Courtesy Reuters

Pan Arabism and the Palestine Problem

MOST persons interested in international affairs regard the present conflict in Palestine as one primarily between the Jews and the Arabs. The British, according to this thesis, are there as a disinterested and benevolent third party, performing the ungrateful task of keeping Arab and Jew from each other's throat. Britain is looked on as being apart from and above the struggle for power now gradually approaching a climax in the Holy Land.

However true this may have been several years ago, it is not a correct picture of the situation as it now exists. It is the British mandatory government which has become the principal object of Arab hostility. This bitter anti-British feeling is the first and most powerful impression that strikes the outsider visiting Palestine today. This means, not that animosity towards the Jews has lessened, but that the Arabs have concluded that only by the use of force can they prevent Britain from making the whole of Palestine into a Jewish State. Britain's denial of any such intention only proves to them the essential perfidy of British policy.

The Arabs fear that Palestine will be swamped by Jews. In recent years the Jewish proportion of the population has been rapidly increasing until today it constitutes thirty percent of the total. The abrupt rise in the number of immigrants, beginning in 1933, was what brought the Palestine situation to a head.[i] The Arabs demanded a cessation of Jewish immigration. Now, under the terms of the Mandate the number of immigrants given permission to enter Palestine is to be determined with regard to the economic capacity of the country to absorb them. The Arabs charged that the British were interpreting this provision much too liberally and that as a result the Jews would in a few years form a majority of the population. No one who has been in the country and talked with the Jewish leaders can doubt that these -- Zionist and non-Zionists alike -- look forward to the day

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