Richard,

I don't have neither the time nor the references with me to answer Ed Krauss point by point. He himself ignores lots of facts. Let me just talk briefly about his first point which is a reference to the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

This is what Ed Krauss said about the Balfour Declaration:

First, the entirety of Palestine- as delineated by the 1917 Balfour Declaration- from 1917 to 1948 was ruled by the British, under a League of Nations mandate. So, if the Jews took it, they "took" it from the British

Before the British sovereignty, the territory was part of the vast Ottoman Empire. Turks, not Arabs.

1. Until December 11, 1917, the year General Allenby entered Jerusalem, Palestine was under Ottoman rule.

2. Since Palestine was still ruled by the Ottomans, who gave the British the authority to issue any declaration concerning Palestine, let alone the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917?

3. The fact that the Ottomans ruled Palestine doesn't mean that Turks populated Palestine. The same goes with the Mamelouks or any other rulers. The British occupied Egypt in 1882, it doesn't mean that Egypt’s population became British. It doesn’t really matter the name one gives to the population of Palestine, the fact is that Palestine had an indigenous population, made up of Arab, not Turkish, speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews.

4. The Balfour Declaration itself doesn’t say that Palestine will be given to the Jews. Nor does it say that Palestine will become a Jewish state. It simply says that the British government views “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. It doesn’t even say that the whole Palestine will be the national home of the Jewish people, but there will be “a national home IN Palestine.”

5. Furthermore, the Declaration explicitly states: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” which means no matter how the national home will look like, the civil and religious rights of Muslims and Christians living in Palestine should not be affected.

6. The League of Nations sanctioning the Declaration came much later in 1922 after restricting it to Western Palestine.

7. As important is the correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner to Egypt and Sharif Husayn of Mecca between July 1915 and January 1916 before the Balfour Declaration was issued. The idea was that the Arabs would revolt in alliance with Great Britain in return for recognition of Arab independence in the vast area of Arab speaking population, an area that is still controversial.

8. Also, before the Balfour Declaration, the British and the French adopted the Sykes-Picot Agreement of January 3, 1916 which explicitly stated that Palestine would be under international administration.

To conclude, the subject of the Balfour Declaration is not as simple as Ed Krauss make it sound. A lot of under and over the table deals were made, all at the expense of the indigenous population of Palestine. They are the ones who paid the price for these machinations and they are still paying it today.

The fact is if the Balfour Declaration is the basis upon which the argument is built, I am all for it because it simply calls for “a national home for the Jewish people” nothing more, bearing in mind that this “national home” will be open for both the indigenous Jews of Palestine and non-indigenous Jews from outside Palestine.

The Balfour Declaration didn’t come out of the blue. Long and difficult negotiations took place between Great Britain and the Zionists before issuing the Declaration. More than one draft was written, changed, modified and amended before the final product was finally agreed upon -- a final product that was not totally to the liking of the Zionists who wanted a more explicit Declaration. This by itself shows that the Zionists had as early as the beginning of the 20th century other designs on Palestine that Great Britain could not accommodate at that time because of other commitments it had in the region.

A lot can be said about what led to the issuing of this Declaration. A series of articles were published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs explaining the reason why Great Britain which was busy fighting a world war, i.e., World War I, devoted so much time and effort negotiating a Declaration that could have waited the end of the war.

The history of the Balfour Declaration is a sinister history, all the more sinister that these negotiations were going on behind the back of the indigenous population of Palestine who have been affected by it ever since and in contradiction to two previous commitments made by Great Britain to the Arabs through Sharif Husayn and to the French through Sykes-Picot Agreement.