Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bringing Democracy To The Benighted Levant

Henry Laurens, Le Retour des exilés: la lutte pour la Palestine de 1869 à 1997:

[In June 1928], the 7th Arab Congress saw the reconciliation between Nachachibi and Husseini. The new programme took up the well-known Anglo Saxon slogan: "taxation without representation is tyranny:"
The Arabs intend to control finally the enormous budget of the country and require that every tax imposed be approved by vote of their representatives, threating a general tax strike. Does this not also threaten to annul all legislation enacted up to now until its ratification
by the Parliament? More than once during the course of the debate, the orators made comparisons to Syria and Lebanon... [Ministères des Affairs Etrangères, Nantes: Levant Palestine 1918-1929 XXII, 74, consul général Jerusalem, 23 Juin, 1928]

The Arab Congress demanded a legitimate parliamentary government in Palestine and protested against the preferential treatment accorded to Jews... [O]n July 26, 1928, the Arab executive made a formal demand for the establishment of a parliamentary regime in Palestine:

Memorandum of The Executive Committee of the High Commission of the Arab-Palestinian Congress to Demand A Parliamentary Government In Palestine [Wathà'iq al-muqâwamat al-filistinniyya al-'arabiyya did al-ihtililâl al-britanniyya w-a suhiûniyya 1918-1939 Beirut, Institute of Palestine Studies, 1988] :

The executive committee of the Arab-Palestinian Congress held at Jerusalem on 20 June 1928, representing the assembly of public parties, Muslim and Christian, has the honour to submit to Your Excellency the decision of the abovementioned conference to request the constitution of a parliamentary government in Palestine, accompanied by an explanation of the motives for that request, which inspire the Palestinian Arab nation in its totality to cleave to this ambition and to apply itself to its realization by all legal means.

Palestine must be recognized to enjoy, like every other nation, the incontestable right to decide its own fate, a right established by the assemblage of Allied Powers, before as well as after the armistice, and which the entire world has adopted as a sublime principle which guides nations in their reciprocal relations and in the light of which the Powerful conducts itself with the Weak and the Weak confides in the Strong, entente replacing conflict; the decision of the Palestinian-Arab Congress abovementioned is nothing but a manifestation of this right.

Palestine is an Arab country in close relations with other Arab countries with which the British government concluded a clear agreement at the debut of the Great War which led those countries to join the Allied camp and their sons to give their blood to gain their sacred liberty and attain to their coveted independence....

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