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Ancient times

British forces failed to contain the violence
Arab discontent

The Zionist project of the 1920s and 1930s saw hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrating to British Mandate Palestine, provoking unrest in the Arab community.

In 1922, a British census showed the Jewish population had risen to about 11% of Palestine's 750,000 inhabitants. More than 300,000 immigrants arrived in the next 15 years.

Zionist-Arab antagonism boiled over into violent clashes in August 1929 when 133 Jews were killed by Palestinians and 110 Palestinians died at the hands of the British police.

Arab discontent again exploded into widespread civil disobedience during a general strike in 1936. By this time, the militant Zionist group Irgun Zvai Leumi was orchestrating attacks on Palestinian and British targets with the aim of "liberating" Palestine and Transjordan (modern-day Jordan) by force.

In July 1937, Britain, in a Royal Commission headed by former Secretary of State for India, Lord Peel, recommended partitioning the land into a Jewish state (about a third of British Mandate Palestine, including Galilee and the coastal plain) and an Arab one.

Palestinian and Arab representatives rejected this and demanded an end to immigration and the safeguarding of a single unified state with protection of minority rights. Violent opposition continued until 1938 when it was crushed with reinforcements from the UK.


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