As Associate Professor Halim Rane said; “The origins of the Israel-Palestine Conflict are modern”. Make no mistake- they are. At the end of World War I (WWI) Britain acquired the region known as Palestine from the Ottoman Empire.
One year previous to the acquisition of Palestine, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. Whereby Britain pledged to facilitate the creation of a Jewish homeland in the region of Palestine.
Post-WWI this process was initiated by permitting the mass-immigration of European Jews into Palestine. Under the Ottomans, Palestine maintained a population that was more than 80% Muslim (the remainder a mixture of Christians and Jews). Violence sparked almost immediately, as the Jewish settlers forcibly removed the Palestinians from their land, and were subsequently prohibited from working the stolen land.
This continued until 1936-9 when the Palestinians finally revolted en mass. In fact, they managed to regain control over some of the stolen areas. 100,000 British troops were deployed to suppress the insurrection, which they accomplished. As a result, the Palestinians were disarmed.
Moving into the 1940s, the Jewish population had risen to approximately 30%. At this point, the settlers made their play for power. A co-ordinated bombing campaign was conducted against both British and Palestinian targets in an attempt to gain control of the region. The culmination of which came with the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.
Britain pulled out, and handed the fate of Palestine over to the newly-established United Nations (UN). The UN then passed Resolution 181, which partitioned Palestine into a Jewish State and a Palestinian State. Anyone who knows anything about partitionism knows, it doesn’t work. Look at Northern Ireland, look at Syria, look at Iraq, look at India and Pakistan. I rest my case.
The Jews accepted Res. 181. The Palestinians didn’t, and for good reason.
The Jews were awarded 55% of the land. This region contained all of the “key infrastructure”, according to Rane. Electricity, water, ports, arable land, etc. This meant 30% of the population was treated favourably. A privileged settler minority no less.
Palestinians who were 70% of the population were quite obviously disenfranchised. More so, they legally owned 97% of the land prior to partition. Furthermore, as we have seen, they were virtually defenceless. The Israelis sprung into action and began the acquisition of territory. To this day we are dealing with the consequences of Res. 181.
Sources and further reading: Halim Rane; Ilan Pape; Benny Morris; Avi Shlaim; Tom Segev; Hillel Cohen; Baruch Kimmerling.