Thursday, February 7, 2008

British betrayal

I'm still trying to digest this stunning set of revelations, apparently published at Ha'aretz last Friday. This report literally takes my breath away.

The heart of it begins with this (the emphasis is mine):

Syrian documents recently uncovered shed new light on events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and call for a reexamination of certain basic beliefs concerning British policy in Palestine from 1945-1948. The British proposal to Syrian leaders in August 1944 and the secret Anglo-Syrian agreement of May 29, 1945, reveal that Britain had assured Syria - a country not previously known to have been under British hegemony - that it would limit Jewish immigration and thwart the emergence of an independent Jewish state in Palestine. The agreement also reveals that by the summer of 1945, Britain had already formulated a Middle East policy based on an Iraqi-Syrian alliance, which included a plan for the formation of Greater Syria, which was to include Palestine. That policy patently could not accommodate the creation of an independent Jewish state in any part of Palestine.

Hundreds of Syrian diplomatic documents covering the period June-December 1945 provide details of negotiations between Syria and other Arab states and Britain's new Labour government on the Palestine question. It becomes apparent how the future of Palestine played a key role in inter-Arab rivalry and how the British government invoked the Zionist threat to ensure that the Syrian leaders abided by their secret undertaking to Britain.

It's not the treachery and duplicity involved. We've always known about that. It's how far and how deep it actually went and who was involved. It's how much more unlikely than it previously appeared (and it appeared very unlikely indeed) was the chance of Israel's ever coming to be.

I need some time.