So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.
On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.
Problems soon emerged, showing what Arthur Koestler would suggest as the solemn promising of one nation to a second the country of a third, all happening even before the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist.
This was British imperial opportunism at its worst, or, if you fancy that sort of pluck, best. It played on the aspirations of Zionists; it also went counter to the promise of liberation for Arabs in the event they overthrew their Ottoman overlords. The moral tic only came later, a sort of retrospective imposition.