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The 1948 Arab-Israeli War
The War of 1948, which pitted Israel against the Arabic nations of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon had been a confrontation over fifty years in the making; beginning in the early 1880s with the first arrival of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe into Palestine.  The Jews who immigrated to Palestine were known as Zionists and other than to escape the anti-Semantic impression that had swept through Eastern Europe, they were determined to establish a Jewish state in their ancestral homelands. Lands that had been inhabited by a majority of Arabic people for the last few centuries. The very idea of uprooting native peoples from their homes, especially a people with whom the Jews already possess a rocky relation with is simply treading the thin line between strained acknowledgement and warfare. Due to the nature behind the Zionists migrating into Palestine, a conflict of some sort between the Jews and the Arabic people was already inevitable, but an already tense situation was only exacerbated by the interfering of Western Powers.
The Jews’ homeland of Israel had been conquered by Zionists, as they first started moving into Palestine, came with the intent to reclaim lands by lawful means- purchasing lands a little bit at a time. Yet, peaceful or not, purchasing lands from the Ottoman Empire inadvertently reduces the size of the empire that was already struggling to keep ahold of its territories, and still there is the main problem of buying the lands of people who already inhabit the region. Whatever peaceful intentions in which the Zionists assumed that they would collect their land for a Jewish nation, they were idealistic at best. However, the Arabs lacked political, nationalist awareness, they had no sense of nationalism and were thoroughly unorganized. This is the only reason that Zionist did not encounter more violent measures by the locals to remove the Zionists from Palestine. At least, for the first few decades. The early 1900s witness the violence toward the Jews rise with a distinct nationalist undertone  and the Zionist recognize that the have been negligent in underestimate the Arabs resolve to keep Palestine. The breakout of World War I only served to strengthen the new budding Arab nationalism, further straining the tensions between the Arabs and Zionists.
The Ottoman Empire rallied with the Central Powers during WWI, and despite supporting the Ottoman Empire in the early part of the war, Britain ended up taking control of Palestine in 1916. While Palestine was being invaded by the British, Sharif Hussein of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, the British high commissioner in Egypt, were ironing out plans for Hussein to encourage the Arabic people under his control to revolt against the Ottoman Empire. In return for turning against the Turks, Britain would recognize Arab independence and offer protection from any backlash toward the Arabic people from the Turks. Unfortunately, the promises made by Great Britain were half-baked at best and have long been a source of debate. Also, the promise to recognize Arabic independence did not fall to Palestine as McMahon’s promise only fell to lands under the Sharif.
On top of the unclear stipulations and weak promises set in the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, Britain and France were having their own secret discussions on how to carve up the Ottoman Empire after the war. In the Sykes-Picot Agreement, boarders were set to create new nations out of the Middle East. Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq would fall under British control, and Syria and Lebanon would come under French control.  Which, due to the debatable conditions placed on both sides of the Hussein-McMahon and varying interpretations of the Correspondence agreements, seemed to go against the very promise of freedom Great Britain had promised. Yet, despite the first two instances of imperial powers undermining the Arabic people, the worst blow came in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration. This declaration issued by the British government state that Great Britain supported the Jews in establishing a national home in Palestine. For Great Britain to publicize this statement was seen as betrayal toward the Arabic people in Palestine.
Britain was given mandatory power over Palestine in 1920 by the League of Nations and The Mandate was put into effect in 1923  Under the Mandate Years in Palestine, Britain helped nudge Palestine toward modernity. Literacy dramatically increased among Palestine’s Arabs under Britain Mandate and with this came a spread of national consciousness. The Arabs in Palestine, however, chose to display their newfound nationalism through violent anti-Zionist protests. On top of a new interpretation of Arab nationalism, there were Arab leaders using religious methods to turn the people not only against the Zionists but against Britain as well. That anti-British sentiment sprung to the forefront in 1936, when the Arabs in Palestine revolted against the British Mandate.
Revolts in Palestine against Britain lasted until 1939 and the force used to surpass the rebellions cost Palestinians many of their nationalist leaders and weakened their economy greatly. But, due to the timing of the insurgences, “Britain’s primary concern in the Middle East was to win over the Arab world in its regional rivalry with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.”  So Britain gave what Arab people what they wanted- it suspended Jewish immigration into Palestine. Though this appeased the Arab people, this did not bode well for Britain in terms of their relations with the Jewish people in Palestine; this new mandate went completely against the Balfour Declaration. Even still, when WWII finally broke out, thousands of Jews surged to support Britain against Hitler and his Holocaust. Toward the end of WWII, a radical Zionist group known as the Irgun began launching attacks on British officers and institutions in Palestine. The Jewish paramilitary team Haganah and the elite Palmah forces (both of which had been created at the beginning of WWII) assisted in trying to control these radicals, but by this point Great Britain had had enough . Britain turns the future of Palestine over to the newly created United Nations.
Balfour, Arthur J. Balfour Declaration. Letter. From Jewish Virtual Library. British L I Library. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/text-of-the-balfour-declaration ( a c c (accessed February 17, 2019).
Gelvin, James. “The League of Nations and the Question of National Identity in the Fertile Crescent.” World Affairs 158, no. 1 (1995): 35− 43.
Gill, Natasha. “The Original “No”: Why the Arabs Rejected Zionism, and Why It Matters.” Middle East Policy Council, 2017. http://www.mepc.org/commentary/original-no-why-arabs-rejected-zionism-and-why-it-matters (January 28, 2019)
Horowitz, Dan. The Israeli Concept of National Security. London: Macmillan Publishing Limited, 1983.
Morris, Benny. 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Oren, Michael. “Escalation to Suez: The Egypt-Israel Border War, 1949-56.” Journal of Contemporary History 24, no 2 (April 1989): 347−373.
Tal, David. “Israel’s Road to the 1956 War.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 28, no 1 (February 1996): 59−81.
Tal, David. War in Palestine, 1948: Israeli and Arab Strategy and Diplomacy (Israeli History, Politics and Society). London: Routledge, 2004.
 Morris, Benny. 1984: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press, 2008. Pg. 1
 Morris, 1948, pg. 1
 Morris, 1948, pg. 8
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 Friedman, Isiah. “The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence and the Question of Palestine.” Journal of Contemporary History 5, no 2 (1970). pg. 102.
 Balfour, Arthur. The Balfour Declaration. 1917.
 Gilbert, Martin. The Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 8th ed. London and New York, 2002. Pg. 23
 Miller, Rory. Britain, Palestine, and Empire: The Mandate Years. London: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010. Pg. 18.
 Morris, 1948, pg. 12
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