This Week in Israel’s History: The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, Recognizing Jewish and Arab Interests, is Signed


On January 3, 1919, Emir Faisal, son of Sharif Husayn of Mecca, and British Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, an accord of mutual respect and cooperation.


Emir Faisal, son of Sharif Husayn of Mecca, and Chaim Weizmann, in the name of the Zionist Organization, signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement in Aqaba on January 3, 1919, within the framework of the Paris Peace Conference. The political accord was one of mutual respect and cooperation between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, recognizing the national aspirations of both sides.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Arabs would recognize the Balfour Declaration, which confirmed British support for a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, known as Palestine, and encourage Jewish immigration and settlement.

Faisal and Weizmann first met in Aqaba in the spring of 1918 at the suggestion of the British. The meeting took place amidst growing discontent among both Zionists and Arab nationalists regarding the future of Palestine following World War I.

Freedom of religion and worship in Palestine was set forth as a fundamental principle, and the Muslim holy sites were to be under Muslim control. The Zionist Organization promised to look into the economic possibilities of an Arab state and to help it develop its resources. In the same year, at an Arab congress in Damascus, the Arabs and their representatives repudiated the agreement, questioning Faisal’s authority to represent them. The Weizmann-Faisal agreement was never implemented.

Chaim Weizmann later became the first president of the State of Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff
With files from the Center for Israel Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Source: United with Israel