Almost from the start, Palestinian Christians played a prominent role in combating Zionism, first and foremost through the Arab press. This was particularly evident in the Palestinian press; the vast majority of newspapers in Palestine were owned and run by Christians, and were stridently anti-Zionist. Typical was the position adopted by the newspaper 'Filastin', founded in Jaffa in 1911 by the brothers Isä and Yüsuf al-' Isä, both Orthodox Christian and strongly anti-Zionist. 'Filastin' was one of the most widely read newspapers during this period, and one of the few to survive the First World War intact.
Another important Christian-run paper was 'al Dustür', founded by Khalil al-Sakäkini, also Orthodox, in Jerusalem in 1910. As with the ' Isä brothers,Sakäkini was strongly anti-Zionist and a staunch Arab nationalist. During this period, Christians were, in many respects, more vehement than Muslims in their opposition to Zionism; early on in fact, many Zionists were convinced that early on in fact, many Zionists were convinced that opposition to Zionism was limited almost entirely to Christian Arabs [“Attitude to the Arabs" in Middle Eastern Studies, Volume IV, No. 3 (London, 1968), pp. 198,206,212-213].
One of the earliest organised efforts against Zionism was initiated by Christians in 1891-an official protest against Jewish immigration directed at the Ottoman Government. Christians would remain at the forefront in the struggle against Zionism well into the twentieth century. Thus, it was the Protestant Christian editor of the newspaper 'al-Karmil', Najib Nassär, who in 1910 organised the first association aimed at persuading the Government to prohibit the sale of land to Jews. He also was the first Arab to publish a book on Zionism.
It was deliberately ambiguous
July 18 1917 Lord Rothschild forwarded the final draft of the Balfour Declaration to Mr Balfour to sign and was not proclaimed in Palestine until 1920 is sufficient proof of its character (Balfour signed it on November 2 1917).
"Into the Maze – Four Plain questions (examining the Balfour Declaration point by point):
Mass tricks of Balfour Declaration deception
1. What exactly is a “National Home”? Nobody knows. The expression was used because it was ambiguous. To Syrians it is explained as a home. Fifteen months after the British Government had declared that it viewed this ambiguity with favour, Mr Lansing, the American Foreign Secretary, was obliged to ask at the Paris Peace Conference in Paris what “National Home” meant. Dr Weizmann replied that it meant there should be established such conditions ultimately in Palestine that “Palestine shall be just as Jewish as America is American and England is English. “ Mr (as he was then) Balfour was very pleased with this reply. It is difficult to see why, since Dr Weizmann had removed with his frankness a good deal of ambiguity.
2. “Nothing shall be done,” says the vigilant Declaration, “which may prejudice the civil & religious rights of non-existing Jewish communities in Palestine.” No phrase could sound better but what exactly are “civil rights”? Again nobody knows. That is why the Declaration is anxious to guarantee them. Observe that the phrase “political rights” is not used. Political rights would have been something definite. The political rights of a people are its ownership of its country. The right to have, as Syrian-Arabs demand, “a National Government created, which shall be responsible to a Parliament elected by the people of Palestine - Muslims, Christians, and Jews.” A Subterfuge: When the Zionists drew up their programme of October 1916, the first portion of that program reads thus: “The Jewish population of Palestine shall enjoy full civic and POLITICAL rights…” no mistake here and at the end of the Balfour declaration itself is it civil rights guaranteed to the Jews? Read and see: “the rights and POLITICAL status enjoyed by the Jews.” No mistake again.
3. The third point is less important but worth noting. The people of Palestine are referred to as the “Non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” There are about 80000 Jews & 670000 non-Jews in Palestine . The word would give anybody the impression that the “non-Jewish communities” were some specialised sort of bodies & not the mass of the population.
4. Nothing, according to the declaration, is to prejudice the “political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” What does this mean? It means that Jews, besides being put on the road to establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, are also guaranteed against not belonging to it if they don’t wish. Political Zionism may look forward, therefore, to having their cake and eating it.
The truth peeps out very clearly from this part of the Declaration. If there existed no intention in the minds of its framers of founding a Jewish state, why were they moving to protect their co-religionists from the necessity of belonging to it? If the National Home was only to be a home, the political status of Jews elsewhere could no more be altered by it than is the status of Englishman because thousands of them have homes in France & Italy. But if a state was erected in Palestine? Ah then!
Excerpt from: Palestine Deception
[Balfour Declaration] FORMULA MAKING:
There was a meeting at the house of one of their number [British Zionist] in Feb 1917, Sir Mark Sykes was there “in his private capacity.” He was told there MUST be no internationalisation of Palestine because the Zionists desired a British protectorate with full rights to the Jews to develop as a nation. M. Nahum Sokoloff, the chief representative in Britain of the International Zionist Executive, was chosen, as the result of the meeting, to continue negotiations with Sir Mark Sykes & M. Picot, who acted for the French Government. The Zionist report says with satisfaction: “Thus opened the chapter of negotiations which ended 9 months later with the Balfour Declaration.” Still fearful of internationalisation, which would have made the Zionist state impossible, Mssrs Weizmann & Sokoloff spent some months vainly trying to get the Sykes-Picot Agreement cancelled. Though they failed in this, yet somehow internationalisation did drop out of sight.
The goal was getting visible. A number of prominent Zionists, Ahad Ha-am, the writer, Mssrs Joseph Cowen, Akiva Yaakov Ettinger, Albert Hyamson, Simon Marks, Harry Sacher, Israel Moses Sieff, Leon Simon, Samuel Tolkowsky, Aaron Aaronsohn, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, Samuel Landman, & others from continental countries, as they visited England from time to time, were gathered in to form a Political Committee. Their names are of great interest, since it was they, together with well-known Zionist leaders, who began work on the “Balfour Declaration.” Many versions of the suggested formula were drafted,” says the Zionist report, “by various members of the Political Committee.” Drafts went back and forth to the Foreign Office. “Some were detailed and elaborate,” but the Government did not want to commit itself to more than a general statement of principle. Finally, a “concise and general formula was agreed upon.” This was made known to and approved by President Woodrow Wilson, Sir Mark Sykes, and Baron Edmond de Rothschild. All seemed finished. On July 18 Lord Rothschild forwarded the Balfour Declaration to Mr Balfour [to sign]."
Source: “The Palestine Deception, 1915–1923: The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, the Balfour Declaration, and the Jewish National Home” By: J. M. N. Jeffries
Edited by William M. Mathew