Book Review: Palestine the Reality by J.M.N. Jeffries by John McHugo
Palestine: The Reality appeared in 1939 but was largely forgotten soon afterwards. This may have been because most stocks of the book were destroyed in the Blitz. Jeffries was a respected war correspondent for The Daily Mail during the First World War. Afterwards he sometimes reported from Palestine, while at other times he devoted his formidable skills as an investigative journalist to uncovering the history of the drafting of the Balfour Declaration, the negotiation of its text between the British Government and the Zionist movement, and the way it was subsequently implemented in Palestine by British officials in cooperation with the Zionists.
I have recently discovered some records of the period my father spent as a member of Sir Herbert Samuel’s Civil Administration in Palestine. This replaced the Military Administration, known as Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (South), which had run the country since Allenby’s conquest of Southern Palestine and his occupation of Jerusalem in December 1917.
Mathew compares the work of two Jewish historians on the long-term effects of the inter-communal violence and harsh response by British forces which rocked Palestine in 1929. Where their accounts overlap Mathew explores their markedly different approaches.
The British Cabinet’s confidential re-assessment in 1923 of the advisability of promoting a Jewish national home was later made public, but not before the end of Britain’s mandate. It has largely escaped the attention of lawyers and historians who analyze the League of Nations mandate system, and Britain’s role in Palestine. Examining that re-assessment – as the present article attempts – will hopefully shed light on Britain’s eventual failure in Palestine and may contribute to an understanding of the genesis of the Arab-Israeli conflict that can inform present-day efforts at resolving it.
Britain’s Pacification of Palestine – The British Army, the Colonial State, and the Arab Revolt, 1936–9 by Matthew Hughes
Book review by Ian Black
The 1936–9 Arab Revolt against British rule in Palestine, and its suppression by the British army, was a precursor to the devastating war against the nascent Israeli state that the Palestinians lost a decade later. Matthew Hughes‘s extensively researched new study shows how, with a ruthlessly effective combination of brutality and ‘non-lethal oppressive collective punishment’, the British quelled the revolt and crushed any chance for effective Palestinian resistance against colonial rule.
Book review by John McHugo
Bernard Regan shows us what Britain did (and what Britain thought it was doing) by issuing the Balfour Declaration, by incorporating it into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and by governing Palestine in a way intended to implement it. The declaration was, he tells us in the introduction, “first and foremost, the conscious endeavour of an imperialist power pursuing its own ambitions.” That is, sad to say, undoubtedly correct.
Talk by Peter Shambrook at the Balfour Project conference in Southwark Cathedral on 5th November 2016 entitled: ‘How will we mark the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration’
Charles Glass, writing in the London Review of Books in 2001, reviewed two books looking at the period of the British Mandate in Palestine. It was also published in the Guardian under the tilte: The Mandate Years; colonialism and the creation of Israel. Although written 15 years ago it touches on topics that are very little known in the UK today.