The promise that the Britons made to the Arab leaders, especially through the maintained correspondence (1915-1916) with Hussein Ibn Ali of The Mecca, about to give them the majority of the territories of the area and to grant their independence after the war (I World War), allowed the Arab rebellion and the expulsion of the Turks from Palestine between 1917 and 1918.
However, the Britons didn’t keep their promises to the Arabs. In 1916 Great Britain had already established the secret treaty Sykes-Picot with France and Russia in which committed to divide and to rule the region with their allies. Also, whereas the Jews could be doubly useful, about helping to sustain the oriental front and to stimulate the American warlike support, in 1917 the Balfour declaration took place; in which Great Britain guaranteed a “National Jew Home” in Palestine. This promise was approved later by the Society of Nations <b>(1)</b> which established the mandate of Great Britain in Palestine in 1922, although Great Britain administered these territories in fact from 1917.
In this way, during its mandate (1917-1948) the Britons found difficult to reconcile the promises made to both communities. The Zionist organizations maintained the Jewish emigration to great scale and some of them spoke about the constitution of a Jewish State in all Palestine. This attitude caused the rejection of the fearful Palestinian of being deprived of its territories by the Zionist and several attacks happened in Jerusalem (1920) and Jaffa (1921).
But in 1922 a British declaration rejected the Zionist pretences on all Palestine and it was divided by the Britons, who renamed the east area of the Jordan River (76% of the Palestinian territory) as Emirate of Transjordan which later would be known as Jordan. In this way the new emirate was excluded from all agreement to try about the Jewish state; and for its government was assigned the Prince Abdallah, son of Hussein Ibn Ali of the Hachemita dynasty. Hussein Ibn Ali had governed the sacred cities of the Mecca and Medina but he had been expelled of his lands after a crash with the forces of Ibn Saud (the second Arab leader of the time) who also had the support of the Britons.
With the creation of Transjordan and the new leader’s assignment the Britons liquidated “in certain way” their promises to the Hachemitas and they minimized the conflict land: Palestine. They also limited the Jewish immigration, although they confirmed the support to a “National Jew Home”. Then the Britons proposed to establish a legislative council, but the Palestinian rejected it to consider it discriminatory.
In 1933, after the arrival of the Nazi regime to Germany the Jewish emigration increased abruptly and in 1935 more than 60.000 Jews entered in Palestine. The fear to the Jewish dominance was the main cause of the Arab revolt which exploded in 1936 and it continued intermittently up to 1939. In that time Great Britain had restricted the immigration and the acquisition of lands again on the part of the Jews.
(1) The Society of Nations was an international organization created in 1919 by the allied countries after the I World War with the purpose of mediating as referee in the conflicts among the nations to prevent a warlike confrontation. (In 1946 it was replaced by the UN)
The later period to the II World War
The fight for Palestine which calmed down during the II World War was renewed in 1945. The horrors of the Holocaust woke up the world sympathy for the Zionism and for the 250.000 Jewish survivors in European refugees’ fields; but the Britons in spite of the pressure of the international public opinion and to the North American president’s repeated petitions Harry Truman, continued with the politics of prohibition of the immigration. Their interests with the Arab countries were more important.
Between 1945 and 1948, in spite of the British patrol, the “Brihah” an organization of the Jewish Brigade (1) transferred illegally to more than 100.000 Jews to Palestine. British sailors captured many of the ships used in the operations and they jailed their passengers in fields in Cyprus Island. The incarceration of Jewish refugees put to the world opinion against the British politic in Palestine. In 1946, the Irgun, one of the branches of the Hagana (2), provoked the explosion of the King David hotel of Jerusalem, the headquarters of the British military and civilian administration. The attack killed 91 people, among them British, Arabs and Jews.
Finally, the Britons declared the Mandate impracticable, they passed over the problem to the United Nations in April of 1947 and they proceeded to their retreat in May of 1948. The Declaration of independence of the State of Israel took place on May 14, 1948 in the Museum of Art of Tel Aviv, coinciding with the legal finalization of the British Mandate in Palestine. The declaration was carried out after having been approved in the General Assembly of the United Nations in November of 1947 the plan of “Partition of Palestine” in two states, one Jew and the another Arabic, accepted by the Jewish community and rejected by the Arab community.
In that time the UN didn’t have any kind of armed force able to guarantee its own decisions, in this way with the approval of the “Partition of Palestine” a new era of confrontations began between Jews and Palestinians.
(1) The Jewish Brigade was the organization integrated by military Jews seated in Palestine approved by the British government in July of 1944 to fight against the Nazi. Commanded by the brigadier Benjamin and under the orders of the British army, it faced the Nazi installed in Tarvisio (Italy) from March of 1945 until July of that same year in that the brigade was moving toward Belgium and Holland. After the war’s end, their soldiers decided to form secret squadrons with the order of identifying, to locate and to kill to all those Nazi officials that had been able to escape; but after time, they decided to assume a much more important mission for the future of the thousands of orphans and surviving of the concentration fields that wandered for the different fields of refugees that settled for all Europe. Their mission would be the one of sending them to its land, Israel.
(2) The Hagana was a paramilitary organization of Jewish self-defence during the time of the British Mandate of Palestine, between 1920 and 1948, created as reprisal group against the acts of indiscriminate violence on the part of the Arabs and the permissiveness of the authorities of the British Mandate. The Hagana, together with other organizations, was the predecessor of the current Israeli Army.