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History of Palestine
Brief modern history of Palestine

Aided by the Arabs, the British captured Palestine from the Ottoman Turks in 1917-18. The Arabs revolted against the Turks because the British had promised them, in correspondence (1915-16) with Shareef Husein Ibn Ali of Mecca (1856-1931), the independence of their countries after the war . Britain , however, also made other, conflicting commitments in the secret Sykes -Picot agreement with France and Russia (1916), it promised to divide and rule the region with its allies . In a third agreement , the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Britain promised the Jews a Jewish ";national home"; in Palestine.

This promise was subsequently incorporated in the mandate conferred on Britain by the League of Nations in 1922 . During their mandate (1922-48) the British found their contradictory promises to the Jewish and Palestinian communities difficult to reconcile. The Zionists envisaged large-scale Jewish immigration , and some spoke of a Jewish state constituting all of Palestine . Palestinians , however, rejected Britain's right to promise their country to a third party and feared dispossession by the Zionists; anti-Zionist attacks occurred in Jerusalem (1920) and Jaffa (1921).

A 1922 statement of British policy denied Zionist claims to all of Palestine and limited Jewish immigration, but reaffirmed support for a Jewish national home. British proposed establishing a legislative council, Palestinians rejected this council as discriminatory.

After 1928, when Jewish immigration increased somewhat, British policy on the subject seesawed under conflicting Arab-Jewish pressures . Immigration rose sharply after the installation (1933) of the Nazi regime in Germany; in 1935 nearly 62,000 Jews entered Palestine.

Fear of Jewish domination was the principal cause of the Arab revolt that broke out in 1936 and continued intermittently until 1939. By that time Britain had again restricted Jewish immigration and purchases of land.

The struggle for Palestine, which abated during World War II, resumed in 1945 . The horrors of the Holocaust produced world sympathy for European Jews and for Zionism , and although Britain still refused to admit 100,000 Jewish to Palestine , many Jewish found their way there illegally.

Various plans for solving the Palestine problem were rejected by one party or the other . Britain finally declared the mandate unworkable and turned the problem over to the UN in April 1947. The Jews and the Palestinians prepared for a showdown . Although the Palestinians outnumbered the Jews (1300000 to 600000), the latter were better prepared . They had a semiautonomous government, led by David Ben-Gurion , and their military, the Haganah, was well trained and experienced . The Palestinians, on the other hand, had never recovered from the Arab revolt , and most of their leaders were in exile.
The Mufti of Jerusalem , their principal spokesman, refused to accept Jewish statehood . When UN proposed partition in November 1947, he rejected the plan while the Jews accepted it . In the military struggle that followed, the Palestinians were defeated . Violence was used on both sides.

Israel was established on May 14, 1948. Five Arab armies , coming to the aid of the Palestinians , immediately attacked it. Uncoordinated and outnumbered, they were defeated by Israeli forces. Israel enlarged its territory . Jordan took the West Bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt took the Gaza Strip.
(Israel occupied these lands after the Six Day War of 1967. )
The war produced 780,000 Palestinian refugees. About half probably left out of fear and panic , while the rest were forced out to make room for Jewish immigrants from Europe and from the Arab world. The Palestinians spread throughout the neighboring countries, where they have maintained their Palestinian national identity and the desire to return to their homeland.

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