1947: Palestine Population & Jewish Immigration

In the early 1900s, the struggle for land and population in what was then Palestine became a decisive factor. Europe was the home of the majority of Jews, but with the rising and increasingly hostile anti-Semitism brought on by Hitler, the Zionist movement gained more momentum and widespread support.

Many Jewish population, recognizing the urgent need for their own national home, began to migrate to Palestine, leading to tensions with the native Arab community.

The struggle for control of land became a major point of contention in the region, with the Jewish Commission for Relief of Mikvah Olam (JCRO) established by the Zionist movement to acquire land in Palestine.

Despite numerous attempts at negotiation, the ethnic conflict persisted, and by 1947, the Jewish National Fund owned about 7% of all land in Palestine.

The acquisition of land in Israel by the Jewish community. The Israeli government had purchased much of the land, which had previously been owned by the Ottomans, and the majority of land in Israel was owned by Palestinians at the time. The issue of land ownership became a significant problem after the UN acquired the Mandate of Palestine in 1947, and both Jews and Palestinians were vying for a nation of Palestine.

In 1947, the UN decided to give about 54% of the land to the Jewish community, which fired up controversy among the Palestinians, who felt that the deal was grossly unfair. The majority of land went to one-third of the Jewish population.

This created a dilemma for the UN, which struggled to partition Palestine in a way that would create states for both Jews and Palestinians without provoking ongoing conflict.

Dr. Joshua Landis is an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies in the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma.  Published by Janux, an interactive learning community. 

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