Why did Israel occupy Palestine? | Nakba
A question that was asked again among generations from different Arab
countries, especially young people, chanting why Israel occupied Palestine, looking for details of the 1948
war and how to establish the state of Israel
100 year old case
Britain took control of the area known as Palestine after defeating the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled
this part of the Middle East, in World War I.
This land was inhabited by a Jewish minority and an Arab majority.
Tensions escalated between the two sides when the international community assigned Britain the task of
establishing a “national Homeland” for the Jewish people in Palestine, which represents to the Jews the
land of their ancestors, as well as to the Palestinian Arabs who see it. As their land, they opposed this move.
In the period between the twenties and the forties, the number of Jews coming to Palestine increased,
many of whom had fled religious persecution in Europe, searching for a homeland in the wake of what
was known as the Holocaust in World War II.
Violence between Jews and Arabs or against British rule in the region also grew.
In 1947, the United Nations voted on a resolution to partition Palestine into two separate states, Jewish
and Arab, with Jerusalem becoming an international city.
In 1948, the British who were ruling the area left without being able to solve the problem. The Jewish leaders declared the establishment of the State of Israel.
Many Palestinians objected to this, and a war broke out in which forces from neighboring Arab countries
came to the area.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced or forced to leave their homes in what was known as the “Nakba”.
After the fighting ended with an armistice the following year, Israel had controlled most of the area.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, the Gaza
Strip and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the following war in 1967.
Palestinian refugees and their descendants remained in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in neighboring
countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Israel did not allow them or their grandchildren to return to their homes.
Israel still occupies the West Bank, and despite its withdrawal from Gaza the United Nations still considers
that patch of land part of the occupied territories.
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