The Rev. Frank Ritchie’s comment yesterday was a report from his honest evaluation of a difficult situation. There was no bias in his article and it was refreshing. However, two things need to be corrected: Britain did not make conflicting promises to Jews and Arabs. It was made quite clear to the Arabs what their portion would not include. The giver of the pledge on behalf of Britain, A Harold McMahon, clarified the dispute in 1937 when he came out publicly to end all doubt, “I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.” Arab independence soon followed in many areas of the Middle East in keeping with the British pledge. Unfortunately, the British were not so quick nor thorough to keep their pledge to the Jews.
The other point I make is this: In 2000 and 2008 offers were placed on the table by Israel to give up over 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians (land for peace) to cut a deal. They were very generous proposals that included Jerusalem in one of them. The Palestinians refused in both cases. The question must be asked: Is the Palestinian Authority an honest peace partner?
- Nigel Woodley, Hawkes Bay Today, 25 May 2021