Palestinian-Israeli Conflict dbq

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Palestinian-Israeli Conflict DBQ
This purpose of this DBQ is to determine the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. By examining a series of documents, students should be able to write an essay that explains the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.
Background for the Conflict is provided in a Scholastic article that traces the claims of both sides to the same territory in the Middle East.
Documents to be Examined include:
Document A: The Sikes-Picot Agreement

Document B: The Balfour Declaration

Document C: Minutes from the meeting of the Eastern Committee of the British Parliament

Document D: Churchill White Paper, 1922

Document E: British White Paper, 1939

Document F: United Nations Resolution, 1948

Document G: Excerpt from The Lemon Tree, Palestinian Bashir’s visit to his home prior to Israeli independence

Document H: Map of the Partition of Palestine, 1948

Document A

The Sykes-Picot Agreement : 1916

It is accordingly understood between the French and British governments:

That France and Great Britain are prepared to recognize and protect an independent Arab states or a confederation of Arab states (a) and (b) marked on the annexed map, under the suzerainty of an Arab chief. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall have priority of right of enterprise and local loans. That in area (a) France, and in area (b) Great Britain, shall alone supply advisers or foreign functionaries at the request of the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.

That in the blue area France, and in the red area Great Britain, shall be allowed to establish such direct or indirect administration or control as they desire and as they may think fit to arrange with the Arab state or confederation of Arab states.

That in the brown area there shall be established an international administration, the form of which is to be decided upon after consultation with Russia, and subsequently in consultation with the other allies, and the representatives of the Shereef of Mecca.

The Avalon Project, Yale University
Document B

This Letter, to Lord Rothschild, by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, became known as the "Balfour Declaration". The letter was published a week later in The Times (London) of London.
Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty's
Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge
of the Zionist Federation.


Arthur James Balfour

Document C Extract from Minutes of the Meeting of the Eastern Committee of the Cabinet (United Kingdom) of 5 December, 1918, in which Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary of the UK and chairman of the committee, makes the following statement:
The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . . Great Britain and France - Italy subsequently agreeing - committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time . . . A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr. Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine 'should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done - and this, of course, was a most important proviso - to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine.

Document D Extract from the British White Paper of June 3,1922 [also referred as the Churchill White Paper]:
[…] it is not the case, as has been represented by the Arab Delegation, that during the war His Majesty's Government gave an undertaking that an independent national government should be at once established in Palestine. This representation mainly rests upon a letter dated the 24th October, 1915, from Sir Henry McMahon, then His Majesty's High Commissioner in Egypt, to the Sharif of Mecca, now King Hussein of the Kingdom of the Hejaz. That letter is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty's Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir. Henry McMahon's pledge.

Document E Extract from the British White Paper of May 17,1939
His Majesty's Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country. [...] His Majesty's Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will.

Document F

The resolution recommends that the United Kingdom (as mandatory power for Palestine) evacuate; armed forces should withdraw no later than August 1, 1948; independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem administered by the United Nations should come into existence;  the City of Jerusalem should preserve the interests of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), August, 1948

Document G Extract from the Lemon Tree by journalist Sandy Tolan, Bloomsbury, 2007, p. 207. This excerpt is from a Palestinian, Bashir, who is visiting what was, prior to 1948, his family’s home, and is currently being lived in by a Jewish family.
We were exiled by force of arms. We were exiled on foot. We were exiled to take the earth as our bed. And the sky as a cover. And to be fed from the crums to those among the governments and international organizations who imparted their charity. We were exiled but we left our souls, our hopes, our childhood in Palestine. We left our joys and sorrows. We left them in every corner, and on every grain of sand in Palestine. We left them with each lemon fruit, with each olive. We left them in the roses and flowers. We left them in the flowering tree that stands with pride at the entrance of our house in al-Ramla. We left them in the remains of our fathers and ancestors. We left them as witnesses and history. We left them, hoping to return
Document H: United Nations partition of Palestine, 1948

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