1952 Haj Amin al-Husseini Interview with James Bell of Life Magazine

1952 Haj Amin al-Husseini Interview with James Bell of Life Magazine


Interviewer James Bell: I mentioned the fact that the Arab refugees
driven out of Palestine by the Israelis were preparing to begin their fifth winter in exile. Must there be a sixth, a seventh, a tenth? Was there an end in view? Haj Ameen al-Husseini: A good question,I would like to reverse the
question. Ask Britain and America the same question,
because I, like all the Arabs want the refugees to go back to their homes. The right of man to his private property is
sacred. This has been confirmed in the U.N. and the
right has been respected everywhere. When Germany occupied France she didn’t infringe
on private property. Now the Allies occupy Germany and they respect
this right. Yet today in Palestine the situation is different. Let’s reverse the situation. Suppose some Arab state drove the Jews from
the country and laid its hands on Jewish property. What would be the attitude of the U.N. Britain
and America? Yet this is the case in Israel today. Refugees live on the border where they can
see their land being tilled and their houses occupied by foreigners, while they face a
fifth winter in tents. How long are Britain and America going to
be silent as this question? No unjust or unfair solution can be accepted. No man will accept anything in exchange for
his country. There’s no solution except the return of the
Palestinians to their land and homes. The Palestine problem seems quite simple. You say it concerns only a million and a half
Palestinians. But actually it is much deeper, much more
important. Palestine is a sacred place to millions of
people in various parts of the world. Palestine is the deep concern of all Arabs,
all Moslems. On the solution of Palestine depends the whole
future relationship between the Moslem world on one side and Britain and America on the
other. It is clear to all Moslems that those responsible
for inserting the dagger of Israel in the body of the Arab world are not Jews alone,
but also the British who worked many years to establish Israel and unfortunately, in
later years, the Americans shared the responsibility of this serious step. You mustn’t believe there is any possibility
of real, sincere, cooperation between the peoples of the Moslem world on the one hand
and Britain and America on the the other, without a just solution in Palestine. There might be some governments and some officials
who, out of courtesy or private reasons, say we want to cooperate and would like to cooperate. But the people themselves will never be sincere
in cooperation so long as Britain and the U.S. stick to their present policy toward
Israel. It might occur to you to ask what change I
believe necessary in the British and American policy. We don’t ask Britain or America to undo what
they have done or repair what they have spoiled. We ask only the simple and just thing: Britain
and America should from now on take a neutral attitude in the conflict between Arabs and
Moslems on the one hand and the Jewish world on the other. This neutrality should be military, economic
and political. By this I mean Britain and America should
not help us and should not help the Jews. If Britain and the U.S. will adopt this attitude
of neutrality, the Arabs and Moslems will be their friends. We are ready to forget what both have done
and begin a wholehearted cooperation. Can you think of any more simple, just demand
for friendship and real sincere cooperation? If the British and Americans do not at least
take a neutral attitude, we Arabs and Moslems shall take a neutral attitude in the conflict
between East and West. If Britain gave a promise to the Jews, she
has long ago fulfilled it. Similarly America has given Israel an important
hand. Why doesn’t she now be satisfied with that
much and adopt neutrality? If the British and Americans will not adopt
this simple demand of neutrality, the Arab people will have every reason to believe that
they support the Jewish ambition to uproot Arabs from the Middle East. In order to understand another’s point of
view you must put yourself in his place. If you were an Arab, what would be your feeling
toward the people supporting your enemy? Would you request anything short of neutrality? Americans look on me as a Hitlerite because
I went to Germany during the war. I believe the reasons I went are justifiable. In Palestine the English tried to capture
me, to take me to a desert island. I ran away to Syria. The French tried to capture me and I went
to Iraq. Later I had to go to Iran. Marshal Wavell put a 25-thousand pound price
on my head. I tried to stay in Turkey but under British
pressure the Turks wouldn’t let me stay. I had to go to Europe. Where in Europe could I go? England? France? The only place was Germany. In my radio talks I never spoke against America. I used to mention Britain, but I limited myself
to injustices Britain had done to the Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. Because I did this, Americans look on me as
an enemy. We are not a small nation. The Moslems number 500 millions. Such a group can’t be wiped out; neither can
its interests be overlooked. Isn’t it in the interest of America to be
friendly with such a group, regardless of humanitarianism and justice? This friendship will come with American neutrality. Interviewer James Bell: What about the common assertion that the Arabs
planned to drive the Jews into the sea, that in the Arab mind the only solution is a second
round of fighting which would wipe out all the Jews now in Israel? Haj Ameen al-Husseini: We don’t mean at all to eliminate the Jews. Not at all. If Britain and America would stop supporting
Israel now, their extremism and fanaticism would immediately disappear. Then and only then can we come to an understanding
with them. When their extremism is gone we can bring
about a right and just solution. No, the elimination of the Jews is not in
our program. We have no idea of wiping them out. The Jews lived among us for 13 centuries as
a minority and we protected them. This idea you mention is not in our thoughts
and has never been in our history. We Moslems were always known for tolerance
with minorities.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *