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Middle East

Conflicts and Nations

How did Israel become a country

European Jews, who had been persecuted for centuries in Europe, began to emigrate to the area we know as Palestine in the late-nineteenth century. These new immigrants purchased land and set up communities in the vast desert and coastal areas. This area, which was under British administration, began to see a new influx of European Jews in the early part of the twentieth century. After World War I, the United Kingdom issued the Balfour Declaration, which accepted the establishment of a Jewish state in present-day Palestine. At the time, Palestine was not comprised of countries, but was merely a collection of territories ruled by colonial powers such as the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

After World War II, hundreds of thousands of European Jews emigrated to the region, enough to cause the Arab community to revolt and riot against them. At this time, nearly 33 percent of all people in Palestine were Jewish. Jewish paramilitary groups increasingly fought against British occupying forces. The United Nations recognized Jerusalem as an international city for both Arabs and Jews, and it approved an interim plan to divide Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. The Jewish authorities accepted the plan, but new Arab countries that formed after World War I and World War II did not. One day before the British mandate of control over the Palestine region expired in May 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed.



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