Thursday, December 8, 2016


The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory they received in the Mandate that followed the first war. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration to appease the Arabs. Fleeing the Nazis in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought were hampering the Zionist cause. The terrorist group Lehi (aka the Stern Gang) assassinated Lord Moyne, British Minister Resident in the Middle East. Eliyahu Bet-Zuri actually suggested sending agents of the Stern Gang to London to kill Churchill.

At the end of World War II Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine. The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine’s population.

On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

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