The Balfour Declaration : the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict Jonathan Schneer New York : Random House, c 2010 Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xxix, 432 p.,  p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -416) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.
On November 2, 1917, after much discussion, the British War Cabinet under Lloyd George finally approved and issued a statement in the form of a short letter from the Foreign Office to the English Zionist, Lord Rothschild. It was signed by the foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour and contained the key short paragraph that began: ‘His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…’.
Conceived against a backdrop of the First World War, its midwives were an extraordinary cast of diplomats, scholars, soldiers and spies, Arab insurgents and Zionist zealots. It is a tale full of intrigue, betrayal, adventure, death and triumph and ranges from London to Cairo to the Deserts of Arabia, where the enigmatic figure of T.E. Lawrence achieved lasting fame.
With new material retrieved from historical archives, Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private fight for a small strip of land in the Middle East, a battle that started when the Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The key players in this conflict are rendered in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.
Alongside the scrap of paper with which Chamberlain returned from Munich in 1938, the Balfour Declaration is one of the most important British documents of the last 100 years. Another great testament to the diplomatic ineptitude spawned by imperial hubris. Schneer’s retelling brings to life this key episode in one of the world’s longest lasting and most damaging conflicts. A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.