The British and the Arab-Israeli Hand of Friendship: What might have been…

The Times of London has run a number of articles of reminiscences of 1948. Here, thanks to a British willingness to self-criticize, the Brits are the bad-faith players, and the Israelis and Arabs show maturity. (Hat tip: EG)

From The Times
May 10, 2008
‘The British wanted us to kill each other’
Said Jabr, 74, Arab Israeli
The old British Army base, a small sandstone fort, stands abandoned on a hill in Abu Ghosh, an Arab village just southwest of Jerusalem. Said Jabr was 14 when the British pulled out.

“It was on the 14th or 15th of May. I remember exactly that the British commander came to Ali Saleh, the village mukhtar (elder), and said they were going to leave and warned us to be ready,” he recalled from his family home in Abu Ghosh. “Thirty-five armed villagers walked into the base to take command. But the British commander went at the same time to the kibbutz and told them the same thing.

“The British left one tank in front of the army base. Then a few tanks driven by the Haganah (the fledgling Jewish army) drove up and surrounded the army base. But we had great relations with the local kibbutzim – we believe in friendship and protecting a neighbour’s property, no matter who they are – and the leaders of the kibbutzim. . . came to the village. They met the mukhtar, drank coffee and reached an agreement that the villagers would leave the base and the Haganah would take over. The British commander was waiting in the remaining tank to see what would happen. He saw the Abu Ghosh villagers leaving the base and shaking hands with the Haganah members, and he said, ‘F****** Arabs’. Our impression was that he wanted us to kill each other. Thank God the people from both sides resolved the issue peacefully.”

Mr Jabr proudly displays the Hebrew shield he was awarded by the kibbutz. It shows two hands shaking – a token of thanks and friendship.

13 Responses to The British and the Arab-Israeli Hand of Friendship: What might have been…

  1. oao says:

    so the british have their own past shame to cover up for. no wonder they distort the history of the middle east and blame the jews, just like the arabs do.


  2. Cynic says:


    so the british have their own past shame to cover up for.

    If you only knew it all.

  3. oao says:

    i KNOW it all. i was being facetious.

  4. Joel says:

    Thats nothing.

    Read the link below to see how low the British REALLY during the 1940’s Mandatory era.

    No wonder the Stern gang and Irgun resorted to terror.

  5. oao says:

    the uk is one of the most anti-semitic societies. it has not become so all of a sudden. it’s always been so. anti-semitism became dormant after ww2 — it was not that fashionable — and it has raised its ugly head again, because it is fashionable now.

    why now? because the jews are scapegoated in times of crsis, by a desire to blame somebody else for bad circumstances. the west is in a crisis of decline due to its own actions — part. in the UK which is being thoroughly islamized — so what better opportunity to blame the jews?

    that is, in fact, what happened in the 40’s. the crisis was being driven out fom palestine, so the jews were convenient again as a scapegoat.

    like clockwork.

  6. Eliyahu says:

    the article that Joel linked to is extremely important. It did elicit considerable interest when published. A haredi lady asked me if I had read it. When I said no, she printed out a copy for me.

    What we ought to bear in mind, oao and all, is the British role in the Holocaust and in protecting Haj Amin el-Husseini. He was not prosecuted as a war criminal after WW2, although Yugoslavia put him on a list of war criminals. The Yugos were “persuaded” to take him off the list. None of the Big 4 European and North American great powers wanted to prosecute him at Nuremberg, although there were plenty of grounds to do so.

    As to the UK role in the Holocaust, check out how the BBC, now working overtime to smear Israel, exerted himself during the Holocaust years to withhold info about it from the British public and then when it became known — to minimize it. See posts on my blog about the bbc during WW2. Also see references to Anthony Eden’s wartime/Holocaust time record on my blog. Eden was boss of the bbc as foreign secretary.

    You guys would be interested in Prof Robert Wistrich’s report recently about how the UK is the most Judeophobic country in Western Europe now. The Brit ambassador in Israel, Tom Philips, popped a cork when he read it.

  7. Rich Rostrom says:

    Let’s not put too much reliance on a 60-year-old anecdote which is clearly inaccurate in some details. The teller refers to Haganah tanks, but Haganah had no tanks at all at the start of the 1948 war. (They acquired a few by July.) The British had kept the peace for years at great expense, enduring harassment and pressure from both sides, including continual accusations of betrayal to the hated enemy, and were angry with everybody. (“We’re leaving and they can fight each other as they’ve been swearing to do… Now they kiss and make up? ____ them all.”

  8. Eliyahu says:

    Rich, I agree that the Haganah did not have tanks at the start of the war, which was actually the late evening of 11-29-1947. And I don’t when they got their first tanks. However, the metal workshops in Haifa and Tel Aviv did produce homemade armored cars [based on trucks] and armored trucks and buses. I am sure that the thickness and effectiveness of this homemade armor left much to be desired, but it probably provided some protection against bullets.

  9. Eliyahu says:

    … and I don’t KNOW when…

    Also, Rich, in some cases Haganah men were able to bribe British officers or other UK soldiers into letting them get their armored cars, other weapons, maybe even tanks, by May 14, 1948. Some British officers and soldiers sold weapons, equipment, to Arab forces, or even collaborated in Arab terrorist attacks against Jews, as in the Ben Yehudah Street bombing in Jerusalem in the first half of 1948 that murdered about 50 Jews.

  10. Cynic says:


    Don’t know if you will see this but anyway for what it’s worth:

    Some years back I knew some ex-South African military personnel who were stationed in Palestine after World War II until the British pulled out. In describing their experience they mentioned several incidents that they were involved in and mentioned that quite a few of them sympathized with the Jewish population and on occasion did things “contrary to orders to help the locals”, as they put it.
    Unfortunately they did not have today’s technology to record what they experienced and it was only when they got together did they discuss the incidents they had shared.

  11. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, yes, what you report here is interesting. In this vein, did you read the long article by Meir Zamir in HaArets about 2 months ago in which he summarizes some recent research of his which uncovered that the UK had some plans to be the big brother of the Arabs after WW2, which also meant excluding French and other non-Brit influence from the Fertile Crescent countries and Egypt?? Joel linked to this article on an earlier thread.

    Zamir’s research confirms some things that there were implied or hinted in writings about Israel’s Independence struggle that were published in the 40s and 50s. Later scribbling in the UK, US, Russia, etc, tried to erase the reality of a pro-Arab, anti-Jewish British policy at the time. Zamir’s findings require serious rethinking and rewriting of Middle Eastern history since the 1930s.

  12. Cynic says:


    I read a little bit about the British trying to exclude the French from the region just after the first world war.
    Unfortunately nothing from records or archives to really cement the facts. The British stash their archives away for periods of 50 years or so and only occasionally let something slip.

    The only link I have is:
    British Plans against France, and against the Jews in 1915

  13. Eliyahu says:

    Cynic, an Arab Marxist author, Abdel-Razek Abdul-Kader, elaborates on British anti-French and anti-Zionist intrigue in his books. One is Le Conflit Judeo-Arabe. The other is Le Moyen Orient a la veille d’un tournant. These books were never translated into English.

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