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Britain - Israel - and Prince Charles

Britain - Israel - and Prince Charles

Living in Brooklyn at a very young age, before the establishment of the State of Israel, I understood little about the greater world around me.  My parents, along with my paternal grandparents were my sources of information.  I knew only that they spoke disparagingly of England and Germany.  Germany was led by a very evil dictator who was murdering Jews and England had put severe restrictions on the number of Jews who could immigrate to Israel.  At the end of WW I, Israel, then known as Palestine, had become a British mandate.  The League of Nations had given temporary control of Palestine to the British government.  The thought was that the local residents would eventually have the ability to run the country themselves.

In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour had written a letter to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, the honorary president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland at that time, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.Britain's job was to implement this "Balfour Declaration," which had been signed five years earlier, stating Britain's desire to create a homeland in Palestine for the Jews. The British government had, however, made promises to both the Jews and the Arabs, promising each their own autonomous area. 

in the 1920s, Jewish immigration to Palestine increased primarily because of anti-Jewish economic legislation in Poland.  In 1935 the number of immigrants to Palestine increased substantially due to the increasing persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.  The British administration considered this number too large, however, so the Jewish Agency was informed that less than one-third of the quota it asked for would be approved in 1936.

In 1939 Britain prepared a White Paper suggesting that an independent Arab state would be created within 10 years, and that Jewish immigration was to be limited. The Arabs rejected the proposal.  Contrary to immigration limitations placed on the Jewish population, Arab immigration was unrestricted.

Israel/Palestine was closed to European Jews, most of whom became victims of Nazi Germany.  Even witnessing the nightmare that Jews had faced during WW II, at the end of the war Britain continued to maintain a closed-door policy to the European Jews who had somehow managed to survive.  In 1946, President Truman wrote to the British Foreign Minister requesting that they allow 100,000 Jewish immigrants to enter Palestine.  The Foreign Minister gave a sarcastic reply, suggesting that Truman wanted the displaced Jews to relocate to Palestine because he did not want them coming to New York. 

A number of Jews were smuggled into Palestine by the Jewish resistance organizations. Those Jews who were caught by the British and were unable to enter Palestine were placed in camps in Cyprus.  About 50,000 people were placed in these camps. 

Eventually, the United Nations adopted the Partition Plan which divided Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem under international control. This led to Britain ending its mandate and Israel declaring its independence in May of 1948.  The Arabs rejected the U.N. offer and instead attacked the newly created State of Israel.

My purpose in writing this is not to discuss what has happened within Israel since 1948, but rather to remind readers of Britain's part in events leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel by the United Nations.  So here we are, 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, and Britain still finds it prudent to cancel Prince Charles' visit to the Jewish State.  Germany has shown itself to be repentent in many various ways since the end of WWII.  Thinking about it, somewhere up in heaven my parents and grandparents are more than likely prepared to move forward with Germany -- not to forgive because you can't forgive what is not forgivable, but it is possible to accept repentence -- however, I can almost hear them saying:  Those "British are still 'momzas.'" (bums)

The following article is from

~The heir to the throne was set to become the first Royal to carry out an official state visit to Israel since it was created in 1948.

~The decision may have been taken to avoid upsetting Arab nations in the region who regularly host UK Royals. A former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan branded the decision an “insult to British war dead” although there is no suggestion Charles was personally involved in any discussions leading to it.

~Along with paying respects to 16,000 British and Commonwealth troops who died during the Palestine Campaign in 1917, Prince Charles was to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – when Britain became the first nation to officially recognise the right of the Jewish people to a homeland – the first step in creating Israel.

~In October last year the Prince attended the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres and visited his grandmother’s grave.His paternal grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg – who saved a Jewish family during the Holocaust – is buried at Mount of Olives’ Church of Mary Magdalene.




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