Palestine Post WWII

Once WWII had ended and was followed quickly by the war of 1948 which granted independence to the Jews and the formation of the State of Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict truly began in earnest.  In the war of 1948, Israel had dominated its Arab neighbors and reclaimed much of the territory that the Jews believed was theirs through divine mandate.  This led to understandable and reasonable objections from the surrounding Arab nations, and even more understandable conflicts between the Jews and their former Palestinian Arab neighbors.  Many Arabs living in Palestine prior to the war of 1948 had fled their homes when war broke out, reasonably so.  Many others were removed by force.  Once the dust had settled, however, Palestinian Arabs believed they had the right to return to their homes and villages – a right that the Jewish State of Israel flat out denied.[1]  The Jewish leaders of Israel framed their rejection of that right in terms of national security – despite the official designation of Israeli citizens, all Palestinian Arabs were considered to be potential subversives by the State.[2]  The State of Israel retained the right to move remaining Arabs off of their land by force, despite their lawfulness, and entire villages were moved or destroyed by the military.[3]  Israel believed that these now-refugees should be embraced and welcomed into the surrounding Arab countries, but although they received sympathy from Arabic neighbors, they were also viewed with suspicion and most of them were denied citizenship in their new countries of residence.[4]  This, rightfully, created contention between the Jews and their Arab neighbors, both of whom believed they had a right to the land that they had once called home.

The second post-WWII source of conflict over Palestine was Israel’s new position of extreme aggression – even provocation – of their neighboring Arab countries, much to the chagrin of European powers like Britain and the United States.  Known as Ben-Gurionist Activism, the Jews believed mandate Britain was obligated to help them establish their rights and independence.[5]  When that failed to happen, Ben-Gurion believed that they had to be confronted both diplomatically and militarily to ensure the establishment and maintenance of Jewish rights.[6]  This activism also assumed that the only discourse the Palestinian Arabs would understand would be military strength.[7]  Any hint of resistance or hostility had to be met and challenged head-on to demonstrate to the Arab states (and to the rest of the world at large) that Israel would not tolerate anything that threatened either its security or its sovereignty.[8]

[1] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 9th Edition, (New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2017): 222.

[2] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 222.

[3] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 222.

[4] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 223.

[5] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 226.

[6] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 226

[7] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 226.

[8] Charles D Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 226.

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2 thoughts on “Palestine Post WWII

  1. You only cite one source of information. I haven’t read the book, does Charles D. Smith tend to hold Israel accountable for all wrongs post WW II in the Middle East?

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    1.  Yeah no,  not at all.   It is surprisingly a balanced textbook complete with collections of primary source material.  Both sides are most certainly at fault, and both have a lot of blood on their hands. 

      Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

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