Palestine Travel Guide

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Palestine History - World War II and Palestine

When the Second World War broke out, the Jewish population sided with Britain. David Ben Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, defined the policy with what became a famous motto: "We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war." While this represented the Jewish population as a whole, there were exceptions.

As in most of the Arab world, there was no unanimity amongst the Palestinian Arabs as to their position regarding the combatants in World War II. A number of leaders and public figures saw an Axis victory as the likely outcome and a way of securing Palestine back from the Zionists and the British. Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, spent the rest of the war in Nazi Germany and the occupied areas, in particular encouraging Muslim Bosniaks to join the Waffen SS in German-conquered Bosnia. About 6,000 Palestinian Arabs and 30,000 Palestinian Jews joined the British forces.

On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on the British Commonwealth and sided with Germany. Within a month, the Italians attacked Palestine from the air, bombing Tel Aviv and Haifa.

In 1942, there was a period of anxiety for the Yishuv, when the forces of German General Erwin Rommel advanced east in North Africa towards the Suez Canal and there was fear that they would conquer Palestine. This period was referred to as the two hundred days of anxiety. This event was the direct cause for the founding, with British support, of the Palmach—a highly-trained regular unit belonging to Haganah.

On 3 July 1944, the British government consented to the establishment of a Jewish Brigade with hand-picked Jewish and also non-Jewish senior officers. The brigade fought in Europe, most notably against the Germans in Italy from March 1945 until the end of the war in May 1945. Members of the Brigade played a key role in the Berihah's efforts to help Jews escape Europe for Palestine. Later, veterans of the Jewish Brigade became key participants of the new State of Israel's Israel Defense Force.

Starting in 1939 and throughout the war and the Holocaust, the British reduced the number of immigrants allowed into Palestine, following the of the MacDonald White Paper. Once the 15,000 annual quota was exceeded, Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were placed in detention camps or deported to places such as Mauritius.

In 1944 Menachem Begin assumed the Irgun's leadership, determined to force the British government to remove its troops entirely from Palestine. Citing that the British had reneged on their original promise of the Balfour Declaration, and that the White Paper of 1939 restricting Jewish immigration was an escalation of their pro-Arab policy, he decided to break with the Haganah. Soon after he assumed command, a formal 'Declaration of Revolt' was publicized, and armed attacks against British forces were initiated. Lehi, another splinter group, opposed cessation of operations against the British authorities all along. The Jewish Agency which opposed those actions and the challenge to its role as government in preparation responded with "The Hunting Season" – severe actions against supporters of the Irgun and Lehi, including turning them over to the British.

The country developed economically during the war, with increased industrial and agricultular outputs and the period was consider an `economic Boom'. In terms of Arab-Jewish relations, these were relatively quiet times.


Travel Quotes:

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Confucius

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. Saint Augustine


Palestine Travel Informations and Jordan Travel Guide
Palestine Origin of Name - Palestine Boundaries - Additional Extrabiblical References - Palestine Biblical Texts

Palestine History: Paleolithic & Neolithic Periods - Chalcolithic Period & Bronze Age - Iron Age
Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Period - Persian Rule
Classical Antiquity: Hellenistic Rule - Hasmonean Dynasty - Roman Rule - Byzantine Rule
Islamic Period - Arab Caliphate Rule - Umayyad Rule - A Bbasid Rule - Fatimid Rule - Crusader Rule - Mamluk Rule
Ottoman Rule - Egyptian Rule - Ottoman Rule (1841-1917) - 20th Century - British Mandate
Infrastructure and development
- 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine - World War II and Palestine
End of the British Mandate 1945-1948
- UN partition and the 1948 Palestine War - Current Status

Palestine Demographics: Early Demographics - Demographics in the late Ottoman & the British Mandate Periods
Official reports - Current Demographics

Palestine Tourism
Palestine Tourist Attractions: Tabriz - Jifna - Hebron glass - Odessa - Damascus - History of Haifa - Narrow Gauge Railway
Jezreel Valley railway - Khirbat Jiddin - Sea of Galilee - Kawkab al-Hawa - Palestinian Cuisine - Al-Khader - Jaffa
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte


Arab Cuisines, Arabic Names, Baghdad, Bahrain, Camels, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman
Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

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2018-06-18T03:42:05-04:00