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. The Sykes-Picot agreement between the British, French and Russian agreed to divide the areas promised to the Arabs between themselves.

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     In 1918 the British had taken control of the Palestine region and did not give it to the Arabs as promised. This betrayal was furthered by the Balfour declaration which was lobbied for by the influential Jew Chaim Weizmann. This memorandum stated the British intention to help create a “homeland” for the Jews in Palestine in sympathy for the Zionist cause and movement. It proposed to maintain the rights and presence of the hundreds of thousands of Arab inhabitants but then in a secret memorandum said that the interests of the Arabs were not important and that ...

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