Why Jerusalem? (11) – Chapter 3 – Jerusalem and the Promised Land (Cont’d)

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book Why Jerusalem? Chapter 3 – Jerusalem and the Promised land

British opposition
Britain’s role in all this was dubious, and often downright anti-Semitic. To Britain’s credit, it must be said that it had adopted   the Balfour Declaration in 1917, in which the right of the Jewish people to a “national home” in Palestine was acknowledged. This Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

The text says: “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”


But when Britain was assigned a mandate over Palestine after the First World War, ending four hundred years of Turkish occupation, the British increasingly supported the Arabs. The British military in Palestine pitted Arab and Jew against each other. As early as 1923, London had secretly decided to use political and economic means to crush Zionism. The first British high commissioner to Palestine, Herbert Samuel, in 1922 approved the establishment of Trans-Jordan as an autonomous region which would not form part of the future national Jewish home. The land division was actually carried out in 1928, causing a major part of the Biblical Promised Land to be simply cut off and given to the Arabs.


Early in 1919, the Arab National Congress in Damascus had made Syria and Iraq into two separate states, so that the map of the Mid- dle East gradually assumed its modern shape. In 1945 the Arab League was founded, and Jordan became a member. On March 22, 1946, the British recognized the Arab League and granted Jordan total independence. And then in 1948, Jordan, along with troops from Egypt, Syria and Iraq, attacked the new state of Israel.


Israel was back on the world stage, but so too were Israel’s enemies. Britain’s role just prior to the Second World War is painful to recount. Even before the war, Jewish synagogues were burning in cities all over Germany, torched by the Nazis and the inflamed German people. Initial reports of the existence of concentration camps were also beginning to filter through. Anyone who had read Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ could discern what was going to happen to the Jews.

And yet on 17 May 1939, London decided to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine to 75,000 persons. The High Commissioner was in- structed to block all Jewish land acquisition, and a plan was drawn up for an independent administration within ten years. This plan would have ensured that the Jewish people would always remain a permanent minority in Palestine, their future Jewish national home. One Englishman wrote: “While under the satanic regime of Goebbels a half million Jews are mistreated, and many are starving and near death, without home, without work, without hope, and are trying to escape to Palestine, our government simply treats them as ‘illegal immigrants’.”


Britain maintained this policy throughout the war, despite what was happening to the Jews under the Nazi regime. Even after the fall of Hitler, British soldiers were instructed to shoot those human wrecks, almost skeletons, who having barely escaped the concen- tration camps, were trying to enter Palestine. The Arabs in Palestine rejoiced over the destruction of the Jews by Hitler. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the leader of the Muslims there, Amin Al-Husseini, was a personal friend of Hitler. But Britain chose to back the Mufti and his men, who regularly murdered Jews in pogroms in Jerusalem and in the rest of the Arab world, and to go against Jewish interests. In spite of the horrors of the Second World War, the British forced the surviving Jews to remain in the concentration camps, and sank boats that tried to reach the coast of Palestine illegally. Those Jews who did not drown, but managed to swim ashore, were picked up by the British and placed in new concentration camps on Cyprus. Patriotic Jews in Palestine were hung.


Between 1947 and May of 1948 hundreds of Jews were murdered on the roads and in the fields of Palestine each month, but the British would not permit the Jews to be placed in convoys for safety. They turned a blind eye to the Arab murderers.


To be continued.. with: Chapter 3 – Jerusalem and the Promised Land: “Not wiped off the map”

The book Why Jerusalem? and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International



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