A Bitter History Lesson

Here you will find a Wikipedia entry. I found it by searching for the term ‘Sykes-Picot Agreement’.

The British and French, with some small Russian collaboration, agreed on how to divide up the Ottoman Empire, should it be defeated. This was essentially during World War One.

A quote from the early part:

following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, the Bolsheviks exposed the agreement, “the British were embarrassed, the Arabs dismayed and the Turks delighted.”

A quote from much farther down:

Eighty-five years later, in a 2002 interview with The New Statesman, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw observed “A lot of the problems we are having to deal with now, I have to deal with now, are a consequence of our colonial past. … The Balfour Declaration and the contradictory assurances which were being given to Palestinians in private at the same time as they were being given to the Israelis—again, an interesting history for us but not an entirely honourable one.”

In between these two quotes is quite a bit about the formation of Israel, including the possibility of a settlement in Uganda. Instead the Palestinians were made into second-class citizens in their own homes.

This cynical piece of history also occurs in the Wikipedia page:

“By excluding Hebron and the East of the Jordan there is less to discuss with the Moslems, as the Mosque of Omar then becomes the only matter of vital importance to discuss with them and further does away with any contact with the bedouins, who never cross the river except on business. I imagine that the principal object of Zionism is the realization of the ideal of an existing centre of nationality rather than boundaries or extent of territory. The moment I return I will let you know how things stand at Pd.”

History has shown that the boundaries and extent of territory are of great interest in Israel, and the subject of settlements, fences, trade restrictions, and checkpoints.

I will end with a quote from Hosea 8:7: “they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

May God have mercy on us all. We do not learn from history, and are fated to repeat and reiterate our mistakes, while digging in deeper in our untenable positions.

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