Jerusalem In The Age Of Terror

July 1, 2018

Jerusalem in the Age of Terror

By David Semple


Jerusalem In The Age Of Terror

Jerusalem was liberated from 400 years of Ottoman Turkish rule by General Allenby’s army on December 11 1917, when the last German troops left the city. He was accompanied by Major Thomas Edward Lawrence, the famous “Lawrence of Arabia”, who called it “the supreme moment of the war, the one which for historical reasons made a greater appeal than anything on earth.” Allenby’s army included Australians, New Zealanders and Indians. The British Empire had done what no other European power could accomplish. They had won the Crusades, liberating the Holy Land from Muslim rule. Palestine, under British rule, discovered freedom for the first time since the Roman occupation.

The Zionists were seen by Britain as an engine for the revival of the Middle East. Western Palestine had specifically been excluded from the Ottoman territories promised to the Hashemite Arabs. In 1918, the Zionist Commission came to Palestine and Chaim Weizmann travelled over the desert with Lawrence to meet Faisal near Aqaba. Weizmann told Faisal that the Jews would develop the country under British protection. Lawrence saw the Jews as “natural importers of Western leaven so necessary for countries in the Near East.” Faisal “accepted the possibility of future Jewish claims to territory in Palestine.”

When the three men met later in London, Faisal agreed that Palestine could absorb “four to five million Jews without encroaching on the rights of the Arab peasantry.” He approved a Jewish majority in Palestine provided he received the crown of Syria. There followed a written document in Paris in January 1919, signed by Faisal and Weizmann, in which the Emir agreed to “the fullest guarantee for carrying into effect the British Government’s Declaration of the 2nd of November 1917″ and enforcing all necessary measures to “encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale.” In a letter to the Zionists, Faisal wrote, “We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement” and that, “we will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.” Faisal felt that “there exists room in Syria for us both and that neither can be a success without the other.”

Faisal only reigned briefly in Syria until 1920. The San Remo Conference proposed setting up a French Mandate in Syria. Faisal had to settle for Iraq, even though he never gave up his ambitions to rule Greater Syria. His ambitions were kept in check by his equally aspiring brother, Abdullah, who also wanted to unite Syria under his rule. Abdullah approached the Zionists in late 1921 and agreed to recognise the Balfour Declaration, allowing Jews to settle in Trans-Jordan, provided they were integrated into a united Palestine under his rule. This proposal was repeated a year later, after the League of Nation’s approval of the British Mandate, in London at a meeting with Weizmann and the Zionist movement. However, nothing came of it because the Jews were guaranteed a homeland under the British Mandate.

Winston Churchill was appointed Colonial Secretary by Prime Minister David Lloyd George in January 1921, with special responsibility for the two British Mandates of Mesopotamia and Palestine, awarded to Britain at the San Remo Conference of victorious allies in 1920. Two months later, he set out for Egypt and Palestine, where he set in place the policies set out in the Balfour Declaration.

Palestine west of the Jordan River had been excluded from the territories promised to the Hashemites Arabs for support in the war against Turkey. General Allenby’s British army, including the Australian light horse cavalry, won the war in Palestine and Syria against the Ottoman and German armies. Britain, however, was willing to let two of the Hashemite Emirs have some independence in newly created Arab states, Iraq and Trans-Jordan.

The eastern part of Palestine thus became the Arab state of Trans-Jordan, with Abdullah as Emir. The Hashemites ultimately failed to accept Jewish Palestine, breaking a promise they had made to Britain. When the Churchill White Paper was approved by the League Of Nations in July 1922, the right of Jews to live in the whole of western Palestine and to create an independent Jewish National Home was recognised under international law.

Over the next eighteen years, relations between the British, the Zionists and the Arabs in Palestine worsened. Sometimes it looked as if there might be a chance of a deal between Arabs and Jews that would allow a Jewish state in the region. Then a change of mind in the Arab countries would demonstrate that Arab-Jewish co-existence was absolutely impossible. Zionist leaders were determined to build good relations with their Arab neighbours throughout the period of the British Mandate. These efforts ended in failure and the Palestinian Arabs revolted against the British and the Jews.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin Al-Husseini, a rabid Jew-hater, was imprisoned briefly by the British in 1920 for organising the first violent anti-Zionist pogroms in Palestine after its liberation by Britain. He was pardoned by the British authorities, then appointed by British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel as the spiritual Sunni leader of the Arabs in Palestine, on the understanding that he would improve relations between Arabs and Jews. After consolidating his power by becoming the president of the newly established Supreme Muslim Council, Al-Husseini rose to become the voice of Arab nationalism and radical Islam in Palestine. He wanted a Jew-free Palestine, saying “there is no possibility that another people, with their own language, customs and traditions and a contradictory political goal” could live with the Arabs.

The Grand Mufti, like Adolf Hitler, embraced anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion in his political message: “Oh Arab! Remember that the Jew is your strongest enemy and the enemy of your ancestors since older times.” Anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem broke out once again in 1929. The ancient Jewish community of Hebron was attacked. Many Jews were slaughtered by Arabs, while many more were wounded.

The Mufti founded the World Islamic Conference in 1931, and joined secret Islamic societies that plotted against British rule. After the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the situation for Jews in Europe started to deteriorate rapidly. Arabic papers called for “an Arab Hitler” and Al-Husseini went straight to the German consul in Jerusalem to explain that “the Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere were enthusiastic about the new regime in Germany and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region.”

The Arab Revolt in Palestine, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, was an extremely violent insurrection against the British Mandate, supported by Nazi Germany. The influence of moderate Arab families in Palestine was weakened. Arab nationalism merged with Islamic supremacism in a terrorist revolt against Great Britain and the Zionists.

Looking to the wider Arab world for support for Zionism, David Ben-Gurion met St. John Philby, British advisor to the Saudi king and a convert to Islam. Philby was frank with him: “The hatred of Jews among all the Arab peoples is tremendous, and one could not rule out a slaughter in which all the Jews of Palestine would be annihilated.” Philby drew up a plan for a pan-Arab state which allowed for Jewish immigration but essentially abolished the Balfour Declaration. This was rejected by Ben-Gurion. Ibn Saud was just as forthright as Philby about the creation of a Jewish state, saying that it was an anathema to the principles of Islam.

The Peel Commission (1936-38) decided Palestine should be partitioned between a small Jewish state along the coast, including much of the area west of the Jordan, and Arab areas in the south, including the Negev desert, being merged with Trans-Jordan. Jerusalem and the holy lands around Bethlehem and Nazareth would become permanent British mandate zones. The Zionists gave the plan qualified support. The Grand Mufti rejected it outright. He did not want any Jewish state. The Arabs responded by carrying out thousands of acts of terrorism against buildings, police stations, oil pipelines and communication lines throughout 1937. Jews and moderate Arabs were targets of killings. Within a year Palestine became ungovernable. The number of Arabs killed by Arab terrorists far exceeded the number of Jewish and British victims. The British army took control of Palestine, with a crackdown on terrorism, after which well over a hundred Arabs were hanged.

At a pan-Arab conference in September 1937, practical measures towards assisting the Palestinian Arabs were discussed. The Arabs called for the end to the British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, with Arab sovereignty to be established. The Peel proposals were rejected, including the annexation of Palestine into Trans-Jordan.

Meeting a group of British politicians to discuss whether the Jews should accept the partition plan, provided it continued to allow for significant Jewish immigration, Winston Churchill advised against it: “Your state is a mirage. They will not allow you to bring your 60,000 immigrants.” This was being said as Adolf Hitler was becoming the greatest danger to peace in Europe and Jews in Germany were being stripped of their rights. “The Arabs will revert to provocations, will shoot at you and throw bombs, and you will eventually be blamed for sparking a bloody war,” Churchill continued, “We have a disastrously weak government […] were England to depend on them it would be ruined […] but this situation will not last for long. England will come back to its senses and will defeat Mussolini and Hitler, and then your time will come.”

In 1937, Churchill was a voice in the wilderness warning the British public about the dangers of Nazism, whereas the country was now governed by Neville Chamberlain, the architect of appeasement. Following the assassination of a British official, there were further crackdowns on Arab terrorists. The Mufti was sacked as the head of the Supreme Muslim Council and fled Palestine in October. He sent a family member to meet Goebbels in Nazi Germany to make plans for collaboration with the Third Reich.

Neville Chamberlain set up the Woodward Commission on Palestine, which recommended dropping the partition plan. A new Palestine White Paper was issued by Chamberlain’s government in January 1939, which recommended a massive reduction in the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine in order to appease the Arabs. Only 75,000 Jews were to be admitted over a period of five years, after which all Jewish immigration would cease unless further immigrants were accepted by the Palestinian Arabs. Jewish land purchases were restricted and all Jewish immigration was to be suspended from October 1939 until March 1940.

Chamberlain’s White Paper was effectively the end of the Balfour Declaration. Chamberlain knew that Hitler was destroying Jewish communities in the ever-expanding territories of the Third Reich, which included Austria and now the whole of Czechoslovakia. He knew that war with Germany was inevitable. He knew the desperation of Europe’s Jews as the continent lay helpless in the shadow of Nazi Germany.

Yet the Arabs found the White Paper to be insufficient and called for the establishment of an Arab-controlled Palestinian state. Abdullah of Trans-Jordan called the abandonment of partition a victory for the disgraced al-Husseini. Churchill criticised the White Paper in Parliament, saying that as one “intimately and responsibly concerned in the early stages of our Palestinian policy” he could not “stand by and see solemn engagements into which Britain has entered before the world set aside.” He concluded “What will our potential enemies think? Will they not be tempted to say: ‘They’re on the run again. This is another Munich’.”

David Ben-Gurion called the White Paper “a new edition of Munich.” Chamberlain had betrayed the Jews just as he had betrayed the Czechs the year before. The Zionists responded by committing themselves to fight on the side of Britain in order to defeat Hitler. Over 130,000 Palestinian Jews volunteered for war service, yet Chamberlain rejected this offer. It was not until late in the war that Winston Churchill was able to persuade his senior military commanders to permit the establishment of a Jewish Brigade within the British army.

The Arab states responded to Chamberlain’s appeasement by refusing to declare war on Germany. Trans-Jordan was the only exception.

When Hitler came to power in January 1933, Arabs looked to the Third Reich as a potential ally in their war against Zionism and British imperialism. During the 1930s, Germany funded Arab terrorism in Palestine. Hitler made moves to connect with Saudi Arabia, doing an arms deal with Muslim kingdom. After the Iraqi government broke off diplomatic relations with Germany under British pressure, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, now exiled in Baghdad, was allowed to establish contacts with the Nazi leadership, sending his private secretary to Berlin with plans for a pan-Arab alliance against Britain. “We Arabs hope for the victory of Germany and we are convinced that Germany will be the victor over England,” declared the Mufti.

After a pro-Nazi government of military officers came to power in Iraq during 1941, Britain re-established political control over the country. The Grand Mufti fled to Tehran, and was then forced to leave again in August 1941, when Britain and the Soviet Union occupied and partitioned Iran. He then looked for help from Nazi Germany.

Adolf Hitler told the Mufti that “Germany was resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time direct a similar appeal to non-Europeans as well.” Hitler asked Al-Husseini to take responsibility for the “final solution” of the Jewish problem in Palestine. Al-Husseini spent the rest of the war based in Berlin, broadcasting Nazi propaganda to the Arab world. After Montgomery’s defeat of Rommel’s forces at El Alamein in November 1942, however, Al-Husseini’s plan to exterminate the Palestinian Jews was put on hold until after the end of the war. He escaped allied captivity in France and fled to Egypt, from where he planned an Arab revolt designed to return Palestine to Muslim rule.

In May 1946, delegates at a pan-Arab summit in Cairo declared that Palestine must remain part of the Arab world. The Arab League secretly agreed to train and arm the Palestinian Arabs in preparation for their impending war against the Jews, while at the same time taking their grievances to the newly created United Nations organisation.

The Zionist Congress in New York called for a Jewish state in the whole of Palestine, while leaving the door open for the partition of the Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state attached to Trans-Jordan. In July 1946, the British Labour government of Clement Attlee unveiled a plan to divide Palestine into four autonomous areas, one Jewish, another Arab, leaving Britain in control of over half of the territory of the province, including the districts of the Negev desert and Jerusalem. This plan was rejected by both the Arabs and the Jews.

British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, unwilling to accept the creation of a Jewish state, referred the issue to the United Nations in February 1947: “We really cannot make two viable states out of Palestine, however we may try. We can make one viable state, and, so far as I can see, or as far as any student of the map can see, the only thing we could do would be to transfer the rest to one of the Arab states, but I ask what trouble is that going to cause in the whole of the Arab world.”

In September 1947, the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem placed under international control.

Britain, rejecting the recommendations and refusing to accept responsibility for their implementation, tried to bully the smaller members of the UN to reject a Jewish state, warning of an Arab oil embargo and Arab violence, and claiming that the Jews would become Soviet agents in the Middle East. While the Zionists accepted the UNSCOP recommendations, the Arabs rejected them with contempt. The Grand Mufti in Egypt warned of bloodshed: “We shall be fighting on our own ground and shall be supported by not only 70,000,000 Arabs around us, but also by 400,000,000 Muslims.” An Arab war plan, involving the armies of all Arab states, was drawn up to destroy the Jewish state.

Desperate to find an Arab voice of moderation, Golda Meyerson of the Jewish Agency met King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan in November 1947. Abdullah raised the prospect of establishing “an independent Hebrew republic in part of Palestine within a Transjordanian state.” This was rejected by Meyerson. Inquiring how the Jews would react to a Jordanian invasion of the Arab parts of Palestine, Meyerson replied: “We will view it with favour, provided it will not obstruct the establishment of our state, will not trigger a confrontation with our forces, and will be accompanied by a declaration that the occupation is solely designed to preserve law and order and keep the peace” until the United Nations is able to establish a state in these territories. Abdullah, however, had his own agenda. He wanted the Arabic parts of Palestine for his kingdom.

As the United Nations vote on the partition plan approached, the Grand Mufti, determined to start a war against the Jews, began to consolidate his control over the Palestinian Arabs. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the UN voted for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, placing Jerusalem under international control. Britain abstained.

On the same day, an Arab war of terror against the Jews of Palestine began. Civil war between Arabs and Jews in Palestine continued until the final days of British rule, which ended in May. Britain lost control of the province during the last five months of the Mandate. In February 1948, Ernest Bevin met King Abdullah’s prime minister to approve Jordan’s plan to invade and occupy the Arab sections of Palestine after the British withdrawal. He asked the Arabs to leave the Jewish sectors alone. Britain was arming the Arab states. Meanwhile, Robert Maxwell, a Czech Jew working for the Mossad and British intelligence, arranged a deal for Czech arms to be supplied to the Jews.

The Zionist war of independence ended with the proclamation of the State of Israel by David Ben Gurion on May 14th 1948. The Grand Mufti’s terror campaign succeeded only in driving the peaceful Palestinian Arabs out of the country, almost 800,000 people, none of whom were willing to fight in the Arab war against Israel. “We will sweep them into the sea!”, proclaimed representatives of the Arab League at a press conference in Cairo the next day, “This will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades.” Arab armies from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Trans-Jordan poured into Israel. Jordanian and British troops attacked the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem.

The Arab war against Israel failed miserably, although Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria, in addition to the Old City of Jerusalem. After the 1949 armistice between Jordan and Israel, King Abdullah annexed the so-called West Bank into Jordan. This annexation was illegal under international law. It was only recognised by Britain and Pakistan, not the United Nations or any other state. Most of the Palestinian refugees lived in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. A greater number of Jewish refugees from Arab states found refuge in Israel.

Today’s Palestinian war on Israel is on the front line in the Islamic world’s thousand year war against Christendom. If Jerusalem falls under Islamic rule, then Israel will be doomed. An Islamic victory over Israel will almost certainly be followed by the slow, tortuous and inevitable disintegration and Islamisation of Europe.

In truth, the two-state solution is not an end-game for the Arabs; it is simply a stepping stone on a longer journey to destroying the world’s only Jewish state. The creation of a State of Palestine in the so-called West Bank would be little more than a terrorist base, from which further attacks would be launched on Israel proper. Plus, the Arabs will never agree to the existence of a Jewish state on what they deem to be Muslim land.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, Palestinians (so long as they are Muslim) are in the Dar al-Islam or House of Islam, whereas Jews and Christians are in the Dar al-Harb or House of War. The notion of “houses” or divisions in Islam was devised by Islamic jurists in the seventh century to signify legal rulings for Muslim conquests. Conquest is what the Palestinians want and they will continue to fight their jihad against Jews (and Christians) until the State of Israel ceases to exist and the land once again falls under Muslim occupation.

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