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Heroes Past & Present



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November 1947


Following WW1 much of the Middle East was divided up between the countries who won. It had been owned by the Turkish Empire but in 1922 Britain took control of it. The aim was to provide a new homeland for Jewish people although many non Jewish people lived there at the time.  In the 1920s and 1930s it became more difficult for Jews to live in Germany because of the rise of the Nazi party so more and more people tried to move to Palestine to find a safe place to live. During WWII the British Foreign Secretary, AJ Balfour had promised Palestine as a “Jewish national home”.

Although it was never made clear what he meant by this, it was thought that the British would remain in control of the Jewish state and would only allow 15,000 Jewish refugees into Palestine each year. Once the quota was reached people were kept in detention camps or deported to places such as Mauritius. Tension between the Jewish settlers and the Arabs escalated and erupted into violence.  In 1947 Britain asked the United Nations to help establish a peaceful settlement.  A Partition Plan to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab areas was suggested. The plan was rejected and led to civil war.

However, this was rejected and resulted in civil war. It was not until 1949 that the Armistice Agreements were signed between the newly formed state of Israel and its neighbours. The 1949 armistice line, the so called “green line” is to this day the internationally recognised border of the state of Israel. It is often referred to as the “pre 1967 border”.


Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, was a British Conservative politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from July 1902 to December 1905, and was later Foreign Secretary in 1916–1919.