Re-imagining Settler Colonialism: Britain as Palestine

Great Britain as Palestine, by Jordan Engel
Great Britain as Palestine, by Jordan Engel

In contemporary conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the role of the British in creating the problem is often under-recognized. From 1920 to 1948, Palestine was a British administered colony. The British government promised the land to both Jewish and Arab parties – to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration and to the Arabs in the League of Nations mandate. In 1947, the British withdrew from the Palestine, stating it was unable to arrive at a solution acceptable to both Arabs and Jews. In other words, the problem they helped create was now too complicated to help resolve. This map imagines the changing geography of Israel-Palestine on the island of Great Britain. The four maps, from left to right, mirror the late British Mandate period, the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, the de facto borders from 1949-1967, and the fractured geography of today, including the West Bank wall.

Map: Jordan Engel. As always, the Decolonial Atlas’ original media can be reused under the Decolonial Media License 0.1.



  1. Sorry for existing as a Jew and wanting a homeland for my people, obviously for the “decolonisers” we must always be a dispersed minority without a homeland.

    This sort of map presumes that Levantine Arabs are only particular to Palestine. In reality similar culture is displayed in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Also worth noting that Pikot-Sykes in Versailles created the borders of Palestine, not Arabs putting up their own borders. Jewish culture only dominates in Israel but the Marxists want to expel it to the margins again as an apparent act of justice. When will Marxists stop dehumanising Jews and placing rigid theory on complicated conflicts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All the above Israeli apologists’ details of historical fact or nonsense fail to address, let alone, justify the current genocide, extermination, enslavement, overt racism, more tenderly referred to as military occupation.


  3. Have you read Edward Henderson’s “Arabian Destiny”? His stint in Palestine described early in the book has pertinent comments to this – that for ex. repatriated Israelis-to-be were street-wise from a millennia of persecution abroad, that indigenous Palestinian farmers stood not a chance in negotiating land purchases or deals, so the former ended up owning the valleys and the latter were pushed up onto the hilltops, and springs lying mid-slope were perennial source of conflict. And if you read Malcolm Morton’s “In the Heart of the Desert” you learn that before and after WWII the Jewish were the terrorists blowing up English hotels, reminding us that Jews were the bandits in Galilee that Romans were trying to eradicate, to which I add ergo their millenial diaspora, and Jesus was the original rebel.


    • first the “indigenous” farmers of Palestine wouldnt have been the arabs, the arabs are indigenous to another area, called the hejaz. second the Jewish indigenous fought the british imperialists, and yes they did blow up the centre of the occupational government, so its not strange that the british historians would call them terrorists. and Jesus was a jew btw, that should give you a hint as to who the indigenous people were.


      • I called them indigenous and not Arab for a reason, I use the term terrorist as historic not political fact, and yes the indigenous people were Semites that branched into Jewish and Palestinian – like the Greeks and Turks or the Wallon and Flemish etc. etc. isn’t it fascinating that having common roots doesn’t stop from persecuting each other?


  4. and not just the “British government” as an independent entity either, but the machinations of the Rothschild-connected persons within the British government (and banking system, etc.) which of course used the colonial interests of Britain in the Middle East towards their larger agenda…


  5. The problem with this map is that again you are making the incorrect assumption that “Palestine” was only Arab, that the Jews are not a returning indigenous people and that there weren’t Jewish communities throughout the land, living in the land for thousands of years. You ignore that the Turks ruled the “Palestinian area” for 4oo years, not calling it Palestine but as an administrative area of Jerusalem. You ignore that part of the Palestine mandate that was given to non-indigenous Arabians to create the country of Jordan. You conveniently ignore an Ottoman census that shows Jews were and remained the majority population in Jerusalem. You also ignore the fact that the land was owned by the Ottomans and not the people living on the land; that the returning Jews bought land from the landowners, gained land in wars of aggression/extermination from Arab neighbors (the Arab initiated wars being illegal under International law) and gave land back to secure peace over the decades. You ignore that the Palestinian Arab was offered a country four times in history and the leadership rejected the compromise because they have refused to accept the real facts that the Jews have rights in the Land of Israel. You ignore the fact that the only time an independent nation ever existed on the land was when the Jews ruled the land either as the Kingdom of Israel, the Hasmonean Empire, the Bar Kokhba Administration and today’s Modern Israel. At no time was there ever a nation of Palestine ruled by a Palestinian Arab people. Even under Salahadin the administration of Jerusalem was from Damascus.This is ignorance again of the actual real facts of the issue using maps/picture as hyperbole.


  6. you need to study much more. The British did not promise the country to both Jews and Arabs. They promised Transjordan perhaps to Sharif Hussein, the Hashemite, in the Hussein-MacMahon correspondence. However, the 1920 San Remo Conference and the League of Nations in 1922 erected the whole country juridically as the Jewish National Home in which the Arabs were to have civil and religious rights. The UK changed to a frankly pro-Arab position in 1939 when they issued the 1939 “white paper on palestine.” This policy, found illegal by the League’s Permanent Mandates Commission, curtailed Jewish immigration severely and prevented most Jews from finding refuge in their national home when they most needed a home/refuge.


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