Israeli troops fight off Arab forces in Galilee 1948
Israeli troops fight off Arab forces in Galilee 1948REUTERS

New evidence has emerged to corroborate claims that Great Britain encouraged Arab resistance to the establishment of a Jewish state in 1948, and even helped arm Arab forces for what became the Israeli War of Independence.

A recently declassified CIA document dated January 27th, 1947 summarizes an interview agents held with a Lebanese newspaper publisher following a meeting with Grand Mufti Haj Ami El-Husseini, a Nazi sympathizer during World War II and one of the leading voices against the formation of a Jewish state in 1948.

According to the report, Afif Tibi, who is described as a former Nazi collaborator and owner of a Beirut newspaper, met with the Mufti in late 1946 to discuss the possible partition of the British Mandate for Palestine, established by the League of Nations as the future “national home” of the Jewish people.

During Tibi’s talk with the Mufti, the Mufti claimed that British authorities in the Mandate were “in continuous touch with” him, “and are actually encouraging him to denounce partition”.

“The Jews should not under any circumstances be allowed to assume real power in any section of the country, for the simple reason that they would immediately launch themselves on a program of armament, would attack neighboring land, and would face the Big Four Powers [US, UK, USSR, China] with the accomplished fact of a very much larger Palestine.”

According to the Mufti, the UK was enabling Arab forces to arm themselves against the possible establishment of a Jewish state.

“The British are making it easy for the Arabs to arm.”

In November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a non-binding motion supporting the partition of the Mandate into Jewish and Arab states.

The recommendation was rejected, however by the Arab League and local Arab leaders, setting off a wave of terrorism against the Jewish community in the Mandate. In May, 1948 the British army withdrew from the Mandate, and the state of Israel declared its independence.