Posted by Godefroi on May 14, 2008
On the cusp of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence from England, it’s appropriate to remember the perfidy of which England was guilty during the Mandate period…the period during which she undertook the solemn responsibility of doing everything necessary to promote a Jewish National Home, in accordance with League of Nations and United Nations policies. Had England actually fulfilled this pledge, today’s “Palestinian Problem” may well not have ever come to be.
Nod: American Thinker (excerpted)
Britain conquered Palestine from the Turks in 1917-18. First Her Majesty’s Government promised Palestine to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and then again in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922, in which it solemnly accepted as “a sacred trust of civilization” to “be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home.” Then it repudiated that promise in a “White Paper” of 1939, which announced her intention to allow only 75,000 Jewish immigrants into Palestine over the next five years (this as World War II and the Holocaust was just beginning) and after that to allow no further Jewish immigration without Arab consent. The White Paper also placed severe restrictions on the purchase of land by Jews. And it promised the Palestinian Arabs that Palestine would become an independent Arab state within ten years. All this was in flagrant violations of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine; the League of Nations Mandates Commission noted this, and refused to ratify the White Paper. Britain implemented it anyway — to the extent of refusing to admit to Palestine 750 Jews who had managed to escape Nazi Europe in a leaky boat while the Holocaust was in full swing. The Jews were forced to turn back into the human-shark-infested waters of the Black Sea, where their leaky crate was torpedoed, and all but one of them killed.
Other Jews who managed to reach the shores of Palestine were deported by the British Navy to the remote island of Mauritius and kept in a detention camp, where many of them died of disease before finally being released after the end of the war. This British measure was strangely reminiscent of an earlier Nazi plan to deport the Jews of Europe to Madagascar, a larger island in the Indian Ocean not far from Mauritius. Still the British detained other Jews who managed to board ships bound for Palestine for years in camps on Cyprus. This was the way His Majesty’s Government kept its promises to the Jews.
Having already promised Palestine to both the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, Britain after World War II promised it again, this time to Syria! Secret British correspondence, recently discovered by an Israeli scholar, not in the archives of Britain but in those of France, which intercepted British and Syrian communications through espionage, reveals that the British promised to hand over Palestine to Syria in return for making Britain Syria’s “protector” to replace France. The British even assisted the Syrians to carry out a massacre of French civilians and soldiers in order to force France out of Syria.
Instead, the British sabotaged the resolution in every way possible. It refused even to allow the commission that had been appointed by the United Nations General Assembly to oversee implementation of the partition resolution into the country. On the other hand, it permitted the Arab states to send troops into Palestine under the guise of “volunteers,” even before the British administration had completed its withdrawal from the country. It stood aside and did nothing to preserve order as war raged throughout the country and thousands of both Jews and Arabs were killed, even though it nominally retained responsibility for the administration of Palestine until May 15, 1948. Worst of all, it withdrew its administration without appointing or recognizing any government, Jewish or Arab, to take its place, or organizing any kind of successor administration. In an unprecedented act in the history of colonialism, the British simply withdrew, leaving the country that they had misgoverned for thirty years in total chaos. One British author has called this bizarre act an “experiment in anarchy.” Another has characterized British policy in Palestine as “divide and lose.”
Britain’s two-faced machinations did not prevent Israel from winning the independence that the Jews had been promised, but only at the cost of thousands of lives, and with no help whatsoever from the promise-bearing great power. However, Israel has had to live in a constant state of siege from neighbors who remain at war with her, and who still refuse to allow her the “secure and recognized borders” enjoyed by all other sovereign states in the world.
The Palestinian Arabs never got the state that Britain promised them. Syria never “received” Palestine in accordance with Britain’s secret promise, either. First incited to go to war for Palestine, and then left to shift for themselves by their forked-tongued British ‘friends,” the Palestinian and Syrian Arabs are still fighting Israel for the land that Britain once promised each of them.