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A Brief Background History of Palestine up to 1942

Before 1918, Palestine was divided into several small divisions within the Ottoman Empire. During the later part of WW1 the French and English occupied the Levant portion of the Ottoman Empire. Parts of Southern Syria were separated from their former administrative centres of Beirut and Damascus to join the Jerusalem, Nablus and Gaza divisions as a separate country of Palestine with Haifa now becominy the administrative centre of Northern Palestine. Four years after a British occupation of Palestine, in 1922 the newly formed League of Nations gave Britain the task of guiding both Iraq and Palestine to a state of independence After 20 years under British civil administration Palestine, unlike Iraq seemed no closer to achieving independence.

Although in the 1930s many Palestinians favoured independence as a dominion within the British Empire on the same basis as Australia and Canada, Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews refused to collaborate to form a viable government.

Despairing of ever achieving unity a British Commission in 1937 came up with the idea of partition but both Arabs and Jews rejected that as well. Everyone agreed that water resources and fertile soil could be divided equitably between two self governing states.

The quest for independence was shelved during WW2 as the majority of Jews collaborated with the British military to form a resistance group (the Palmach) to carry out guerrilla warfare in the event of a Nazi invasion. Now in 1942 the British appear to be losing the war and the threat of invasion is very real.