British intrigue against Israel bears better fruit, and
there is much gall for all concerned to drink. All over the world the
British are now regarded as enemies of liberty; a people who know no pity
and who pursue refugees form death camps on the high sea; a people who
have no piety and who shell the sacred city of the earth; a nation that
breaks solemn obligations to those who side with her in her darkest hour
and that is untrustworthy in a historical trust. The British have become
the torchbearers of anti-Semitism in our day. In the intervals between
their periodic requests for loans from this countrynever to be repaidthey
stage their little orgies of anti-Semitism and preach it from soap boxes,
from pulpits and from the government seat in parliament. Israel-baiting
is the latest pastime in London salons and saloons, as well.
* * *
The British gave up their mandate in dishonor. For three
decades and especially during the past ten years, they have done everything
that could be of hindrance to the Jewish national home. Before leaving
the country, they made a deliberate plan to fight the Jews of Palestine,
not with British soldiers, but with Arab soldiers, and not with British
money, but with American money. They calculate that the Israelis would
beat the Army of Liberation of the ex-Mufti. The British fear and mistrust
the ex-Mufti and, in this manner, played against him, while on the surface
they support his Arab Higher Committee.
Then they let loose on Israel the Legion of John B. Glubb
Pasha, and did it with outright deceit in Parliament. Bevin had promised
that this Legion, brought in the closing days of the mandate from Transjordan
to Palestine for police duty, would be returned to Transjordan when the
time came, but it was not. Later he promised that its British officers
would be withdrawnbut they were not. The Legion numbers between
15,000 and 20,000 trained tribesmen. As long as it is intact, Transjordan
is stronger than any other Arab country; if the Legion is defeated in
its fight against Israel, the British reputation in Arab lands will be
very low. Therefore the British organized the invasion of Palestine by
five Arab statesTransjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraqwith
two more states, Saudi-Arabia and Yemen, contributing.
* * *
The brunt of the fighting on the Arab side was carried by
the Transjordan Legion. It was heavily mauled. It is probable that a third
of Glubbs troops have been killed or wounded. Bevin exhorted Syria,
Lebanon, and Iraq to provide more help and to take a greater part in the
war. Lebanon lies practically at the mercy of Israel; the Syrian army
has not been able to penetrate the Israeli border. The Egyptian army,
however, has made headway, entering Gaza in the Arab section of Palestine.
The Israelis surrounded part of the Egyptian army near Isdud.
Then came the truce, requested by the British to save the army of Glubb
Pasha from expending its manpower beyond the limit where it could no longer
be a fighting force.
The British asked for an extension of the truce. Is it possible
that they have become repentant of the injustice they did to Israel in
the closing days of its statelessness and in the opening days of its statehood?
No, there is something else. They miscalculated.
* * *
They counted on the Negeb as their own. Sooner or later
they will have to leave the Suez Canal zone, as they left Egypt proper,
and they are concerned about obtaining the Negeb for a strategic base
facing Egypt and the Canal. With war and diplomacy, pressure and intrigue,
they thought they would get the Negeb transferred from Israel to their
puppet Abdullah. But now the cards in the game have become very mixed
up. The queen of spadesthe Negebhas been dropped in the shifting
from on player to another.
King Farouk of Egypt kissed Abdullah on his visit to Cairo,
but told him that the Negeb should be Egypts prize. What has Bevin
won? Instead of a Negeb under President Weizmann, Professor at Manchester
University and friend of Balfour and Lloyd George, a Negeb in Egyptian
hands? This means no Negeb for the Suez Canal and for the lifeline
of the Empire.
Was it not written in this column on April 23 that Britain
bets on the wrong horse? The wrong horse it isEgypt and all the
Arab League. And much gall will be left for the British to drink form
the keg of their intrigue.