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

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2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-799
Number of pages25
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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