was called for
in the Balfour declaration that had already been adopted by the other Allied Powers. It is therefore obvious that the legitimacy
of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and a Jewish state in Palestine as defined before the creation
of Transjordan, all derive from the same binding international agreement at San Remo,
that has never been abrogated.
of the San Remo conference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijS8mFP4I1A
In April 2010, a ceremony attended by politicians and others from Europe, the U.S. and Canada was held in San
Remo at the house where the signing of the San Remo
declaration took place in 1920. At the conclusion of the commemoration, the following statement was released:
the importance of the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 - which included the Balfour Declaration in its entirety - in
shaping the map of the modern Middle East, as agreed upon by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers (Britain,
France, Italy, Japan, and the United States acting as an observer), and later approved unanimously by the League of Nations;
the Resolution remains irrevocable, legally binding and valid to this day.
that the San Remo Resolution of 1920 recognized the exclusive national Jewish rights to the
Land of Israel under international law,
on the strength of the historical connection of the Jewish people to the territory previously known as Palestine.
such a seminal event as the San Remo Conference of 1920 has
been forgotten or ignored by the community of nations, and that the rights it conferred upon the Jewish people have been unlawfully
dismissed, curtailed and denied.
a just and lasting peace, leading to the acceptance of secure and recognized borders between all States in the region, can
only be achieved by recognizing the long established rights of the Jewish people under international law."
THE BRITISH MANDATE