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The proposal that the Palestine mandate be modified so as to apply the idea of the national home to the Christians and Moslems, thus making of Palestine a sort of “religious preserve” by establishing three national homes there, is put forth by Prof. Quincy Wright of the University of Chicago, whose opinion on the subject of Jewish colonization in Palestine was quoted in this column yesterday. Prof. Wright’s article on Palestine appears in the Sept. issue of the “Political Science Quarterly,” edited for the Academy of Political Science in New York by the faculty of Political Science of Columbia University.
At the conclusion of his survey of the situation in Palestine, made on his visit there in 1925, Prof. Wright, touching the question of Arab-Jewish relations, observes:
“One wonders whether Arab-Jewish antagonism would not largely disappear if the idea of a national home in Palestine were extended to other religions. A prominent Jew in Palestine said he thought intelligent Jews would not object if the mandate were modified so as to require expressly a national home for Christians and a national home for Moslems as well as a national home for Jews in Palestine. With this discrimination eliminated. Palestine might be conceived as a sort of religious preserve in which each of the three religious communities might be assured its sacred shrines and an opportunity to maintain a community of its own religion and culture. To maintain such a system there should be a certain balance of power within Palestine as well as the guarantees of the League of Nations without. Thus conditions should be such that the Jews and Christians, who have been in a minority compared with the Moslems, might increase their numbers.
“With this conception of a religious preserve the idea of self-determination would be frankly inapplicable to Palestine. The religious interests outside would frankly be recognized as more important than the wishes of the present inhabitants. The idea of international preserves, for commercial and strategic reasons, as exemplified in Danzig, the Saar Valley, neutralized Switzerland, internationalized rivers. etc., is not unknown and would seem peculiarly applicable to Palestine. The Jews are singularly fond of making an analogy with Switzerland and its three races and languages and different religions, living in harmony under a guaranteed international status which has become all the more important since Geneva became the seat of the League of Nations. Switzerland, however, has developed a distinct nationality of its own. Such a development seems improbable for the three religious communities in Palestine. Thus in the latter a parliamentary government based on numerical majorities would not be applicable. Each of the three religious groups should be entitled to form an advisory body of equal weight irrespective of numerical strength in Palestine. Doubtless an impartial mandatory under the League of Nations would always be necessary to keep peace between the three groups. Great Britain, apart from her own strategic interest, is a leading Christian, Moslem and Jewish power and perhaps is best calculated to perform this service. Doubtless, however, she should be assisted by the Commission on Holy Places representative of the three religions. as contemplated by the mandate”