How did all this happen?

In 1907 British civil servants prepared a report on the Middle East for the Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. As the United States does now, the British imperial regime treated the rest of the world as its private estate.

A key paragraph of the Bannerman report lays out the foundation for all that followed, including the current assault on Gaza:

“There are people [MR: the inhabitants of the Middle East] who control spacious territories teeming with manifest and hidden resources. They dominate the intersections of world routes. Their lands were the cradles of human civilizations and religions.  These people have one faith, one language, one history and the same aspirations.   No natural barriers can isolate these people from one another … if, per chance, this nation were to be unified into one state, it would then take the fate of the world into its hands and would separate Europe from the rest of the world.  Taking these considerations seriously, [bold added] a foreign body should be planted in the heart of this nation to prevent the convergence of its wings in such a way that it could exhaust its powers in never-ending wars. It could also serve as a springboard for the West to gain its coveted objects.”

[Dan Bar-On & Sami Adwan, THE PRIME SHARED HISTORY PROJECT, in Educating Toward a Culture of Peace, pages 309–323, Information Age Publishing, 2006.]

Ten years later, in the now infamous 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British government prepared the ground for planting that “foreign body”. In a letter to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour declared:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Just like that. So easy.  At the stroke of a pen.

Gaza City, ruinsGaza City, under Israeli bombs, July 2014.

 

 

 

 

About Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.
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