The formation of Israel has often been a talking point in politics. After the Second World War, the creation of a Jewish state was decided and mass migration of Jewish people went to live in the newly created state. However, its formation was quite controversial and a lot of blame was put on the British handling of it, even when the facts are to the contrary.
This influx of people caused problems, namely it forced the nation of Palestine to move and it created conflict with the local Arab population. The British government supported the idea of a separate nation of Israel, but it stuck to the 1939 White paper polices for political reasons. Therefore it had to act due to the increasing level of illegal immigration coming from Europe. Like we see today with the immigration coming from the Middle East into Europe, the people crossing the waters were in ill prepared boats, which often sank, with many loosing their lives. It was up to the British military, namely Bomber Command to go and save the immigrants, their job was to find them in the waters and then report back their location. My Grandfather did this job, however, a problem came, with terrorism, due to the British not allowing immigration into the region lawfully (for one it would cause problems with the local inhabitants who lived there for centuries), the British bases came under heavy terrorist attacks, even those who had saved the lives of Jewish immigrants.
Between 1945 and 1948, it is estimated that around 100,000–120,000 Jews left Poland alone. Their immigration was largely organized by those who wanted to see a Jewish state, under the group known as Berihah. They were also responsible for the organized emigration of Jews from other Eastern European countries such as Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, many of whom were Holocaust survivors.
The whole immigration problem came to a head in 1946, when Etzel bombed the British military Headquarters, killing around 91 people, the city of Tel Aviv was then put under a curfew. This move was criticised by the U.S, however the U.S. motives must be analysed, due to heavy support for the creation of a Jewish state. The Labour government of 1947, handed the problem over to the newly created UN and Britain became a peace unit, to ensure the state was created without much trouble.
In 1947, The General Assembly of the United Nations, created the, United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), to report on ‘the question of Palestine’. The report would suggest an independent Jewish and Arab state. This decision would create problems that we still experience today. War broke out between the communities. Britain remained as the peacekeeping force, but found itself in the middle of a conflict, with its own forces being attacked. It would leave in 1948. The role of the British is often undervalued, and seen as getting in the way, but I do wonder how more bloody it would have been without British involvement.
The Arab League members Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan, after all, what right did the Jewish population have to suddenly barge their way in and take control? They proclaimed the right of self-determination for the Arabs across the whole of Palestine. They therefore decided to march all of their forces into what had, until previously, been the British Mandate for Palestine, starting the first Arab–Israeli War. More would follow
At the end the sudden immigration into old Palestine (modern-day Israel) caused huge problems. The conflict keeps stirring up, it was only recently did Israel invade Palestine, and of course the deaths and problems with immigration into Europe recently seem very similar to that of the Jewish immigrants moving to Israel. As my Grandfather experienced, even though he saved their lives, they would turn on the British. Now this post is not either in favour, nor against immigration, however, the sudden influx of the Jewish people clearly upset the balance in Palestine, and should have been dealt with better by the UN and by the British. It should be time where we examine the role of the terrorist organisations at the time and just show how utterly pointless they were and the fact they killed hundreds/thousands of lives, for really no reason, they would get their own state, the British government even supported the idea, however, as always, timing is key.