Years: 1948-1949 | Est. deaths: 8 000
Published prior to 2013
Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the League of Nations granted the British and the French "mandates" or temporary colonial administration, over former Ottoman "Vilayets" or provinces south of present day Turkey. The two powers drew arbitrary borders and created three Arab countries -- Iraq, Syria, Lebanon -- that exist to this day.
Out of what had been known as "southern Syria," the British created an area it officially called "Palestine" in English, "Falastin" in Arabic and "Palestina AI" in Hebrew, carving, and recarving its borders to suit its own interests. Under the direction of Winston Churchill, the portion of the Palestine mandate that lay to the east of the Jordan River was split administratively to form an autonomous emirate then known as Transjordan, later to become the Kingdom of Jordan.
At the time the mandate came into effect (1922), the population of Palestine (west of the Jordan River) consisted of approximately 589,200 Muslims, 83,800 Jews and 71,500 Christians.
The area to the west of the Jordan became the center of Zionist aspirations for a Jewish homeland or state, and gradually saw a large influx of Jewish immigrants escaping persecution in Europe.
This immigration drew immediate and violent opposition from local Arabs.
Under the uncompromising leadership Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the local Arabs rebelled against the British and attacked the growing Jewish population many times during the Mandate. These sporadic attacks began with the so-called "Hurani Riots" of 1921. In 1929, the Jewish community of Hebron was massacred and the survivors were driven out with the loss of 60 lives. An increase in Jewish immigration following the rise of Adolf Hitler led to the so-called Great Uprising from 1936 to 1939, when Arab general strikes and riots targeted both the British and the Jews now living in the country.
These attacks had three lasting effects: First, they led to the formation and development of Jewish underground militias, primarily the Haganah, which were to prove decisive in 1948. Second, when it became clear that the two communities could not be reconciled, the idea of partition was born.
Third, the British responded to Arab opposition with the "White Paper" of 1939. This severely restricted Jewish immigration, but the advent of World War II meant that even the reduced immigration quota was not reached. The White Paper policy radicalized the Jewish population, and after the war, they would no longer cooperate with the British.
During this period, the Arab leadership never changed, even after the Grand Mufti fled the country in 1938. He eventually settled in Berlin, where he became a leading collaborator with the Nazis, responsible for recruiting an entire SS division. The Grand Mufti’s uncompromising propaganda, combined with a distaste for organization and planning, were to prove disastrous to the Palestinian Arab cause.
Source: excerpt from article in the open dictionary Wikipedia. Read Article