Long Term Causes Of The Israeli Palestine Conflict

1572 words - 7 pages

The Great War on the Western Front was a static war. In order to end the war faster the British needed to open a new front to try and tie down troops of Germany or one of its allies. Many of these attempts to open up a new front were made in the Near and Middle East. The campaign at Gallipoli, where ANZAC troops landed in 1915, failed miserably and after early successes Indian divisions also suffered defeats in Mesopotamia against the Ottomans. In search for a new way to break open the war the British decided they would need the help of the Arabs. The British plan was for the Arabs to stage a revolt against their Ottoman rulers. This would tie down Ottoman troops that were now assisting ...view middle of the document...

(Balfour Declaration, 1917) the British believed they needed the support of the Jews for a number of reasons. They wanted long term control in the Middle East to control the Suez Canal. Some of the other reasons for the Balfour declaration were more short term though. They believed by pleasing the Jews they would be pleasing Russia. The British were under the impression that there were a number of Jewish Russians high up in the government. By pleasing the Jews the british thought they would keep Russia in the war. With Russia still in the war that would keep two fronts open on Germany and tha Germany would have to split its forces. The British also thought that there were Jews in America and by pleasing them that would get the United states of America in the war. The Arabs consider this declaration as a betrayal of the faith that they placed in the British. The Zionists consider this the promise for a Jewish homeland or state. The declaration was written by Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild an important figure who was close friends with Chaim Weizman who was President of the World Zionist Organization. The paper doesn't promise a state, but that is how it was interpreted by the Jews as well as the Arabs. Either way it was a clear promise of support from the British government to the Jewish community. By supporting the Jews and their claim for Palestine through the Balfour declaration the British lost the trust of the Arabs. The Balfour declaration also caused much of the animosity from the Arabs to much of the Western World including modern day Israel.After their embarrassing defeat at Gallipoli the British were looking for a new front to combat the Ottomans. This led to the first agreement that was made that concerned the Middle East and Arab independence. This agreement is known as the Hussein-McMahon correspondence. Sir Henry McMahon was the High Commissioner in Egypt and Hussein bin Ali was the Sharif of Mecca. In 1915 and 1916 Hussein bin Ali and Sir Henry McMahon wrote a series of letters concerning an Arab state to each other. The British would help the Arabs gain their own state if they would revolt against the Ottomans. One particular letter written by McMahon identified the boundaries of an Arab state. "The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded."(McMahon-Hussein correspondence,1915) These descriptions do not specifically mention Palestine or indicate what would happen to the region Palestine. The British argue that Palestine was never mentioned in this agreement and that it is therefore justified that after the war and 1919 Versailles peace conference they had all rights to keep Palestine. The British also argued that they had stated that areas that were not purely Arab would not be included in an Arab state. As Palestine had a Jewish minority it would...

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