The Shrinking Modern Jewish Homeland

The Jewish homeland as described in the bible is well known to the entire world. Originally the land promised to the first Hebrew, Abraham, was the land west of the Jordan River. When the twelve tribes of Israel returned to the land of their forefathers after being slaves in Egypt, they took land east of the Jordan River as well.

Map of Terra Sancta, Homann, 1730

Later generations would see the Jewish homeland carved up into different footprints under various kings and rulers over 1,400 years but the configuration above remains the orientation of anyone familiar with the Hebrew bible. It also became the basis of the modern initiative to facilitate Jewish immigration back to their homeland.

The San Remo Resolution of April 1920 became enshrined in the League of Nation Mandate of Palestine of July 1922. It sought to facilitate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” based on the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” The mandate of Palestine roughly incorporated the land of Israel as described in the Old Testament plus additional lands.

Modern Jewish homeland per Mandate of Palestine, 1920 and 1922

Article 25 was added into the Mandate in March 1921 which gave the British who were to administer the lands, the option to separate the area east of the Jordan River to a distinct Arab state. The League of Nations approved the British request if such new state would NOT prohibit Jews from living there (“no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 1516 and 18″). In spite of the clear language, the British did exactly that and created Transjordan in August 1922 and barred any Jews from living in the land. Not only was 77 per cent of the Jewish homeland removed by the British but they enforced an antisemitic edit on even allowing Jews to live in the land.

The British would continue to ban Jews from living in parts of their homeland.

In August 1929, Arabs engaged in a series of deadly pogroms in the holy land. The Jewish community of Hebron was massacred and the British response was to evacuate Jews from the city and forbid them from returning. The British commissioned the Shaw Report in 1930 which advocated for limiting the number of Jews in Palestine and their role in government:

  • it is our view that, among a large section of the Arab people of Palestine,
    there is a feeling of opposition to Jewish immigration, that this feeling is well founded in that it has its origin in the known results of excessive immigration in the past and that, given other and more immediate causes for disturbance, that feeling would undoubtedly be a factor which would contribute to an outbreak [of violence]…. It is clear that His Majesty’s Government should at an early date issue a clear and definite declaration of the policy which they intend to be pursued in regard to the regulation and control of Jewish immigration to Palestine.
  • “we would suggest that His Majesty’s Government should re-affirm the statement made in 1922 that the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization by the
    Mandate does not entitle it to share in any degree in the government of Palestine.”

The Jewish homeland was continuing to be chipped away by the British in regards to how many Jews could live in Palestine, where they could live and their role in government.

After more Arab riots in 1936, the British established the Peel Commission which concluded the Mandate was unworkable and suggested dividing the land into a section where the Jews would be allowed to live. As the proposal worked its way through the British system with Arab input, the end result was the 1939 White Papers which capped Jewish immigration to 75,000 people over five years just as the Holocaust began in Europe, condemning tens of thousands of Jews to death.

After Israel declared itself an independent country in 1948, five Arab armies invaded Israel to destroy it. At war’s end, the Arab army of Jordan seized the eastern part of the holy land and expelled all Jews, while the Egyptian army seized the Gaza Strip. In 1950, Jordan illegally annexed the land it took and in 1954, extended its ban on Jewish citizens beyond Transjordan into the “West Bank.”

Israel recaptured parts of the Jewish homeland in 1967 after surrounding Arab countries again sought the annihilation of the Jewish State. Many countries refused to recognize the rights of Jews to live in those lands which had become Judenfrei. Israel uprooted all Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and in 2016, the United Nations Security Council declared that any Jew living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines between Israel and Jordan did so illegally, even in eastern Jerusalem.

First the British worked with the Arabs to shrink the Jewish homeland in regards to land where Jews could live, the number of Jews who could live there, and the role of Jews in government, making the notion of Jewish sovereignty questionable. Later the Arabs asserted for themselves that there was no Jewish history or rights in the land as they fought to completely dismantle the Zionist project in theory and practice. Then the United Nations supported the Arab cause to officially shrink the Jewish homeland.

The attack on the Jewish homeland is ongoing and without Jewish resistance, the Jewish homeland would disappear completely. #100YearsofZionistResistance.

Related First One Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

When You Understand Israel’s May 1948 Borders, You Understand There is No “Occupation”

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