Last updated on: 5/20/2008 2:50:00 PM PST

What Was the 1919 Weizmann - Feisal Agreement?



General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of New South Wales, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of the Modern Middle East at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 fourth edition of A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict wrote:

"In January 1919, Feisal made a provisional agreement with Weizmann [then president of the World Zionist Organization] in which they alluded to the common ancestry of the two groups [Jews and Arabs] and the hope that they could work together in the Near East. They agreed that, provided the rights of the Arab peasant and tenant farmers were protected and that there were no restrictions on religious freedom, the Arabs would work with the Jews to implement the Balfour Declaration. The document clearly envisaged a Jewish state in Palestine alongside an Arab state and spoke about Jewish help in surveying the economic possibilities of the Arab state and assisting in its development. However, in 1919, the fate of both Arab and Jewish nationalists was in the hands of the victorious Allies [Britain and France]. Feisal, therefore, appended a proviso that he would not honor the agreement with Weizmann in any way unless the Arabs received their independence."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

Baruch Kimmerling, PhD, Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Joel S. Migdal, PhD, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, in their 2003 book titled The Palesitnian People: A History, wrote:

"The Zionists met in Paris with Faysal [sic], son of Sharif Hussein (now king of the Hejaz), and himself a key figure in the revolt against the Ottomans... He had already met twice and established a cordial relationship with Weizmann. On January 4, 1919 in Paris, he and the Zionists signed an agreement appearing to support both the Jews' aspirations and his hopes of establishing an independent Arab regime, although the exact political disposition of Palestine was left unclear. Faysal, declaring that Palestine should have its own guaranteed status as a Jewish enclave, was unequivocal in his acceptance of unfettered Jewish immigration as long as he received his promised independent state."

2003 - Baruch Kimmerling, PhD 

Joseph E. Goldberg, PhD, Professor of Political Science and Regional Studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, in an entry titled "Feisal-Weizmann Agreement," in the 1996 book An Historical Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, wrote the following:

"Chaim Weizmann went to Aqaba in May 1918 to meet Feisal ibn Hussein and to seek closer cooperation between the Zionists and the Arabs under the leadership of Sherif Hussein and his son Feisal. Feisal assured Weizmann of his goodwill toward Zionist aspirations and attributed past misunderstandings between the Arabs and the Jews to the machinations of the Ottoman Turks. On a number of subsequent occasions Feisal claimed that he shared Weizmann's objectives and, during a meeting in London in December 1918, noted that 'no true Arab can be suspicious or afraid of Jewish nationalism.' These exchanges of sentiment and perspective were formalized in a document signed on January 3, 1919, in which Feisal and Weizmann pledged to work with each other to achieve the goals of both the Zionists and the Arabs. Feisal renounced any claim to Palestine, which would become the territory of the Jews and would be separate from the new Arab state. He appended a statement that this agreement would be valid only if the Arabs obtained their independence as formulated by him in an earlier memorandum for the British."

1996 - Joseph E. Goldberg, PhD 

Don Peretz, PhD, Professor Emeritus Political Science at State University of New York at Binghamton, in his 1988 book titled The Middle East Today, wrote:

"In an attempt to mollify growing Arab concern about Zionist aspirations, Weizmann conducted several parleys with Syria's King Faisal, first at Aqaba in southern Palestine during 1918 and later in London. In January 1919, the two statesmen agreed on the need for Arab-Jewish cooperation. Faisal recognized the Balfour Declaration and encouraged Jewish immigration, provided Arab rights were not jeopardized. In return, Weizmann promised Zionist assistance in Arab economic development. Both Weizmann and Faisal agreed that the British were to arbitrate disputes between the two parties. Faisal, however, insisted that if Arab nationalist aspirations were not fully realized, he would "not then be bound by a single word of the present Agreement which shall be deemed void and of no account or validity, and I shall not be answerable in any way whatsoever."

1988 - Don Peretz, PhD