Tribal Report no.7

23 November 2008 25 Cheshvan 5769

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Tribal Report no.7
1. Britain and France, 1948:
The Attempted betrayal by the British of the Jews in Palestine
2. Norway: Extracts from BBC Country profile
3. South Africa:  One in every three women is raped in her lifetime


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1. Britain and France, 1948:
The Attempted betrayal by the British of the Jews in Palestine

As we emphasized in our works especially "The Tribes" (Prologue)
the British enabled the State of Israel to come into being and did much much more for Zionism than is generally acknowledged -maybe because they would probably prefer to forget about it-.
Nevertheless there always existed a parallel contrary tendency and towards the end of the Mandate this took over. The Jerusalem Post article below discusses new information confirming that at the last minute the Birish attempted to prevent the State of Israel coming into being. The British at the beginning also instigated anti-Zionist actions by Arab states.
France on the other hand at that time supported the Zionists and the state of Israel.
As Brit-Am supporters and Ephraimites we need to be aware of both the good and bad in our own nations.

Espionage and the Zionist endeavor
Extracts Only:

BRITAIN'S ROLE in the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine in 1948 is still a subject of controversy among historians. In the 1980s, the release of documents in British archives did not dispel the controversy - on the contrary, it provoked even more. However, the documents in French archives reveal that in 1948, the British employed tactics against the Zionists similar to those they had used so successfully against the French in Syria and Lebanon three years previously. In both cases, the official policy of the cabinet in London was contradicted by the actions of the British diplomats and military and intelligence officers in the region. Whereas in London foreign minister Ernest Bevin was declaring Britain's intent to end its mandate in Palestine and maintain neutrality in the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, in the Middle East, British officials openly supported the Arabs and sought to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state.

Until now, historians have failed to find conclusive evidence in British archives either validating de Gaulle's accusations of a British conspiracy against France in Syria and Lebanon, or David Ben-Gurion's charges that the British strove to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. (Apparently, the British are extremely efficient when it comes to concealing their dirty deeds.)

In 1947-1948, Britain's most pressing agenda in the Middle East was to conclude defense treaties with Arab states to secure its strategic position and economic interests (oil) in the region in face of the growing Soviet threat. The documents in the French archives attest to Britain's cynical use of the "communist" and "Zionist" cards to persuade reluctant Arab leaders - who were under pressure from their anti-British nationalist public - to realign themselves with the British Empire. British diplomats intentionally fanned fears of a third world war, in which the Middle East would become a battleground. Arab communist parties, they warned, were acting on Moscow's instructions to undermine the Arab regimes, just like the Soviet Union was doing in Eastern Europe.

From early 1948, British officials increasingly equated Zionism with communism. They warned that a Jewish state would become a center of communist influence, disrupting the social and economic order in the region. As the Cold War in Europe escalated, such claims had considerable impact even in the State Department and the Department of Defense in Washington.

British officials voiced these arguments at a meeting with their French counterparts in Paris in mid-February. They explained the dilemma facing their government in Palestine: Support for partition and the subsequent establishment of a Jewish state would turn the Arab world against Britain, while British endorsement of the Arab position would lead to a confrontation with the United States. (The UN resolution also envisaged a Palestinian state.) The main goal of the British policy at that time was indeed to solve this dilemma by persuading the US to realign its policy in the Middle East with that of Britain.

In an attempt to dissuade the French from supporting the Zionists, British diplomats repeatedly warned French officials of the dangers in a Jewish state becoming a center for communism in the Middle East. While admitting that Ben-Gurion was not pro-communist, they cautioned that he might be ousted by parties on the Left, whose influence in the Hagana was growing. Another argument used effectively by the British in their psychological warfare was that the Lehi - the anti-British Jewish underground group - had been infiltrated by Soviet agents.

IN THE aftermath of the UN partition resolution, the French identified two approaches toward the crisis in Palestine among British officials in the Middle East, which they termed the "Clayton" and "Glubb" approaches. The first argued that Britain should rely on an Iraqi-Syrian axis, forgoing the plan for a Greater Syria (comprising Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, under Abdullah), which was putting Britain in direct confrontation with Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

It advocated dividing up Palestine and using its various parts to coerce the Arab leaders into acquiescing in a defense alliance with Britain. Syria would receive Galilee; Iraq would gain access to the port of Haifa, where the pipelines of the Iraqi Oil Company terminated and a refinery was located; Jordan would receive the region known today as the West Bank and most parts of the Negev; Egypt would get the adjacent Palestinian region on the Mediterranean coast.

The Glubb approach, named after John Bagot Glubb, the British commander of the Jordanian Arab Legion, argued that Britain should rely primarily on King Abdullah of Jordan and continue to promote the Greater Syria plan. Most of Palestine, therefore, would be incorporated into Jordan. In fact, both approaches envisaged either a Jewish autonomous entity within a greater Jordan, or a smaller Jewish state on the coast between Atlit (south of Haifa) and Tel Aviv that would clearly be unviable and would not endanger British or Arab interests.

Iraq's refusal to ratify its treaty with Britain in January 1948, after the regent, Abd al-Ilah, had to retreat in the face of large public demonstrations that led to hundreds of casualties, bolstered the Jordanian option. In February, the Jordanian prime minister traveled to London with Glubb, where he concluded a new Anglo-Jordanian treaty. But the Clayton formula was not dead yet. It was to be revived in the following months.

The failure of British efforts to convince the Iraqi regent to ratify the Anglo-Iraqi treaty, which was intended to serve as a precedent for treaties with other Arab countries, intensified the use the British made of the Zionist card. French reports describe in detail the repercussions of their failure in Iraq on British policy in Palestine. Ben-Gurion, who was kept well-informed by his top adviser on Arab affairs, Eliahu (Elias) Sasson, wrote in his war diary on March 7: "Clayton went to Syria - the British want to make Syria their base after failing in Iraq and Egypt. The situation in the Arab world is difficult - riots in Iraq and Britain is trying to concentrate Arab thoughts on Palestine."

Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, and Moshe Sharett (Shertok), head of its Political Department, were well aware of the British double game. They were both receiving information not only from the Hagana's secret service, but also directly from the French. The information provided by the French in 1948, including from their agent in Damascus, was crucial for the two Zionist leaders in uncovering Britain's and the Arabs' secret plans in Palestine.

THE FRANCO-ZIONIST collaboration was based on shared interests. Apart from taking vengeance on the British for their role in expelling them from Syria and Lebanon, the French were extremely concerned about British subversion in North Africa. Syrian Foreign Ministry documents reveal that British officials in Cairo were directly involved in undermining France's position in North Africa and even pressed Arab leaders to act against the French there. Arab League secretary-general Azzam collaborated closely with Clayton in these activities. When French officials complained at their meeting with the British in mid-February 1948 about Clayton's subversive activities in French North Africa, the British response was evasive.

It is understandable, therefore, that in discussions in French military circles on whether France should support the establishment of a Jewish state, it was argued that an Arab victory in Palestine would strengthen Syria, the center of anti-French activity, as well as the Arab League, and threaten France's position in North Africa.

For its part, an alliance with France was essential for the Zionist movement, as it would facilitate illegal immigration and the purchase of arms, and help in the propaganda campaign, as it had in the Exodus affair.

The French, however, were extremely anxious to conceal their collaboration with the Jewish Agency in clandestine activities. France, which was undergoing acute political and economic crises and desperately needed Britain's support to regain its position as a great power, could not afford to antagonize the British by openly collaborating with the Zionists. Moreover, the French feared a reaction in the Arab world, where they still had considerable political, economic and cultural interests, as well as among the Muslims in North Africa, if their support of the Jewish cause was revealed.

Sasson, head of the Arab Section in the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, was a key player in this secret collaboration with the French from 1946-1949. Intelligence information from the French was relayed mainly through him directly to Ben-Gurion during the critical months from December 1947 until May 1948. Born in Damascus, Sasson, who joined the Jewish Agency in 1933, was an entire intelligence organization in himself. His role in the establishment of the State of Israel is yet to be revealed, as these activities were conducted in utmost secrecy.

Reports by French officers of their meetings with him provide only a glimpse of his clandestine activities. He had intimate knowledge of the complex Arab arena and knew personally many of the Arab leaders. It was no coincidence that among Ben-Gurion's advisers on Arab affairs, he was the only one who warned early on that the Arab states would go to war and that King Abdullah, caught in a British snare, would be unable to conclude an agreement with the Jewish Agency on the partition of Palestine.

IN DISCUSSIONS with their French counterparts in February and March 1948, British diplomats were confident that the US would withdraw its support for a Jewish state in light of the Arabs' violent resistance and military successes. Britain, they argued, would again be asked to play a central role in Palestine. On one occasion, a British diplomat remarked that the besieged Jewish city of Jerusalem, whose 100,000 inhabitants lacked food and water, might surrender to the Arabs, forcing Ben-Gurion to resign. He might be replaced by a more moderate leader such as Yehuda Magnes, president of the Hebrew University, who would accept a compromise solution such as a binational state.

British and Arab expectations were reinforced by growing opposition to the UN partition resolution in the US State Department and Department of Defense. But their hopes were dashed in April, after the Hagana's counterattack and the occupation of the mixed towns of Tiberias, Safed, Jaffa, Acre and Haifa. This was a clear message to the Arab states, Britain, the United States and the UN that the Jews in Palestine were determined to win the war and establish their own independent sovereign state.

As tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees streamed across their borders and public demands for immediate military intervention intensified, the Arab leaders were trapped between the expectations raised by their declarations of an imminent victory and the realization that their countries were ill prepared for an all-out confrontation. Egyptian army commanders warned King Farouk that they lacked sufficient arms and ammunition for a war in Palestine, while the Lebanese premier, Sulh, later admitted: "If the Jews want to take Beirut, they can take it with no difficulty."

In these critical weeks at the end of April and early May, Britain was to make its most underhanded move in its entire controversial policy in Palestine, when it deliberately manipulated and urged the Arab leaders to go to war against the Jewish state.

Asked by a French officer on his country's stand on a possible all-out confrontation between the Jews and the Arab states, a high-ranking British officer responded that Britain would not necessarily see such a conflict as a bad thing. An Arab victory would strengthen Britain's influence and prestige in the Arab world, while a defeat would weaken the Arab states, whose leaders would be have to turn to Britain for support.

Such views were prevalent at the time among many British officials in both the Middle East and the Foreign Office. Arab officials made similar charges. For example, after Golda Meir's meeting with King Abdullah on May 11, in the Jewish Agency's last attempt to persuade the Jordanian sovereign not to go to war, Muhammad al-Zubati, his private secretary, told Ezra Danin, who accompanied Meir as a translator, that "it was the British who were pushing him [the king] and involving the Iraqis too, because the Iraqis had refused to sign a treaty and the British therefore wanted to send them to the front so that they would be beaten and brought to their knees."

In fact, before the Arab invasion, the British army command was confident that the Jewish defense forces, exhausted by more than five months of civil war, would be unable to withstand an all-out offensive by the Arab states' regular armies. The British nevertheless wanted to ensure an Arab victory.

SHORTLY AFTER the Arab forces invaded the newly established State of Israel, the French ambassador and the military attach?in Cairo reported that King Farouk decided to take part in the invasion only after receiving assurances from the British that they would secretly provide arms and ammunition to the Egyptian army from their depots in the Suez Canal zone. They also reported that Azzam was instrumental in persuading the king and his reluctant prime minister, Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, to change their stand. French diplomats in Cairo also reported that British officers stationed in Libya were helping volunteers from French North Africa to join the war in Palestine. The French documents seen so far do not clarify what the British officials in Cairo promised Farouk to obtain his agreement to go to war.

An intelligence report prepared by the French military attach?in Beirut on May 11 sheds new light on direct British involvement in the war in Palestine. The report, which was clearly based on inside information, reveals details of the discussions in the Arab League's political and military committees convened in Damascus on the eve of the invasion. For the first time, we have confirmation of British intervention in the planning of the Arab invasion, including the last-minute change of the commander of the joint Arab forces.

French documents reinforce allegations made by Israeli leaders at the time that Britain had left little choice for Abdullah [of Jordan] but to go to war. Indeed, the attack of the Arab Legion on the four Jewish settlements of the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem on the morning of May 12, upon the instructions of its British commander, Glubb Pasha, had a clear political motive: to demonstrate the Legion's military superiority to the wavering Arab leaders, including Abdullah himself. (Scores of the settlers who had surrendered were murdered and 320 of the survivors were taken as prisoners of war to Amman the following day.)

The French attache's report explains the last-minute change in the command of the Arab forces and its invasion plan. The original plan had called for the occupation of Haifa by joint Iraqi-Jordanian forces and for the Syrian forces to invade Galilee from Bint Jbail in Lebanon. In the revised plan, Tel Aviv was the main target and was to be attacked by the Egyptian army from the south. The Jordanian Arab Legion was to renew the siege on Jewish Jerusalem and advance westwards on Tel Aviv through the Arab cities of Lydda and Ramle.

The Iraqi and Syrian forces were given a secondary role. The Syrian brigade, which was already in Nabatiyeh, near Bint Jbail, was forced at the last minute to move to Kuneitra, in the Golan Heights, losing precious time. This change in the Arabs' strategy was the outcome of the British success in persuading Abdullah and Farouk to collaborate.

The information received from the French was crucial. Three days before the Arab invasion, Ben-Gurion learned of the Arab decision to attack the new state; Egypt's intention to join the attack; the size of the Arab forces involved; the directions of the attacks; the nature of the offensive; that Tel Aviv was to be the main target and was to be bombed from the air. It can be ascertained from previous occasions that on the following day a French intelligence officer was sent from Beirut to Haifa to update the Israelis face to face.

Late at night on May 12, 10 of the 13 members of the provisional Israeli government, by a majority of six to four, made the historic decision to establish an independent Jewish state, named Israel. On May 14, at a ceremony held at the Tel Aviv Museum, Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The following day, the Arab forces invaded.

On November 7, 1945, Constantine Zurayk, a diplomat in the Syrian Embassy in Washington, informed his Foreign Ministry in Damascus of a conversation he had with an American State Department official, who stressed that whereas the United States was striving for a friendly agreement between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, Britain was exploiting the conflict there to secure its control over the Arab world and wouldn't stop until there was bloodshed in Palestine. Two and a half years later, his warning came true.

The writer is a professor in the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

2. Norway: Extracts from BBC Country profile
Extracts Only:

Europe's northernmost country, the Kingdom of Norway is famed for its mountains and spectacular fjord coastline, as well as its history as a seafaring power.

It also enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world, in large part due to the discovery in the late 1960s of offshore oil and gas deposits.
Norway's annual oil revenue amounts to around $40bn (?21bn), and more than half of its exports come from this sector.
To counter inflation, there is cross-party agreement to restrict spending of oil revenue. The very considerable surplus is invested for future generations.

Norway declared its independence in 1905 when the union with Sweden was dissolved. Norway's people value their independence and prosperity highly. The Norwegians rejected membership of the then European Economic Community in 1972, and of the European Union in 1994, despite being urged by their governments to vote "yes".

In recent decades, Norway has forged a stronger role for itself in international politics. It has mediated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and is trying to foster contact between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil separatists.

Norway has a rich, sea-faring tradition and its lengthy, rugged coastline has been central to its development. More than a thousand years ago, Viking raids on the coasts of Britain and France were commonplace. The Vikings also mounted expeditions to the coast of North America.

Later, the Norwegians began to trade. Originally, the coastal waters provided fish for export. Today, Norway is among the world's largest exporters of fuels and fuel products.

Full name: Kingdom of Norway
Population: 4.7 million (UN, 2007)
Capital: Oslo
Area: 323,759 sq km (125,004 sq miles)
Major language: Norwegian
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 78 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Norwegian krone = 100 ore
Main exports: Fuels and fuel products, machinery, metal products
GNI per capita: US $76,450 (World Bank, 2007)
Internet domain: .no
International dialling code: +47

King: Harald V

Prime minister: Jens Stoltenberg
 Labour Party leader Jens Stoltenberg took office as prime minister in a centre-left "red-green" alliance with the Socialist and Centre parties in October 2005, following elections the previous month which brought defeat for the former centre-right government.
His administration is the first Norwegian majority government since the mid 1980s.

Mr Stoltenberg promises increased spending on education, health and welfare and has reversed the tax cuts proposed by the previous adminstration. He says that budget policy will stay within Norway's strict rules on spending oil revenues.

His government has withdrawn Norway's very small contingent of troops from Iraq but promises to increase the country's profile in UN peacekeeping operations elsewhere.

3. South Africa:  One in every three women is raped in her lifetime

One rape every 26 seconds in South Africa
18 Nov 2008, 0908 hrs IST, IANS
Extracts Only:
NEW YORK: South Africa's Academy Award winning actress and activist Charlize Theron said on Monday that a woman is raped every 26 seconds in her country, a situation she described as "quite horrific".

Appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Theron took over her new job as United Nations Messenger of Peace to lead the campaign to end violence against women.

"The statistics on rape cases were quite horrific," Theron told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York on her first day at work, joining nine other existing Messengers of Peace to help advance various UN campaigns.

"One in every three women is raped in her lifetime and the number was devastating," Theron said. "It is getting worse."

Theron founded the Cape Town Rape Crisis Centre in 1999 to deal with the widespread cases of rape and the high number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But she said she now needs the support of the UN to fight rape more effectively.


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