Jane Corbin’s primer on Palestinian-Israeli history highlights how bad Britain has been at solving problems it helped create

In the garden of his home in the Orthodox Jewish Israeli West Bank settlement of Tappuah, Lenny Goldberg rubbished the idea that it was us Brits who made modern Israel possible. “The only reason we have a country here,” he told Jane Corbin, “is not because of the Balfour Declaration. It’s because Jews sacrificed themselves with blood and fire and bullets.”

Goldberg, a tough New York Jew turned tough West Bank settler, is among half a million Israelis living in 140 towns and villages that have sprung up on the ostensibly Arab West Bank in the past 30 years. When Corbin told him that these settlements were illegal according to international law, Goldberg replied that he didn’t care about mere secular laws. He was interested in the word of God as expressed in the Bible and that, according to that higher authority, there is no Palestine and so there can be no question of Arabs having a claim to live there. “This is where Abraham walked. Why should we give it up for a bunch of murderers?” he asked rhetorically.

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