In order to have a thorough understanding of the Palestinian problem, events in the early 20th century, prior to 1948 (Israeli independence) should be closely examined and understood. Many historians mark the first act which led to the Palestinian problem as the Balfour Declaration in 1917. There, it was announced that Britain shall support in the goals of Zionists, and therein strive to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine, “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” With Jewish spirits high all over the Jewish Diaspora, the third Aliyah (influx of Jews to Palestine) took place in 1919. The number of Jews gradually increased in Palestine, and by 1947, the 11% population of Jews increased to a healthy 33%. The immediate cause of the Palestinian problem is often dated to November 29th 1947, on which the UN announced that the British Mandate of Palestine would be divided into separate Arab and Jewish states. The decree sparked great outrage from Arab nations, but was a warmly welcomed decision from the Jews and other European and North American States. Two pinnacle wars then followed which would directly influence into the Palestinian problem. The Civil War first took place as an immediate reaction eleven days after the UN’s declaration. Jewish victory then led war lead to two events: the Israeli Declaration of Independence on May the 14th 1948 and the beginning of An-Nakabah, the Palestinian Exodus. In first phase of the Palestinian Exodus, 125,000 were evicted or fled from their homes, and were prevented from returning. The second war that followed was the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. In this war, Israel was to face a grand Arab coalition which denounced its independence. A decisive Israeli victory, and a disastrous Arab defeat increased the final number of the Palestinian exodus to a staggering 750 000 Palestinians. By the middle of the 20th century, State of Israel was firmly established upon the former Palestinian territories, and many Palestinian settlements were either depopulated or destroyed. Hence, the Palestinian problem was herein created; an issue of Palestinians, their state, homeland, refugees, and also Palestinian-Israeli co-existence in Palestine and the stance of Jerusalem, is all to exist until this very day.
Born on 24 August 1929, in Cairo, Egypt, Yasser Arafat was the son of Palestinian parent. During the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948, he went to Palestine to join the fighting. His role in the Palestinian problem begins early on in his political life when in 1958, Arafat, with a number of his Palestinian colleagues in Kuwait, corroborated and formed the militant group Fatah. The group was dedicated to liberate Palestine by Palestinians with a means of force. The idea was to eliminate Zionist Israel re-establish Palestinian homeland and resolve the Palestinian problem. Until this very day, Fatah’s main goal is, “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”
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