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To What Extent was Arab Zionist Tension the Result of the Interference of Foreign Powers in the Middle East

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"To What Extent was Arab -Zionist Tension the Result of the Interference of Foreign Powers in the Middle East" Foreign leadership and interference in the Middle East was a very important factor in the development of tension between the Arabs and the Zionists. This foreign influence was often British and French. This factor was, however, by no means the only reason for the tension. Other reasons include differing beliefs and both believing that the area known as Palestine should be theirs due to religious affinity with the region. Another key reason was the influx of Jews into Palestine as a result of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 30s and 40s. British influence in the Middle East really began in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War. They were fighting a war against the Ottoman Empire whom had allied themselves with Germany and also had control of the Palestine region. During this battle, in order to gain allies in the fight to defend the key trading route of the Suez canal, the British in the form of the Hussein-Mc Mahon correspondence. This pledged that after the war was over Arabs would gain sovereignty over the Palestine area, as well as other areas of Arab territories, in exchange for Arab support. However, the above promise was never carried out as the British under the influence of Mark Sykes, assistant to the war cabinet for Middle Eastern affairs thought that British control over Palestine after the war was key in order to ensure the protection of the Suez Canal. ...read more.


This caused resentment to brew in the Arab world towards the British and the Zionist movement, by making the Arab nationalists seem outnumbered and isolated. As a result the tension between the different groups was further heightened as the issue of sovereignty and fair treatment of the two parties was disputable. In order to try to resolve the issue of split promises the British proposed to the Palestinian National Congress that they would set up a government with equal representation by Jewish Zionists and Arabs in Palestine, this proposal was refused by the 80-90% majority of Arabs who thought that giving this much control to a very small Jewish percentage was unfair and disadvantageous. The Zionists though obviously supported this proposal so more resentment was created in these differing beliefs. To make these matters of disagreement worse the largely Arab Palestinian National Congress rejected the terms of the Balfour Declaration (which favoured the Jews) so the Zionists resented the Arabs for the open act of refusal of Zionist theory, so tension further increased. The British support for Jewish immigration into Palestine also caused much tension as the Huge Jewish increase, to about a third of the total population by 1939 (from previous figures of about 10%) saw much of the most fertile and valuable land go to Jewish immigrant who bought land and took it away from Arabs whom occupied but had no legal right to the land. ...read more.


This therefore caused dispute and anger to arise. The malcontempt was especially rife from the Arabs toward the Zionists, whom seemed totally devoid of any concern for the rights of the existing Arab majority. Most Jews thought of the area as a barren wasteland when actually there was a sizeable Arab population. The Zionists suggested that only the Jews should be allowed to cultivate and develop the land and that a Jewish National Fund should be established. This ideal excluded and deprived the Arab residents and was very unequal and unfair so the Arabs were resentful of the Zionist policies. Another reason for tension, this time by Zionist towards Arabs was in 1929 and the early 1930s when it was revealed that the Grand Mufti, an important Arab leader, had discussed with Hitler the "final solution" (the killing of Jews in concentration camps) and had stirred up anti-Semitism amongst the Arab population. It was then the turn of the Arabs to accuse the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky of being violently pro-Jewish immigration. This sparked riots and other public displays of the hatred that was manifesting between the groups. In conclusion I feel that the most important cause of the tension between the groups was, in fact, foreign influence. This acted as a catalyst to the second most important factor of religious differences, which had started the tension in the first place. I think the issue of Jewish immigration was the next important factor and then lastly the unprovoked acts of anti-Sematism from the Arab leader. ...read more.

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