I finished reading One Palestine Complete, the history of Palestine during the British Mandate. Predictably enough the violence between the Jews and the Arabs gets worse, with Arabs doing their small scale terrorist thing and Jews setting up people’s malitias armed and trained with a blind eye turned by the British. Although the Zionists had licence to immigrate as many Jews as they wanted they took relitavely low numbers to keep the economy running smoothly. When fascism took hold in Europe they knew they could not take all the Jews being persecuted and prioritised only fit, male, educated people. They were happy at the number of suitable candidates fascism supplied them, Ben-Gurion (later first Prime Minister of Israel) said “We want Hitler to be destroyed but as long as he exists we are interested in exploiting that for the good of Palestine”. People with mental disabilities were not allowed to immigrate, and a fund was set up to return those who had become mentally ill. Eventually the British realised they weren’t going to solve the problems of Palestine and it was costing a lot of money, so they packed up and left. The UN vote for partition caused a worldwide diplomatic campaign with bribery on a huge scale, the Jewish Agency set aside a million dollars for it. On Nover 29 1947 they voted to split Palestine into two states, one for the Jews and one for the Arabs. The Arabs were against the plan, being in the majority they would be happy with one democratic state. The Zionists accepted but everyone knew it was an unworkable plan with a long contorted border that would still leave a majority of Arabs in the proposed boundary. Towards the end of the mandate the Zionist malitias (Haganah, Palmach, Etzel and Lechi) invaded several Arab cities and areas including Tiberias, Safed, Haifa and Jaffa. The Arabs were unorganised and leaderless and deserted the invaded cities. The British handed over control to the Jewish Agency and the UN, completing the task set out in the Balfour declaration and UN mandate to advance the Jewish state, while ignoring the needs of those already living there.
I also read The Lord of the Flies, which was good but probably better read as a 10-13 year old. And I got Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind, for Christmas, a lightweight and fun introduction to memory techniques, hypnotism, mind reading (obviously not literally, but reading the clues in peoples speech and body movements) and NLP (a very good pyramid scheme).