‘The scattered Jews should have a national centre, and where else but in Palestine?’
In March 1921, twenty six years before the The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine, Mr. Winston Churchill visited Palestine and met a delegation of Muslim leaders. They protested that the ultimate objective of political Zionism was to give the natural resources of Palestine to the Jews. They pointed out that the Arabs had occupied Palestine for over a thousand years. They asked Churchill to use his influence to correct what they considered a great injustice.
Churchill is recorded as saying in reply:
‘You ask me to repudiate the Balfour Declaration and to stop (Jewish) immigration. This is not in my power … and it is not my wish … It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national centre, and a national home to be re-united, and where else but in Palestine, with which for three thousand years they have been intimately and profoundly associated?
We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine…they shall share in the benefits and progress of Zionism.
I am told the Arabs would have done it for themselves. Who is going to believe that? Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps toward the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell–a handful of philosophic people– in the sun-scorched plains, letting the waters of the Jordan contine to flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.’