The Declaration’s call to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine was historic:
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James BalfourWhilst not binding in international law – that was to be reversed when the Declaration was included in the Mandate’s preamble and unanimously adopted by the League of Nations:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country;
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine;The Principal Allied Powers were The British Empire, France, Italy and Japan.
The boundaries of Palestine fixed by them encompassed what is today called Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Jordan (then called Transjordan).
Under article 25 of the Mandate - the Mandatory was entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of the Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions.
On 23 September 1922 the League of Nations Secretary-General communicated for the information of the Members of the League, a memorandum relating to Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate presented by the British Government to the Council of the League on September 16th, 1922 (“Memorandum”) and approved by the Council.
The Memorandum excluded Transjordan (78% of the territory of Palestine) as a future potential area in Palestine for reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.
The United Nations continuing failure to faithfully implement these League of Nations decisions remains the biggest stumbling block to ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.
The two-state solution contemplated by the League of Nations in 1922 – Israel and Jordan within such final borders as they agree – remains the only viable two-state solution in 2019.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog