Yes indeed from Balfour to Boris
From Balfour, the anti-semite who formulated the Aliens Act in 1905 to prevent European Jews from coming to England and wanted to ship them out to Palestine where they can be more useful for the British Empire
to Boris, the grandchild of a Turkish Muslim who turned against his origin and his religion.
In between these two, there is a long trail of politicians who did not repent from the original sin.
This is a case of betrayal by Britain of its solemn undertaking to bring freedom and independence to Palestine. Instead it brought death and destruction to the Holy Land and waged a hundred year war against a peaceful people.
Hundred years of death and destruction of Palestine and the dispersion of its people.
Hundred years of violating every article in human rights and international law, a violation of Britain’s own undertaking. All this without remedy or recourse.
Originally, Britain was entrusted with building government institutions in Palestine and Iraq (both as Mandate class A). Iraq became independent and Palestine betrayed.
That was supposed to be in fulfillment of the “Sacred Trust of Civilisation”, according to article 22 of the Charter of the League of Nations.
Instead, Palestine was converted into a colonial project for the benefit of European Jewish colonists, who were not even inhabitants of the country.
It was worse than a colonial project.
Unlike any other colonial project, it eventually ended up with the mass expulsion of the majority of the population, the confiscation of their land and property, the destruction of their landscape and the erasure of their geography and history.
It was the most tragic event in Palestine’s 4,000 year history.
The treachery was not accidental. In 1916, while the Allies planes were dropping leaflets on the Arabs exhorting them to fight the Turks and gain independence and freedom, the British Mark Sykes and the French Georges Picot sat in a closed room with a map of the Middle East, planning how to carve it between them.
One year later, Arthur James Balfour, Britain’s foreign minister, concluded a secret agreement with rich European Jews to facilitate the establishment of “a Jewish national home”, not a state, in, not of, Palestine. He kept this agreement under lock and key.
In 1917, the British forces entered Palestine and attacked Gaza using poison gas shells (yes) and destroyed most of its ancient buildings, but were defeated twice at Gaza gates.
On the evening of 31 October 1917, Allenby forces captured Beer Sheba in a surprise attack from the east. The gates of Palestine were laid open. Allenby sent a cable to London on 1 November 1st saying: “We captured Beer Sheba. Jerusalem will be your Christmas present”. Balfour opened his drawer and made public his Declaration on 2 November 1917.
Balfour was not ashamed of his deed. He plainly stated:
For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes [not rights] of the present population of the county.
If these were expedient political statements, the subsequent British actions in Palestine put these words in action.
The first act was to select a Zionist British minister, Herbert Samuel, to be the first High Commissioner of Palestine.
In his tenure (1920-1925), he created the foundations of the future Israel; he promulgated dozens of laws which facilitated Jewish acquisition of Palestinian land; recognised Hebrew as an official language; established separate Jewish institutions: banking system, education system, labour union (Histadrut), Public Works (Soleh Boneh), power generation (Rosenberg).
But the most critical laws designed for the elimination of Palestine were the creation of a separate Jewish legislative council and separate Jewish armed forces (Haganah), which eventually conquered Palestine.
The rise of apartheid
Samuel issued many of these laws without authority, neither from the League of Nations, which approved the Mandate only on 24 July 1922, nor on authority from the Colonial Office in London, which often rejected Samuel’s formulation but did nothing to reverse them.
The British-inflicted Nakba-- The Great Arab Revolt 1936- 1939
The flood of Jewish European settlers to Palestine reached its peak about the middle of the 1930’s. At the end of 1936, the total Jewish immigrant population rose (from nine per cent at the beginning of the Mandate). to 384,000 or 28 per cent of the whole population.
Palestinians naturally protested. In 1937, the Royal Commission of Lord Peel came to investigate. Palestinians demanded what is rightly theirs:
- 1 Stopping the Jewish immigration to Palestine.
- 2 Stopping the land sales to Jews
- 3 Establishing a legislative assembly.
The Royal Commission rejected them all.
In the secret files of the Commission, now became accessible, you find the most racist expressions about the Palestinians. These utterances would take the speaker to court today.
Meanwhile, the British trained newly arrived Jewish settlers, gave them uniforms, created for them Special Night Squads, the fore runner of Palmach.
This ignited the Palestinian Arab Revolt (1936-1939). The revolt was met with utmost British brutality.
The RAF bombed villages indiscriminately. They surrounded villages, gathered men in a square, tortured them, put them in cages without food or drink for days on end, destroyed their supplies, shot and killed farmers on the pretext they escaped, killed surrendered captives, imposed fines on villagers with amounts more than their yearly income. If they could not pay, they destroyed their homes, belonging and animals. Long term prison is meted out to any one carrying a knife.
They disbanded political parties and deported their leaders.
The Jewish settlers joined and assisted all these activities. Those settlers-- later to be called Israelis-- copied, honed and improved this brutality to a fine art and applied them against Palestinians ever since.
The British forces (25-50,000 soldiers) were assisted by Jewish armed forces, notably 20,000 Jewish policemen, supernumeraries and settlement guards, in addition to providing intelligence information.
A minimum estimate of Palestinian casualties was: 5,000 killed, 15,000 wounded and a similar number jailed. More than 100 leaders men were executed. The 80-year-old Sheikh Farhan Al-Sa’di, was hanged while fasting in Ramadan on 22 November 1937.
In terms of scale, about 50 per cent of all male adults in the mountainous region of Palestine, where the revolt was particularly active, had been wounded or jailed by the British. 50 per cent of all male adults.
By 1939, the Palestinian society was dismembered, defenseless and leaderless. The year 1939 can be identified as the British-inflicted Nakba
Ten years later, Ben Gurion carried out the Zionist-inflicted Nakba
Zionists attacking Britain
At the conclusion of WWII, the Zionists rewarded Britain for its support, which opened Palestine’s doors to a flood of Jewish immigrants. The Zionists started a terror campaign against their erstwhile benefactors. They bombed British HQ, hanged British soldiers and kidnapped British judges.
In 1945, Britain had to fly the 6th Airborne Division to Palestine to fight Zionist terrorism. Its aim was not to save Palestine but to save its soldiers.
Zionists also assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN mediator appointed to bring peace to Palestine.
Jewish actions were described as “terrorism” by the UN Security Council in Resolution 57 of 1948.
In the remaining six weeks of the Mandate, the Zionists attacked and depopulated 220 Palestinians villages and main cities. The British failed to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist invasion.
The Zionists committed dozens of massacres under the nose of the British. Deir Yassin was the most notorious. The British Chief of Police in Jerusalem was a few kilometers away, but he did nothing.
The expulsion of Palestinians from Tiberias was assisted by the British, providing transport for the expelled population. In the massive evacuation of Haifa’s Palestinian population, the British forces did not defend the population, but assisted their departure.
The fall of Haifa speaks volumes about the failure of General Stockwell to discharge his duties to protect the population. He “cooperated” with the Zionists attackers.
The handwritten book of signals between the British Army patrols along the Jaffa-Jerusalem axis and their HQ, which we have, in the critical period of April-May 1948, is a damning record of the British collusion and failure to honor their obligations.
In the wireless Log (No. 129) of Duty Troops, there are frequent entries showing the refusal of the British Army to rescue Palestinian villagers when attacked by Jews. When Jews asked for help, the troops were ordered to rescue them.
At the end of the Mandate, Britain did not hand over a functioning government to the Palestinians as its duty dictated. The British left Palestine in the hands of European Jewish settlers who were admitted to the country by Britain, trained by Britain and armed by Britain.
Ironically, the settlers’ first task was to terrorise the British themselves and chase them out of Palestine.
The unceremonious British departure from Palestine was the most shameful, nothing like it in the history in the British Empire.
The last High Commissioner of Palestine, Sir Alan Cunningham, left Palestine with no word of goodbye, neither from the losing Arabs nor from the winning Jews.
Britain did not learn from this shameful record.
One year after al Nakba, Britain, together with the United States and France, issued the Tripartite Declaration of 1950, warning the Arabs against any attempt to reverse the destruction of Palestine and the expulsion of its people.
The history that followed repeated the same story. From the Tripartite Aggression of 1956, also known as the Suez Campaign,
to the racist remarks by Theresa May commemorating Balfour’s sin “with pride”
to the apostate Boris Johnson who declared himself as a loyal Zionist,
all this shows that Balfour’s legacy is still alive and well in 10 Downing Street. The debt those willful politicians have to pay is heavy and likely to increase.
Regrettably, those public figures who support Palestine are hounded by well orchestrated and well paid lobby. The defamation of the popular leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is yet another example.
On the bright side, I believe that a sizable majority of the British people today are not in agreement with this shameful legacy.
Now, Palestinians are demanding justice and remedy. They will never cease to do so.
We call on the British Government:
To apologize to the Palestinian people for a century of death and destruction, due to its willfully failing to undertake its duties and obligations,
To pay full compensation for all direct and consequential losses and damages to the Palestinian people,
To comply with all UN resolutions affirming the Palestinian rights.
To make amends by assisting, in the establishment of a free democratic Palestine, by means such as:
- By correcting its policies, within the United Kingdom and in the international arena, such that the inalienable Palestinian rights are fully realized,
- By helping, as a primary actor, in the rebuilding of Palestine and the repatriation of its people,
- By teaching the Palestinian history and suffering of the people in school curriculum and in the media,
- And by any other means found necessary to achieve the aim of a free and independent Palestine.
On all the above, we call on all people of good conscience in Britain and indeed in the world to stand by these demands for restoring Palestine and bringing justice, freedom and peace to its people.