LONDON (Jan. 5)
The recent disturbances in Palestine have been authored by Arabs who are very much opposed to the British government and not primarily to the Jews living in the Holy Land, according to a special dispatch published in the London Morning Post, Conservative daily. The writer for this eminent English journal disclaims whatever rights to self-government the Arabs have repeatedly asserted they possess on the grounds that they are not equipped to rule Europeans, and that “the Arabs are not really Arabs.”
The latter statement is couched in language of the etymologist rather than that of the journalist, and resolves itself into the delicate question of the definition of a word.
“Actually, an Arab is a native of Arabia”, writes the correspondent-“in other words a Bedouin nomad-but the name for any years has been #osely and incoherently applied to all Mohammedan inhabitants of Palestine and #ia.
“The settled cultivators of Palestine are the ancient Jebusites, Philistines, etc., who occupied the country prior to the Jewish invasion, while the Syrians are the direct descendants of the race that was a great power in the days of the Pharoahs. Neither is an Arab in the real sense of the word.”
The writer declares with apparent feeling that “the so-called ‘Arabs’ of Palestine and Syria-the cultivators of the soil and the townsmen-never struck a blow on the side of the Allies.” He asserts th# the Arabs who were promised their independence in the administration of the Holy Land “are the Bedouins of Hedjaz, Transjordania and Eastern Syria.”
Hedjaz, continues the correspondent, which was the chief source of men for the Lawrence army which fought on Allenby’s right flank during the advance on Jerusalem and Damascus, has received its independence. The Transjordan is only nominally under British mandate, having an Arab Em#, with an Arab government and Iraq is an independent State. Palestine and Syria are #er British and French mandates respectively.
“It was of course, unthinkable”, continues the correspondent for The Morning Post, “that Syria and Palestine, with the civilized cities of Bayrout (Beirut). Damascus and Jerusalem, populated by large European communities, shoud be handed over to the rule of wild and fanatical warriors who had never seen a knife and fork and who held telephones, tramways, and the like, to be the inventions of the devil. Independence for Syria and Palestine would undoubtedly mean Bedouin rule, for the nomads were armed and organized and could and would have occupied these countries by force.”
The Arabs who are dissatisfied with the British behavior are nevertheless “masters of their own country” in the deserts south of the Dead Sea and east of the Jordan, but have no political rights in the cities of the plain.
“For the Palestinians”, reflects the writer for The Post, “to demand their independence as part of the Arab nation who fought on our side to free their country from the yoke of the Turk is merely fabulous-they are not Arabs in any sense of the word, and they took no part whatever in the War except to supply a few unwilling recruits to the Turkish Army. Palestine may have claims to self-determination, but, if so, they are certainly not based on any promises made to them by the British government during the War, nor on the plea that they rendered any active assistance to us.”