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But what do you know about them? Why does a young man go underground?” This querulous memo, recovered from a glass bottle on Mount Carmel, was not issued by a hothead from Hamas or Islamic Jihad wanting answers from the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, but rather it was issued by a future prime minister of Israel called Menachim Begin, who had a more emollient enemy in the British government and its colonial army of occupation, from whom he would eventually win the concession of a free Israel through a campaign of murderous bombing.

His group of terrorists, or freedom fighters if you like, was known as the Irgun Zvai Leumi. They appealed to the British occupying forces by using the same historical analogy that Palestinian terrorists nowadays use against the Israeli occupying forces.

“...Remember 1940”, the memo continued. “Then it seemed quite possible that your island country would be conquered and subjugated by Hitler hordes (sic). If that were the case, what would you have done?

Would you have gone underground and fought the foreign invader by all available means? That is exactly our position.”

In a last flourish of the pen, the right wing Israeli statesman-in-waiting asks why the British are desperate to retain their Middle Eastern territories. Today his theory is echoed by every “cheese eating surrender monkey” and left wing peacenik opposed to the Anglo-American war against Iraq.
“Oil. Their Lordship’s income – is that worth fighting for?”

Typed on a single sheet of paper and marked “true copy”, the document was found by a British Intelligence officer on Mount Carmel and has been hailed by Mullock and Madeley (15% buyer’s premium) as “possibly the first of its kind actually to coin the word ‘terrorist’”.

A highlight of the auctioneers’ inaugural sale of historical manuscripts at their Church Stretton salerooms on March 14, the document was expected to fetch £500-700. In the event, it made £500.