King David Hotel

Although Palestine Jews fought for Britain in the Second World War, they knew that to make. the Promised Land theirs, they must fight with equal zeal against British immigration restrictions.

Two terrorist groups, the Irgun and the Stem Gang, took it upon themselves to attack and murder British officials. At first, Haganah, the defence force created in the 1920s to stave off Arab attacks, believed that terrorism could only harm the Zionist cause, and helped the British. try to crush the extremists. But when at the war's end Britain still made no move to fulfil Zionist dreams, Haganah, too, defied her with violence.

One incident in particular raised terrorism to a new level. On July 22, 1946, Irgun - with Haganah complicity - blew up the British Military H.Q., a wing of the King David Hotel. Ninety-one Jews, Arabs and Britons were killed. Irgun later suggested that the disaster was largely the fault of the British: warnings were given to the authorities, Irgun claimed, but they were not taken seriously.

Palestine: Britain's Crown of Thorns


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by Stephen Luscombe