2-day conference titled 'Palestine, Britain and Empire c.1841-1948' held in London

PNC member: During Mandate, Jews selected olim with military experience to set up ethnic cleansing.

british mandate 88 (photo credit: )
british mandate 88
(photo credit: )
The increase in Jewish immigration following the Balfour Declaration of 1917 enabled the "largest, longest and [longest running] ethnic cleansing in modern history," a Palestinian scholar said on Wednesday at a London conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the British withdrawal from Mandatory Palestine. The two-day conference, titled "Palestine, Britain and Empire c.1841-1948," was held at King's College London and ended on Thursday. The increase in the Jewish share of Palestine's population from 9 percent in 1917 to 30% in 1948, during which "many were selected for their military age and experience," enabled the eventual Israeli conquest of 78% of Palestine, Dr. Salman Abu-Sitta, a member of the Palestine National Council and founder of the London-based Palestine Land Society, said in his presentation, titled "Map and Grab: The foreign quest for Palestinian land." The conference was organized by King's College, the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, the University of London's Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, whose mission is promote a better understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and the wider world. The assumptions that led the British to issue the Balfour Declaration were partly driven by the government's interest in winning Jewish support for the war effort, and influenced by an anti-Semitic belief in Jewish power and unity, said Dr. James Renton, from University College London. It was part of a broader phenomenon of wartime ethnic propaganda policies that were driven by similar mistaken conceptions of ethnicity and ethnic power, he said. Dr. Matthew Hughes, from West London's Brunel University, detailed the actions of British Army soldiers during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39 and that while they were brutal toward civilians, torture and atrocities were the exception. In a presentation entitled "Orde Wingate and the Anglo-Jewish military cooperation in the Arab Revolt‚" Dr. Simon Anglim looked at how the Hagana and British military cooperated during the Revolt. He said that the Hagana - "via its presence in legal organizations such as the Jewish settlement police" - played its part in the British army's "aggressive and sometimes ruthless" campaign against the Arabs. The idea that Wingate was the only true friend the Jews had in the British army was a myth, Anglim said.