Haaretz published an interesting report over the weekend about how David Ben Gurion had intelligence from the French that the Arabs were going to attack Israel as soon as the British would leave, on May 15, 1948.
The report mentions a few examples of how the British helped the Arabs:
On the eve of the May 12, 1948, meeting of Minhelet Ha’am, Ben-Gurion received information from French sources to the effect that British intelligence officers and the British High Command in Egypt had succeeded in persuading King Faruq to reverse his earlier position and join the Arab war coalition.
Research in the archives of the French army, intelligence branch and Foreign Ministry has revealed many details about how British intelligence personnel and generals in Egypt manipulated Faruq to join in the war against Israel. Among other tactics, British agents made use of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Thousands of the organization’s members attacked and plundered Jewish and foreign property and demonstrated on the streets of the cities, demanding that the king order the army to take action to save Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Palestine’s Muslims.
In the Negev, hundreds of the Brotherhood’s members operated against Jewish settlements. At the same time, the king was told that the Arabs’ conquest of the Negev would encourage the British Army to accede to his request to move its forces there from Egypt.
However, the most potent lure was the secret supply of weapons to the Egyptian army, in spite of the British government’s embargo on arms sales to the Middle East. In the second week of May, the French noted unusual visits by King Faruq to British army headquarters in Tel al-Kabir. Intelligence that reached the French indicated that the British officers promised the king that if he were to join the war effort, Britain would provide the Egyptian forces with the necessary weapons, ammunition and aircraft.
According to a report of the French military attaché in Cairo, during the period of May 1-25, the British Army supplied the Egyptian expeditionary force with large quantities of weapons and equipment from its Suez Canal depots, including rifles, machine guns, field artillery, ammunition, water containers and other items.
Special emphasis was placed on strengthening the Egyptian air force: It received 16 Spitfires, a number of Dakotas, air-to-ground bombs and a great deal of ammunition. The British also agreed to replace planes that were damaged. For their part, the French suspected that British officers were directly involved in planning the Egyptian offensive.
Faruq’s decision was a pivotal event for Egypt and for the entire region. Israel was now forced to fight on several fronts simultaneously: The Egyptian army advanced from the south toward Tel Aviv, while the armies of Transjordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon attacked from the east and the north.
This was not that much of secret. Here are several articles from the May 20, 1948 Palestine Post – all about how the British were helping the Arab war effort against the Jews.
And from May 21:
And then there was this bitter page 1 editorial:
This all makes Israel’s victory and survival in 1948 that much more impressive – it was indirectly fighting a superpower both on the military and political front
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