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Intro Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

 Section 14 

Evacuation of the Palestine Police

i. Evacuation- overall picture

ii. Hebron

ii. A HOP adventure pan>

iv. Bassa

v. Safad

vi. Jenin - A holding Camp

vii. Tiberias

viii. Haifa

ix. Jaffa

x. The last Day

Stand down

Old Comrades and New Ventures

Tegart LocationsThe Palestine police top brass surveying the UNs proposed partition map must have looked aghast when comparing the UN 1947 partition plan with a map showing the location of the tegarts.

For 28 years commanders of the Palestine Police had worked on the assumption that on Palestine Independence Day they would transfer the force to a single independent authority and each police station would have its own handing-over ceremony. Partition had been considered on more than one occasion in the past but each time had been eventually turned down as unworkable.

What were they to with the many tegarts in the the new Jewish territory surrounded by Arab villages and manned mainly by Arabs. Northern Palestine was going to be particulaly tricky. How would the Jewish underground forces re-act if British police handed over tegarts in Jewish territory to hostile Arabs? How would the surrounding Arabs, not only Palestinian but also Lebanese and Syrian re-act if the nearby police station was manned solely by Jews? The only real solution was to hand over the police force force to UN administration for a transition period while they were otherwise occupied evacuated British personnel and disposing of arms in such a way that neither Arabs nor Jews could benefit. The snag was that during the period of evacuation the British government would not have the force available to guarantee the safety of UN personnel so a transitional UN peace-keeping force was also needed but the UN, despite its vote for partition, had no peace -keeping force to spare for Palestine.

In consequence, the evacuation of British police and equipment from a Palestine where Arabs and Jews already fighting each other became a complicated task only to be undertaken in collaboration with the army.

Unfortunately for the police it was not a collaboration between equals. The British government placed the army in charge of the evacuation project and the mind-set of army differed greatly from that of the police.

The army’s priority was to pull British personnel out of the country as safely as possible, regardless of the welfare of the local residents. During the evacuation period, soldiers were forbidden to fight except in self-defence. The army commanding officer told the police chief that his men must leave the tegarts and smaller police stations by stealth and there were to be no ceremonial hand-overs. Police rank and file received no information as to who would take over the duties they would abandon. In the pursuit of a hassle-free evacuation the army even made deals with local Jewish and Arab armed forces, often to the detriment of the local civilian population.

For the most part, he Jews fared better than the Arabs during the police evacuation. Tel Aviv, the all Jewish town had its own British-trained Jewish police force. The Jewish zones in Jerusalem had worked largely without British policemenn since the bombing in Yehuda Street. The settlements Government -controlled Jewish Notrim, many British Police had worked more closely with Arab colleagues than Jewish ones. Numbers of British police felt guilty over army deals that endangered the Arab civilian population. Although there was nothing they could do about it legally, a few mutinied with dire results to themselves.

British police involved in these early rural evacuations were either re-assigned to District Police HQs or kept in transit camps before eventually being sent to Haifa where troop ships took them back to England. Young policemen still aged 18 were the first to leave Palestine.

The next pages show how the evacuation affected ordinary British Palestine Police

Next-Leaving Hebron (In progress)