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England’s Policy on Palestine at the Beginning of 20th Centurty



In this study, England’s policy on Palestine at the beginning of 20th century and the increase in Jewish migration to Palestine within the framework of Zionist movement as a result of these policies were explained, and it was tried to be proven that this process was actually the basis for the foundation of Israeli State.  Having a geopolitical importance and being in the center of Middle East, Palestine and its surroundings is a place where the international rivalry is intensive. Countries like the ones in Middle East became marginal in the 16th century with the rise of capitalism, and they have become the center of interest from great powers like England. With the ongoing colonialism race among the great powers in the 20th century, the interest in Palestine which was the part of Ottoman lands increased, and plans on this land were made in accordance with those goals. At this point, England viewed Palestine as a bridge to its colonies in Australia and Far East.  When considered in association with Mesopotamia, Palestine was providing a land route from Egypt to India and was joining the Africa with Asia. Aiming at keeping its transportation paths with the colonies in the East secure and maintaining its dominance on strategic sea routes in Mediterranean Sea, England supported Ottoman Empire until the end of 19th century. However, the rise of Germany pointed at the start of a new era in the world policy. Germany took the privilege of stretching the Berlin-Bagdad railway to Basra. This situation was a threat to England’s strategic communication in India and Far East trade. In the early 1900s, such developments caused Ottoman Empire to have policy changes in Middle East, especially Palestine. At this point, England started to have positive attitudes towards Russia’s goals on the straits in order to protect its interests in the region. After the approval of Russia, England started negotiations on three ways over the Ottoman land in Middle East. Within this context, it is observed that England had negotiations with Arabs, the French, and Zionists, and made some conflicting promises.  Since England considered a German control in Palestine as the biggest danger in the post-war world, it preferred to support the Zionists in order to secure the power demands in Middle East through a loyal ally and neutralize the Arabic nationalism. For this purpose, English imperialism gave the biggest support to Zionism. Ultimately, the English government declared its side with the foundation of a national Jewish state in Palestine on Balfour Declaration and activated a project of Jewish country. Thus, the defense of the Suez Canal became easy, and land connection to India was secured. Moreover, an Arabic Palestine state was prevented, which would eventually make England leave the region. The ultimate aim of England was to serve the English interests in Palestine. As can be seen, the decisions of England on Palestine reflect not only the interpretations in the light of developments in Middle East, but English global strategy as well.