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Dr. EATON. The professor will not forget the old testament is really the story of the Jewish people, whether in or out of Palestine, because they had quite a right in that land too.
Ďr. Hitti. Absolutely.
Mr. JARMAN. Doctor, I would like to hear a little more about the riots I have heard repeatedly referred to.
Dr. HITTI. The people of Palestine never accepted the terms of the mandate. They were often in a state of revolt. There were strikes and bloodshed in April 1920, May 1921, August 1929, and October 1936. Undoubtedly you remember the 1936 riot in which there was a great deal of bloodshed from both the Arab and Jewish sides. I have a little document showing some of the destruction in 1936 and some of the homes destroyed, but unfortunately it is in Arabic and I do not think it will do much good here.
Mr. JARMAN. Do you mean the Arab and Jews were fighting each other?
Dr. Hitti. Yes; they were.
Mrs. Rogers. Do you see any solution for the Jewish people. They have had a very difficult time and have been persecuted.
Dr. Hitti. I know you have a great deal of sympathy for them as I have. You may not believe it, but I am of the Semitic stock. We want to find a new home for the Jews. Every right-minded man, whether Jew or Christian, is in sympathy with them. In 1920 Palestine had forty or fifty thousand Jews. Since that time those Jews have been multiplied by practically 10. In other words, between 1919 and 1939 the Jewish population was multiplied by 10.
Now if anybody would expect a small country like Palestine to take over 10 times its Jewish population, he would expect too much. I am not going to foretell what would happen if we insist, but I think one of the witnesses who will come next, an American engineer who had something to do with the organization of the Arabian Mining Syndicate and has been into every nook and corner of Arabia, can tell you. Besides, the country has reached its absorptive capacity.
Mrs. Rogers. Do you see any difference in giving them a homeland instead of a Jewish commonwealth?
Dr. Hitri. There is a great deal of difference. Thet is agreed to by the British Government, by liberal-minded Jews, and by many others.
Mrs. Rogers. Have you discussed the matter with the State Department about bringing it up in wartime?
Dr. Hitti. I do not remember that I took this up during the war, but I recall correspondence prior to the present war.
Mrs. Rogers. Thank you very much.
Mr. Burgin. Are you in favor of the resolution to construct a Jewish state and make it?
Dr. Hitti. I cannot speak officially for Palestine; but the 1939 White Paper promised it a constitutional government which would speak for it. I was teaching in Beirut 1920–24. At that time many Armenians and Assyrians were coming there that had been persecuted by the Turks and were all received with open arms. There were Jews coming into Palestine and everyone was eyeing the Jews with suspicion. The Jews and the Arabs were getting along all right until the political Zionists of New York came in.
Mr. BURGIN. I yield to Mr. Jarman.
Mr. JARMAN. I want to get your distinction between a home and a Jewish commonwealth.
Dr. HITTI. The British Government promised a home and fulfilled its obligation. The British Government never said we want to constitute Palestine a Jewish commonwealth. It is the Zionists of New York who say that.
Mr. JARMAN. The 1922 resolution has an entirely different meaning from this.
Dr. Hitti. To my mind, yes.
Now, you want to go the British one better. You want to reconstitute Palestine into a Jewish commonwealth.
Mr. JARMAN. Your position is that there already is a Jewish national home in Palestine?
Dr. HITTI. Yes, and so far as I am concerned I would like to see more Jews in Lebanon and Syria, with the idea of cooperation with the natives, not controlling them.
Mr. JARMAN. When were you in Palestine last?
Chairman Bloom. The Chair wishes to call attention again to the map before you so you can see the location.
Mr. JARMAN. That was just before the mandate?
Dr. Hitti. No; it was in effect. In my contacts with the British officials I can say without hesitation I did not meet a single official or member of the British community who thought it would be possible to establish a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. I may go further. I never met an American or an European, unless he had an ax to grind, who thought that the establishment of Palestine as & Jewish commonwealth was in the realm of possibility.
Mr. JARMAN. Why do they regard it as not within the realm of possibility?
Dr. Hitti. Because it is predicated upon two premises, first that Palestine is an unoccupied country ready to receive people from the outside, but Palestine is already occupied. It is partly barren. There is a place, the Dead Sea, which is 1,200 feet below sea level. It has a limited capacity. It is already populated.
Even in the mind of the author of Balfour Declaration this fact was not clear. Prof. John Garstang, of the University of Liverpool, reports that on the occasion of the opening of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Mr. Balfour at a private dinner party looked through the window and asked, “Who are these long-robed gentlemen one sees in the streets?” And when told that those were the native Arab sheiks, he remarked with surprise, “Arabs!--but I understood that when the Turks evacuated Palestine it was left desolate and without population."
The second premise is that there is a lack of national feeling. The fact is that there is a strong Arab national feeling aroused mainly by American influence. Arab nationalism draws its inspiration from American ideology. I was an American before I took my first papers in New York, because I attended in Lebanon, American schools. If
you will permit me I refer you to the King-Crane report, which noted the rising national feeling and drew the distinction between a national home in Palestine and reconstitution of Palestine as a Commonwealth. You cannot establish anything against the will of the people You would have to support it with your bayonets. Are you willing to do that?
There are reasonable responsible Arabs who would like to see a modern reconstituted Palestine, but on the basis of equality and cooperation among citizens. Is that not fair? Is anything wrong with that?
We have 275,000,000 Moslems bere. How are we to hold them down, and how can we? There is danger sir. I am very sorry to say I saw Zionist advertisements in the New York Times referring to civil war.
A civil war in Palestine would endanger the lives of Jews throughout the Moslem world. There are 40,000 Jews in the heart of Arabia proper. Their lives will be in danger, and in Syria and Iraq, too.
Chairman Bloom. Mr. Chiperfield.
Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Would you approve at this time passage by this committee of the resolution if it eliminated the words "Jewish commonwealth”?
Dr. HITTI. That was already passed in 1923; so what is the use of passing it again. Mr. CHIPERFIELD. Is that your
Mr. STEARNS. This resolution as I see it contains two distinct propositions, that Palestine should be open to free entry, and that a Jewish Commonwealth should be established there.
Dr. HITTI. Yes.
Mr. STEARNs. You object to establishing it as a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth?
Dr. HITTI. Ycs.
Mr. Churchill said in the House of Commons:
Not only did the War Cabinet of those days take the decision, but all cabinets of every party after the war, after examining it in the varying circumstances which have arisen, have endorsed a decision and taken the fullest responsibility for it.
I think I was one of the first to draw that conclusion. Do you object to the first part, the opening of the door?
Dr. Hitti. No, as far as I am personally concerned, if there is some power to accomplish this, but it is impossible at the present time. The Zionist propaganda has been so strong as to make us think it can be done. Do you see how we can do it? It is too late. I have no objection to the Jews, myself.
Mr. STEARNS. I understood you to say you would not be prepared to oppose the opening of the doors of Palestine for the entry of the Jews, Dr. HITTI. Theoretically, no.
Mr. STEARNS. I am talking about what this committee may pass. Would you object?
Dr. Hitti. This is the question the gentleman before you raised, but we are already committed to that.
Chairman Bloom. You have no objection to leaving the last part out?
Dr. Hitti. I have no personal objection, but I am telling you of the danger involved.
Mr. STEARNS. That is all.
Mr. FULBRIGHT. Is this the language you would approve of, that it should be opened up for colonization and ultimately to be constituted a free and democratic commonwealth?
Dr. HITTI. That is the most objectionable part.
Mr. FULBRIGHT. And the other shall be full opportunity for colonization and leave out the word "Jewish”? I was trying to get your idea how this might be acceptable.
Dr. Hitti. You want to introduce more colonization. Palestine is already overcolonized and it is promised a constitutional government by the 1939 white paper. What is the point in introducing more people if your object is to make it a free and democratic state? The relation between the first part
Mr. FULBRIGHT. That would remove the principal objection to the resolution which you state you would not oppose.
Dr. HITTI. If you will stop there, rather than continue and say you want to establish a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth.
Mr. FULBRIGHT. I do not think it would change it much.
Dr. HITTI. I fail to see the connection between introducing new immigrants and converting Palestine into a commonwealth unless it is Jewish, but my personal views do not affect this situation. The people there in Palestine now have developed such hostile objections which to my mind would not justify the introduction of new immigrants. These people are going to come back and say, “We are a small country and a poor country, why don't you take them; you being so solicitous about the Jews, why don't you do something yourselves?”
Is that not the same thing anyone would ask?
Mr. FULBRIGHT. It might occur to me that since you are now an American citizen what is your idea?
Dr. Hitti. If I were a Member of Congress, I would introduce bill to permit refugees into this country, Jew or not Jew.
Mr. FULBRIGHT. That is all.
Mr. WRIGHT. To come back to the historical background prior to the last World War, Arabia generally was governed by Turkey.
Dr. HITTI. That is right.
Mr. Wright. And the Arabian states were liberated by the Allies and constituted self-governing countries.
Dr. HITTI. With the cooperation of the Arabs.
Mr. Wright. But General Allenby came into Arabia and finally defeated the Turkish Army.
Dr. Hittı. Yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. I am not going to quarrel with you on the question of cooperation. At the time of the writing of the peace treaty the Allies set up independent countries in Arabia.
Dr. Hitti. You are using Arabia in the sense of Arabic-speaking countries.
Mr. WRIGHT. That was the intention.
Mr. WRIGHT. At the same time it was also the intention of the signatories to the League of Nations to set up a Jewish Home in Palestine.
Dr. HITTI. That is correct.
Mr. WRIGHT. Are you acquainted with the convention which was signed—it probably did not rise to the dignity of a convention, but it was signed by Prince Feisal.
Dr. Hitti. I am familiar with that.
Mr. Wright. And I believe article 3 of that treaty stated as follows:
(Article 3 is as follows:) Dr. HITTI. Yes.
Mr. Wright. In other words, Prince Feisal did agree to the Balfour Declaration?
Dr. HITTI. Yes.
Dr. Hrrri. That Feisal Weizmann agreement was quoted several times, the last in Life magazine, minus the rider. I have it, may I read it, sir?
Chairman BLOOM. Yes. Dr. HITTI. It reads as follows: (The quotation is as follows:) Provided the Arabs obtain their independence as demanded in my memorandum dated the 4th of January 1919, to the Foreign Office of the Government of Great Britain, I shall concur in the above articles. But if the slightest modification or departure were to be made (sc. in relation to the demands of the memorandum) I shall not then be bound by a single word of the present agreement which shall be deemed void and of no account or validity, and I shall not be answerable in any way whatsoever.
FAISAL IBN HUSAIN.
Chaim WEIZMANN. Mr. Wright. You also said the Arabs later objected to the Balfour Declaration.
Dr. HITTI. They did, yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. In your testimony before the committee you stated that was the cause of the riots.
Dr. Hitti. That is one of the causes, yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. I want to bring out at the time Prince Feisal approved of the Balfour Declaration.
Dr. Hitti. Yes, subject to this provision which you did not have.
Mr. WRIGHT. Ás to the meaning of the Balfour Declaration, I believe it would probably be interesting to refer to the convention between the United States and Great Britain.