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Zionism

The Balfour Declaration and Settlement in Palestine

After Herzl's death, the Zionist movement came under the leadership of Chaim Weizmann, who sought to reconcile the "practical" wing of the movement, which sought to further Jewish settlement in Palestine, and its "political" wing, which stressed the establishment of a Jewish state. Weizmann obtained few concessions from the Turkish sultan, who ruled Palestine; however, in 1917, Great Britain, then at war with Turkey, issued the Balfour Declaration (see Balfour, Arthur James), which promised to help establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Great Britain was given a mandate of Palestine in 1920 by the League of Nations, in part to implement the Balfour Declaration.

Jewish colonization vastly increased in the early years of the mandate (see Palestine for the period up to 1948), but soon the British limited their interpretation of the declaration in the face of Arab pressure. There were disputes in the Zionist movement on how to counter the British position. The right-wing Revisionists, led by Vladimir Jabotinsky, favored large-scale immigration to Palestine to force the creation of a Jewish state. The most conciliatory faction was the General Zionists (representing the original national organizations), who generally remained friendly to Great Britain.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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