P. 16

British Failures

             Why did Britain fail to fulfil its legal duties during the Mandate?

                                                                    Col. Richard Kemp CBE
                                                                           with Hugh Kitson

               ust six weeks after the Balfour                                  haunt the rest of British rule over
             JDeclaration, General Sir Edmund     “British military             Palestine.
             Allenby entered Jerusalem on 11th
             December 1917 and took control      administrators were            The British government reacted
             of the city.  Two days earlier the                                 by disbanding the military
             Turks had surrendered and left,      Arabists, opposed             administration, and appointing the
             leaving the city with a vacuum         to the Balfour              Jewish former Home Secretary,
             of governance.   General Allenby                                   Sir Herbert Samuel, as High
             immediately began to set up a           Declaration”               Commissioner of Palestine.  He, in
             British military administration.                                   turn, appointed Haj Amin as Grand
                                                                                Mufti of Jerusalem, thinking that the
             When, in 1918, Chaim Weizmann     administration led by the Military   appointment would moderate him.
             as leader of the Zionist Organisation   Governor in Jerusalem, General   It had the opposite effect.
             first visited Jerusalem, he found that   Bols, encouraged a local Arab   Another pogrom in Jaffa saw 43
             the British military administration   Islamist, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, to   Jews killed.  The Mufti was at the
             was less than enthusiastic about   instigate a pogrom in the Old City,   centre of the coordinated pogroms
             the Zionist cause.  Many of Allenby’s   and created favourable conditions
             staff had been brought up from    for him to do so.  The officers told
             Cairo and elsewhere in the Arab   Haj Amin that if the bloodshed was
             world, and were fundamentally     of sufficient magnitude then both
             opposed to implementing the British   General Bols and General Allenby
             government’s policy enshrined in   would advocate the abandonment
             the Balfour Declaration.          of the Jewish National Home.
                                               Nevertheless, the pogrom failed in
             Two weeks before the San Remo     its attempt to torpedo the outcome
             Conference in April 1920, a group   of the San Remo Conference, but a
             of senior army officers in the    precedent had been set that would

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