Mark Curtis looks at the current war in Gaza from the perspective of Britain’s imperial past in this edited extract from his book Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam.
After the Second World War British planners were confronted by the outbreak of a Jewish uprising in Palestine, which the U.K. had run since securing a “mandate” from the then League of Nations in 1922.
This uprising led to a series of momentous events that shape the present-day Middle East: the British decision in February 1947 to withdraw from Palestine, the U.N.’s decree in November 1947 to partition the territory, the Jewish declaration of the state of Israel in May 1948 and the first Arab–Israeli war, in which Israeli forces annexed much of Palestine by December of that year.
Near the end of the Second World War, the leadership of the Yishuv, the Jewish settler community in Palestine, headed by David Ben-Gurion, had embarked on a campaign to push the British out of the territory.
A wave of terrorist attacks was conducted against British forces and Palestinian Arabs,