Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Security Wall in Palestine

No, not the one Israel has been constructing.

The one that began in 1938:-

Britain's most ingenious solution for handling terrorism in Palestine was revealed in Geneva last week to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission by His Majesty's Government's Deputy Permanent Under-Secretary for Colonies, Sir John Shuckburgh. Following a suggestion of mail-fisted Sir Charles Tegart, now adviser to the Palestine Government on the suppression of terrorism, a barbed wire barrier to keep out terrorists is being strung along the entire Palestine frontier at a cost of $450,000. This includes a nine-foot barbed wire fence between Palestine and French-mandated Lebanon and Syria, which border...

Tegart (centre, emerging from car) in Palestine, c. 1938, with Sir William Battershill (right),
chief secretary to the government of Palestine. (Bodleian)

What was, will be, - including intervention of 'internationalists', such as there are at present in Israel.  For example, in India:

He [Tegart] was the main figure implicated in the accusations of police torture brought against the Bengal police in 1918 by the Theosophist and Indian nationalist Annie Besant. Besant, an Irishwoman who spent the last forty years of her life in India as an educator and spiritual leader, had been elected to the presidency of the Indian National Congress in 1916. She was a vocal critic of the government of India and launched an Irish-inspired campaign for Indian ‘home rule’. Besant accused Tegart of slapping and punching terrorist suspects and of showing one revolutionary his revolver and threatening to shoot him. Tegart indignantly attributed the accusations to his zeal in suppressing the revolutionary movement. A commission appointed by the government of Bengal concluded—unsurprisingly—that the charges were entirely baseless.

And as for dealing with terror, I think we're doing a lot better than what was happening in 1936:

Particularly recalcitrant villages would be entirely demolished, reduced to "mangled masonry," as happened to the village of Mi'ar north of Acre in October 1938. On other occasions, the British used sea mines from the battleship HMS Malaya to destroy houses. Sometimes the charges laid were so large that neighbouring houses came down or flying debris hit watching bystanders. British troops even made Palestinians demolish their own houses, brick-by-brick.

Following a search and cordon of Safad by the Hampshire Regiment, the senior police officer, Sir Charles Tegart, noted simply [on Jan. 22, 1938] and euphemistically that the soldiers "did their work thoroughly," adding that local villagers had little sympathy, feeling that the townsfolk of Safad now "know what has been happening to us." Hilda Wilson, a British school teacher in Palestine, concluded that the reason for soldiers "destructiveness was because they were bored stif" and had no social amenities, compounded by the alienation that they felt serving far from home...

...The brutality of the Palestine police95 and prison service had some official sanction. Sir Charles Tegart, a senior police officer "headhunted" from India, authorised the establishment of torture centres, known euphemistically as "Arab Investigation Centres", where suspects got the "third degree" until they "spilled the beans"...
and worse:

prisoners were subjected to very harsh treatment, including beatings, foot whipping, electric shocks, denailing and what is now known as "waterboarding". Tegart also imported Doberman Pinschers from South Africa and set up a special centre in Jerusalem to train interrogators in torture.[Segev, 2000, p. 416]



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