Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State

By Martin Sicker | Go to book overview

4
The Passfield White Paper

Field Marshal Lord Plumer, who succeeded Herbert Samuel as high commissioner in August 1925, was like a breath of fresh air for the Yishuv and the Zionist movement, notwithstanding the initial disappointment over his designation. It was widely expected by many in the Yishuv that another Jew would be appointed successor to Samuel, hopefully one less committed to the equal obligation policy stressed so one-sidedly by the latter. Although a military man, Plumer apparently inherited none of the biases displayed so visibly by his colleagues in the earlier military administration of the country. He was fully committed to carrying out the policies of the British government, as they were understood in London rather than in Cairo. He made economic development his highest priority, and was disinclined to allow himself to become ensnared in the complex internal politics of the country. Frederick H. Kisch ( 1888-1943), head of the political department of the Zionist Executive in Palestine, wrote in his diary after his first official meeting with the new high commissioner: "I conclude that Plumer's attitude to our submissions will be 'Is the request justified under the policy of H.M. Government? -- If so, I must grant it, and carry it through.' The last High Commissioner's first reaction was: 'What will the Arabs say to this?'" 1

Plumer's "no nonsense" approach to dealing with the Arabs made it clear to them that, unlike his immediate predecessor, he could not be pressured into unwarranted concessions. It was also understood that he was prepared to use military force to deal with any contingency that

-73-

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Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - British Military Government, 1918-1920 1
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - The Jewish High Comissioner 27
  • Notes 51
  • 3 - Internal Developments During the Samuel Regime 53
  • Notes 70
  • 4 - The Passfield White Paper 73
  • Notes 92
  • 5 - Prelude to Open Conflict 93
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - The Arab Revolt, 1936-1939 117
  • Notes 149
  • 7 - Palestine During World War II 151
  • Notes 176
  • 8 - The United Resistance 179
  • Notes 201
  • 9 - The United Nations Special Committee 203
  • Notes 222
  • 10 - The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State 223
  • Notes 240
  • Selected Bibliography 243
  • Index 253
  • About the Author *
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