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began to take steps towards the establishment of such a state and the settlement of Jews
there, they were encouraged and supported by Britain, which in the early 1900s gradually
became the principal centre of Zionist activity. They began to acquire financial support
from wealthy Jews and in order to further their political aspirations they formed an
organisation taking its name from the hill in Palestine where the prophets David and
Solomon, along with a number of others, are buried: Zion. The British were not adverse to
the Zionists plan, as they needed bases from which to perpetuate their control over the
region. The imperialists in the Foreign Office saw an important advantage in having a
friendly community in the region since the First World War had exposed the vulnerability
of the Suez Canal, Britains lifeline to its empire in India.

Initially, the aims of the nationalist Jews of the Zionist movement did
not attract much sympathy from other members of the Jewish community, and at the end of
the 19th century attempts to start the flow of Jews into Palestine were foiled when a
number of Jewish rabbis, aware of the political motives behind the moves and the link to
imperialist policies, vehemently opposed them. However, as opposition to and persecution
of the Jews increased, the solution to the Jewish problem was more and more sought in the
creation of a Jewish state in the ancient homeland of the ancestors of the Jews. Although
the Zionist Organisation still faced opposition from other Jewish bodies over this plan,
it was opposition it could check through its branches in European countries. During the
First World War political Zionism became dominant and the Zionists asked Britain and
America to give them guarantees that after the war, if the Ottoman government, which was
aligned with Germany against Britain and in whose hands Jerusalem lay, was defeated, this
ancient land would be changed into a Jewish state.

The Zionists endeavours proved fruitful. They were able to secure
the support of Lloyd Georges government in Britain, whose motives for doing so were
mainly self-interest, and influential figures in America. When Turkish and German forces
were defeated by the British at Megiddo in 1917, the land passed into Britains hands
and the name کPalestine was revived as an official, political title for the land west
of the Jordan. In November 1917, the Balfour Declaration, named after Lord Balfour, the
then British Foreign Secretary, was issued, pledging official backing for the creation of
a Jewish national home in Palestine. In April 1920, at a meeting of the Supreme Council of
the League of Nations in San Remo, Italy, Britain insisted on and acquired a mandate over
Palestine. It was approved by the League in July 1922 and went into effect in September
1923. Incorporated into it was the Balfour Declaration. In issuing this Declaration, the
British neglected their conflicting commitments to the Arabs. Sharif Husayn of Mecca, now
king Husayn, who was aligned with Britain, requested an explanation from the British
government. In reply Britain assured him that the decision to help the Jews return to
Palestine was not inconsistent with the rights and freedoms of the inhabitants of
Palestine. No mention was made of the plan to create an independent Jewish state.

The British were, at the outset, committed to the Jews, believing as
they did that a Jewish national home would best serve their interests in the region. They
allowed immigration and purchase of land, defended the Jewish community from riots, and
permitted the organisation of Jewish political institutions and the formation of a Jewish
army. They also suppressed the Arab-Palestinian population. Under British rule, the Jewish
community in Palestine grew rapidly from 50,000 in the early days to almost half a million
in some 250 settlements by 1939, after the immigration floodgates had been opened. Arab
opposition and uprisings were the response to occupation by the British and the Jews.
Winston Churchill, then Britains secretary of state for the colonies, was given the
task of reassuring leaders of the Arab community that Britain had no intention of turning
its Palestine mandate into a Jewish state and that immigration would continue only to the
point where a Jewish national home was formed and only as far as Palestines economy
allowed. Independent Jewish trade, economic and cultural agencies and even terrorist
organisations were quickly set up in Palestine with the help of financial aid from wealthy
Jews around the world. The Jews were highly organised through the Zionist Organisation,
the Jewish Agency, the Vad Leumi or representative body of the Yishuv (the Jewish
community in Palestine), Jewish political parties and a Jewish labour movement.

In 1920, however, the Palestinian Arabs were not organised. The Arab
community was deeply divided by numerous clans and groups of affiliated clans, by strong
class distinction between landlords, tenants and sharecroppers, and by religious divisions
among Muslims and Christians. The Arabs as a whole were beset by division and discord and
other than talking about helping their brothers in Palestine they did nothing. In the
course of the struggle against the British and the Zionists however, parochial ties among
the Palestinian Arabs began to give way to a sense of regional identity and the Greek
Orthodox Christians came to see themselves as part of the Palestinian Arab people.

In the summer of 1929, the first bloody confrontation between the
Palestinian Arabs and the Zionist immigrants took place. The Zionists and British troops
opened fire on the Palestinians martyring about 351 people. Many more were injured or
arrested and faced life sentences or execution. From the late 1920s till 1935, the armed
rebellion of Shaykh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the first Arab leader in Palestine to advocate
an armed struggle against foreign colonisers and rulers, took place. In 1935, al-Qassam
gathered some 800 armed men in Haifa and began marching towards the hills of the West Bank
in an effort to overthrow the British forces and make Palestine independent. They were
confronted by the British army and the Zionists in an uneven battle in which al-Qassam,
along with some of his followers, was martyred and many more were arrested.

In 1937, Abd Alqadar Husayni took over the leadership of the struggle
and he too, after many battles, was martyred along with his followers. In 1944, Hassan
Salameh assumed responsibility of commanding the guerrilla warfare against the combined
British and Zionist forces, and he too was eventually martyred.

In the late 1930s and during the 40s, the Palestinian problem became
an Arab problem and was at the top of the list of headaches for the international
community. In the face of the Palestinian struggles and Arab political reaction, the
British government began to change its policy in Palestine and in the White Paper of 1939,
it decided to restrict Jewish immigration and land purchases. This policy was to find even
wider implementation after World War II. Zionist reaction to this change was bitter and a
campaign of terrorist activities was launched against the British in Palestine.

Throughout the Second World War however, Palestine was relatively
quiet. The Arab rebellion died down and, in the early stages of the war at least, the
Zionists co-operated with the British, despite the latters enforcement of the
provisions of the White Paper, in the hope of being able to form a Jewish army to fight
Nazism. Their hopes proved to be in vain, and as the war progressed, the Zionists
increasingly turned against Britain, resorting once again to terrorist tactics in an
attempt to achieve their aims.

In December 1946, the Zionist Organisation demanded an independent
state in Palestine. The issue was placed before the United Nations General Assembly which
recommended in August 1947 that Palestine be partitioned - with 45.4% of the area going to
the Arabs, who made up 70% of the population, and 53.5% to the Jews, who constituted just
30% of the population and owned 6% of the land. The remaining area, covering Jerusalem and
its suburb, was to be placed under international control.

On 29 November, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181
specifying partition. The Jews accepted the partition plan warmly while the Arabs, with
good reason, rejected it angrily. Interethnic violence erupted immediately and intensified
as 15 May 1948, the date Britain was to resign its mandate, approached. On 14 May 1948, as
the last British troops left, a Jewish National Council was established in Tel Aviv and
the State of Israel proclaimed.

During the war, international Zionism had shifted its main effort from
Britain to the United States, where it gained the support of both major political parties.
Subsequently, in accordance with a prior undertaking, a few hours after the proclamation
of a Jewish state, Harry Truman, the US president of the time, officially recognised the
new Israeli government.

As the British withdrew, they left valuable arms and equipment to the
Jews. From then on UN intervention proved fruitless and attempts to stop Zionist attacks
on Palestinians were in vain. The usurping Zionists began to seize towns and villages
driving the Palestinian inhabitants out of their homes. Faced with the resistance of the
poor, innocent people, they perpetrated massacres like those carried out in the villages
of Deir Yasin and Kafar Qassem in April 1948. Arab villagers, terrified by reports of such
events, left their homes en masse to Transjordan. Early on 15 May, units of the regular
armies of Syria, Transjordan, Iraq and Egypt entered Palestine in support of the
Palestinian Arabs. They scored some initial successes, but the Israelis launched a violent
counter-offensive with the support of Europe and America and the flood of arms and planes
with which they supplied them. The battle ended with an Arab collapse and the exodus of
over a million Palestinian Arabs.

On the one side the Israeli government ignored the United Nations
partition plan while on the other different guerrilla groups and organisations were set up
by the Palestinians to defend their natural and indisputable rights. In early 1964 the
Palestine Liberation Organisation was formed following a proposal made at a summit of the
Arab League. The PLO held its first congress on 28 May 1964 in Jerusalem at which the
Palestine Liberation Army was created, giving the struggle a new form and impetus. From
that time on thousands of people were to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of
Palestine. Despite continuous Jewish immigration, the Arabs and Muslims continued to be
overwhelmingly superior in population.

The Six-Day War


On 5 June 1967 (1387 AH), with a surprise attack on airfields in Egypt,
Jordan and Syria, Israel sparked the third Arab-Israeli war, which became known as the
Six-Day War, and occupied the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip in Jordan,
the Golan Heights on the Syrian border and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. In a resolution,
the United Nations called on Israel to withdraw from the territories they had occupied,
Israel refused and went on to annex East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, formerly under Jordanian
control, and another twenty-seven villages.

The direct lesson of the Arab defeat was that the Arab regimes could
not destroy Israel in a classic war situation, especially since it employed the most
up-to-date weapons supplied by America and Europe, and therefore the Palestinian guerrilla
organisations had to be strengthened in order to confront it. After the 1967 defeat, the
Palestinians reached a collective conclusion that the restoration of their country
depended on their own efforts.

On 11 August 1969, the al-Aqsa mosque was extensively damaged by a fire
said to have been started by a short circuit in the wiring, but which in fact was arson.
The construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories was swift, and the
Israeli government strived to transform the appearance of such cities as Jerusalem from
Islamic to Jewish. Efforts were made to change the 3,000 minority population of Jews in
Jerusalem to the majority, consequently the Jewish population of this town rose to
190,000.

Extensive excavations at the Dome of the Rock shrine and the al-Aqsa
mosque were begun by the usurping government using the excuse that they had found
archaeological relics and inscriptions there dating back to the time of the prophets and
the old tribes. It was through this means that in addition to making more Arabs homeless,
the Zionists could destroy the grounds of this site and rebuild it. Eventually with the
powerful backing of America, Britain and Europe and after months of extensive efforts on
their part, and despite much opposition from the Arabs and even the United Nations, the
Israeli government succeeded in transferring the Israeli capital from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem.

The Battle of Karameh (1968)


Following the Six-Day War of June 1967, which ended in humiliation for
the Arabs, the Palestinian resistance organisations, based and trained in bases in Syria
and Lebanon, intensified their offensives. The town of Karameh, situated 25 km to the west
of Amman (the Jordanian capital) in the Jordan valley, was home to a number of Palestinian
refugees before the June 67 Arab-Israeli war. As a consequence of this war, its refugee
population of 25,000 doubled and the town found itself only 4 km from the new Zionist
truce line, well within the range of the Israeli army, a proximity which led the Fatah
organisation to establish its base there and the Zionist defence minister at the time to
announce that it had become the main base of Palestinian resistance. One of their reasons
for standing against the Israelis from Karameh was that they would communicate to the
Jordanian regime that the shedding of Palestinian blood in Karameh would give them the
right to remain in this land and broaden their armed offences from the Jordan valley.

In March 1968, in an attack by a fully armed Israeli raiding force on
the town of Karameh and the hand to hand battle which ensued with three hundred
Palestinian guerrillas, aided for the first time by the Jordanian army, the Zionists
suffered severe losses and were forced to retreat. The success at Karameh greatly boosted
Palestinian morale, opened up new ways for the victory of the Palestinian nation and gave
the Fatah guerrilla organisation new prestige and increased membership. In reality,
however, 1968 was a false dawn for the Palestinian guerrillas. Although during the battle
of Karameh, the guerrillas enjoyed extensive support from the Arab governments and for the
first time joined forces with the Jordanian army, this co-operation was to prove
transient.

The growth of guerrilla organisations based in Arab states came to pose
a severe internal threat to regimes such as those in Jordan and Lebanon, where they formed
a type of کstate within a state. In Jordan, agreements between the Palestine
Liberation forces and the Jordanian government broke down almost as soon as they were
made. In September 1970 a bloody civil war broke out between the two sides. Fighting ended
with a truce agreement sponsored by Arab heads of state which apparently left neither side
the victor. But over the following months the Jordanian government gradually asserted its
authority over the country and restricted the commandos base areas. By July 1971 the
Palestinian resistance had been virtually liquidated as a guerrilla force in Jordan.

The Ramadan War (October 1973)


In October 1973, the Egyptian army with shouts of Allahu Akbar
(God is the Greater), launched a surprise attack against the Israelis, crossing the Suez
Canal in three sectors and capturing the entire Bar-Lev line, which at that time was
deemed to be impenetrable, and with aerial support attacked Israeli positions in the
occupied Sinai desert. At the same time from the east a force of 500 Syrian tanks and two
infantry divisions advanced deep into Israeli-held Syrian territory to advance almost to
Israel proper, and the Syrian air force launched raids on Israel. In the first days of
this attack dozens of Israeli aircraft were destroyed and thousands of Israelis killed or
taken prisoner and the myth of the Israelis impregnability was exploded.

The Wests reaction was quick and in response to desperate appeals
from Tel Aviv, the US quickly began a large airlift of sophisticated equipment to Israel.
Twenty thousand tons of weapons were sent to Israel (this amount had increased to 33,500
tons by the end of the airlift on 15 November) plus 40 Phantom bombers, 48 A4 Skyhawk
ground attack jets and 12 C-130 transporters, while by comparison Soviet arms shipments to
Egypt and Syria amounted to 15,000 tons. Consequently, the Israelis soon succeeded in
turning their setbacks of the first week of the war into a military victory. By 12 October
they had forced the Syrians back to their main defence lines, which at their nearest point
were some 24 miles from Damascus, and on the night of 15 October, they succeeded in making
a thrust across the Suez Canal and consolidating a bridgehead on the West Bank. Eventually
on 25 October, with only 601 km between them and Cairo, a cease-fire framed in UN Security
Council Resolution 340 went into effect marking a formal end to the hostilities.

Following the 17-day Ramadan war, Anwar Sadat, who had taken over as
president in Egypt after the death of the national leader Gamal Abdul Nasser, set a course
for compromise with America and the West.

Recognition of the PLO in 1974


In 1974, the United Nations officially recognised the Palestine
Liberation Organisation as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. In
September, the UN General Assembly agreed without a vote to include کthe Palestinian
question, for the first time since the creation of Israel, as a separate item on its
agenda and then invited the PLO to take part in the debate. On 13 November Yassir Arafat,
accorded the honours of a head of state, addressed the UN General Assembly with a pistol
in one hand and an olive branch in the other saying: "I have come bearing an olive
branch and a freedom fighters gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."
His presence there was warmly welcomed by the representatives, especially those of the
developing world.

The Palestinians Conflict in Lebanon


Following the Jordanian regimes suppression of the Palestinian
resistance in Jordan in 1970-71, Lebanon became the last remaining centre of Palestinian
guerrilla activity. With the arrival of the Palestinian guerrillas and the PLO in the
early 70s and an influx of Palestinian refugees, traditional rivalry between
left-leaning Muslims and rightists, mainly Maronite Christians, was accentuated. The
stance of the Israeli-backed Christian militia on the presence of the Palestinians in
Lebanon differed sharply with that of the Muslims who felt it was Lebanons duty to lend
them all possible assistance.

Civil war was sparked in May 1975 by an attack on a bus carrying
Palestinians in a Christian quarter of Beirut by the Christian Phalange (officially: the
Lebanese Kataeb Social Democratic Party) militia, who worked in close co-operation with
the US and Israeli intelligence agencies. Violence spread throughout the country reaching
a culmination in atrocities with the attack in August 1976 on the besieged Tel el-Zaatar
Palestinian refugee camp in East Beirut by right-wing forces as a result of which
thousands of civilians were killed or injured. The civil war lasted until 13 October 1990
and influenced the political structure of Lebanese society and government.

The Camp David Accords


One of the most important events to occur in the history of the
Palestinian revolution and one which constituted a turning point in Israeli-Arab relations
was the signing of the Camp David Accords in September 1978. Following the demise of Gamal
Abdul Nasser in September 1970 and in particular after the Ramadan War of October 1973,
Egypt was led down a path of reconciliation.

In 1974 and 75, Sadat, who had taken over the reins of power after
Nassers death, signed two agreements with Israel over the Sinai; in 1977 he
unilaterally abrogated the Egyptian-Soviet Friendship Treaty, increasingly turning to the
US for aid; and in November of the same year in a dramatic move he addressed the Israeli
Knesset in Jerusalem. Eventually in 1978, at the US presidential retreat of Camp David in
Maryland, he concluded a peace treaty with Israeli Premier Menachem Begin under the
auspices of US President James Carter, making Egypt the first Arab country to officially
recognise the usurper regime and causing a rift in the Arab world. This event took place
on the threshold of the victory of the revolution in Iran.

Although past events and the treason of Camp David had created a
widespread feeling of despair and shame amongst the Arabs and Muslims, the victory of the
Iranian revolution in 1979 and the overthrow of the most powerful western policeman in the
region and Israels staunchest ally: the regime of the Shah, breathed new life into the
struggle against the Zionists and created a rare joy in Lebanon and Palestine, moreover
since calls of کToday Iran, Tomorrow Palestine were one of the revolutions main
slogans.

Attacks by forces of the Zionist regime on Palestinians in Lebanon


On 6 June 1982, the Zionist regime launched a widescale land, sea and
air attack against Lebanon with the ostensible aim of clearing southern Lebanon of
Palestinian guerrillas (who in any case had for nine months maintained a US-mediated
cease-fire). Initially the Zionists announced that strikes would be carried out only
against the Palestinian guerrillas, that they would last for only 48-72 hours, that they
had no intention of attacking Syrian positions in Lebanon or of occupying any part of
Lebanese soil, and that they would retreat as soon as their operations had ended. It was
soon apparent, however, that the Zionist objective was in reality the annihilation of the
entire Palestinian quasi-state that had been created in Lebanon and the establishment of a
docile and friendly neighbour under right-wing Maronite domination.

The assault lasted not 48-72 hours but 80 days. Heavy civilian
casualties occurred among both Lebanese and Palestinians; property was destroyed; Syrian
positions were attacked in the Beqaa valley and their missile positions destroyed; and
Beirut was subjected to a callous saturation bombardment which coupled with the severing
of water and electricity supplies as well as fuel and food helped the Zionists secure a
stranglehold on the PLO headquarters in Beirut.

Arab and Soviet assistance for the Palestinians was, during these
events, minimal. The Zionists had chosen the best time for their attack, a time when Iran
and Iraq were wrapped up in a full-scale war. Consequently, the Palestinian issue, which
until then had been the focus of the regions attention, was now relegated to a position
of secondary importance and the reactionary Arab regimes, with the excuse of supporting
Iraq in a war deemed to have first priority, procrastinated in their support for the PLO
and Syria.

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the PLO was forced out of
Beirut and the Palestinian fighters were dispersed to eight Arab countries. The PLO
headquarters was moved to Tunis. This invasion and the ensuing war not only weakened the
PLOs military might it also destroyed the organisations political clout driving some
of the Palestinian leaders to seek solutions in conciliation and the development of closer
relations with Egypt and Jordan.

Another important effect of this war was that it intensified
differences within the PLO - in particular in the ranks of Fatah which constituted one of
the biggest and most influential constituents of this organisation, even being considered

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