By Michael Scott-Baumann
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Additional resources for Access to History for the IB Diploma. The Arab-Israeli conflict 1945-79
They were intended to rid the future Jewish state of as many Arabs as possible. In the weeks before the British withdrawal from Palestine, some of the bloodiest fighting took place in and around Jerusalem. A particularly highly publicized and well-known incident took place, in April 1948, in the village of Deir Yassin. It was inside what was to be Arab territory under the UN plan and it was the last village on the western side of Jerusalem whose Arab inhabitants had not fled. On 9 April, Irgun fighters, led by Menachem Begin, attacked the village and killed 245 inhabitants.
As early as May 1942, when news was only just beginning to emerge of the Nazi extermination of the Jews, the US Zionist conference had declared their support for a ‘Jewish commonwealth’ in all of Palestine. This became known as the Biltmore Declaration after the name of the hotel in New York in which the conference was held. KEY TERM Lobby To campaign for the support of, and put pressure on, members of a lawmaking body so as to shape its policy. Why and how did the Zionists resort to terrorism in Palestine?
One reason why the historical debate over the Arab exodus has been so intense is because it touches on the core of Israel’s image of itself. Most Israeli commentators, whether historians or political leaders, were keen to portray Israel as the innocent victim, rather than the conqueror, in the events of the years 1947–9. At the end of Chapter 3, you will see how this has influenced the debate over the outcome of the war which ensued once the state of Israel was proclaimed. Chapter summary The final years of the British mandate in Palestine 1945–8 The Jews in Palestine largely supported the British during the Second World War.