The Weizmann-Faisal Agreement
By Mitchell Bard
Emir Faisal, son of Sherif Hussein, the leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks, signed an agreement with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, it said, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations s through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab states and Palestine. Furthermore, the agreement looked to the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and called for all necessary measures ...to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil."1
Faisal had conditioned his acceptance of the Balfour Declaration on the fulfillment of British wartime promises of independence to the Arabs. These were not kept.
Critics dismiss the Weizmann-Faisal agreement because it was never enacted; however, the fact that the leader of the Arab nationalist movement and the Zionist movement could reach an understanding is significant because it demonstrated that Jewish and Arab aspirations were not necessarily mutually exclusive.
1Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, (NY: Schocken Books, 1966), pp. 246-247; Howard Sachar, A History Of Israel, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), p. 121.