Britain’s Responsibility For Israeli Terrorism in Palestine

In the wake of the Israeli killing of Palestinian freedom fighter, Ahmad al-Jabari – the head of Hamas’s military wing – it is worthwhile recalling just how we got to the present strange set of affairs whereby European immigrants were permitted to steal the land belonging to the native population of Palestine and their descendants are allowed to terrorise them with impunity.

There was a fine letter published in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago drawing attention to the 95th anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration:

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the then foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, signed a fateful letter to Lord Rothschild announcing that the British government “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people”. Britain thus gave the zionist movement carte blanche to transform the overwhelmingly Arab state of Palestine into a Jewish one.

To further this aim, from 1920 onwards, Britain encouraged the mass immigration into Palestine of hundreds of thousands of European Jews, expressly against the wishes of the majority population. As Palestine descended into chaos, the British washed their hands of their responsibility for the mess they had caused and stood by while hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were terrorised into fleeing their homeland, as Palestine was transformed into Israel.

We call for the British government to acknowledge publicly the responsibility of previous British administrations from 1917 to 1948 for the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians, when over threequarters were expelled deliberately and systematically by the zionist army. Most of them remain refugees today without redress. The truth about their expulsions is still not officially established, since Israel officially denies any responsibility for it.
Ghada Karmi
Tim Llewellyn
Karl Sabbagh
John Rose
Kamel Hawwash
Naomi Foyle
Mona Baker
Mike Marqusee
Seni Seneviratne

This entry was posted in Government, Zionism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Britain’s Responsibility For Israeli Terrorism in Palestine

  1. LibertyPhile says:

    Jews have always lived in Palestine and been a significant part of the population there.

    The first major influx of Jews in modern times occurred under the Ottomans. They were mainly Jews fleeing prosecution in Russia.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with part of a population seeking independence or self-rule. There was space and potential for Jews to do this in Palestine.

    In 1917 Britain was fighting a war for its survival. The Ottomans, the rulers of Palestine, choose to be amongst its enemies (and many Arabs fought in the Ottoman army against the British).

    A purpose of the Balfour Declaration, and in all likelihood, the main one, was to gather and hasten support for Britain’s war effort especially from Jews in America.

    Britain did not mean to be the “liberator” of the Arabs under Ottoman rule but that is the position it found itself in as the Ottomans were defeated. (Quotes are used because not all might have wanted liberation though some did such as the Sharif of Mecca and his sons.)

    During the mandate, Britain made several attempts to give both Jews and Arabs much of what they wanted. These failed because the Arabs always wanted everything.

    1948 was, indeed a disaster, but unfortunately the forced displacement of populations is a feature of human history. It doesn’t make it right but such recognition might help heal wounds and make solutions possible.

    It happened to the Armenians under the Ottomans. A million are supposed to have perished not just been uprooted. Many Greeks too were removed from their homelands in what is now modern Turkey. It happened to the Jews of the Middle East, some 500,000 (almost as many as the Arabs forced out of Palestine) being forced to flee their homes in Arab countries and to find refuge in the new state of Israel.

    Your headline and that letter don’t help.

  2. thoughtshuffler says:

    Indeed the forced displacement of Jews in Europe, the pogroms in Eastern Europe and the holcaust were merely a feature of human history, too. LibertyPhile makes a pathetic attempt to downplay the sheer amoral nature of the creation of Israel.

    If there was space for Jews to live in Palestine in 1917, why is there no space for Palestinians to share land with Jews in Israel, now?

    • LibertyPhile says:

      What degree of amorality would you assign to the displacement of the Armenians, the Anatolian Greeks, and the Iraqi and Moroccan Jews? And how would you right the wrongs done to them?

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