History of Palestine: Jewish-Arab Conflict
History of Palestine: Jewish-Arab Conflict Last updated on Wednesday 28th April 2010
Following the defeat of Turkey in World War I, Britain strengthened its power in Palestine. Massive immigrations of Jews from many countries raised the Jewish population in Palestine from about 50,000 buy the beginning of 1900 to approximately 300,000 before World War II.
The Palestinians staged a general strike in April 1936 protesting against this massive immigration of Jews which they saw as a danger threatening their rights.
The British, from their side, put forward a plan for the partition of Palestine into three states, a Jewish one in the north, another state for the Arabs in the south and a third section to remain under the British administration in the Jerusalem-Jaffa (Tel Aviv) corridor. The plan was categorically rejected by the Palestinians and lasted until 1939. London was forced to give the partition idea and set limits to the Jewish emigration to Palestine.
Britain submitted the whole to the newly-established United Nations in the aftermath of World War II.
When the United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved in 1947 a new partition plan, 749,000 Arabs and 9,250 Jews lived in the territory where the proposed Arab state would be set up, while 497,000 Arabs and 498,000 Jews lived in the part which was to become the Jewish state.
To drive the Palestinians from their land, a detachment of the Jewish terrorist organization Irgun, commanded by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, raided the village of Deir Yasin on the 9th of April 1948, killing 254 civilians. The wave of terror drove 10,000 Palestinians from their land.
Israel unilaterally proclaimed itself an independent country on the 14th of May 1948. Armies from the neighboring Arab states attacked immediately, but failed to stop the consolidation of the newly-proclaimed Jewish State. The new Jewish state had, in fact, emerged from the 1949 war against the Arab armies with a land area larger than one proposed by the United Nations.
More than half of the Palestinians had to abandon their homes and headed towards the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they lived as refugees. The West bank had been annexed by the then Hashemite kingdom of Tran-Jordan , a territory which had been annexed by the Hashemite kingdom of Transjordan; the Gaza Strip was then under the Egyptian administration.
To the United Nations and, consequently, in the eyes of the international law, the Palestinians were not a people but simply refugees, i.e. a “problem” to be solved, although the 780000 Palestinian refugees were a direct result of war and forcible displacement to accommodate Jewish immigrants from Europe and the Arab world.