Palestinian Refugees Flee Israel (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Four hundred thousand Palestinians were driven from their homeland after the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, joining those who fled to safety after the U.N. vote to create a Jewish state.
Summary of Event
As World War I raged in the Middle East, Great Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 to divide the region into British and French zones of influence. Meanwhile, the British high commissioner of Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, carried out diplomatic contacts with Hussein ibn Abdallah, emir of the Hijaz, whereby the British promised the Arabs independence if they joined the Allies against the Turks. On November 2, 1917, however, British foreign minister Arthur Balfour issued a declaration favoring the idea of establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine.
The Balfour Declaration stipulated that nothing would be done to harm the rights of the indigenous Arab population, at the time numbering nearly 575,000, or 92 percent of the population. Subsequent events proved otherwise. Violence was already foretold by the King-Crane Commission, dispatched by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson in the summer of 1919 to investigate conditions of the region in preparation for the Paris Peace Conference.
The Zionist delegates at the conference argued that Great Britain, not France, should be given the League of Nations’ mandate to rule Palestine. Having been supported by the...
(The entire section is 2091 words.)
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