Britain and the U.S.A.,
Not Merely Abdullah, Can Control Invasion
On May 14, Gen. Sir Allan Cunningham, the last British
High Commissioner in Palestine, went from the pier in Haifa to a warship,
and together with his luggage the gallows the mandatory power was
shipped to Britain. He did not leave the Jewish National Home in quiet
and peace; nor did he leave it secure and well fortified against foes
from outside. But it was for the creation of this Home that the British
obtained the mandate of 51 nations more than a quarter of a century
On Apr. 14, Abdullah of Transjordan announced that his
legion would fight the Jews in Palestine in real battles.
A few days later the British brought additional contingents of the
Arab Legion of Abdullah to Palestine for police duty:
It was less than a month before the expiration of the mandate. The
British gave their solemn promisein Jerusalem and in the Parliament
in Londonthat the Araba Legion wold be returned to Transjordan
before the expiration of the mandate on May 15.
On Apr. 27, it was asserted in this column that the
British would not keep this solemn promise. We wrote then: The
impression is left that the British are preparing another breach of
faith. The outrageous act of bringing the Arab Legion of Abdullah
for policing duties a few days after Abdullah had declared that his
Legion would fight the Jews in Palestine is probably unequalled in
the annals of hypocrisy.
* * *
The accusation was fully warranted. The British did
not return the Legion to Transjordan. They considered that they had
absolved themselves when they announced that coinciding
with the end of the mandate in Palestine, British officers would withdrawor
receive leave?from the Legion for the period of fighting in
The Legion is free, under British interpretation of
international law, to attack to Jews on the soil of Palestine with
the arms they received for their policing duty on behalf
of the mandatory power.
Moreover, while the mandate was still in force, and
while Cunningham still occupied his residence near Jerusalem, the
Arab legion attacked, at first, the settlement Neve-Jacob, north of
Jerusalem, and then the agricultural settlement of Kfar-Etzion, south
of Jerusalem, on the way from Hebron to Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem.
It is a lonely place where a community of orthodox Jews planted the
first shade trees on the mountains of Judea since the fall of the
Jewish state in the year 70.
* * *
With tanks and field guns and flame-throwers the Arab
Legion battled for tend days with the defenders of the place, Jewish
pioneers, whose weapons of defense were small arms, mortars and hand
grenades. The tanks and the field guns are British; the Legion itself
is British-organized, British-equipped, and British-paid. Most of
its defenders slain, Kfar-Etzion fell on the dawn of the day when
the State of Israel was born.
The Jewish defenders were not even supposed to possess
the small arms they had, since this was prohibited by the British.
Until the last day of the Mandate, Jewish defenders of Palestine were
searched for arms by the British, and the possession of arms was punishable
by imprisonment for life. At the end of the mandate, on May 15, the
Jewish population of Palestine had no right to possess a single pistol
and a few hours later they had to defend themselves against armies
of five states.
* * *
Abdullah is underwritten by the British and is on their
service for any job required. He calls himself king, but
his title was presented to him by the British two years ago. The separation
of the kingdom of Transjordan from Palestine was an act
unauthorized by the League of Nations or by the United Nations. Abdullah
jumps when the British pull the strings. A new military alliance was
signed only a few weeks ago, in preparation for these events.
This treaty was signed on Mar. 18 of this year, and
in the New York Times of Mar. 18 Clifford Daniels cabled from London
that, according to the treaty, it provides for an Anglo-Transjordan
joint defense board composed of equal numbers of British and Transjordan
officers... that Transjordan will continue to have the
services of British officers for each Arab Legion... and
that Transjordan remains a British military satelline and receives
a subsidy from the British Treasury...
* * *
But the British would not dare to do what America refuses
to countenance, for to a large extent Britain is financed from the
American Treasury. It is therefore entirely within the power of the
President of the United States to force Abdullahs Legion to
return to Transjordan.
There should be no buck-passing. It is not me,
it is himsays the Colonial Office as it points to Abdullah.
Abdullah is stout, but still too small a man for such large figures
to hide themselves behind his back.