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Socio-economic and socio-political developments in Palestine under the British mandate : 1917-1939

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2009
Karaş, Esin
This thesis analyzes the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict and the historical evolvement of the Palestinian issue by focusing on the practices during the British mandate period. First and foremost, the factors which transformed the Jewish question into the Palestinian question are elaborated. In this context, the emergence of modern political Zionism is presented as the landmark incident in arousing the interest of the Jews dispersed all around the world in the colonization of their promised lands. Although the motive in initiating the colonizing activities in Palestine came with the advent of political Zionist thought, Jewish settlement in Palestine was materialized as a result of the development of British interests in the Middle East. The contradictory promises given to the Arabs and Jews by the British in the course of World War I are treated as the source of the conflict between them. It is stated that the Balfour Declaration, which is the manifestation of the British-Zionist alliance, is the preliminary step of the project of a Jewish state on Palestinian territories. In order to shed light on the implications of Zionist colonization on the Palestinian Arab society, first the socio-economic and socio-political circumstances in the Ottoman era are discussed. Later, the impact of the exclusivist policies of the Jews on communal relations is handled in detail. Moreover, the ways in which the pro-Zionist stance of the British mandate administration contributed to the nation-building efforts of the Jews are argued. Lastly, the causes and consequences of the sporadic Arab tensions, which broke out in 1920, 1921, 1929 and 1936 as a reaction against the British and Zionist policies, are analyzed.