Zionism, critics of the Jewish state often claim, is nothing but a European colonial enterprise. But in reality the Jews of the Land of Israel were, in the 28 years before the state’s creation, subjects of British colonial rule—which was not always benign. According to recently declassified documents from the Mandatory period, British police killed or wounded a number Jews without provocation. Itamar Eichner writes:
Some of these files show that the British tried to cover up the killings, [whether] made in cold blood, as acts of self-defense, or misfires; . . . in many cases, the families of the dead were not informed about subsequent investigations.
On November 12, 1947, British troops attacked a house in Ra’anana where [the Jewish militant group] Leḥi was conducting a firearm course for a group of youths. In the attack, four children aged fifteen to eighteen and a nineteen-year-old instructor were killed. Already at the time, the British were blamed for killing the children in cold blood. According to testimonies, the group did not fire back and were mowed down while running away from the house.
Another incident uncovered in the British police files is the 1947 killing of Meir Plaskowski and his son Reuven in Moshav Karkur. On September 17, 1947, Plaskowski and his son were riding their motorcycle from Hadera to Pardes Hannah, when both were intentionally run over and killed by a British armored car. . . . In his testimony, the soldier driving the armored car said that he took off his sunglasses, lost control of the vehicle, and smashed into a roadside tree, unaware at all that he ran someone over. However, the uncovered documents show another testimony belonging to a Jewish man . . . who was driving that day to Pardes Hannah . . . and saw the armored car swerve intentionally and hit the motorcycle.