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Palestine: The Reality
The Inside Story of the Balfour Declaration 1917–1938
J.M.N. Jeffries

published 2017 • 6" x 9" • 736 pages
ISBN 9781566560245 • paperback • $30.00


First published by Longman Green and Co, London, Palestine: The Reality had a short life due to the fact that the entire stock and the publisher’s premises were destroyed by the German Blitz in 1941.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 is a document that profoundly affected the Middle East. Palestine: The Reality is an expertly researched inside story of the Declaration. It is also a vivid and personal account based on familiarity with the dramatis personae as much as the relevant documents. J.M.N. Jeffries exposes:

The real authors and progenitors of the Balfour Declaration, as well as Arthur J. Balfour himself, their personal stories, motives, confusions, conspiracies, and political aims

•     The broken promises to and agreements with Britain’s Arab allies that enabled the Declaration to become a lasting pledge to the Zionists and a fundamental and enduring strut of British foreign policy in the Near East, dispossessing the Palestinian Arabs of their homeland and replacing them with “a national home for the Jewish people,” mainly Jewish immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe
•     Britain’s and France’s manipulation of the nascent League of Nations and their awards to themselves, in effect, of the mandates for Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon, respectively
•     The British, French, Jewish (Zionist and anti-Zionist), Arab, American, and other international players who joined either to create or to oppose the “Balfour” document; the Zionists’ and their supporters’ use of often cynical and illegal methods; and all their individual idiosyncrasies, wiles and weaknesses.

One of Jeffries’s most startling revelations is that Britain ruled Palestine illegally, under civilian rather than military administration, from August, 1920, to September, 1923, a violation of international agreements to which it was a signatory. These held that a victorious combatant nation should administer by military rule any enemy territory it occupied during the hostilities, until such time as an effective Peace Treaty had been signed with the defeated country, in this case Turkey. Such a treaty was not signed by the Allies and Turkey until July 1923.  However, military rule was antipathetic to the Zionist leaders and their plans and those of their cooperative and enabling agent, the British Government, and civil government replaced it at Zionist behest, imposing and encouraging Zionist immigration, self-rule, and development in Palestine.

Of the Balfour Declaration itself, Jeffries wrote: “…a text in which Zionists of all nationalities had collaborated was announced as the voice of Britain. They [the Arabs] were told that it was a pledge made to the Zionists: they were not told that the Zionists had written most of it.”

Joseph Mary Nagle Jeffries (1880-1960) was a war, foreign, and political correspondent for The Daily Mail in London from 1914 until the 1930s. He covered the fighting in the First World War, the struggles in Palestine, and the “Troubles” in Ireland.

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