Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Palestine and Palestinians: A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Palestine and Palestinians: A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians

Article excerpt

A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians, by Sahar Huneida. London and New York: LB. Tauris, 2001. xvii + 237 pages. Notes to 299. Appends. to 325. Bibl. to p. 334. Index to p. 348. $65.

Sahar Huneida's book joins several recent "revisionist" works on the British Palestine Mandate period (1923-48).1 Her study approaches the topic by focusing on the policies and actions of Herbert Samuel during his tenure in office as the first British High Commissioner of Palestine (1920-25).

Contrary to traditional accounts portraying Samuel as a consummate British official, Huneida's thesis is that Samuel used his position to lay the foundations for a Jewish State in Palestine. He was not impartial. She documents conclusively the actions taken by Samuel to assure a liberal Jewish immigration policy aimed at demographic density, and to facilitate Jewish land acquisition, including altering the Ottoman "land use" definition of "ownership" of state lands. He separated "land use" from "land ownership" so that when Jews purchased some of that land, they could evict the Palestinian "land use" owners and amass territorial and economic footing in Palestine. He facilitated contiguous Jewish settlements for political and economic development of the Yishuv. He adopted a policy of large public investments and deficit financing to employ the economically unabsorbed Jewish immigrants. He developed favorable customs policies to allow Jews to import needed materials cheaply to develop a Jewish economy. He worked to gain Palestine-wide project concessions for Jews that would enable them to control the economic life of Palestine. He consulted regularly with Chaim Weizmann, who had convinced Great Britain that it was in its imperial interest to embrace the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. Additionally, Samuel worked closely with the Zionist Commission, the National Council for Jews in Palestine, and the Jewish Constituent Assembly (Va'ad Leumi), precursor of the Israeli Knesset. He blocked every effort by the majority Palestinians to gain authoritative representation, while simultaneously granting the Zionist minority considerable power. In fact, he gave new Jewish immigrants immediate provisional citizenship so that they would have electoral impact. He tried to create collaborationist Palestinian parties to divide the community and provide a facade of Palestinian political participation.

Huneida marshals an impressive set of documents that underpins her thesis. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.