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Musa Kazim States the Palestine Arabs’ Case

August 21, 1923
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Prior to his departure to London as head of the Arab Delegation, Musa Kazim Pasha gave an interview to the J.T.A. (already briefly reported by cable), expressing his opinion on the position of the Arabs in Palestine and the demand put forward at present by the Arab leaders.

The interview took place in the presence of Jamal el Husseini, Secretary to the Arab Executive, and other members of that body and is significant in view of the Delegation’s announced intention of presenting their claims before the Duke of Devonshire and his Cabinet Committee studying the Palestine situation. (On the ground that a hearing before the Committee would prove “impracticable” now, the Colonial Secretary has declined to receive the Arab Delegation according to latest cable advices – J.T.A., New York.)

“What course of action will be adopted by your Delegation in London?”, the J.T.A. representative asked. “We shall not allow ourselves to be affected by what the British Government is thinking”, replied Musa Kazim Pasha, “We believe in the justice of our demands and we shall persevere in our efforts to prevent interference with our rights; to this we shall employ all legal means. I personally do not believe that the British Government will persist in its present policy, as this is directly opposed to its best interests and all ideas of justice.

“The Delegation will demand – (a) Repudiation of the present Zionist policy; (b) The establishment of an independent national constitutional Government in Palestine consisting of representatives of the Moslem, Christian and Jewish communities proportionate to the number of these communities in Palestine before the war.”

In reply to the question whether he believed in the possibility of the abolition of the Zionist policy, in view of the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate and the statement made recently by Mr. Ormsby-Core in the House of Commons, to the effect that the present policy was already considered as an international pledge, Mussa Kazim said:

“I believe in the British sense of justice and equity, and as the Balfour Declaration was not binding legally, as it was only a declaration of sympathy stated in a personal letter from Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild.”

Asked whether he saw a way to an understanding and cooperation with the Mandatory Power if the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate will remain formally, Musa Kazim Pasha replied:

“We ignore the Zionist policy absolutely. If England desires to come to an understanding with us, it must establish immediately in, Palestine a national government, responsible to Parliament, as is the custom in all other countries. This action will convince us that it is not the aim of England that Jews should dominate the country. This national Government would arrange for the entry of immigrants irrespective of nationality or creed, Jews, Moslems or Christians, according to the economic resources of the country. This would satisfy us for the present.”

The Arab leader, when questioned as to the possibility of a direct agreement between the Jews and the Arabs, and the basis of such an agreement, said that he could not recognize the right of the Zionist Executive or that of any Jew who was not a resident of Palestine before the war, to negotiate on any matter concerning the country.

“If the Palestine Jews desire any such arrangement on the basis of our demands, we should recognize their demands and they would enjoy all civil, political and religious rights equally with ourselves”, he said.

The J.T.A. representative asked: “What is your view of the Hedjaz Treaty and do you think it likely that King Hussein will sign it? Do you think that the rulers of the Arab States, pound as they are by various treaties with Great Britain, will support the Arab demands in their fullest sense?”

Musa Kazim replied: “King Hussein is not likely to sign the treaty in the form published by the Palestine Administration. He would never sign any treaty contradictory to our aims. Likewise, King Feisul, the Emir Abdullah, the Iman of Jeman, the Sultan of Najed and every other Arab prince will support us in our demands. The whole Arab race is in agreement with us, as are also all the Moslems. Even from Tunis, Morocco and other countries we have received expressions to this effect.”

To a question as to the favour with which King Feisul regarded the aims of the Zionists in 1919, a favor manifested in his letters to the Zionist leaders, the reply was made that King Feisul had specifically denied having written letters in the form published by the Zionist Organization.

Copies of the original letters had been seen by Kazim Pasha and contained no sentiment approaching anything like an agreement with Zionist aspirations, which were not recognized either by the Emir Abdullah or King Feisul, who only desired that Palestine should remain in the hands of Arabs.

Kazim Pasha stated, in connection with the Advisory Council, that he believed that not one of the members who have resigned would consent to serve. Neither Araf el D’jani nor Ragheb Bey Nashashibi would alter their decision and no other Arab would consent to become a member.

The Administration will undoubtedly manage to influence ten persons to become members but these will be regarded by us only as ordinary Government officials. He further stated that in the event of their present efforts proving unsuccessful, further delegations, a hundred if necessary, would continue to be sent, until the Arabs obtained a wearing.

Kazim Pasha said that the non payment of taxes was a decision of the 6th Arab Congress. This decision would be put into execution when the soil was fully prepared for it and when the time was considered ripe.

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