This weekend marks 100 years since the San Remo Conference, during which the formerly-Ottoman Middle East was split up by the European powers.
The European Coalition for Israel (ECI) and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy will host a live-streamed event from Jerusalem starting at 4 p.m. IST featuring senior Israeli diplomats and greetings from world leaders to mark the centennial.
During the conference, Great Britain was given the mandate for Palestine and it was decided that the Balfour Declaration would be incorporated in the Treaty of Peace with Turkey.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 recognized the need of the Jewish people to have a "national home" in Palestine. However, the declaration was a purely political statement with no legal binding.
At San Remo, the declaration became law as Great Britain was granted the Mandate for Palestine as a "sacred trust of civilization” in respect of “the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people,” according to European Coalition for Israel (ECI). The ultimate purpose of the mandate was intended to be the "creation of an autonomous commonwealth."
The mandate was approved by the Council of the League of Nations in July 1922.
An article about the San Remo Conference in the New York Times from April 26, 1920, was headlined "Zionist Rejoicings: British Mandate for Palestine Welcomed."
"The practical consequence of the decision at San Remo will be that Jewish energy and capital will begin to flow towards Palestine to be devoted to the development of the country and to the benefit of all its inhabitants," read the Times article, which even predicted that April 24, 1920 would "perhaps become a Jewish national holiday."
Chaim Weizmann, then the president of the Zionist Organization and eventually the first President of the State of Israel, described the San Remo decision "recognition of our rights in Palestine is embodied in the treaty with Turkey, and has become part of international law. This is the most momentous political event in the whole history of our movement, and it is, perhaps, no exaggeration to say in the whole history of our people since the Exile," according to ECI.
David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel tweeted about the centennial, saying "Recalling today the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Resolution, whereby the world powers recognized the ancient connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and the right of the Jewish people to a national home on that land was given the force of International Law."