First a brief review.
Slide 1 (1917)
This is Palestine as Allenby found it in 1917, at the same month Balfour issued his infamous letter.
The Jews were only 9% of the population. Their land ownership was only 1.7% of Palestine..
Slide 2 (Revolts)
When Balfour declaration became known and the British Mandate appointed a Zionist as High Commissioner of Palestine in 1920, the Palestinian population agitated and revolted against the intrusion of foreign immigrants.
But it is within the tenure of Herbert Samuel (1920-1925) that the foundation for the state of Israel was established.
During Samuel’s tenure, a pseudo government in the name of the Jewish Agency was established. Hebrew language was introduced as one of three official languages. Ministries nuclei were formed: Rutenberg for power, Mekorot for water, Histadrut for labour. Separate Jewish education and banking systems were authorized. Most importantly a new Jewish army, with the innocent name of ‘settlement watchmen’ was trained and armed. Over 100 ordinances were hurriedly promulgated to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian land by Jewish immigrants. It was a virtual take over of Palestine.
The Palestinians revolted in 1921, 1929, but the biggest revolt was in 1936-1939. The last was triggered off by a massive Jewish immigration from Europe in the mid 1930’s. By 1939, Jewish immigrants increased 8 times from 1917, the year of British occupation of Palestine. In 1939 they constituted 30% of the total population (445,000 out of a total of 1,501,000).
It is in this period, just before WWII, that the British Mandate government physically destroyed the fabric of the Palestinian society, and made it an easy prey for the Israeli conquest of Palestine that was to come in 1948. It dissolved all Palestinian political parties. Its leaders were either imprisoned or have fled the country. New British army reinforcements were brought in. RAF showered bombs on villages. Collective punishment was applied. Houses were demolished. Provisions were destroyed. Able-bodied men were rounded up and put in cages. Summary trials led to quick execution. Possession of a simple pistol led to death sentence and possession of a knife led to life imprisonment. The Palestinian society was utterly devastated. All the while, the Zionists were watching the British do their bidding while they were building their army to 20,000 soldiers, soon to increase 5 times. The scene for al Nakba was set. The Zionists were ready to bounce.
During WWII, Palestine was quiet. Britain retracted some of its hostile policies towards the Arabs. The Jews strongly objected. In Biltmore conference, they planned to take over all of Palestine.
In 1946 (Slide 3) the situation was like this. The Jewish immigrants acquired 5.3% of Palestine area. The Jewish immigrants were still 30% of the population at a total of 600,000 Jewish immigrants.
Then Britain dumped Palestine into the lap of the UN, the successor to the League of Nations.
The ‘Sacred Trust of Civilization’ which was handed over to Britain, according to article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, to assist Palestinians to obtain their freedom and self-government, was translated by Balfour and his successors into transforming Palestinian Palestine to a Jewish-dominated Israel with the Palestinian national majority shattered and defenseless.
Britain betrayed the very Mandate clauses which it drafted. Contrary to Clause 10 of the Mandate, it did not “safeguard the interest of the community”. It decimated Palestinian society by brutal military action. Land laws were promulgated which were against the interests of the community. In the last 6 months of the Mandate the British did not interfere to protect civilians when Israeli terrorists committed massacres in Palestinian villages. Dayr Yassin was within 2 miles from the High Commissioner’s office. His chief of Police said “it is not my business”.
Two hundred and fifty villages were depopulated by Zionist forces while the British were looking on. That is half of the total refugees today. Under the Mandate, the British were obliged to protect them.
Contrary to Clause 5 of the Mandate, the integrity of Palestine territory was not respected. It was devoured by the wolves, the Israeli wolf chief among them.
Contrary to the practice in other Mandates, as in Cyprus for example, the Palestinians were not handed over their government offices, their infrastructure, their cultural and religious places, their records of health, education and land registry. There was nothing of the customary colonial decorum of handing over the trust held by Palestine’s British warden. They slipped at night, unceremoniously, leaving the civilian population to fend for themselves.
By default, frequently by design and occasionally by corrupt practices, the British abandoned, or handed over, the property of the Palestinian people to the Zionists: a complete infrastructure they needed to build an instant state: 1700 public buildings, 497 police and post offices, hospitals and schools, 3000 km first class roads, 1000 km railway lines, 41 railway stations, 2 ports, 31 airfields and 37 stacked military camps.
Balfour issued the birth certificate for Israel and the death certificate for Palestine. Samuel created the laws for it and imported immigrants to be the new citizens for the state. The British Mandate saw the young baby to adulthood and supplied it with all the necessary physical infrastructure.
The ‘Palestine Question’ was put before the UN in order to give a legal fig-leaf to this insidious dismembership of Palestine by the international i.e. Western community at the UN, exactly as Balfour sought European blessings in the League of Nations for his declaration 30 years ago. Hence, partition of Palestine was put to vote in the UN.
The proposed Partition by the UN was a farce, a thinly-disguised plan to give respectability to the Jewish take over of Palestine. Jewish immigrants who controlled 5% of Palestine were allocated 54% of the country. Half of the population in this would-be Jewish state were Palestinians who suddenly found themselves under the sovereignty of foreign immigrants.
The consequences were predictable. The Palestinians were not ready to give up over half of their country. Ben Gurion knew this. He set his Plan Dalet in motion. Over 65,000 trained Zionist soldiers, later increased to 120,000, moved to conquer Palestine.
Here you shall see an animated sequence of al Nakba in steps of 15 days from March 1948, the onset of Plan Dalet to April 1949 when Jordan signed the Armistice Agreement.