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1. Early Times
(1000 BCE - 1917)

2. Establishment of Israel (1880 - 1947)

   Page 1
   (1880 - 1920)

   Page 2
   (1920 - 1939)

   Page 3
   (1938 - 1947)

3. The New State
(1947 - 1974)



The History of Israel
- A Chronological Presentation

2. The Establishment of Israel (1920 - 1939)

1920 - Arab Nationalism in Palestine
During and immediately after World War I Arab nationalism awakened. Feisal Ibn-Hussein, a son of the emir of Mecca, and the Zionist leader, Chaim Weizmann, tried to work out a plan to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Arabs. But with the loss of Damascus, the base of the Arab nationalists, to France, cooperation with the Jews ended, and the focus of Arab nationalism was instead directed towards Jerusalem and Palestine.

1920-21 - The first Arab Riots
Arab Nationalist leaders arranged demonstrations against the Jewish National Home. In april 1920 rioters attacked the Jewish population in Jerusalem. Many, both Jews and Arabs were killed or wounded. In May 1921 Arab nationalists attacked Jews in the port city of Jaffa, and soon the violence spread to other parts of the country with several Jewish farming communities coming under attack. After a week of fighting 47 Jews were killed and almost 150 wounded. Many Arabs were also killed and wounded, mostly in clashes with the British troops that quelled the uprising. As a consequence of the Arab violence the British administration tightened the rules of Jewish immigration into Palestine.

1922 - The League of Nations and the Palestine Mandate
On July 24th, 1922 the agreement on the mandates for Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia was confirmed by the League of Nations - the predecessor of the United Nations. At the same time the League of Nations approved the wording of the Balfour Declaration. Thereby the international community charged Britain with securing "the establishment of a Jewish homeland" in Palestine.

Transjordan is severed from Palestine.

1922 - Jordan Severed
from Palestine
In September 1922 Britain and the League og Nations decided that the 3/4 of Palestine east of the Jordan River would be excluded from the area, in which the Jewish homeland was to be established. The area was initially awarded limited autonomy under the name of Transjordan, but was later granted full independence as The Kingdom of Jordan. As leader of this new state the British installed Abdullah, another son of the Emir of Mecca.

1922-23 - Failed Attemps at Arab-Jewish Power Sharing
Several attempts were made by the British High Commissioner to Palestine at establishing various kinds of home-rule for the mandate, in which both Jews and Arabs were to participate. But the Palestinian Arabs rejected any proposal that included power-sharing with the Jews.

1920's - Development of the "Yishuv"
The Jewish community in Palestine (the "Yishuv") developed rapidly in the 1920's. A Jewish parliament, "Knesset Israel," was established, for which also women could both run and vote. Responsibility for Jewish religious, culturel and social affairs was transferred to the Knesset. Later, in 1927, it was also authorized to collect taxes from the Jewish community, and became responsible for education, health and social welfare within the Jewish sector. Unproductive and arid land areas were cultivated, industrial businesses were founded, and power plants and other infrastructure were being built. Hebrew was used as a business language, there was a Hebrew press, and in 1925 The Hebrew University was inaugurated just outside Jerusalem.

Herzl Street, Tel Aviv, 1920.

The Arabs also benefitted from the economic growth of the Jewish sector. In 1925 the Jews made up only about 15% of the population, while accounting for 45% of the mandate's total tax revenues. Conversely, most of the money was spent on the Arab sector, which, contrary to the Jewish sector, didn't have any functioning welfare system. All through the mandate period, in addition to the massive Jewish immigration, there was a substantial influx of Arabs from the surrounding countries.

Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini.

1929 - Renewed Arab Attacks on Jews
The Muslim leader in Palestine, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, initiated a campaign of false rumors about Jewish threats against Muslim holy places, followed by calls for attacks on Jews. Soon Jewish communities all over Palestine were under attack. In some cities Jews succeeded in defending themselves, but in other areas regular massacres on Jews took place. In Hebron 67 Jews were murdered, and the rest of the Jewish inhabitants driven out, ending two thousand years of uninterrupted Jewish presence in the town.

1930-31 - Uncertainty about the Jewish National Home
In reaction to the Arab violence of 1929 the British leadership in Palestine tightened the rules for Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews. But after protests from both the Zionist Organization and the League of Nations, and an intense debate about Britain's continued support for the Jewish National Home, the provisions were annulled.

1933 - Jewish Immigration Increasing
Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 resulted in renewed Jewish emigration from Europe, and Palestine experienced the largest wave of Jewish immigration yet. In the period of 1933-36 an estimated 175.000 Jews arrived, bringing the Jewish population up to around 370.000. The Arab population too, experienced massive growth during the mandate period, since 1914 almost doubling to 950.000.

1935 - Nazi and Arab Anti-Jewish Propaganda
Arab scepticism towards Jewish immigration from Europe was further exacerbated through German and Italian anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab World. Arab political commentators disseminated myths of Zionist plans to kill Arabs and desecrate mosques, and called for a Palestinian "Jihad" against both Jews and the British. In 1935 the powerful Arab Al-Husseini clan founded the "Palestine Arab Party," along with an armed militia, "al-Futuwwa," for battle against the infidels.

British forces engage Arab demonstrators, Jaffa 1936.

1936 - The Arab Revolt
In April 1936, as a protest against the immigration policy of the British mandate, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, organized an general strike and total Arab boycott of the mandate. Spontaneous violence erupted, followed by organized attacks on Jewish farming communities by Arab gangs. Civilian Jews were murdered, livestock killed and crops destroyed. The British accepted a Jewish demand for the arming of 3000 Jewish guards ("ghaffirs"), which, together with the Jewish underground organization, Haganah, established in reaction to the Arab riots of the 1920's, partly succeeded in defending Jewish settlements against the Arab attacks. The revolt and the accompanying strike was quite costly for the Arab community, and by autumn the strike was called off, and the violence died out.

The Peel Plan, 1937.

1937 - The Peel Commission's Partition Plan
A British commission of inquiry, led by Lord Robert Peel, was sent to Palestine in order to find a solution to the conflict. It suggested that the remaining part of the mandate (after the detachment of Transjordan) be partitioned into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The northwestern fifth of the area would constitute a Jewish state, the remaining, much larger part, would be Arab, while a strip from Jerusalem to the port city of Jafffa would remain an international zone. The plan included a "population swap" in order to make the proposed states as ethnically homogeneous as possible. Opinions on the issue were divided among the Jews of Palestine, but the general sentiment pointed towards hesitant acceptance. The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, along with the rest of the Arab World, rejected the plan, which was thus abandoned.

Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini in conversa-
tion with Hitler.

1937 - Arab-German Alliance
Nazi Germany also rejected any partition of Palestine, which could lead to "a Jewish position of power," and intensified its efforts to strengthen its position among the Arabs. In July 1937 the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, expressed his personal admiration of the new Germany. The Arab press in Palestine too, showed support for the European Nazism and fascism, and copied energetically from the European anti-Semitic propaganda. In exchange the Nazis supplied weapons for the Palestinian Arabs' fight against the Jews.

1937 - The Arab Revolt Resumed
In the autumn of 1937 the Arab revolt was resumed, and attacks on Jewish settlements and murders of Jewish civilians reached a new high. In 1938 the Haganah (Jewish underground militia) adopted a more offensive strategy and organized mobile units, which staged nightly attacks against Arab guerrilla bases, inflicting heavy losses on the Mufti's rebels. Also British soldiers were victims of Arab attacks, prompting Britain to clamp down on the Arab leadership. Mufti Haj Amin escaped to Lebanon, from where he continued to direct the fighting - not only against Britain and the Jews, but also against his Arab opponents in Palestine. When the revolt was finally suppressed in August 1939 the number of dead had reached 2.394 Jews, 610 British and 3.764 Arabs, including hundreds of Arab victims of the Mufti's terror.

Continue: Chapter 2 - The Establishment of Israel - Page 3


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