March 28, 1921 Arabs Say No to Jewish Homeland – State of Israel

“For all the above reasons, we ask in the name of justice and right that—

First: The principle of a National Home for the Jews be abolished.

Second: A National Government be created, which shall be responsible to a Parliament elected by the Palestinian people who existed in Palestine before the War.

Third: A stop be put to Jewish immigration until such a time as a National Government is formed.

Fourth: Laws and regulations before the war be still carried out and all others framed after the British occupation be annulled, and no new laws be created until a National Government comes into being.

Fifth: Palestine should not be separated from her sister States

For the Executive Committee

Of the Arab Palestine Congress:

(Signed)               MOUSA KAZEM EL-HUSSAINI, President


LET me make it clear in the first place why it is I am receiving you here.  I came out to Cairo to hold a conference mainly about Mesopotamia, and my friend Sir Herbert Samuel invited me, as I was so close, to come up and pay him a visit in Palestine, so as to be able to see something of the country and to discuss with him some of its problems on the spot.  You must not suppose that my coming here in any way supersedes him.  He is the responsible representative of the Crown in Palestine, and any direction which I may give in the name of His Majesty’s Government I shall send by dispatches from London in the usual way after full consideration with my other advisors at home.  But as I was here in the county some of you asked to come to see me, and at the request of the High Commissioner I have done so as a matter of courtesy and of goodwill and not in any sense as a formal conference.

Now I think it always best to be as plain as possible in everything that is said, so that ther cannot possibly be any misunderstanding.  In the very able paper which you have read, there are a great many statements of fact which we do not think are true, and I think everyone of you knows in his heart that it must be taken as a partisan statement and on side of the case rather than as a calm judicial summing up of what is best for us all to do in the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves.  But still, as you have said all that you feel you ought to say, you will, I am sure, wish me to reply with equal candour.  The great thing is to know exactly where we are.

You have asked me in the first place to repudiate the Balfour Declaration and to veto immigration of Jews into Palestine.  It is not in my power to do so, nor, if it were in my power, would it be my wish.  The British Government have passed their word, by the mouth of Mr. Balfour, that they will view with favour the establishment of a National Home for Jews in Palestine, and that inevitably involves the immigration of Jews into the country.  This declaration of Mr. Balfour and of the British Government has been ratified by the Allied Powers who have been victorious in the Great War; and it was a declaration made while the war was still in progress while victory and defeat hung in the balance.  It must therefore be regarded as one of the facts definitely established by the triumphant conclusion of the Great War.  It is upon this basis that the mandate has been undertaken by Great Britain, it is upon this basis that the mandate will be discharged; I have no doubt that it is on this basis that the mandate will be accepted by the Council of the League of Nations, which is to meet again shortly.

Moreover, it is manifestly right that the Jews, who are scattered all over the world, should have a national centre and a National Home where some of them may be reunited.  And where else could that be but in this land of Palestine, with which for more than 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated?  We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews and good for the British Empire.  But we also think it will be good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine, and we intend that it shall be good for them, and that they shall not be sufferers or supplanted in the country in which they dwell or denied their share in all that makes for its progress and prosperity.  And here I would draw your attention to the second part of the Balfour Declaration, which solemnly and explicitly promises to the inhabitants of Palestine the fullest protection of their civil and political rights.  I was sorry to hear in the paper which you have just read that you do not regard that promise as of value.  It seems to be a vital matter for you and one to which you should hold most firmly and for the exact fulfillment of which you should claim.  If the one promise stands, so does the other; and we shall be judged as we faithfully fulfill both”

Source: Official Report of Deputation of Executive Committee of The Haifa Congress Received By The Secretary of State For The Colonies At Government House