At War in Context, Paul Woodward excerpts a Daily Beast article by Michael Korda, whose biography of T.E. Lawrence, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, has just been released. You may be aware that when the British and French carved up the Ottoman Empire after World War I via the Sykes-Picot Agreement, it undermined the sovereignty for which Lawrence was asking the Arabs to fight. But you may not have known this:
Indeed, it is typical of Lawrence that he managed to get Prince Feisal, the leader of the Arab Revolt, and Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, to sit down together in January 1919 and sign an extraordinary agreement (largely drafted by Lawrence himself) that would have created a joint Arab-Jewish government in Palestine, with unlimited Jewish immigration. Feisal conceded that Palestine could contain 4 million to 5 million Jewish immigrants without harm to the rights or property of the Arab population, a number not greatly different from the number of Jews living in Israel today. Had Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George been willing to agree to Arab demands, an Arab-Jewish state might have existed that could have absorbed the bulk of the European Jews whom the Germans would slaughter between 1933 and 1945, as well as producing a state with advanced agriculture, industry, and education, in which Jews and Arabs might have proved that they could live together peacefully and productively.
Do Focal Points readers agree — no Sykes-Picot, no Holocaust? Let us know in the comments section.