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historical introductions

Introduction: The Last Days of Ottoman Rule 1876-1918

PALESTINE was the name applied by Herodotus and other Greek and Latin writers to the Philistine coastland, and sometimes also to the territory between it and the Jordan Valley. Early in the Roman Empire the name Palaestina was given to the region around Jerusalem. The Byzantines in turn named the province west of the Jordan River, stretching from Mount Carmel in the north to Gaza in the south, Palaestina Prima.

Introduction: From the British Occupation to the Great Palestine Rebellion 1918-1935

THE end of World War I brought bitter disappointment and a pervasive sense of foreboding to the Palestinians, as news spread of the secret agreements between the Western powers and particularly of the Balfour Declaration.

Introduction: The Great Rebellion 1936-1939

By early May 1936 the Palestinians were in open rebellion. National Committees, which would become the organizational base of the rebels, had been established in April in all the Palestinian towns and larger villages.

Introduction: From the London Conference to the UN Partition Recommendation 1939-1947

THE period between the end of the Great Rebellion and the events of 1948 unfolded in two phases: the war years (1939-45) and the two years immediately following (1945-47). During the first phase the Palestinians were generally quiescent. Their passivity was due partly to the brutality and thoroughness of the British repression of the rebellion, and partly to the relatively reassuring provisions of the 1939 White Paper on Zionist immigration and land acquisition. Other contributing causes were the economic war boom brought about by an increased level of expenditure on the part of British and Allied forces deployed in the Middle East, and the pronouncements made by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in favor of postwar Arab unity - a cause popular with Palestinian and other Arab nationalists.

Introduction: Civil War and the Destruction of the Palestinian Community: November 1947 - May 1948

THE Palestine problem was now rapidly approaching its catastrophic climax. On 29 November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recommending the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, a Palestinian state, and a special international regime (corpus separatum) for Jerusalem and its environs; an economic union would be set up between the Jewish and Palestinian states. The Palestinians and other Arabs were as stunned as the Zionists and their sympathizers were jubilant. The very reactions of each side belied the claim that partition was a compromise solution.