The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration

The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Book - 2010
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Random House, Inc.
Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.

With new material retrieved from historical archives, scholar Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private battles in the early 1900s for a small strip of land in the Middle East, battles that started when the governing Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The Balfour Declaration paints an indelible picture of how Arab nationalists, backed by Britain, fought for their future as Zionists in England battled diplomatically for influence. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either side or even to most members of the British government, Prime Minister David Lloyd George was telling Turkey that she could keep her flag flying over the disputed territory if only she would agree to a separate peace.

The key players in this watershed moment are rendered here in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, Zionist hero, the folksmensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary “super cerebral” British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; Basil Zaharoff, the infamous arms dealer who was Britain’s most important back channel to the Turks; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.

A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a rich and remarkable achievement, a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.

Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the history of the 1917 document that set in motion the establishment of the Israeli state, reshaped the Middle East and influenced present-day tensions, in a provocative account that reveals the behind-the-scenes politics that went into its creation.

& Taylor

Chronicles the history of the 1917 document that set in motion the establishment of the Israeli state, reshaped the Middle East and influenced present-day tensions, in an account that reveals the politics that went into its creation.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400065325
Characteristics: xxix, 432 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm

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Jan 25, 2016

This is a troubling but important book that gives background as to how the Arab-Israeli conflict began not after WWII but during WWI. Stunning is the duplicity of Britain, France and Russia who secretly (initially) agreed to divide the Arab world into spheres of influence and the rough borders of the countries of the region today - even as Arabs were fighting for independence from Turkey, led by the famous Lawrence of Arabia - while also agreeing to make Palestine a "condominium" under a joint Anglo-French protectorate. Also noteworthy is how the leading proponent of Zionism of the day, Chaim Weizmann, was double-crossed several times before the Balfour Declaration finally took hold. Much of the woes of the Middle East began during that period - not just Israel versus the Arab world, but the ongoing conflict between Arabs themselves and between Arabs and Iranians. Particularly prescient were fears among some Brits as to how a Sunni minority could rule a Shia majority in Iraq - predicting the coming of Saddam Hussein 60 years later. A must read for anyone who wants to understand this intractable region.

debwalker Feb 08, 2011

The British declaration that split historic Palestine between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Jan 18, 2011

An amazing historical account that reads like a thriller rife with duplicity, intrigue, deceit, treachery and deception at the highest political and international levels.

In a nutshell, as part of their efforts to defeat Germany during WW1, the British simultaneously: (1) Agreed that Palestine will be part of Sharif Hussein's Arab Kingdom after the Ottoman Empire's demise; (2) Promised to assist the Zionists to establish a national home for the Jews in Palestine; (3) In a secret treaty with the French, agreed that Palestine would be part of the latter's possessions after the war; and, (4) In secret talks with the Ottomans for a separate peace settlement, agreed that the Ottoman flag would continue to fly over Palestine after the war -- all this without ever once pausing to consider Palestinian aspirations, let alone consult with them. The British had one and ultimate objective: winning the war against Germany, and to that end stopped at nothing.

Abounding with detail and meticulously researched, this book is exquisitely written in a style that brings events to life as if they were unfolding right in front of the reader's eyes. It is objective and non-biased, strictly recounting historical and factual events that surrounded and led to the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

The book is intelligently structured and laid out, making a very complex tangle of events quite understandable and relatively easy to follow and digest.

One doesn't have to be a history buff to thoroughly enjoy it.


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