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Britain’s Motivation

             Why did Britain accept responsibility for Palestine?

                                                                            Dr Kathy Durkin

             Biblical prophecies               also in parts of Europe; and the     “of  major concern

                hroughout Victorian Britain and   Ottoman empire being at the point
             Tcontinuing into the First World   of collapse.  Moreover, during the   was the protection
             War, many Bible-believing Christians   previous two decades, Herzl and
             became increasingly convinced that   the Zionist Organisation had been   of  oilfields and
             biblical prophecies of a mass return   planting the seeds of hope in both   trade routes”
             of diaspora Jews to their ancient   Jewish and Gentile minds for a safe
             homeland were about to be fulfilled,   haven to be provided for the world’s
             and that Britain, as the world    persecuted and ostracized Jews.
             super-power at the time, would be                                  Imperial interests
             politically strategic in bringing this   The British government was keenly   A second motivator for Britain was
             about.   All the signs seemed to   aware of the prevalent public   its determination to maintain its
             be indicating this: growing anti-  attitude, being as it was frequently   post-war interests in the Middle
             Semitism, especially in Russia but   reflected in national newspapers   East.  By 1917, Britain was
                                                and debates.                    already planning how to carve up
                                                                                the Ottoman Empire into French

                                                Lord Arthur Balfour, the Foreign   and British mandates.  Of major
                                                Secretary in 1917 and a Bible-  concern was the protection of both
                                                believer himself, played a key   the British-controlled oilfields in
                                                role in advocating what was to be   Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq),
                                                called ‘the Balfour Declaration’   and the trade routes between the
                                                which embedded these hopes      Suez Canal and the British colonies.
                                                and aspirations, and which      The presence of a sizeable Jewish
                                                subsequently became the under-  population in Palestine would
                                                pinning rationale for the British   act as a buffer zone that would
                                                Mandate in Palestine.           be beneficial to Britain’s imperial
                                                                                interests.  The hope was that

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