11
The Palestine Problem

ALTH0UGH in principle Ibn Sa'ud set his limits on the borders of Sa'udi Arabia yet he could not remain aloof from two problems of wider geographical range: the Arab League and Palestine, problems that for Arabs were inseparable. The Balfour declaration of November 1917 had had for them alarming consequences. In January 1918 D. G. Hogarth went expressly to Jedda to give King Husain an explicit assurance on behalf of the British Government that the Jewish settlement in Palestine would only be allowed in so far as it was compatible with 'the political and economic freedom' of the Arab population. King Husain was to learn later into what an entanglement of conflicting promises and declarations the British Government had tied itself and to realize that he had been leaning on a reed that was to pierce his hand, before it broke under him. As time went on the Arab nations grew increasingly alarmed at the turn of events in Palestine and Ibn Sa'ud naturally followed the situation very closely. As, however, England was responsible for the administration of Palestine he did not openly criticize the Zionist experiment started under her protection.

During my first visit to Palestine in December 1941 I had the good fortune to meet in Jerusalem the President of the Hebrew University, Professor Judah Magnes. I questioned him on the possibility of a peaceful solution of the problem. Dr. Magnes believed it possible and, to my astonishment, even saw in the Arabs a readiness to come to terms with the Jews. I asked him whether he had sound reasons for his optimism and found that they were better than I expected. King Faisal's attitude at the Peace Conference in Paris and his draft agreement with Dr. Chaim

-149-

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The Wells of Ibn Sa'ud
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Author's Acknowledgements viii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - I Meet Wahhabi Arabia 7
  • 2 - The Town of the Consuls 13
  • 3 - The Desert Plant of Wahhabism 29
  • 4 - The Emergence of Ibn Sa'Ud 37
  • 5 - Consolidation 54
  • 6 - First Contacts with Great Britain 69
  • 7 - The Dual Monarchy 86
  • 8 - First Wahhabi Impacts 102
  • 9 - The Pilgrimage 114
  • 10 - The Arrival of the Americans 127
  • 11 - The Palestine Problem 149
  • 12 - The Arab League 167
  • 13 - Interlude and Return to Arabia 174
  • 14 - The Americans in Arabia 185
  • 15 - Agriculture and Water 203
  • 16 - The Last Audience 220
  • 17 - A Visit to Amir Sa'Ud 231
  • 18 - The Last Visit 240
  • 19 - Ibn Sa'Ud's Inheritance 247
  • Glossary 259
  • Index 265
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