The Colonialist Origins of the Arab States

(Yisrael Hayom-Hebrew, 30July2010) Dore Gold - The argument claiming that Israel has colonialist roots due to its connection with the British Mandate is ironic, as most Arab countries owe their establishment to conquest and control by the European powers. Prior to the First World War, countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan did not exist at all and were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. They became states only as a result of European intervention. Such, for example, was the case of Iraq and Jordan, where the British transferred rule to the Hashemite royal house. Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf states arose as a result of special agreements that their leaders signed with British India between the years 1880 and 1916, incorporating British recognition for the legitimacy of rule by Arab families over places that subsequently became the states of Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. A similar agreement between Britain and the Al-Saud family in 1915 laid the groundwork for the rise of Saudi Arabia in 1932. During Israel's War of Independence, the Arab states benefited directly from arms, training, and even manpower from the colonialist powers. In the initial stages, the Arab Legion attacked Jerusalem with the assistance of British officers. Royal Air Force planes defended the Egyptian skies over Sinai and in 1949 aerial incidents were recorded between Israeli and British aircraft. To say that Israel is a result of colonialism is to ignore the history of the Middle East in the 20th century. It also disregards the fact that Israel constituted an anti-colonialist entity that helped remove the British and French Empires from the Middle East.

2010-08-02 10:12:40

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