Some of the repressive tactics used by the Israeli army today were first practiced on the Palestinians by the British army during the British Mandate in Palestine which lasted for 31 years.
According to David Cronin, journalist and author of Balfour’s Shadow, Israeli atrocities against Palestinians have strong parallels with methods used by British during 1930s. Punitive house demolitions, administrative detention, or the internment of prisoners for an indefinite period of time without subjecting them to trial or charges are some of the tactics used by British.
According to Cronin the British had helped the groundwork for the Nakba. And had trained future Jewish military minds, such as Moshe Dayan and Yigal Allon to fight against the Arabs of Palestine. They were later rewarded by key positions in Israeli army and government. Cronin further claimed that many of the Zionist forces who forced around 750,000 Palestinians from their homes during the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine had received British training.
He also revealed that the infamous British soldier, Orde Wingate, trained and led Jewish armed units and taught the very basics of counterinsurgency. Cronin believes that Wingate is almost revered by the current Israeli military, probably because he was a very cruel man.
As reported by Al-Jazeera, in 1930s British worked in collision with Jewish fighters, mainly from the Haganah paramilitary group. Haganah was the largest Zionist militia in Palestine at the time, which later formed the central component of the Israeli army.
Al-Jazeera with reference to Ahron Bregman, a professor at the department of war studies at King’s University, stated that the British trained Haganah members in military tactics during the Arab Revolt.
A direct legacy of British rule in Palestine that the Israeli army has replicated is the British emergency laws applied in 1945 – which Bregman said is still in use by the Israelis to “justify their actions in the occupied territories”.
Israeli army had demolished 252 homes in the occupied territories, rendering just over 1,400 Palestinians homeless at the height of the second Intifada in 2002. Same as the British authorities had demolished 5,000 Palestinian homes between the years of 1936 and 1939.
Today also the Britain and Israel have defence ties. One of Israel’s top weapons producers, Elbit Systems, has five branches in the UK. Furthermore, Cronin said that the British army has commissioned the largest drone programme in Europe, which is based on Israeli-designed weapons.
This means that the next time Britain goes to war, it will most likely be using Israeli-made weapons, which would have undoubtedly first be tested and used against Palestinians – a case where the student has surpassed the master.