The Balfour Declaration

Topics: Israel, Second Intifada, World War I Pages: 5 (1938 words) Published: April 14, 2013
The Arab-Israeli conflict that takes place in Palestine to this day is long battle fought for years all over the world. The most violent and well-known area for this conflict is in Palestine with the fighting between Israel, and Gaza. Due to the Balfour Declaration formed in 1917 by the British government, in cooperation with Egypt, the area known as Palestine has become a war zone between the Jewish and Arab people.[1] The purpose of this paper is to closely examine the Balfour declarations role in the conflict in Palestine, and the other underlying reasons for Arab and Jewish conflict. The actions by the British towards the end of World War I are key reasons for the conflict that occurs in Palestine to this day.

The Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration was a declaration made in 1917. The Declaration said: His Majesty`s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which will prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.[2] This declaration underlined the British intentions to work with Zionist leaders in Europe in order to establish an independent Arab state in the area known as Palestine.[3] The idea of an Arab state in Palestine came from two things: the idea of a political and hegemony in the Arab nation that was loyal to Britain, and from anti-Semitism.[4] There was no particular interest in Palestine by Britain until the start of World War I when the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers. The British during this time “were interested in the short term in gaining the loyalty of the Arab leaders against the Ottomans.[5]” However in the long term the British sought to establish a political and economic “hegemony” throughout the Arab part of the world. The plans of the British had a complication that they did not consider; the fact that the Arabs would revolt against this idea. The Arabs did not accept the idea of letting Britain establish a nation inside their territory but it was agreed that, “Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all regions within the limits demanded by Sheriff of Mecca.[6]” In this statement however the British government never mentioned the area of Palestine; nonetheless, the Arabs assumed that it was included in their agreement. The movement of the Jewish population in Europe into Arab was not an action done out of the kindness of the British peoples' hearts. However the British politicians that were more directly involved in the Balfour Declaration, including Balfour himself, were openly anti-Semitic, in fact in 1905 Balfour had been the Prime Minister of Britain, and had issued the “Aliens Act”, which denied the migration of Jewish people fleeing Eastern Europe.[7] Shortly following the clearing of the Turks at the Suez Canal by the Egyptians, it was ordered that Egypt turn their attention towards Jerusalem and Palestine. The British up to this point had been having a hard time clearing Palestine after their failure to take the Gallipoli. After these failures the leadership of this mission was changed. During this time the British saw the importance of the Zionist movement in Palestine and did successfully move the Jewish populace to Palestine.[8] This later instilled many years of brutal violence between Israeli and Arab people.

History of Arab-Israeli Conflict
The beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflicts dates back to centuries ago; so far in fact that it is hard to pinpoint its initial origins. It is feasible to state that the conflict between Arab and Jewish people was set up since the beginning of time, and the diversifying of different religions in Palestine, which have been dominantly Arabic and Islamic since...
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