1880’s – 1948 – Origins The roots of the Israel – Palestine conflict stretch very far back in time. Beginning with the first wave of immigration of Zionist Jew’s into Palestine in the late 1880’s. The goal of these Zionist immigrant’s, and Zionism as a whole, is to establish Jewish life on a National basis, by creating it’s own sovereign state. Zionist’s viewed this state as a place for all Jew’s to reside; free from the anti – Semitic discrimination and persecution they have endured in other societies. Zionist Jew’s looked at Palestine not as a place for settlement, but as a place for colonization. Between 1882 and 1947, as many as 543,000 Jews settled in Palestine, joining the 24,000 that were already there. (1) As immigrants - whose goal was to take over the land for the formation of a Jewish state – began to pour into Palestine; the indigenous population (mainly Palestinian Arab’s) became very concerned leading to inevitable violence. World War 1 (1914 – 1918) can be looked at as a turning point in the relationship between Israel and Palestine. Neville J. Mandel noted in his book “The Arab’s and Zionism Before World War 1” that
“All was well between Arab and Jew until World War 1. The Jews it is said, were too few and the Arab’s too inarticulate for discord to manifest itself. Among the Arabs there was, at most, only rudimentary opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine and only a vague awareness of Zionist claims. A corollary of this view is that Arab’s only discovered the “challenge” of Zionism when the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British Government in 1917.”
Initially, the British government promised the support needed to establish an independent Arab state; in exchange for an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. However, the British Government eventually sided with the powerful, wealthy Jewish Lobbyist’s. “Still, in some negotiations the British Government had promised Arab leaders control over Arab lands, while in others they had made different promises. In the desperate times of 1916 and 1917, the government in London would apparently do what was necessary to win the war.” (3) The Declaration may have won the support of Jewish, but was a cause of alarm in the Arab world. The tension created by the Belfour Declaration lead to decade’s unrest. The rise of National – Socialism (Nazi Party) and the ensuing World War (1939 – 1945) lead to an increase of European Jews emigrating into Palestine post 1945. Then, in 1947 the authority over the region was passed to the United Nations (UN) from Great Britain. Finally, on May 14th, 1948 British Mandate over Palestine ended and the proclamation declaring the establishment of the state of Israel was passed by the Jewish Peoples Council.(4) Within days Israel was recognized by world powers such as the United States and Soviet Union as it’s own sovereign state.
1948 – 1949 – Initial Conflict The declaration of Israel as it’s own sovereign state was met with intervention from the Arab League (– Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Arab’s were successfully able to capture the Jewish quarter in the old city of Jerusalem on May 28th, which was soon followed by a four -week truce implemented buy the UN on June 11th. In response, Israel quickly recruited people into the Israeli