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The British leader protested that ‘the guns which are being subscribed for in America can only be required to shoot at British soldiers in Palestine’. The British decision to hand over Palestine to the United Nations Why did the British decide to withdraw from Palestine? In the summer of 1947 two incidents finally convinced the British that they should withdraw from Palestine. One was the hanging of two British soldiers in revenge for the execution of three Irgun members: a photograph of the two men hanging from a tree appeared on the front page of several British newspapers (see Source B, page 34).

The refugee problem was caused by attacks by Jewish forces on Arab villages and towns and by the inhabitants’ fears of such attacks, compounded by expulsions, atrocities, and rumours of atrocities. The newer, more critical histories also interpreted what happened in large coastal towns like Haifa and Jaffa, which were to be part of the Jewish state, rather differently. They pointed out that Jewish armed forces were determined to persuade as many Arabs as possible to leave so as to ensure that the forthcoming Israeli state was predominantly Jewish.

Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for ever’. Civil war in Palestine, November 1947 to May 1948 KEY TERM Eretz Israel The Land of Israel, as in the Bible. In effect, this meant the whole of Palestine, not just the area allocated to the Jewish state by the UN. Why was there a civil war in Palestine? A few days after the UN voted for partition, the Arab Higher Committee proclaimed a three-day strike that led to outbreaks of violence against Jewish civilians.

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