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Global issue 20

Palestinians, undertaken in the USA, reveals that they are descendants of Christians, Jews and other earlier inhabitants of the Eastern Mediterranean. Prior to World War I, Palestine was fairly undeveloped, with most of the population living in single-storey mud houses in villages. In cities, including Jerusalem, typhoid, smallpox, diptheria and other epidemics were common. In 1911 Jerusalem had a population of 60,000, including 40,000 Jews, 7,000 Muslims and 9,000 Christians. The Zionist movement – which saw Israel as the land that God had promised to the Jews – had begun in 1891, increasing the steady trickle of Jewish immigrants escaping persecution elsewhere. Although the new arrivals themselves were often impoverished, the Zionist movement brought donations from rich Jews abroad, helping to buy land and establish more Jewish settlements. The Ottomans had been ruling Palestine since 1840, but Turkey sided with Germany in World War I, making its empire a target for the British army. Britain subsequently broke up the Ottoman Empire, with Palestine becoming a British protectorate. The background to the forming of the modern state of Israel really begins with the start of the British mandate in 1922, when governance of the region was granted to Britain by the League of Nations. Initially, this settlement included Jordan, but Jordan was given independence in 1946. Israel’s current focus is simply to contain the situation. And the Palestinians don’t have the leverage to bring about change without international backing In 1921 Britain’s Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour gave his name to the Balfour Declaration, which promised a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. However, a year earlier the British government had also promised the Arabs their own state and the Balfour Declaration appeared to contradict this. Meanwhile, rising anti-semitism in Germany led to more Jews arriving in Palestine prompting the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, which saw Arabs protesting against British colonial rule and Jewish immigration. In 1947 Britain declared its intention to pull out of Palestine, with the United Nations General Arena Politics Hebron: a Palestinian protests about Israeli settlements in the West Bank Assembly proposing to divide Palestine into two independent states – one for Jews and one for Arabs. The Arabs rejected the UN partition plan and a war ensued in 1948, in which the Jews ended up with far more land than they had been allocated by the UN, declaring an independent state of Israel in 1948 – the beginning of the modern country of Israel. During the war, more than 700,000 Arabs were driven out of their homes and hundreds of Arab villages were flattened. Many of these refugees had gone to neighbouring Arab countries, hoping to return to Palestine after the war. Since the formation of the state of Israel, further wars have seen border changes, usually in Israel’s favour, leading to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza (see box on page 39). The first Intifada (literally ‘the awakening’ in Arabic), beginning in 1987, saw unrest that brought the plight of the Palestinians to international attention. This led to the Oslo Agreement in 1993, which was meant to pave the way for a two state solution. 1948 State of Israel founded 1947 The UN proposes “an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem”, with Jerusalem held under an international trusteeship. Arabs reject the proposal and a civil war follows 1973 Yom Kippur War (October War) sees Egypt launch an attack in Israel on one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, in an attempt to re-take the Sinai 1967 Six Day War sees Israel expand its territory, taking the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem 1993 Oslo Agreement paves the way for a separate Palestinian state, with Israel pulling out of Gaza and the West Bank Saar Yaacov, GPO CC BY SA 2 1987 First Intifada sees Palestinians rise up against Israeli rule in the occupied territories 2000 Second Intifada begins out of frustration at lack of progression with the Oslo Principles 2006 Israel at war with Lebanon 2014 Israel bombs Gaza, killing more than 2,100 Palestinians, mainly civilians www.global global f i rst quar ter 2015 -br ief ing.org l 37 © Dona Bozzi / Shutterstock.com


Global issue 20
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