The role of MI6 in Egypt’s decision to go to war against Israel in May 1948 by Meir Zamir

Egypt’s King Faruq

First published in Intelligence and National Security, May 28, 2019

70 years on from the end of the Arab-Israeli War, new documents shed light on the political intrigue that surrounded the motives of the geopolitical powers in the region. Just as Israel wields influence with the Arab Gulf States in the ongoing crisis with Iran, the 1940s saw the European powers play a role in the pivotal conflict that drastically altered the Middle East for decades to come.

In this article, Dr. Meir Zamir, Professor Emeritus of Middle East and Intelligence Studies at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, analyzes the case of Egypt’s decision to go to war against the nascent Jewish state and the influence of the British Empire that laid behind the Egyptian government. – CS


David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, repeatedly accused Britain of provoking the Arab states to invade Israel the day after its establishment in May 1948. To date, historians have not found proof of his accusations in British archives. However, evidence may be found in French archives, especially in Syrian and secret British documents obtained by the French secret services, originating from agents who had infiltrated the Syrian government in Damascus and the British Legation in Beirut. This article, based on French, Syrian, Israeli and British sources, argues that under the Labour government, Arabist MI6 officers in the Middle East, in collaboration with the British High Command in Cairo, pursued an alternative policy to that of the Foreign Office. They provoked Egypt’s King Faruq to go to war against Israel without the knowledge or approval of either Prime Minister Clement Attlee or Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, frequently misinforming and misleading them. This watershed research provides details of the goals and modus operandi of those involved in that clandestine plot.

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Comments (2)

Norman said:

So today, the British still play a role, or has the government been taken over by the Zionist crowd, like what the U.S. seems to have been too? Considering the acceleration of events today, as in going from analog to digital, Western governments appear to be falling all over themselves to
appease Israel today. Of course, let’s not leave out the timeline of the possibility that the present face in the M.E. will change & Israel could be on the losing end? Or put another way, the survivors of a 3rd world war, will follow their predecessors and be cast to the winds.

June 11th, 2019, 12:58 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Yes, Norman, the “Zionist Crowd” has taken over the British and the USa. Lol.

Or perhaps, these two countries can no longer depend or has little interest in another Middle East state. Seems to me, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been calling the shots. One has money and the other has brains.

September 17th, 2019, 12:49 am


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