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May 31, 1943 King of Saudi Arabia’s First Pronouncement on the Palestine Problem

King Ibn SaudKing of Saudi Arabia, IBN Saud’s First Pronouncement on the Palestine Problem

Interview of His Majesty the King with LIFE Magazines’ Representative, Mr. Busch. in Rihad, March 21, 1943

  1. What is your Majesty’s opinion concerning the Palestine problem?
  2. “I have withheld my opinion concerning the Palestine problem from the Arabs in order to avoid placing them in an embarrassing position with the Allies. But because you are one of our friends, I wish to acquaint you with my opinion so that it can be made known to the friendly American people, so that they may understand the truth of the matter.

FIRST, I KNOW OF NOTHING THAT JUSTIFIES THE JEWISH CLAIMS IN PALESTINE. CENTURIES BEFORE THE ADVENT OF MOHAMMED, PALESTINE BELONGED TO THE JEWS. BUT THE ROMANS PREVAILED OVER THEM, KILLED SOME AND DISPERSED THE REST. No trace of their rule remained. Then the Arabs seized Palestine from the Romans, more than thirteen hundred years ago, and it has remained ever since in the possession of the Moslems. This shows that the Jews have no right to their claim, since all the countries of the world saw the succession of different people who conquered them. Those countries became their undisputed homelands. Were we to follow the Jewish theory, it would become necessary for many peoples of the world, including those of Palestine, to move out of the lands wherein they settled.

Secondly, I am not afraid of the Jews or the possibility of their ever having a state of power, either in the land of the Arabs or elsewhere. This is in accordance with what god has revealed unto us through the mouth of his prophet in his holy book. THUS I HOLD THE DEMANDS OF THE JEWS UPON THIS LAND ERROR; FIRST BECAUSE IT CONSTITUTES AN INJUSTICE AGAINST THE ARABS, AND THE MOSLEMS IN GENERAL; AND SECONDLY BECAUSE IT CAUSES DISSENSIONS AND DISTURBANCES BETWEEN THE MOSLEMS AND THEIR FRIENDS THE ALLIES; AND IN THIS I FAIL TO SEE ANYTHING GOOD. Furthermore, if the Jews are impelled to seek a place to live, Europe and America as well as other lands are larger and more fertile than Palestine, and more suitable to their welfare and interests. This would constitute justice, and there is no need to involve the allies and the Moslem in a problem void of good.

As to the native Jewish population in Palestine, I suggest that the Arabs agree with their friends the allies to safeguard the interests of those Jews, provided the Jews commit no action that might lead to strife and dissension, which would not be in the general interest, and provide the Jews give a guarantee, endorsed by the allies, that they would not strive to buy Arab property, and would refrain from using their great financial power for that purpose. Such efforts would only bring to the people of Palestine loss and injury, and would refrain from using their great financial power for that purpose. Such efforts would only bring to the people of Palestine loss and injury, and poverty and decay to their doors. Such efforts would inevitably lead to more trouble.

On the other hand the Arabs would recognize the rights of the Jews and would guarantee to safeguard them.”

  1. What does your majesty think of Arab unity?

(signed Head of the Royal Cabinet)

Source: LIFE Magazine IBN SAUD LIFE VISITS HIM IN ARABIA, May 31, 1943

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