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By Motti Golani

This publication offers with the final days of the British Empire in Palestine, December 1947 -- may well 1948. The research in line with the diary of the final leader Secretary of the Mandate executive, Sir Henry Gurney. in lots of methods, Palestine of 1948 used to be a microcosm of the British Empire at the eve of its disappearance from the foreign enviornment.

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Extra info for The End of the British Mandate for Palestine, 1948: The Diary of Sir Henry Gurney (St. Antony's Series)

Example text

The continued entry of Jewish illegals into the country, mainly across the borders of Syria and Lebanon, was negligible compared to the scale of illegal Arab entry. Arab infiltration was primarily from Syria, which implemented the decision of the Arab League to assist the Palestinian Arabs and thereby prevent the execution of the United Nations partition resolution. The phenomenon grew in scale during January–February 1948 when soldiers for the “Arab League Army” (“Arab Liberation Army”) were sent to Palestine from Syria.

28 The End of the British Mandate for Palestine, 1948 In the face of the ongoing failure to curb the land infiltrations, the GOC (General Officer Commanding), Lieutenant General Gordon MacMillan, explained that military means against the illegal infiltrators were in any case unnecessary, because King Abdullah was doing everything to prevent infiltration from his territory and the “Syrian Arabs” who crossed into Palestine were scattering in every direction and not having an impact. He was backed up by the Inspector General of the Palestine Police, Colonel William Gray, who noted that the former officers from Arab armies who were organizing the Arab force in Palestine were curbing the internal violence and crime among the Arab population, so that the emerging situation was actually beneficial.

It is not clear why Gurney referred to six Arab armies operating in Israel. (He avoided the term “invasion” because in his perception and for many of the Britons who experienced the hostilities in Palestine beginning in December 1947, the Arabs were victims. ) Gurney did not know that the Lebanese Army had not invaded and that in practice four Arab armies – of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria – were operating in the former Mandate area. 18 The End of the British Mandate for Palestine, 1948 In spare, precise language, punctuated by poetic passages – particularly about the city’s appearance or its natural surroundings – the diary evokes the atmosphere in Jerusalem during the period of the civil war.

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