Britain & Arabs


What the British Did: Two Centuries in the Middle East by Peter Mangold (I.B. Tauris, 2016)

Three books of high scholarship together establish the enormity of the crime of the Balfour Declaration on establishing “a national home” for the Jewish people by placing it in the proper historical context.

Arthur Koestler aptly summed up the origin of Israel’s birth, the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, as a document in which “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third” (Promise and Fulfilment, page 4). The actual situation on the ground was described by Michael Adams, a distinguished journalist, in The Guardian on November 3, 1967: “Fifty years ago there was no Palestine ‘problem’. There was only Palestine itself, at that time a province of the Ottoman Empire, but a part of the Arab homeland like any other, occupied without interruption by Arabs for more than 1,300 years, and sharing the expectations of the rest of the Arab world. These expectations centred around the promise of immediate independence made to the Arabs by the British government in 1916, in return for which the Arabs had risen in revolt against their Turkish masters, to play a significant part in the final defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

“But before this promise to restore Arab independence could be kept, the British government had entered into another, much less precise, undertaking to the Jewish people, then scattered throughout the world. This later undertaking, which we know as the Balfour Declaration, conflicted with the earlier promise to the Arabs; indeed, it could only be fulfilled at the expense of the Arabs—and in this contradiction lies the essence of the Palestine problem.”

In 1917, the Jews comprised around 10 per cent of the total population. They could acquire a majority only by ethnic cleansing of the Arabs once the state of Israel was established in 1948. Even successive waves of immigration, assisted by Britain, the occupying power, could not convert the Arab majority into a minority. Israel was conceived and born in sin, an illegitimate child of British imperialism. The enormity of the wrong history fully establishes.
100th anniversary

It was, therefore, very appropriate that Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May should host a dinner for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 10 Downing Street on November 2, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. She is a discredited Prime Minister and the driving force behind the extinction of the two-state formula by misappropriation of the few lands still with the Arabs in the name of settlements on lands conquered after the 1967 war.

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