Israel-Arab Tension Fueled by British and United Nations: A History Lesson

The Irgun was an Israeli militant group that operated in Palestine until 1948 when it was absorbed by the new Israeli military. It separated from the larger underground military organization known as Haganah, which was designed for the defense against Muslim attacks.

The Muslim attacks began in response to an increase in Jewish refugees and the decrease of their rights, combined with the average Muslim not retaining enough land for sustenance.

Some of the best known terrorist attacks by the Irgun was at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 22nd, 1946. The second most infamous terrorist event took place in April 1948, and was known as the Deir Yassin Massacre. This was accomplished with the Stern group on the 9th of April 1948.

It is important to note that originally the Haganah was designed to protect Jewish refugees and settlers from increasing tensions with the resident Muslim population. Tension grew, due to land grabs by the Jewish state, unfair wages, and the unfair representation in the government set up by the British Mandate.

While the Stern group and Irgun diverged from the path of the mainstream Haganah, they were in close contact with Weizman, who later became the first president of Israel. In personal letters, he can be found denouncing Einstein in regards to Einstein’s opposition for a separate Jewish state in Israel. Einstein believed it would only further increase tension within the area, and believed that the residential population should be subject to the same opportunities as the Jewish population colonizing the already Muslim area.

Weizman largely ignored the rising tensions within Palestine, pushing for a separate state and not completely understanding the dynamics that were at play. Through the creation of the separate Israeli state, the local Palestinian population felt betrayed and used. at first they were given lower wages, then less land, soon leading to less seats within the active government. Weizman simply continued his plans for a separate state from the previously claimed lands of Palestine, gathering support from Great Britain as well as the United States.

While originally the British attempted to quiet down the situation within Palestine by implying the British Mandate, various strikes began to occur, and from 1936 to 1939, a full strike by the Palestinian population took place. The British responded to the 1936 full Palestinian revolt by clamping down, imprisoning Palestinians without any formal charges, indefinitely.

At times, the British resorted to destroying entire Arab villages, the most notable case was in June of 1936 where in Jaffa gelignite charges were used, rendering roughly six thousands Arabs homeless. The British were further involved in several serious atrocities, such as massacres at al-bassa and Halhul. Various villages were also fined by the confiscation of livestock and heavy taxes.

The British then implemented what would become known as ‘The White Papers’ which called for an independent Jewish and Arabic state, the Arabic population believed this to be illusory due to the political positions and legislation being in large support towards the Jewish immigrants.

Though it would limit the immigration by Jewish Refugees and settlers, it continued to raise tensions in 1939 when it was implemented. Because Palestine was virtually closed off to immigration, a rise in political support came during World War Two due to the persecution of Jews by Nazi Germany. After withdrawing from Palestine stating that they were unable to reach an acceptable conclusion by both Arabs and Jews, The United Nations implemented The UN Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) on November 29, 1947, effectively creating a separate state from Palestinian lands.

This was largely the impetus for the 1948 Israeli-Palestine war, due to the Arab League and the Arab Higher committee completely rejecting the UN Resolution.

In retaliation for what was widely seen in the Middle East as an unjustified cession from Palestinian territory, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq soon declared war on Israel in retaliation. After a year of fighting a ceasefire was declared.

Roughly 80% of the original Arabic population were expelled from the newly created State of Israel and its conquered territories, increasing its original territory by roughly 50%. This would mark the start of a bloody conflict, which still rages today.

Corrections, updates, factual information, and more in regards to previous article “Why Israel is hated by Muslims, the little known facts’. This can be found at