Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 8
Palestine Police after Dunkirk
i. Palestine Police at Start of WW 2
ii. After Dunkirk
iii. OP Final Fortress
iv. Police Involvement in Syria and Iraq
v. The Lehi and Avraham Stern
vi. Britain's Break with the Palmach
In June 1940, Palestine's short lived peace came to an end with the fall of France and Italy's entrance into the war.
Italy controlled Libya and Ethiopia and had aspirations to restore a "Roman Empire" in the Mediterranean. The French Vichy, government, a Nazi puppet, controlled Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon so Palestine and Egypt found themselves sandwiched between enemy territories, besides which Italy had an airfield on Rhodes with experienced Italian pilots who, pre-war, had made weekly commercial trips to Haifa.
Inside Palestine the Husseini Party began negotiating with the Nazis as did a new Jewish underground movement, LEHI, under the leadership of Avraham Stern. It consisted of ex-members of the Irgun who had been against that organization's truce with the British.
Vulnerable places such as the port area of Haifa, the oil refinery, bridges, airfields and military depots had to be protected and there were just not enough police.
In 1941 an extensive recruitment campaign started. Thousands of Palestinian Ghaffirs (Watchmen) were appointed and two thousand Temporary Assistant Constables (TACs.) Training was rudimentary and the standard of drill worse but they enabled regular policemen to do more important tasks such as training air raid wardens, checking on blackout, and helping with air raid practices.
The first real air-raid on Haifa occurred during an air-raid practice. However,Italian air raids in Haifa proved more a nuisance than a real threat. It was not until 1941 when German bombers started using airstrips in Syria that one vicious air raid on Tel Aviv killed over 80 people.
(The photo shows military tents in the foreground and smoke from Haifa's oil tanks in the background.)
The threat to Palestine as a whole, however, only became really serious when Rommel and his Afrikan Korps landed in North Africa. That threat sparked off OP Final Fortress.
Next - OP Final Fortress
Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association