Dr. Eduard Benes was President of Czechoslovakia from 1935-38. In 1938 the Germans occupied the country, and in 1940 he organised a government-in-exile in London. After Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945, he returned to the presidency. Soon after the termination of the Second World War, the Sudeten Germans living in Czechoslovakia were transferred to Germany.
In August 1946, Benes had a meting with Eliahu Ben-Horin and the latter reported on this meeting in his unpublished autobiography. According to Ben-Horin, “President Benes said that there was something he could not understand about Zionist policies. He felt that the transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to Iraq or some other underpopulated Arab country could have provided the soundest solution for the Palestine problem. 'Indeed,' Dr. Benes went on, 'I spoke about it several times to Dr. Weizmann ... in London, but he had not been receptive at all to this idea. We are now transferring the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia to Germany, and their number is twice the number of the Arabs you have in Palestine.'“ We should add that this transfer of Sudeten Germans was a compulsory transfer approved by the Great Powers.
Ben-Horin answered Benes that he did “not have to sell me on the transfer idea, because I have advocated this solution for several years.” He then pointed out that whereas President Hoover “also favors the transfer idea”, Weizmann and other Zionist leaders “may not be far-sighted enough in this respect”. He also felt that one could not bring a parallel with the Sudeten Germans, since whereas Benes and his government were masters of Czechoslovakia, this was not the case with the Jews of Palestine.(118)
KING ABDULLAH AND PRIME MINISTER IBRAHIM PASHA
Abdullah ibn Hussein was born in 1882 in Mecca and was the second son of the Sharif Hussein ibn Ali. In 1921, at a meeting in Jerusalem, Winston Churchill, the then British Colonial Secretary offered him the administration of Transjordan and from this arrangement grew the emirate of Transjordan, with Abdullah as the hereditary ruler. In 1946, Britain awarded Transjordan independence and Abdullah became its King. His Prime Minister was a distinguished Arab jurist named Ibrahim Pasha Hashem.
On 29 July 1946, Alexander Kirkbride, writing from the British Legation in Amman, wrote to T. Wikeley of the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office in London. In this letter he reported on his meeting with King Abdullah and then with the Prime Minister Ibrahim Pasha. Hashem.
During this meeting they discussed various ideas for the future of Palestine and King Abdullah assumed that the result would be the partition of Palestine. Kirkbride reported that Abdullah was “for partition and he feels that the other Arab leaders may acquiesce in that solution although they may not approve of it openly.”(119)
In Kirkbride’s meeting with Ibrahim Pasha, the latter proposed population transfer as being essential to avoid future conflict in Palestine. On this Kirkbride wrote, “He went on to say that, in his opinion, the only just and permanent solution lay in absolute partition with an exchange of populations; to leave Jews in an Arab State or Arabs in a Jewish State would lead inevitably to further trouble between the two peoples. Ibrahim Pasha admitted that he would not be able to express this idea in public for fear of being called a traitor.”(120)
Nearly a month later, a telegram in cypher was sent from Prodrome in Amman to the Foreign Office. We can see from it that the Prime Minister was now joined by King Abdullah in favouring population transfer. “King Abdullah and Prime Minister of Transjordan both consider that partition followed by an exchange of populations is only practical solution to the Palestine problem. They do not feel able to express this view publicly because having regard to the possibility of the Arab area of Palestine being joined to Transjordan they would be regarded as prejudiced.”(121)
MOJLI AMIN, an Arab
In 1939, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine put forward a proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. This proposal was published in Damascus and distributed amongst the Arab leaders.(122)
Amin began by blaming the suffering of the Arabs in Palestine, the “lovers of peace”, on the Jews to whom the British had promised “an Arab land on the basis of prehistoric fables which state that Palestine is the designated land for Israel and Judea.” He added that there was no democratic country who would protest to Britain on the evil they were doing to the Arabs. He then went on to put forward a solution which would satisfy the hopes of the Jews and put an end to the killing of the Arabs.
Amin's proposal was that all of Palestine be given to the Jews - its dwelling places, its fields, its mosques, its graveyards, etc. “Furthermore, I hereby propose that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up amongst the neighbouring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine.” He added that Palestine would be isolated from the Arab countries by means of “dams”, so that the Jews would not see the Arabs and vice-versa. “We the Arabs are prepared to accept upon ourselves this great sacrifice for the sake of your welfare and the gathering in of your exiles and because of the generations of suffering which you underwent in Spain, Russia and other places.”
. Amin proposed that this exchange of population should be carried out in the same way as the Greco-Turkish population exchange, and that special committees should be established to deal with the liquidation of Jewish and Arab property. He realised that at first there would be great difficulties, but he hoped they would be finally solved.
Amin feared that “the Arabs will not agree to this extortionate solution.” However, he undertook the task of persuading them to accept this plan. The Jews would just need to hint on their agreement and then he would open publicity offices in all the Arab countries in order to obtain Arab agreement to the plan and to its implementation. With regards to Britain, Amin held that there was no need for its involvement.(123)
AMBASSADOR WILLIAM BULLITT
William Christian Bullitt began his career in government service during the first world war. He was the first U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and was afterwards the ambassador to France where he was popularly known as the “Champagne Ambassador”. Ben-Gurion would refer to Bullitt by the nickname “Kedouri”.
In 1942, Bullitt, prior to a visit to Palestine, told Ben-Gurion of his plans for Arab transfer. Ben-Gurion reported on this conversation in a letter which he wrote to Shertok, in February of that year. He wrote that Bullitt had told him that “what we had to do in Palestine is simple: to expel all the Arabs from both banks of the Jordan and give the Jewish people a complete and empty country.” Ben-Gurion reported that when he tried to explain to him that it was not so simple and in any case unnecessary, his (Ben-Gurion's) “Zionism was reduced in his eyes.”(124) We in fact find on several occasions in the 1940s that Ben-Gurion would make a point of publicly decrying as unnecessary the transfer of Arabs, when speaking to non-Jews!
Two years later, in April 1944, the twentieth Anniversary dinner of the American-British Convention on Palestine took place. Amongst the many addresses was one by William Bullitt and it was built around the views of Aaron Aaronsohn.
In his lecture at this anniversary dinner, Bullitt quoted the plan of Aaronsohn's for Arab transfer, adding that under the circumstances of 1944, “I wonder if it may not be wise to consider now, seriously, the proposals which Aaron Aaronsohn made in 1919... [they] may come into the realm of practical politics. I do not say that they will but that they may.”(125)
Towards the end of his address, under the heading of “Population Exchange” Bullitt asked “Why should we despair of such a solution?” He felt that “constructive statesmanship” was necessary and pointed out that twenty years earlier two great statesman had settled the “ancient blood-feud” between Greece and Turkey by means of a population transfer. Bullitt said that “after Aaron Aaronsohn's death ... I felt often that I was in a minority of one. I may still be. But I continue to have faith in his proposals.”(126)
HIGH COMMISSIONER SIR ARTHUR WAUCHOPE
In 1936 the Arab rebellion in Palestine began and the High Commissioner Wauchope utilised this opportunity to “repatriate” Arabs to their countries of origin.
In a handwritten note written by Wauchope on 2 May 1936, regarding the Hauranis, he wrote, “They are a turbulent lot. The sooner they go the better on their own request. Next week they may not want to go ... As long as they go voluntarily I feel no Arab comments.”(127)
A memorandum of the same date speaks of a number of Syrians who “had applied urgently and pleadingly to be sent back to their homes for the reasons that there was no work for them to do at Jaffa.”(128) Wauchope realised that as soon as Jaffa port would be reopened they would rescind their request. He therefore accordingly wrote a note, “Every encouragement should be given to countrymen to return to their own country without compulsion. When the port is re-opened fully probably none will want to go without compulsion.” He considered that written statements that they were leaving voluntarily to be “absolutely needless”.(129) Hathorn Hall, the Chief Secretary immediately passed on Wauchope's instructions to the Distrist Commissioner of the Southern District adding that a special train was being arranged to transfer these Arabs to Syria.(130)
A few weeks later, Wauchope telegrammed the Commissioner of Somaliland that he was “repatriating some twenty Somalis by first available steamer. It is urgently necessary in present circumstances that they should leave Palestine on general grounds and in their own interests.”(131) Likewise for the same reasons, ten Sudanese(132) and ten Nigerians(133) were repatriated. The meaning of “general grounds and in their own interests” can be found in several letters by Wauchope to the Acting Governor General of Sudan. In these letters he wrote that their “presence in Palestine in present circumstances is considered undesirable.”(134)
There are also written statements by Sudanese desiring to be repatriated. These statements are signed with the “left hand thumbprint of applicant”.(135) They could obviously not read and one might therefore ask if they in fact knew what they were “thumbprinting”?!
Leopold Amery was a British statesman who as Assistant Secretary to the War Cabinet drafted one of the formulas which eventually became the Balfour Declaration. For five years from 1924, he was British Colonial Secretary and between 1940-5 he was the Secretary of State for India. It was in this last office that he tried in early 1941, to assist Montague Bell to bring to fruition the plan for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine to Iraq.
On 4 October 1941, Amery wrote a letter to the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in which he put forward his views on solving the Palestine question, which included transferring the Arabs. He considered that “the ideal policy might well be to give the Jews the whole of Palestine and find the money for the transference of the existing Palestinian population to Transjordan and Syria and its resettlement there.” Amery did not specifically state whether he intended such a transfer of Arabs to be voluntary or compulsory, but from a continuation of his letter it would seem that the latter was intended. He wrote of the Greco-Turkish population exchange which was compulsory, and of the population exchange of a compulsory nature which would very probably be required after the termination of the Second World War. However, making a pragmatic assessment of the situation, he admitted that the British would not be able themselves to “undertake so extreme a policy in view of our many Moslem interests.” He added that this plan could possibly be implemented if the Mandate were to be handed over to Roosevelt with the suggestion that he “get on with it!” Possibly Amery had heard that nearly three years earlier, Roosevelt had first put forward a plan to transfer Arabs from Palestine to Iraq.
Amery suggested that if this plan could not be implemented, then it would be a feasible policy to give the Jews a part of Palestine such as had been recommended by the Peel Commission. He felt this would be easier if the Jewish State were to be part of a wider Federation and believed that this was the right solution which might well appeal to both Jews and Arabs were it to be boldly presented to them. He concluded that failing such acceptance he could see “no alternative except the partition of Palestine with a compulsory re-settlement.”(136)
Churchill did not react to the ideas of Amery.(137) In fact the debate on the political future of Palestine disappeared from the agenda of the British Cabinet for over a year and a half.
SIR NORMAN ANGELL
Sir Norman Angell, the Nobel Peace Prizewinner, was born in 1874. He was an English author and publicist and acted as general manager of the “Paris Daily Mail” for a decade. Between 1929-31 he was a Labour Member of Parliament and in 1931 was knighted.
In November 1941, Angell advocated moving the Arabs of Palestine into other Arab territory. “A plan must be initiated to help in the development of other Arab territories so that Arabs in Palestine might immigrate to purely Arab lands where their establishment would be encouraged.”(138)
In mid-1943, in an article in the “Jewish Frontier”, Angell set out “The Conditions for Zionist Success”. By this he meant “that Palestine should become a self-governing Jewish state, a true homeland of the Jews, master of its own immigration policy, open to development, without the restrictions and complications imposed by the presence of an Arab population nearly twice as great as the Jewish population.”
Angell said that the obstacle to the realisation of Zionist aims was “the presence of a major Arab population in Palestine itself” which could be a major defense threat to a Jewish State. He added that there were other obstacles such as bureaucratic incompetence and a tendency to solve problems by postponing them or even evading them, “but the major concrete difficulty is the Arab position.”
He felt that if the problem of defence for a Jewish Palestine could be summounted, it would be possible to tackle the Arab problem in Palestine along more constructive lines than those persued in the past. Angell's solution to this problem was the transfer of the Arabs from Palestine, but he began by discounting “any enforced removal of the Arab population” describing it as “wrong and suicidal”. His plan was that the vast undeveloped areas of the Arab world would be developed and offered to the Arabs of Palestine on conditions “so attractive that you might secure a voluntary Arab emigration in large numbers on to land developed for the specific purpose of inducing them to go there.” He considered that side by side with Jewish immigration into Palestine, there would be an Arab emigration until the population of the country would be predominantly Jewish. He concluded by emphasizing that this had to be a purely voluntary migration.(139)
We can see that Angell's final aims for Palestine are quite clear and given the authority to implement them, he might have succeeded in inducing the Arabs to migrate in large numbers to the vast areas of the Arab kingdoms.
Edwyn Bevan, the historian and philosopher, was a university lecturer at King's College, London. One of the first, if not the first, proposals made publicly by a non-Jew, to transfer Arabs from Palestine to Iraq, was made by him, in the form of a letter written to “The Times” of London in September 1936.
Bevan wrote that one could not look upon Palestine as a country belonging to the Arabs in the same way as England belongs to the English or France to the French. “The Palestinian Arabs are only part of the great Arab people, and that people has, outside Palestine, wide lands for habitation.” At that period Jews were being persecuted in various European countries, and Bevan pointed out that these Jews had no home to go to other than Palestine.
He then proposed his solution to this dilemma. After talking about Iraq's history of greatness, he urged that it would be pointless to restore Iraq's irrigation system so long as the country was under-populated. Any addition of population would have to be Arab. “Thus we see today the teasing anomaly: in Palestine an Arab population of some 820,000, who stand in the way of the Jews' need to re-enter their ancient home, and just on the other side of the desert, 500 miles to the east, a land of immense possibilities crying out for an additional Arab population of 4,000,000 or 5,000,000.”
Bevan immediately added that any Arabs emigrating from Palestine to Iraq “would have to do so quite voluntarily.” However, the Arabs would be provided with great inducements to move, the Iraqi Government offering “any Palestinian Arab a holding in Iraq larger and richer than his present holding in Palestine.” Bevan said that he was sure that “many Palestinian Arabs would like to close with the bargain.” He considered that it was reasonable for the Jewish community to provide most of the money for Iraq to use for this purpose.
If under this scheme the bulk of the Palestinian Arabs were to transfer to Iraq, Bevan felt that everyone “would have reason to feel pleased” - Iraq would have added to its population as a step towards a return to its former greatness, the individual Arabs would have gained better lands, and the Jews would have found “space for their home in the promised land.” However, concluding on a pessimistic note, he was sceptical whether such a plan would ever be put into effect.
Bevan also added that the Peel Commission which had recently been set up could not be expected to suggest this idea since Iraq was an independent State outside the British Empire. Any initiative would have to be taken by the Iraqi Government.(140)
Ely Culbertson, the American writer and lecturer was born in 1891. He was Chairman of the Board of the Citizens' Committee for the United Nations Reform, and President of “World Federation Inc.” He was also author of numerous publications propagating his ideas for World Peace, and a plan for a World Federation. Included in the latter was the establishment of a Jewish State.
According to Culbertson's system there would be eleven Regional Federations and around each would revolve a number of States which would be held in their orbits by psycho-social and economic forces. These eleven Regional Foundations would revolve around the World Federation and the whole system would be held together by the constitution of the World Federation. One of these Regional Federations would be the Middle Eastern Federation and one of the States revolving around it would be the Jewish State.(141)
Culbertson felt that there were two solutions to the Jewish problem in Palestine and that it would be the duty of the World Federation Government to decide which of them to adopt. In the first solution, which involved transfer of Arabs, Culbertson suggested that Palestine should become a Jewish State in the following way. “A large part of the Mohammedan and Christian populations of Palestine shall be transferred to another territory in the Middle East, where equivalent or better land and living conditions shall be provided, together with a reasonable bonus. This transfer shall be effected only with the consent of the groups concerned. The expenses of this transfer shall be borne, half by the Jewish State and half by the World Federation.”
Culbertson then commented that despite the Arabs' attachment to Palestine “it is reasonable to assume that a large number of both Arabs and Christians will consent to emigrate if sufficient inducement is offered.” He envisaged settling hundreds of thousands of homeless Jews from Europe in the lands vacated by the Arabs. In this way the Jews would become a majority in Palestine and thus form a sovereign Jewish State.
His alternative solution to be considered in the event of an insufficient number of Arabs agreeing to emigrate to permit of the establishment of a Jewish majority in Palestine, was for the country to become a ward of the World Federation. This would continue, until as a result of intensified Jewish immigration Palestine would acquire a Jewish majority, and, upon a plebiscite, its separate sovereignty would be established.(142)
Following the publication of his World Federation plan, Culbertson published in an expanded form in “The New Palestine”, the phase of his plan dealing with Palestine.(143) This was later published together with other articles in a booklet brought out by the Zionist Organization of America.(144)
John Gunther was an American author and journalist, who was born in Chicago in 1901. He wrote a number of informal histories which included “Inside Europe”, “Inside Asia”, “Inside Africa”, “Inside U.S.A.”, Inside Russia Today”.
In his diary, Ben-Gurion reported that on the evening of 5 December 1937, he met with Gunther and his wife in the house of Moshe Shertok. At the time, Gunther was researching for his proposed book “Inside Asia” and intended continuing on to Egypt and thence to India, China and Japan.(145) Two years later his book was published.
In a chapter on Palestine, Gunther devoted several pages to the Arab-Jewish conflict and then concluded, “Perhaps amelioration will come some day... in the form of an exchange of populations. This is not practical politics yet; it could become practical politics any time the British believed in it. The Arabs might conceivably go to Transjordan or Iraq, where there is plenty of room; Jews from Europe could come then to Palestine. The idea may seem fantastic, but it worked when imposed by a strong hand on the Greeks and Turks. Something drastic must be done.”(146)
In view of the fact that Gunther refers to the exchange of population between Greece and Turkey which was compulsory and states that “something drastic must be done” in connection with a proposed population exchange involving Palestine, we might infer that Gunther intended a compulsory population exchange in Palestine.
WALTER CLAY LOWDERMILK
Walter Clay Lowdermilk who was at one time the Chief of the Soil Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in the years 1938-9 made an extensive study of the Near and Middle East.
In his book “Palestine, Land of Promise”, published in 1944, Lowdermilk put forward his plans for the development of Palestine. Regarding the Arab population, he asked, “What of the million and a third Arabs in Palestine and Trans-Jordan?” He believed that they would benefit from this Jewish development since an increase in Jewish immigration would provide them with new opportunities for investment and labour and enlarge the market for their produce. However, “If individual Arabs found that they disliked living in an industrialised land, they could easily settle in the great alluvial plain of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley where there is land enough for vast numbers of immigrants.” He pointed out that there was a large potential in Iraq and that it had an urgent need for increased population.(147)
The initiative for Lowdermilk's book came from Emanuel Neumann, who in his own book “In the Arena” wrote that he had suggested to Lowdermilk's wife that her husband write “a book about Palestine which would cast a new and fresh light on its possibilities.” Lowdermilk took up this suggestion and his book became a “best-seller” and was well-reviewed in the press.(148)
Amongst the papers which reviewed this book was “Zionews” which was published by the New Zionist Organization of America. In the course of this review, the transfer proposal was described in great detail, the reviewer adding that “Lowdermilk approaches this problem with his usual spiritual courage and broadmindedness.”(149)
Although the staff of the American Zionist Emergency Council handled Lowdermilk's manuscript prior to its publication, there is no indication that any of them objected to the passage regarding Arab transfer.(150)
A year prior to the publication of Lowdermilk's book, a Christian from Palestine, Francis Kettaneh, submitted a memorandum to the British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden. In the course of this memorandum, Kettaneh referred to the fact that Lowdermilk had been sent to Asia (including Palestine) to “survey post war reconstruction possibilities in these countries.” According to Kettaneh, in his subsequent report, Lowdermilk urged that “a canal be cut from the Mediterranean to the Jordan Valley,” thus virtually making Palestine into an island which “could be more easily defended against Arab inroads.” Kettaneh said that Lowdermilk “therefore advocates the forcible expropriation and expulsion of Arabs from Palestine, transforming the country into an independent Jewish State, capable of absorbing between four and six million Jews.”(151) Kettaneh did not however identify this report of Lowdermilk's and in its absence Kettaneh's objectivity remains in doubt.
COLONEL RICHARD MEINERTZHAGEN
Throughout his life, Richard Meinertzhagen was a supporter of Zionism. He served on the staff of General Allenby's army which conquered Palestine from the Turks and then was for several years the military adviser to the Middle Eastern Department of the Colonial Office.
In 1919, when he was Chief Political Officer in Palestine and Syria in the post-war military administration, he sent a despatch to the British Foreign Office accusing the British military administration of hostility to the principles of the Balfour Declaration. In the same vein, nearly two decades later, in July 1938, Meinertzhagen wrote in his diary, “What colossal humbug the Balfour Declaration now sounds,” adding that all constructive effort had to come from the Jews, who had to fight a constant uphill battle against British officialdom. He went on to suggest a “way out of this ghastly mess” for the British Government, but he despaired of success since they were “such a jelly-bellied lot of kittens.”
He felt that the French who “just at the moment” would support the British “in anything” should be asked to hand over the Mufti, and then the British and the French should together approach the Arabs “and insist on Jewish sovereignty in Palestine”. Meinertzhagen said, “If any Arabs have doubts about it, let them go to the large Arab territories bordering Palestine after full compensation.” He believed that two or three million pounds would be sufficient to buy out all the Arabs. He obviously felt strongly about his plan since he himself was prepared to help financially. “And how willingly, I would buy out an Arab family if I knew the land went for ever to Zionism.” He felt that “thousands of Englishmen” would do likewise in order to settle the Jewish question and he did not fear any repercussions elsewhere provided the situation were to be handled properly. But he was very pessimistic about the British Government's implementing any plan to solve the Palestine question.(152)
Again six years later, Meinertzhagen put forward his proposal which might involve the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. He felt that the only solution of the problem was “the gift of Palestine to Jewry” and this needed to be implemented immediately. “Those Arabs who dislike the solution can be compensated and moved elsewhere,” wrote Meinertzhagen in his diary, adding that it had been claimed that such a transfer would be a “great injustice to the Arabs.” He himself considered that the “arguments for and against this contention are manifold and interminable.” He commented that one hears “little about injustice to the Jews” and that a settlement of the Jewish Question which would affect World Jewry would cause only a slight injustice to a handful of Arabs who already had “a country many hundred time greater than Palestine.”(153)
REV. DR. JAMES PARKES
James Parkes, the English theologian and historian was born in 1896. He wrote a number of articles on anti-Semitism in which he demonstrated a strong sympathy with the Jewish people and an appreciation of Judaism as a religious system.
In 1945, Parkes looked at the problem of Palestine pragmatically and decided that a bi-national state in Palestine would be unworkable. He therefore concluded that there were two alternatives. The first was to tell the Jews that a Jewish National Home in Palestine was not possible and that they should either come to an arrangement with the Arabs or leave for elsewhere. The second was to tell the Arabs that the Jews needed Palestine more than they and that it would therefore become a Jewish Commonwealth. Thence to say to the Arabs, “If you do not wish to stay in it, you will receive compensation and be settled elsewhere.” Parkes considered that the proposed frontiers of the past partition plan were unsatisfactory and that the Jewish Commonwealth needed to be larger. He felt that “so far as rights are concerned, both Jews and Arabs have unchallengable cases” and therefore one would have to give way to the other. He concluded that “from the standpoint of need it seems to me clear that the decision lies in favour of the Jews” - the Arabs having “lands stretching from the Atlantic to Iran.”(154)
Parkes' paper was followed by a comment by Sir John Hope Simpson. [Fifteen years earlier, a Commission headed by Simpson had gone to Palestine to study the economic conditions there. His report had declared that there was no margin of land in Palestine available for agricultural settlement by new immigrants. The statistical basis of this report was subsequently challenged by the Jewish Agency Executive in London.]
Simpson was highly critical of Parkes' conclusions. In the course of his argument, he wrote, “That there is any Jewish right whatsoever (to Palestine), save the right conferred by the Mandate, is pure assumption, unsupported by fact,” and that Jewish rights to Palestine “based on an occupation of two thousand years ago, can hardly be seriously considered.”(155)
With regard to Parkes' proposal on resettling the Arabs, Simpson wrote, “It is... perfectly clear that action taken to hand over Palestine to the Jews, and to invite the Arabs to evacuate their country for that purpose, would be diametrically opposed” to certain articles of the League of Nations Covenant and the Mandate.(156)
In answer to Simpson's last statement, a certain Carl J. Friedrich retorted, “All that responsible people say is that those Arabs who do not like a policy of free immigration... will, if they do not wish to stay in Palestine, receive compensation and be settled elsewhere. There is nothing novel in this suggestion except the idea of compensation.”(157)
GENERAL SIR JOHN BAGOT GLUBB (GLUBB PASHA)
John Bagot Glubb (known as Glubb Pasha) was in the British military. In 1939 he was put in charge of the Arab Legion and he built it up from the police force of the emirate of Transjordan to an army. During World War II, he led attacks on Arab leaders in Iraq, as well as the Vichy regime which was then present in Lebanon and Syria. During the Israeli War of Independence, he commanded his Arab Legion against the new State of Israel.
In July 1946, Glubb brought out a 33 page memorandum entitled “A Note on Partition as a Solution of the Palestine Problem.” He felt that the partition of Palestine was the only scheme offering any possibility of success and he envisaged a Jewish state which would encompass the Coastal Plain, the Jezreel Valley and the lower Jordan Valley. He felt that the most serious problem in frontier delimitation was the city of Jaffa, – Tel-Aviv had a Jewish population, whereas the adjoining Jaffa was Arab populated. One possibility that he suggested was the transfer of the Arabs from Jaffa over the course of ten to fifteen years.
There was also the problem of Arabs finding themselves in the intended Jewish state and the reverse. On this, Glubb suggested that the best solution would be to opt for citizenship of the other state. However he felt that “the great majority, however, would probably wish to move” but even after an exchange of population “a large balance of Arabs would be left in the Jewish state. The Jews would want to get rid of them, and would soon find means of making the Arabs wish to move.” Glubb continued that “it is not of course intended to move Arab displaced persons by force, but merely so to arrange that when these persons find themselves left behind in the Jewish state, well paid jobs and good prospects should be simultaneously open for them in the Arab state.”(158)
At a later date, Glubb brought out an even longer memorandum entitled “A Further Note on Partition as a Solution of the Palestine Question” in which he moved towards the use of compulsory transfer. In the second part of this memorandum under the heading of “Fixing the Frontiers” and the sub-heading “Irrigation Works Programme” he concluded that “Permanent settlement of Arabs displaced from the Jewish State can only be effected by constructive schemes such as irrigation.” To accomplish this he stated that engineers would have to be brought in, in order to make the necessary surveys. He then continued with the subject of “Work of Boundary Commissions and Compensation Committees.” On this Glubb wrote, “Work will then have to be started in moving Jews out of the Arab state and Arabs out of the Jewish [state]. Work would begin, not in the frontier area, but with Jews in the inevitably Arab area already handed over to Trans-Jordan, and with Arabs in the area in which the Jewish state was already in being.”(159)
In the following sub-heading entitled “Settlement of the Frontier Belt” Glubb continued, “When the undoubtedly Arab and undoubtedly Jewish areas had been cleared of all members of the other community, work would begin on deciding the actual frontier….” He realised that there would be areas of the frontier which had a considerably mixed population and as the frontier was demarcated “every effort would be made to arrange exchanges of land and population so as to leave as few people as possible to be compensated for cash.”(160)
However, in a further memorandum brought out by him about January 1947 and entitled “A Note on the Exact Siting of the Frontier in the Event of the Adoption of Partition,” he concluded that forcible transfer of Arabs was not possible. “It is inconceivable that British troops be used to evict [Arabs] from their homes …. To attempt forcibly to transfer large blocks of Arabs by using Jewish troops would lead to civil war, and troops of the Arab States would refuse to do it.”(161)
Reinhold Niebuhr was a member of the Executive Committee of the Christian Council on Palestine. By 1941, he had begun publicly to advocate a Jewish homeland.
On 14 January 1946, Niebuhr gave evidence in Washington D.C. before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine. He in fact arrived uninvited in order to read a statement on behalf of the Christian Council on Palestine, and at the private urging of Stephen Wise. After waiting all day he was finally allowed to speak when an invited anti-Zionist witness failed to show up.(162)
In the course of his evidence he said that there was “no perfectly just solution of any political problem.” In the case of the Arab-Jewish conflict, he stated that “the Arabs have a vast hinterland in the Middle East, and the fact that the Jews have nowhere to go, establish the relative justice of their claims and of their cause.”
As a solution to this problem, Niebuhr put forward a transfer proposal. “Perhaps ex-President Hoover's idea that there should be a large scheme of resettlement in Iraq for the Arabs might be a way out.”(163)
After he finished his statement, he was cross-examined by the Committee. One of the committee members referred to a study which had been made on population problems in Palestine and then said, “The upshot ... is that it is practically impossible to get a Jewish majority in Palestine and keep it until you move out some of the Arabs. The Arabs increase twice as fast as the Jews.” He then asked Niebuhr, “You would be inclined to take Herbert Hoover's solution that we move some of the Arabs across the Jordan, would you?” Niebuhr answered: “Yes. Not necessarily forcible removal.”(164)
From his answer we can see that Niebuhr was leaving open whether the transfer should be “forcible removal” or voluntary transfer. In fact his biographer Richard Fox, shows that Niebuhr inclined towards “forcible transfer”. He wrote, “As Niebuhr .bluntly put it in his new syndicated column distributed by Religious News Service, the Arabs had a 'pathetic pastoral economy.' They might not immediately perceive the justice of the quid pro quo - a secure Jewish homeland (including forced relocation of some Arab Palestinians) in exchange for greater prosperity - but they would in the long run.”(165) (emphasis added)
SENATOR CLAUDE PEPPER
Following his graduation from the law department of Harvard University, Claude Pepper practiced law. In 1936 he was elected as a Democratic senator from Florida, where he served until 1951.
In October 1945, Mousa Al-Alami, a prominent lawyer from Palestine, and head of the Arab Propaganda Bureau, had a meeting with the American Charge d'Affaires at the U.S.A. legation in Baghdad. During the course of this meeting, Al-Alami reported on a long discussion that he had had with Senator Claude Pepper.
According to Al-Alami, Senator Pepper had told him “that he had worked out a plan to settle the Zionist question which he believed would be satisfactory to both Arabs and Jews. Senator Pepper's idea was to effect a shift of population, that is, sending all the Jews in Arab countries to Palestine and all the Arabs in Palestine to various Arab countries.”
In reply Al-Alami had said “that this suggestion had been offered before and had been ruled out as impractical by both sides for several reasons.” It is interesting to note that the first of the reasons brought by Al-Alami to refute Pepper was that it was the Jews who would not want to leave the Arab countries!(166)
Bertrand Russell was an English philosopher and mathematician. In his later years, Russell was actively engaged in the campaign for nuclear disarmament. For his numerous writings, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In 1943, Bertrand Russell wrote about his views regarding a future Jewish State. With regard to the Arab question, he distinguished between the theoretical solution and the practical realities.
For the theoretical solution, he put forward the idea of transfer. He wrote that “it should be possible to offer adequate compensation for any disturbance, and to cause the Arabs voluntarily to surrender inconvenient rights in return for perhaps more valuable concessions elsewhere.”
However, in practical terms, he concluded that the problem was much more complex. This was not because he felt transfer was unethical or wrong, but because “the question is inflamed by the very general rise of Asiatic self-consciousness, and a determination to assert the rights of Asia as against the white man.” Even in the eyes of the most enlightened Indian inhabitants, Russell considered that Zionism appeared as an ally of British imperialism. He did not feel that there was “the faintist justification for this view”; however since it was widely held, it was politically important.(167)