In this way, the territory where the Jews, Muslims and Christians lived peacefully was exposed to the conspiracies of Zionists who made great efforts to occupy Palestine step by step.
Hence, the Jews in groups started immigrating to Palestine in 1897 and due to the patronage of the Global Zionist Organization, they resided there.
In 1901, the Global Zionist Organization set up a company called Keren Kaye Meth (Jewish National Fund) to purchase lands for the Jewish settlers.
The fund was aimed at buying the Palestinian territories and transferring them to the Jews as their own lands.
The head of this company Abraham Granofski described the purchasing of land as the most vital action in the creation of the Jewish Palestine.
Herzel believed the occupation of lands and the expulsion of Arabs were part of the Zionism Movement.
Stressing that the expulsion of Arabs was necessary, Hertzel said, “We will try to drive the poor people to other side of the borders by creating jobs in neighboring countries and depriving them of jobs in our country.
But the confiscation of the properties and expelling the poor should be done cautiously and in full secrecy.”
Even some Zionist leaders advocated using force to drive Arabs to neighboring countries when it was essential.
The trend of Jewish immigration to Palestine continued until World War I, when part of the territories of Ottoman Empire were captured by Britain.
At this stage the Zionists tried to convince Britain to support immigration of Jews to Palestine.
The attempts made by leader of the Zionist Movement Chaim Weizmann and the leader of Zionist Federation in Britain Lord Rothschild led to the approval of a bill in 1917 by the British Parliament in support of the Jewish settlement in Palestine.
British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour enclosed the bill in an envelope and sent it along with a letter to Rothschild.
The letter reads: “Britain has a positive attitude toward the creation of a Jewish state.
However, it is underlined that no measure should be taken to harm the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities living in Palestine or rights and political position of Jews living in other countries.”
This letter, which later became known as the Balfour Declaration, was confirmed and published by the British government.
After World War I and the establishment of the League of Nations, Palestine came under the custodianship of Britain in 1922 on London’s request.
Under the support of Britain, the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine increased.
The Zionist settlers founded a military force called Hagana’ (self-defense force), which was composed of Hashomer’ militia.
Official statistics and precise information included in a research work titled Research on Palestine’ indicated that the number of Jews living in Palestine at the time of its occupation by Britain in 1918 stood at 56,000, accounting for only eight percent of the total population of Palestine.
During the years 1919-23, 34,985 Jews immigrated to Palestine, and 175,000 Jews settled there by 1924.
In the fifth phase of immigration (1933-39), 215,000 Jews entered Palestine, the main batch of which were from European countries.
When Hitler assumed power in Germany and anti-semitism feelings flared up there, the immigration of Jews to Palestine was expedited and continued even during the Second World War.
Consequently, in 1944, the number of Jewish settlers in Palestine reached 554,000 and, by 1948, it had increased to 650,000.
In 1920, only 2.5 percent of the Palestinian territory was owned by the Jews, but the figure increased to 6-7% in 1946, and at the end of the period of custodianship by Britain, Jews owned 12 percent of the arable lands, mostly located in the best agricultural regions.
The increase in Jewish immigration to Palestine was followed by Arab opposition, and in 1931, the Arabs resorted to strikes and revolts, which were crushed by Britain.
In parallel with this and due to the Arabs’ fear of the establishment of a Jewish state by the Jews Agency, a rebellion was also staged against Britain in 1936.
The Arabs hoped to put pressure on Britain through a movement that mostly relied on the villagers to stop the Jewish immigration and the purchase of lands by the Jews.
In the Arab cities, some committees were formed to organize union strikes and make efforts not to pay taxes.
Hagana, which was affiliated to the Jewish Agency at that time, attacked the Arab villages in retaliation, leaving several civilian people dead and destroying their houses.
The revolt was finally suppressed by Britain, and the Arabs were disarmed.
In 1937, a new military group called Irgon Zui Leomy (national military organization) was established, aimed at the use of more obvious power against the Arabs.
For example, Irgon planted bombs in the Arab markets.
Furthermore, Britain imprisoned the Arab rebels without any convictions or expelled them from the country by enacting emergency defensive regulations.
At the same time, Britain allowed the Jews for the first time to arm themselves legally.
20,000 Jews announced their readiness to become armed.
Hagana began to produce weapons and import them secretly from Europe and store them in secret places.
At the same time, Britain disarmed the Arabs residing in the region to prevent another rebellion. (To Be Continued on Thursdays)