The British issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917 supporting the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” What Britain wanted was Jewish assistance against the Ottoman Empire in WWI. The British also promised Arab nationalists a united Arab country if they helped beat the Turks.
According to the British National Army Museum website, when the Brits and their allies beat the Ottoman Empire, “neither promise was delivered.” Instead, “Britain assumed responsibility for Palestine under a League of Nations Mandate. During the next two decades, over 100,000 Jews entered the country,” which is smaller than Massachusetts.
The change was rapid and overwhelming to the people who had lived there for hundreds and thousands of years. Violence reached a height with the Arab Revolt of 1936-39. The Brits imposed a limit on Jewish immigration in the summer of 1939, in part to “secure the support of the Egyptians and oil-rich Saudis ahead of the looming conflict in Europe. This policy provoked armed Jewish resistance … to drive the British out.”
In late 1945, in response to full-scale Jewish “riots in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and bomb attacks on the railway system, British troops” were sent in, totaling 100,000 by 1947. In retaliation for arresting Jewish suspects, insurgent operations included more bombings, kidnappings, starting an oil refinery fire, attacking a prison, and assassinations. It is estimated that 750 British personnel had been killed by Jewish fighters.
Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel was horrific, with 1,388 killed, 8,787 wounded, and 253 captured.
In Gaza, there are 22,000 dead so far, mostly women and children, plus another 57,000 maimed by Israeli and US bombs. Many right-wing Israelis want to control all the land from the sea to the Jordan River, as spelled out in Netanyahu’s Likud Party’s platform. Bibi Netanyahu and his supporters have undermined the two-state solution for decades, leading to hopelessness and radicalization among Palestinians.
Before this latest attack, 500 trucks a day brought food and supplies to sustain 2.2 million people in Gaza, but Israel has only allowed around 100 per day recently, and none for several weeks before that. Twenty-seven of 36 hospitals in Gaza have been knocked out by the IDF when medical needs are most acute. Approximately 70% of homes are now destroyed, and winter has begun.
Bibi’s scorched earth policy is making life untenable in Gaza, causing mass starvation and disease, while Israeli settlers continue to expand and attack Palestinians in the West Bank. Bibi’s cruelty is creating tens of thousands of potential terrorists who hate Israel and the U.S. for arming it.
To send Israel weapons without conditions, given Bibi’s slaughter of civilians and infrastructure, makes us equally responsible. Even if Israel pays to rebuild Gaza, our tax dollars will do most of that, as we currently give $3.8 billion to the Israeli government every year.
The GOP got us into the Middle East for 20 years of war. We don’t need the Dems to repeat that mistake.
Dan Kowal, Franklin