Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Terror and Atrocities in the Old Mandate Days

A scholarly academic article, "The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936–39" by Matthew Hughes, recently published reveals that British forces killed Arabs with their rifle butts; left them out, in Halhoul, in a cage in the sun with no water to die; loaded 50 Arabs on to a bus and drove it over a landmine after one of their patrols had earlier been ambushed near Bassa in the North; regulary smashed, slapped and beat up Arabs in police stations and machine-gunned villages as part of 'punitive' measures; and it goes on and on.

Of course, the Arabs were killing the British, in addition to murdering over 500 Jews during that period.

They assassinated Alan Sigrist on June 12, 1936 outside St. Stephe's Gate (the Flower Gate), Assistant District Commissioner Lewis Andrews in Nazareth on his way back from Sunday morning church services on Septeber 26, 1937 and on August 24, 1938, shot dead acting Assistant District Commissioner W.S.S. Mofatt in his Jenin office. They placed landmines, way-laid traffic and engaged in other acts of sabotage in naddition to burning Jewish fields, cutting donw trees, filling in wells, etc.

What I did find odious there, is that Hughes, in one paragraph of alleged sexual assaults by British troops against Arab women slips this sentence in:

...the Israelis after 1948 who, again, used inherited British repressive methods against the Palestinians".

The inherited impression Hughes bequeaths is equality of action, such as "servicemen shooting dead stone-throwing women" there.

Israelis are not perfect - but they aren't the British, as you'll learn after reading the article. Did you know that in early November 1937, Black Watch soldiers entered Silwan and beat to death with their rifle butts 12 villagers after the killing of two other soldiers at the Jaffa Gate? That they shot captives dead? And they tortured Arabs?

No bad deed justifies another.

But that goes as well for those critical of Israel.

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