Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State

By Martin Sicker | Go to book overview

2
The Jewish High Comissioner

At the beginning of 1920, in anticipation of Britain's acceptance of the Mandate for Palestine, the Foreign Office requested that Sir Herbert Samuel go to the country and report on its financial and administrative condition. Samuel arrived in Palestine at the end of January and remained there for some ten weeks. His final report from the country, which he submitted on April 2, just prior to the outbreak of anti-Jewish violence in Jerusalem, was quite optimistic and evidently not grounded in a realistic appraisal of what was taking place before his eyes.

Echoing the views of the Zionist leadership in London, Samuel suggested that the apparent hostility of the Arabs toward the Zionists was based on misperceptions that could be overcome. In his memorandum to Lord Curzon he suggested that the key to success in treading the delicate path between the competing interests of Arabs and Zionists would be for the latter to decelerate implementation of their goals: "On the supporters of Zionism lies the duty to allay apprehension by not being over-eager in the execution of their policy, and by offering to the Moslem and Christian inhabitants of Palestine opportunities of participating in their enterprises." 1

Samuel repeatedly emphasized the importance of being solicitous of Arab sensibilities, and implicitly suggested that he himself was particularly sensitive to the problems that would have to be overcome for there to be a viable accommodation between the Arabs and the Jews. Nonetheless, at the same time that he was apparently promoting himself as a candidate to replace the military administrator in Palestine, he evi

-27-

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Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - British Military Government, 1918-1920 1
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - The Jewish High Comissioner 27
  • Notes 51
  • 3 - Internal Developments During the Samuel Regime 53
  • Notes 70
  • 4 - The Passfield White Paper 73
  • Notes 92
  • 5 - Prelude to Open Conflict 93
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - The Arab Revolt, 1936-1939 117
  • Notes 149
  • 7 - Palestine During World War II 151
  • Notes 176
  • 8 - The United Resistance 179
  • Notes 201
  • 9 - The United Nations Special Committee 203
  • Notes 222
  • 10 - The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State 223
  • Notes 240
  • Selected Bibliography 243
  • Index 253
  • About the Author *
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