Only Britain Could Lose the Peace
The British Army controlled Palestine and Transjordan between 1918-1920 then passed control to the British civil authorities.
The first high commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, was Jewish, a Zionist and a close friend of Weizmann’s.
At the end of a two year fruitless debate over the creation of a Jewish homeland, involving the USA, France, Britain, Zionist and Arab representatives the British, fed up with the intransigence of unspecified negotiating teams, referred the matter to the newly formed “League of Nations” seeking a “Mandate” permitting Britain to continue to administer Palestine and Transjordan until a solution could be achieved.
The bid was approved on 24 July 1922. Britain had effectively re-colonized the area.
But with little finance available, (Britain was skint after WW1) the “mandate” required the area to be self sufficient. An near impossible condition.
The Arabs in Palestine and Transjordan continued to block change fearing that independence and unity with other Arab nations would be denied them.
Under British control, the Jewish community in Palestine flourished and with an open immigration policy in place it speedily expanded.
Kibbutzniks established more farms and a new Jewish society evolved.
The Zionists poured substantial amounts of money in, purchasing land, establishing settlements and schools.
Palestinian leaders complained to the British authority about the flood of immigrant Jews to be told that Jews were allowed to enter the country only if they had an established place of abode and wealthy Arabs facilitated this by selling more and more land to the Jews.
A senior Zionist commented that the Arabs who secretly sold land to the Jews were “patriots on the outside, traitors on the inside”. The Zionist agency, having purchased land sold it on to Jewish families, with a covenant forbidding any future sale to non-Jews.
The Zionist Vision-1919
The Mandate years of British rule were bad for the Arabs due to the policies of the British who appointed Zionist Jews to important positions within the administration.
The changes were marred by recurring Arab violence against Jews, all incidences of which were brutally suppressed by the British Army, including air strikes, where deemed necessary.
The Jewish media pressed the Zionists for arms and munitions so that they could defend themselves against Arab violence and a secret arms trail was put in place to facilitate this.
The British Army were fully aware that the Jews were arming their communities but studiously avoided any attempt to stop it.
Enter Churchill with a proposal to develop a multi-ethnic Palestine and Transjordan State with equal representation for all.
Weizmann rejected it because the Jews were still in the minority and he feared an Arab influx would deny the Zionist agenda for change.
The violence continued to escalate through 1924-1935 as “tit for tat” murders became commonplace and the British Army, (short on numbers) failed to cope.
The Army was absent from the scene at the time of a massacre by Arab militia in Hebron, in 1929 of about 70 Jews, including entire families.
A saving grace was the action of the Arab residents of Hebron, who gave shelter to 500 Jews.
The British Army later arrested 55 Arabs and 70 Jews and tried them for murder. 25 Arabs were publicly hanged.
Only 2 of the 70 Jews were convicted and sentenced to death. A sentence later commuted.
The Arabs, whilst still in the majority, continued to lose ground to increasing numbers of Jewish settlers and in 1936, they refused to recognize the Zionist supporting British administration by staging a “General Strike.”
The British response was typical of the colonizing authority. It cracked down hard on the Arabs and although it took 3 years to achieve, through the use of torture, execution, collective punishment, detention without trial, military courts, aerial bombardment and ‘punitive demolition’ of more than two thousand houses, it suppressed the rebellion.
In the early summer of 1939, the senior Army officer in Palestine, Major General Montgomery (Monte) reported to Churchill that he had finally crushed the rebellion. Just in time. Germany invaded Poland later that year.
Occurrences of note 1936-1948
1. The British killed over 3000 Arabs in the period.
2. Zionist Night Squads, trained by and under the command of British Army, Captain, Orde-Wingate (a special branch intelligence officer) murdered many more Arabs.
3. The police commander, Sir Charles Tegart (a believer in Zionism) built the notorious Tegart police fortresses and an electrified fence along the northern border.
4. At the start of WW2, Churchill ordered the formation and deployment to Palestine, of a volunteer, professional, well trained, equipped and armed 25,000 Jewish force to Palestine to assist the British Army. The unit would go on to provide the basis for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
5. The British Army’s war of attrition destroyed any realistic capacity for the Arabs to wage war and this was still a major factor in 1947-1948, when the Arabs were defeated in their battle for control of Palestine.
6. In 1944, in an attempt to stem the flood of Jewish immigration from war torn Europe the British government placed an embargo on Jewish immigration into Palestine.
7. Extremist Jewish militias, (the Stern Gang and Irgun) responded with bombing campaigns and attacks on British soldiers and policemen. Zionist leader, David Ben-Gurion, commented that the Irgun leader, Menachem Begin, was a Jewish “Hitler” and Zionists assisted the British authorities, identifying, locating and dismantling the Jewish groups.
6. The British Army efforts to maintain law and order in Palestine, after 1945 placed the force smack in the middle of an insurgency over which they had little control.
7. Their political masters in London showed little interest in achieving a solution and morale in the British Army deteriorated as it sustained casualties from Arabs and Jews and in 1947 Britain gave up and asked the newly formed United Nations (UN) to resolve the dispute.
8. The UN voted for a partition of Palestine into Arab and Palestine States but both halves of the new States carried Arab majorities. The Zionists corrected the anomaly by encouraging and funding large scale immigration of Jewish settlers into the coastal part of one of the newly formed States, (present day Israel).
9. The British Army and Civil Authority departed Palestine, under fire from both sides. An Ignominious end to British colonial rule.
11. In 1948 the Arabs and the fledgling Jewish State went to war. The Arabs lost. Faced with Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang retribution many thousands of Palestinians fled to Syria, Jordan and the Lebanon in which, supported by the UN, in tented refugee camps for many years.
10. In 1948, David Ben-Gurion, a leading Zionist and first Prime Minister declared the establishment of the State of Israel and also gave warning that the Arabs, having learned lessons, would return to the fight for control of Palestine.
11. Ben-Gurion refused to allow the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland creating many problems for their Arab neighbours.
12. The Zionists, having achieved their objective further strengthened links with the British, including equipping and arming,the expanding Israeli Defense Force.
13. In 1956, the British invaded Egypt, in response to President Nasser closing the Suez Canal, which the British regarded as an international waterway. The Israeli government supported Britain and invaded the Sinai peninsula heading for the Suez Canal. Nearing completion of their mission the Israeli’s were flabbergasted and humiliated when Britain, faced with a lack of support from the US and condemnation from the UN withdrew from Egypt leaving them exposed to Arab attack.
14. In consequence the Zionists and the Israeli government transferred their loyalty away from Britain gaining the protection of the US and its Zionist dominated political establishment.
The introduction, in 1948, of the of the new State of Israel ensured that Britain kept its 1917 “Balfour Declaration” promise to the Zionists: “to favour the establishment in Palestine of a
national home for the Jewish people”. But, in doing so Britain failed to observe the final clause of the declaration: “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
Britain, in its haste to extract its forces and return to the UK, handed control of Palestine to the Zionists who then abandoned any commitment to the Arabs and implemented an agenda of ethnic cleansing.
By its actions Britain lost the right to the claim of honest broker since it had zealously protected Jewish immigration, encouraged Jewish settlement and subsidised Jewish defence. Without Britain, there would not be an Israeli State
One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate by Tom Segev.
Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 by Naomi Shepherd.