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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Britain's 30 Year Rule in Palestine

Nadene Goldfoot
At the end of World War I of 1918, Britain and France were given the Mandates to rule in the Middle East that had fallen, the Ottoman Empire. They had been on the side of the Germans who  lost.   Britain was given a 30 year mandate to rule over Palestine.  They had their army in Palestine and fought against the Germans in the war.

The Balfour Doctrine had already been issued on November 2, 1917, by the British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, declaring that the British government favor "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object...the result of long negotiations started by Chaim Weizmann and others.  Balfour had been strongly impressed by the personality and Zionist philosophy of Weizmann.  He remained a man outspokenly devoted to the Zionist ideal.  

The area was defined originally as from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.  It had included what is today, Jordan.  It was later defined  in the Franco-British Boundary Agreement 1920 and the Transjordan memorandum of 16 September 1922, during the mandate period. Today, the region comprises the country of Israel and the Palestinian territories. 

Jews had created a Jewish National Fund at the 5th Zionist Congress of 1901 started by Theodor Herzl to collect money to buy land in Palestine.  They were then starting to buy land by 1921.  There were already established Jewish communities in Palestine by Jews since King David's day.

It wasn't until April 24, 1920 that it was formally decided in San Remo that Britain should administer Palestine and be responsible for the implementation of the Balfour Declaration.  Then by July 24, 1922, the Mandate was finally approved by the League of Nations meeting in London.  They were to give recognition to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.  The Zionist organization was recognized as the Jewish Agency.

In 1922 nearly 80% of the land that was designated to be the Jewish Homeland was later given  to the Arabs by the British.  It became Transjordan and Jews were barred from there.  The 20% left was divided into 2 states, one for the Arabs who refused it and one for the Jews who accepted it.  Their Palestine is to have no Jews living in it (Judenrein) but Israel has 1.4 million Arabs as citizens. 

The British had installed Emir Faisal, who had been deposed by the French in Syria, as ruler of the new kingdom of Iraq.  Then in 1922 the British created the emirate of Transjordan on land that was to be the Jewish Homeland.  This was done for Emir Abdullah, who was upset because his family had been defeated in some tribal warfare on the Arabian peninsula and wanted a kingdom to rule.

Jews had never left Jerusalem.  The development of this very Jewish capital was interrupted by World War I and the population fell to 50,000.  In December of 1917 it was occupied by the British General Allenby, head of the British army.   The British were quick to issue several White Papers, limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine, but by 1946 the population reached 165,000 of which 100,000 were Jews.  Hebrew University was built on Mt. Scopus.

Arabs rioted in 1922, 1929, 1936 and 1939 which killed many of the Jewish populations which only brought about more building and consolidations.  By 1948 Jerusalem  was divided into 2 parts, Israel in the West and the Arabs in the East.  Israel was able to liberate the East at the end of the 1967 War when they took down the barrier and made the city whole again.  In 1980 Israel extended Israel sovereignty over the entire city with "The Jerusalem Law."

Hebron was an ancient Jewish town of Judah, 18 miles south of Jerusalem.  Abraham had bought the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron in order to bury his wife, Sarah. Today a mosque stands on the reputed site.  In 1929 the Arabs massacred many of the 700 Jews living in the town and the remainder were injured and fled.  About 30 Jewish families returned in 1931.  Riots from Muslims broke out again in 1936 and again the Jews fled.  The population in 1967 was 38,310.  After the 1967 Six Day War Jews returned to settle, establishing the Kiryat Arba quarter east of the city.  There were 3,700 in 1988.  Arabs have taken over Hebron.

The British failed to protect the Jewish communities from Arab mobs in and  after the Arab riots in May 1921. They then appointed the Haycraft Commission to investigate the cause of the violence, where they concluded that the Arabs had been the aggressors.  They rationalized that the cause was a feeling they had of discontent and hostility towards  the Jews and connected the Jewish immigration with the problem, so they then banned Jewish immigration.  

The Hope Simpson Report of 1930 showed the British allowed untold numbers of Arabs to enter the territory, even saying that "it does a certain injustice to the Jewish immigrant outside whose place is taken by the traveller, concerned. " It was full of facts showing that Arab immigration was being allowed.  They entered Palestine without formality of any kind.  They could leave the road before reaching the frontier and they took  footpaths over the hills so as not to be counted.  

With Jordan's illegal annexation of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) in 1950, the Arabs controlled about 80% of the territory of the Mandate, while the Jewish State held a bare 17.5%.  Gaza, occupied by Egypt, was the remainder.  So much for the British who were to bring about the Jewish Homeland.

As found in previous postings in this blog, the British doing the administrating were not favoring the Jews at all.  They favored the Arabs in many ways and did many things to deter immigration and settlement of the Jews in Palestine, even to the point of instigating the Arabs to riot against the Jews.    It continued right up to the time of their departure on May 14, 1948.  Arab immigration was allowed by the British when Jews before and after the Holocaust could not get in by their rules.  Their behavior was disgraceful.

From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters
New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G Bard, PhD and Joel Himelfarb
posts in this Blog
Movie: Lawrence of Arabia; Arab force fighting the Ottoman Turks in WWI, made in 1962

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