Monday, January 12, 2009
Sorry I didn't post. I've been busy with the same family-related crisis that Tigerhawk is.
All I learned in Friday's class was about the King-Crane Commission. This was a commission that was sent to find out exactly what the Arabs wanted. Here is what they concluded:
1) They wanted an independent state let by Faysal, son of Sherif Husayn.
2) If they couldn't have an independent state, they wanted to be ruled by the USA, because they didn't see a history of imperialism (our one case of true imperialism being in the Philippines). They reasoned that Wilson's ideas of self-determination would make the USA friendly to the Arab cause.
3) If the USA didn't want to deal with them, then they wanted to be ruled by Great Britain, because they weren't as racist or oppressive as the French.
4) Under no circumstances would the Arabs accept the rule of the French.
5) Limit the Jewish immigration into Palestine.
6) Make no attempts to make a national home there, because it would create inevitable conflict.
Unfortunately, the only person interested in this at all was Wilson, and he had a stroke and never read it. As a consequence it was only published years after it was conducted.
[Bumped by the Editor]
Stratfor will be publishing an interesting piece summarizing the history and circumstances of the Palestinian Arabs fairly soon. I know you (big TH) are a subscriber, and I'd encourage little TH to take a look at it as well.
My recollection is that both the Arab elites in Damascus (who were fence-straddlers of the first order during the war) and the British had a hand in distorting the information the commission gathered. My suspicion is that item #1 was reported only because "independent state ruled by feuding Arab elites who can't agree from day to day on anything" wasn't provided as an option for the Arabs to state to the commission.
The ironies of history are much of what that subject is all about, not only in Palestine. Being to exposed to that while still in the middle stages of your formal education is excellent.
It is almost impossible to study history without an accompanying desire for time travel, to go back and smack sense into just a very few people at key moments. I doubt that even such a magical ability would be sufficient, however. Each situation you rescued would have an immediate counterreaction.