I December 1916 föreslog Tyskland och dess allierade att man skulle påbörja fredsförhandlingar. David Lloyd George, som blev Englands nya premiärminister den 6 December 1916 (mindre än en vecka innan fredsförslaget), var inte alls intresserad av att förhandla. Krigsmålen var inte uppfyllda. Och de var av sådan art att de inte skulle kunna förhandlas fram.
USA var på väg in, som en ny aktör. Men det krävdes några eftergifter. Förmodligen viktigast av allt, att erövra Jerusalem och Palestina. Men, skulle det också visa sig. – Att få bort tsaren från Ryssland.
Vid Romkonferensen (5-6 januari 1917) strax efter att England bestämt sagt nej till fredsförhandlingar. Då var Lloyd George diskret tyst om planerna att ta Jerusalem ( – se längre ned). Varför var detta hemligt ? Och varför var Palestina viktigt för Lloyd George ?
BERLIN, Dec. 12, 1916 (UP) — Förslag om fredsförhandlingar.
Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg today announced in the reichstag that Germany, together with her allies, has proposed this morning to the hostile powers that they enter peace negotiations. [källa: upi]
LONDON, Dec. 13, 1916 (UP) — Svaret, inga fredsförhandlingar.
Lloyd George’s were interviewed by the United Press, portions of which were liberally reproduced in the British press today, were considered indicative of Britain’s attitude to Bethmann-Hollweg. In his interview Lloyd George said: “The fight must be to a finish – to a knockout.” [källa: upi]
From wikipedia, – Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England, dec 1916:
About Palestine – Lloyd George wanted to make the destruction of Ottoman Empire a major British war aim. Two days after taking office he told Robertson that he wanted a major victory, preferably the capture of Jerusalem. At the Rome Conference (5–6 January 1917) Lloyd George was discreetly quiet about plans to take Jerusalem, an object which advanced British interests rather than doing much to win the war.
Sir William Robertson; head of the British Army – (1916 – 1918)
Chaim Weizmann; (senare Israels första president) var starkt involverad i lobbying för brittiskt stöd av en judisk stat, (se utklipp ur israelisk tidning längre ned).
About Russia – Lloyd George welcomed the Fall of the Tsar, both in a private letter to his brother and in a message to the new Russian Prime Minister, Prince Lvov.
December 19, 1916. “Allies not enthustiastic over proposal for peace”.
December 12, 1916 “Central powers make peace proposal”
. . .
Utdrag ur israelisk tidning på 100-årsjubileet:
In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Walter Rothschild, a prominent figure in the United Kingdom’s Jewish community, announcing Britain’s inclination toward “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Chaim Weizmann, who would later become the first president of Israel and who was heavily involved in lobbying for British support of Jewish statehood, was reportedly disappointed by the wording of the document, although he touted it as a victory. The letter was vague and noncommittal. It mentioned a Jewish “home,” but not a “state” or a “commonwealth,” and it did not mention sovereignty or even a withdrawal of British troops. The phrase “in Palestine” allowed Britain the flexibility to choose how much, or how little, of Palestine should be provided for such a “home.” All in all, although it was the first time that a major world power had recognized Jewish national aspirations so publicly, the Balfour Declaration was far from a guarantee that Britain would stand behind the Zionist movement.
In any case, Weizmann and his fellow activists were not the only party with which British officials were negotiating at the time. Even before Balfour sent his letter, Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, had struck a deal with Sharif Hussein of Mecca in which he promised the pan-Arab nationalist movement and Hussein’s Hashemite family control over enormous swaths of land, including, arguably, Mandate Palestine. Meanwhile, British diplomat Mark Sykes negotiated the Sykes-Picot agreement with his French counterpart, in which Britain pledged Mandate Palestine partly to itself and partly to France, leaving Jerusalem as an international zone. The Balfour Declaration, then, was only one of a number of overlapping and contradicting commitments that various members of the British government made to different parties whose support it sought in World War I.