Toledo Society

S2: Episode 2: No more plastic

No more plastic

“Wohoooo” screamed omar as he put his head out of the bus window. His year 4 class were on the way to the waterlife park for a school excursion. Omar and his friends were having somuch fun laughing, playing, and eating. “Pass me the chips packet” shouted Omar. “It’s finished!” Issa said. “Alright give it to me I’ll throw it”
 
“Here throw the water bottle too.” Omar opened the window a little more and threw the chips packet and water bottle out of the window. The boys all laughed.
 
“4 orange please clean up the area around you, we’ll be getting off the bus in a couple of minutes.” Said miss Mathews. Issa said here take this and throw it out of the window too.” “Good cleaning up” scoffed Omar.
 
Omar and his friends got off the bus one by one excited to see the marine animals. “I’m gonna go see the crocodiles first” shouted Issa. “They’re boring said Omar I’m going to see the great white sharks! Most dangerous animal in the ocean as they raced through the gates.
 
“Slow down boys” said miss Mathews. We will all go together to the “unseen marine” presentation and then we will split into groups. “Miss what’s the presentation about? I hope it’s not boring. “Well omar you’re just going to have to wait and find out.”
 
The children all gathered in the presentation hall that was dark with a bright spotlight at the front. “Ladies and gentlemen please take your seats we’re about to start”.
 
The lights were all off, not a sound. Then a faded sound of the crashing waves of the ocean began. Imagine an ocean with no animals a voice said quietly. No sea turtles, no fish, no sharks, no octopus, no jellyfish. No dolphins. Just water.” Maybe some dry, broken coral. You put your snorkels on excitedly to see the colorful fish and sea animals below. To find nothing. Quiet. nothing.”
 
This could be our oceans in the future. The lights turned on suddenly. Omar, Issa and 4 orange all stared in shock. Lucy the presenter standing at the front asked does anyone know why our oceans could be empty? What is killing our marine animals?
 
Everyone was quiet. One little hand popped up at the back. Yes, the girl at the back. “Plastic?” Maryam said unsure of her answer. “Yes!” Said Lucy. “That is one of the main reasons and the reason I wanted to talk about today. Did you all know that 8 million tons of plastic rubbish is thrown into our oceans each year? Some animals that are hungry don’t know that plastic is not food and eat the plastic. It kills them because it hurts their stomachs so much. Imagine if you ate all the plastic rubbish in your bin. Your stomach would be very upset wouldn’t it? Said Lucy.
 
 
“My mummy said that sometimes plastic can get caught on ducks heads and choke them” said mariam confidently. That’s right said Lucy. Just last month a whale in Spain died because it ate 30 kg of rubbish that humans had thrown in the ocean.
 
Omar and isa were shocked. They didn’t want sea animals to get hurt or die. Omar thought about all the fun times he had gone snorkeling with his uncle on their holiday in egypt. He loved the rainbow colours of the parrot fish, the beautiful dolphins jumping in and out of the ocean, and the turtles that swam ever so happily in pairs.
 
Issa thought about going to the beach and not finding any hermit crabs to play with or any jiggly jellyfish to admire. He thought of all the amazing sea animals in finding Nemo and was sad to think an ocean without them.
 
 
It is sad to think our sea animals are dying and could not exist one day …but we can all help. Does anyone have any ideas how?
 
 
Omar remembered his mum asking him to bring the recyclable bags when they went shopping. She said she doesn’t like to use plastics bags because it ends up in the ocean hurting our marine life. So he put his hand up and said “ummm not using plastic bags”.
 
 
Lucy was impressed. “Yes young man you’re right”. Not just plastic bags but all plastics can harm our
 
Marine life. Instead of using plastic bottles you can use a glass bottle or reuse your plastic bottles, containers and plastic spoons again and again.
 
“Any other ideas?” asked Lucy
 
Mariam from 4 orange said “put your rubbish in the bin?” Yes! Exclaimed Lucy. Throwing rubbish on the floor can harm our animals on land like birds, cats, and dogs. It can also harm sea animals if the wind pushes the rubbish into the ocean.
 
Omar and Issa looked at each other and deep down they were a little sad they had thrown their rubbish out of the bus window and onto the ground. They hoped it didn’t hurt any animals. At lunch time they both made sure they put their rubbish in the bin and cleaned up the area around them so no animals would get hurt.
 
Keeping our environment clean is part islam. If we harm animals Allah will ask us “ why did you hurt this animal?”. Allah loves us to be gentle and kind in everything we do. So remember to put your rubbish in the bin, use less plastic and look after the world around you or else it may just disappear!
 
written by Amatullah Kadous.
 
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S2E5: Palestine Pt 5 – 1400 OMG

1948…the year Israel was established.

Imagine being a Palestinian that year. The British have given the majority of your land to a minority of foreign immigrants. Your greatest fear has come through, the Zionists now rule the majority of the Palestinian lands.

With the support of the USA and the UN, Israel’s rise to power was just beginning.

Frustration grew in the minds of the Palestinians…you can easily imagined what happened next.

Over the next few episodes, in Season 2, we will dive deep into the events that led to the formation of the State of Israel. Together, we will understand the roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and understand the history of this important region of the Muslim world.

Listen online at the bottom of this page, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Download now on Apple Podcasts.
Stream for free on Spotify.

Transcript

The End of the British Mandate

When we last left Palestine, the British had decided to end their Mandate in Palestine. The UN had issued a resolution to partition Palestine, handing over the majority of the lands to the Jewish immigrants, even though they were the minority. This did not sit well with the Palestinians.

In May 1948, the British ended their Mandate and Ben Gurion declared Israel an independent nation. The Zionist mission to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine was complete, but they were not satisfied. There was still work to do to assert the power and authority in the region. The Zionists turned to terrorism to establish their power.

The Israelis began to acquire arms, and build their forces. They attacked various targets around their lands to assert their authority. In 1948, The UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte  was assassinated in Jerusalem by Lehi terrorists.

The Israeli terrorists targeted civilians, and in April 1948, the Deir Yassin Massacre occurred. 120 Irgun and Lehi terrorists stormed a village of 600 Palestinians and slaughtered approximately 110 villagers, including women and children. The leader of the Irgun at the time, though not at the raid, was future Israel PM Menachem Begin. The massacre was condemned by another Israeli terrorist group, the Haganah, and by the two chief rabbis of the Mandate, who delivered an apology to King Abdullah of Jordan, which was rebuffed by the monarch. This stands as an example of brutal ethnic cleansing and deliberate targeting of civilians, it was sign of things to come as Israel grew more powerful.

Recognition of the State of Israel

It was around this point in time that the US stepped in and began to play an important role in the rise of Israel. President Harry S. Truman was in a very tight reelection campaign in 1948 against a popular opponent, the governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey. New York was the largest state by population (thus, most electoral votes), and was home to the strongest pro-Israel population.

Clark Clifford, Truman’s White House Counsel was so concerned about Truman’s election prospects that he threatened to resign if Truman did not come out strongly in favor of recognizing the State of Israel, for fear Truman could lose New York in the November elections. Truman was getting advice from the State Department that recognition of Israel would be unproductive for US policy interests in the region, especially when it came to Saudi Arabia and oil sales. Ultimately, Truman beat Dewey, but in an extremely close race.

Israel declared their independence on May 14th, 1948. On May 15th, they applied to the United Nation for recognition. The US gave them de facto recognition immediately, as did Iran, Guatemala, Iceland, Nicaragua, Romania, and Uruguay. On Ma y 17th, the Soviet Union gave them de jure recognition along with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, and South Africa. On January 31, 1949, after the first Israeli election the US gave it de jure recognition. In March that year, the UN Security Council held a vote with the majority voting in favor of Israel. In May, the UN General Assembly held another vote, again the majority voted in favor of Israel. The Arab countries in the region were unanimous in their rejection of Israel and the grounds under which it gained independence. Not a single Arab country recognized it diplomatically. As a result, Israel was isolated in the region.

The Arabs strike back

On September 18, 1948, Egypt occupied Gaza. The Arab League proclaimed an All-Palestine Government for the area. It was recognized by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, but not Jordan. No country outside the Arab League recognized it. They had their own passports, but no Egyptian citizenship.

Jordan annexed the area west of the Jordan River as the West Bank, and declared it Cis-Jordan, while the area to the east of the river as TransJordan; they received Jordanian citizenship.

Despite Arab administration now governing Gaza and the West Bank, the weakness of the Arabs and lack of strategy led to a stalemate. The stalemate lasted until 1956.

In 1955, the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser announced an arms deal with Czechoslovakia. This raised concerns with the USA. In May 1956, Egypt recognized the communist regime ruling China, and were offered financial aid from the Soviet Union in exchange for the Aswan High Dam. At the same time, the US had denied aid to Egypt, and convinced the World Bank to do the same. In retaliation, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.

In October 1956, Britain, France and Israel coordinated an attack to seize the Suez Canal from Egypt. Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula, and before things could escalate, President Eisenhower intervened and forced a ceasefire, due to the Soviet Union threatening to enter the conflict.

Various external conflicts affected the situation, and finally in 1957, all countries withdrew their armies from the region. As a result of losing the Suez Canal to Egypt, Great Britain’s empire came to an end. Nasser, on the other hand, was now the leader of the Arab world, but even he was unable to change the situation for the Palestinians.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts.

If you’d like to reach out to us, visit ToledoSociety.com

S2: Episode 1: Gifted

Gifted

“Joud was nervous. It was her first day of school and she didn’t know what it was going to be like. 
 
“Come on sweetheart, you really need to go to bed now.” said her Mum.
 
“Mama what if the kids make fun of me?” Joud whispered as tears rolled down her cheeks.
 
Mama wiped away her tears and held her tightly in her arms. “Oh my baby, you’ve grown so much and it’s normal, we all get nervous about the first day of school. I was also nervous when I was your age about starting school, but you are going to make lots of friends, do you know why?”
 
“Why?” asked Joud.
 
“Well because you have such a big heart, a heart of gold. You’re kind, and thoughtful and that is what makes you beautiful.” 
 
“But my eyes… ” sulked Joud
 
Mum wiped over her eyes and said, “Allah loves those beautiful eyes of yours, He gave you special gifts other than sight Joud. And if nobody sees that then they are the ones who are blind not you” 
 
Joud smiled and wiped away her tears.
 
Early next morning, Joud decided to wear her special glasses to school. She held her stick which helped her feel her surroundings and turned to her mum who was proudly looking at her beautiful little girl.
 
“I feel good Mama, just a teeny bit nervous, but I think I’m mostly excited!” she said
 
“Good! I am super excited for you my beautiful lady. Now let’s go!”
 
School was a 5 minute walk from home and as they walked along Joud heard some other children chattering away. She wondered if they too felt a little nervous.
 
“Here we are! said Joud’s mum. Take a right here… Joud used her stick to feel the sidewalk and she could now hear lots of children. Joud straightened her back and clutched on to her mother’s hand tightly. 
 
“Mama, Joud whispered.. How does my school look?” 
 
“Wonderful said her mum, just like you painted it.”
 
Joud smiled as she felt butterflies fluttering in her stomach.
 
“Bismillah” she whispered to herself. Joud, quietly in her heart asked Allah to help her find new friends. She always liked to talk to Allah in her heart.  It always helped keep her calm and happy.
 
“Good morning Miss Honey”, said Joud’s mum.. as they walked into her new classroom. Joud could feel that they were inside now and she heard the voice of her new teacher, she sounded very kind. 
 
“Good morning wonderful Joud. Welcome to Butterflies class, we are so excited to have you with us.”
 
Miss Honey took Joud by the hand. Joud smiled nervously. She imagined Miss Honey’s face, kind and smiley. 
 
Joud’s imagination was her special power. She would imagine everyone and as soon as she heard their voices. It’s like she had a paintbrush in her head and it would help her paint what she thought they looked like.
 
Joud then heard a boy and a girl run up to her 
“Hello” said Tom excitedly! I love your glasses, they look so cool! Can I try them on? My name is Thomas by the way! and I’m Amal said the girl.
 
Joud quickly started to paint a picture of Thomas in her head. He definitely had a cheeky grin, that’s for sure. She giggled a bit.
 
“Sure, Joud said, you can try them on!” She handed them over to Thomas and then felt all the children gather around her – could we play with your stick. They all asked. 
 
Miss Honey came to see what was going on, 
“Now now children, let’s quieten down and sit on the carpet.” she called Joud and asked her to share with the curious children why she was wearing glasses and holding a stick.
 
The children were amazed to learn that Joud couldn’t see them, she was blind. 
so you can’t see us?! They said
 
“Not really” whispered Joud reluctantly. Her cheeks went pink.
 
“But I can see your faces in my mind.” she carried on..
 
“Wow, so what do we look like?” Asked the children all at once! 
 
Miss Honey asked them to quieten down and wait their turn.
If Joud agrees you can ask her to paint for you.
 
The children were extremely excited! Miss Honey handed Joud a Paintbrush and some paint. 
 
“You would need to tell me a bit about yourself and then I can paint your picture.” Said Joud..
 
Mussa raised his hand “my turn my turn…please let me go first” he said-  I have brown spiky hair and small green eyes and I’m very handsome he held up his arms and showed off his muscles.” 
 
Joud giggled and painted away with black strokes and yellow strokes, green and white. This is taking ages said Mussa!!!!! almost there she said, you are going to 
love this. Ready… 1 – 2 – 3! 
 
What?! The children all laughed one of Joud’s paintings fell from her folder! A gorilla! I’m not a Gorilla! Or maybe I am! Mussa ran around the class beating on his chest and the kids all rolled around in laughter. 
 
“Oops! said Joud! Wrong painting that’s a painting that I did earlier! how about this one Mussa? Does this one look like you?” Joud handed over the right painting to Mussa!
 
The children all gasped woaaah that’s amazing
 
“Fabuloustasticwastic” Mussa shouted!
 
The children loved it – Joud, clearly had a special gift.
 
“You really are gifted Joud!” Amal shouted!
 
Miss Honey, then asked who would like to be Joud’s partner and help to show her around the school.
 
“Me ..me ..me …Pleass Miss Honey choose me!” They all pleaded.
 
Joud giggled and in her heart she whispered “Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah”
 
Everybody wanted to be her friend. What a brilliant first day of school it was! “
 
If you have enjoyed this story and this special podcast show, please give us a 5-star rating on your favourite podcast player (Apple, Google or Spotify) 

S2E4: Palestine Pt 4 – 1400 OMG

The Palestinians had had enough. The year was 1936, and the Palestinians could no longer handle to frustrating realities of the Jewish immigration and the British rule. Determined to take back their land, they started a war against the British that lasted for three years. This war became known as the Great Arab Revolt. For three years, the Arabs fought against the combined forces of the British troops and the Jewish immigrants. In total, 5000 Palestinians lost their lives during this war, while only 100 Jews lost there. 

Over the next few episodes, in Season 2, we will dive deep into the events that led to the formation of the State of Israel. Together, we will understand the roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and understand the history of this important region of the Muslim world.

Listen online at the bottom of this page, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Download now on Apple Podcasts.
Stream for free on Spotify.

Transcript

The Palestinians had had enough. The year was 1936, and the Palestinians could no longer handle to frustrating realities of the Jewish immigration and the British rule. Determined to take back their land, they started a war against the British that lasted for three years. This war became known as the Great Arab Revolt. For three years, the Arabs fought against the combined forces of the British troops and the Jewish immigrants. In total, 5000 Palestinians lost their lives during this war, while only 100 Jews lost there.

It became clear at this point that the British were unable to maintain order, peace and justice in the region. In 1936, the Peel commission put together a report on the causes of unrest in the region. Their conclusion was to partition the land and divide it between the Arabs and Jews. The Jewish State would be from Mount Carmel to Be’er Tuvia, plus Jezreel and Galilee. The Arab state in southern and eastern area, with “west bank of Jordan River, and Negev Desert. The Jews had mixed reactions to this idea, but the Arabs hated it and rejected it completely.

In 1939, the call for partition was replaced with the idea of an independent Palestine, jointly governed by the Arabs and Jews that would materialize within 10 years. This, however, never came to pass.

End of British Mandate in Palestine

This British found it harder to control the Jewish immigration post-World War II. The oppression and massacre of Jewish population throughout Europe during this period sparked panic. The Jews became determined to have their own homeland far away from European rulers. As a result, tens of thousands of Jews migrated to Palestine. Between 1940 and 1944 alone, over 75000 Jews migrated to Palestine.

As more Jews migrated, the demographics in Palestine began to shift. In 1922, only 11% of Palestine’s 752000 citizens was Jewish, but by 1948, 32% of the now 1.9 million population were Jewish, and they were determined to have their own land in the region.

The British, realizing that they had no control over the situation, were exploring a way to vacate the region while saving face and maintaining its most vital strategic interests in the Suez Canal and Gulf oil. By 1947, the British were seeking a way out of the British Mandate. It was far too costly to maintain and Britain was suffering immense economic hardship post- World War II, causing it to begin decolonization in much of its empire, including the Indian subcontinent.

The Jews, now determined to have their own homeland, started a violent campaign against the British. Between 1940 and 1948, Jewish resistance movements carried out various terrorist attacks against British targets. These included an assassination, various kidnappings and the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.

In 1948, the British wanted to end the mandate. Working with the Americans, they forms the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry which made ten recommendations for the region:

1)  Call for immediate effect is given to the provision of the United Nations Charter calling for “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion“- intended to gain support from foreign countries to accept Jewish immigrants

2) 100,000 certificates of immigration to Palestine for Jewish of Nazi & Fascist regimes

3) a)That Jew shall not dominate Arab and Arab shall not dominate Jew in Palestine.

b)That Palestine shall be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state.

c)That the form of government ultimately to be established, shall, under international guarantees, fully protect and preserve the interests in the Holy Land of Christendom and of the Moslem and Jewish faiths.

4) Continuation of Mandate due to violence and instability

5) Arab economic, educational and political development should be equal to that of the Jewish population

6) Administration of Mandate with objectives to not prejudice local populations and to facilitate Jewish migration if suitable conditions exist

7) Rescind Land Regulations of 1940 & allow freedom of non-discriminatory land transfer; and government supervision of holy sites

8) Gain consultation and cooperation from Jewish Agency and neighboring Arab states

9) Education reform for both Arab and Jewish populations, including compulsory education

10) Warning that violence by either side will be suppressed summarily

The UN Partition Plan

With the British determined to leave the region, the Jews determined to form their own state, and the Arabs determined to regain authority in their region, the UN came up with a solution. In 1947, UB Resolution 181 was passed, also known as the UN Partition Plan. Palestine was to be divided into three parts.

The area around Jerusalem with become an International Zone, own by neither the Jews of Palestinians. 43% of Palestine with be given to the Arabs, this included all of the highlands, except Jerusalem, and one third of the coast-line. 56% of the land was to be given to the Jews, these included most of fertile lowlands, the Negev Desert and sole access to the Red Sea. After this division, the Arab state would be 99% Arab, and 1% Jewish, while the Jewish State would be 45% Arab and 55% Jewish, and the International Zone would be 51% Arab, and 49% Jewish.

The Jewish Agency accepted this proposal, but it was rejected by both the Revisionist Zionists and the Arabs. The Zionists claimed that the entire ancestral land be given to them, while the Arabs claimed that the entire region was initially theirs, and they were the majority.

The UN put the matter to a vote. The fate of Palestine now lay in the hands of the UN voters. The results came in. 33 for, 13 against, 10 abstained. With the resolution passed, it was now time to implement the plan, but it never fully materialized. Both the Arabs and Jews were not happy with the results. As a result, a civil war began on November 30th, 1947.

Conclusion:

As we leave the Palestinian crisis, we see that the British Mandate did not work out. The Palestinians rightfully wanted full control of their lands. The Jews too were determined to gain control of their ancestral land. In the next episode, we will discuss the civil wars that led to the shaping of modern-day Palestine and Israel.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts.
 
If you’d like to reach out to us, visit ToledoSociety.com

S2E3: Palestine Pt 3 – 1400 OMG

When we last visited Palestine, the British had drafted the Balfour Declaration, creating new problems in the region. The British has promised the land of Palestine to various parties. Unsure of how to move forward, the British created the Mandate of Palestine placing it under their own authority. Herbet Samuel was appointed British High Commissioner for Palestine in 1925 and remained in that position for five years. Through the mandate, the British controlled Palestine for almost three decades. During this period, they faced multiple protests, riots and revolts from both the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities. Let’s take a look at some of the events that occurred during this era…

Over the next few episodes, in Season 2, we will dive deep into the events that led to the formation of the State of Israel. Together, we will understand the roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and understand the history of this important region of the Muslim world.

Listen online at the bottom of this page, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Download now on Apple Podcasts.
Stream for free on Spotify.

Transcript

The British Mandate

When we last visited Palestine, the British had drafted the Balfour Declaration, creating new problems in the region. The British has promised the land of Palestine to various parties. Unsure of how to move forward, the British created the Mandate of Palestine placing it under their own authority. Herbet Samuel was appointed British High Commissioner for Palestine in 1925 and remained in that position for five years. Through the mandate, the British controlled Palestine for almost three decades. During this period, they faced multiple protests, riots and revolts from both the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities. Let’s take a look at some of the events that occurred during this era.

Because the British had promised a home for Jews in Palestine, they allowed immigration and Palestinian citizenship for Jews from around the world. The rising oppression of Jews across Europe caused a large number of Jews to migrate to Palestine.

Previously, we looked at the initial migration of Jews to Palestine before World War I. By 1920, there were now over ninety thousand Jews living in Palestine. The Jewish community has established its own defensive, administrative and agricultural sectors. They were determined to establish their homeland in Palestine. This caused a lot of tension with the local Arabs, building up to a riot.

In 1920, Arab leaders across Palestine were warning their followers against the Jewish immigrants. This sparked a riot around the time of the Jewish festivity known as Nabi Musa.  Between the fourth and the seventh of April 1920, a riot broke out in the old City of Jerusalem. Five Jews and four Arabs were killed, and several hundred were injured. This would be the first of multiple clashes between Arabs and Jews in Palestine.

The riot caused the British government to take notice. They realized that the Arabs were frustrated because of the Belfour declarations, and British not fulfilling their promises to them. They saw the Jews as a threat and feared that the British may hand over Palestine to them. In 1922, the British clarified their position, claiming that they supported the existence of the Jewish community in Palestine, but considered them Palestinian. They did not support the creation of a new state as a Jewish national home. They used this opportunity to divide the Mandate of Palestine into two countries; everything west of the Jordan River remained Palestine. Everything east of the Jordan River became a new country, Transjordan.

The Creation of Transjordan

In order to please Prince Abdullah and fulfill their promise to him, the British divided Palestine into two countries. The Eastern half became Transjordan and was handed over to Abdullah, who declared himself King Abdullah. The creation of Trasjordan solved two problems. It gave Abdullah a place to rule over, while preserving British interests in the region. The British continued to rule Transjordan indirectly through the King, protecting their interests in the process. The British representative had the final word regarding foreign relations matters, armed forces, budget and all other essential government activities

Heading back over the River Jordan, in the now smaller Palestine, the Jewish immigration continued. Between 1924 and 1929, a fourth Aliyah (Jewish Migration occurred). This time, over 82,000 immigrants moved to Palestine, mostly from Poland & Hungary. The Jewish settlers were mostly middle class business people. Settling in Palestine, they established the economic sector of the Jewish community there.

Imagine being a Palestinian during this period. First the Ottoman Empire collapses. Then the British divide your country into Palestine and Transjordan. Then there is a mass immigration of Jewish settlers who intend to make your country their new homeland. The stress and pressure from all of these events affected the Palestinian people, and led to a series of riots and massacres.

The Riots

The tension caused by the changes in the region caused a series of riots, massacres and rebellions throughout the 1929. In August alone, there were riots in Jerusalem, a massacre in Hebron, the destruction of a Mosque in Nabi Akasha, and a massacre in Safed.

The cause of all this?

The primary cause of tension was tension between the Arabs and Jews over access to holy Sites, particularly the Western Wall. The tension was intensified by provocative reportage in Arab and Jewish newspapers. Newspapers from both communities demonized the other, spreading conspiracies and fear. The Arab population, already disturbed by the events occurring around them, grew worried about a Jewish takeover. Due to limited security and police presence in the area, it became easy to get away with violence. Provoked by their fears and the media, the Arabs reacted by attacking the Jewish settlers, leading to riots, destruction and even massacres. In Hebron alone, 67 Jewish settlers were massacred by Arabs due to a rumor that the Jews planned to seize control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

These riots forced the British government to take action, and find a solution to the tension building between the Arab and Jewish citizens of Palestine.

The Hope-Simpson Commission & Passfield White Paper

In response to the riots, the Hope-Simpson Commission was established to investigate the cause of the riots. The commission reported five key points regarding the riot:

  1. “They [Jews] paid high prices for the land, and in addition they paid to certain of the occupants of those lands a considerable amount of money which they were not legally bound to pay.”
  2. Arab fears of the destructive impact of Zionist colonization were well-founded, and thus called for controls.
  3. Zionist labor policy extending to all Jewish enterprises, the displaced Arab farmer could not find non-agricultural employment, making the problem of unemployment among the Arabs “serious and widespread”.
  4. The Zionist contention that the Arab worker benefited from Jewish immigration was therefore refuted by the report.
  5. Acknowledgement of illegal immigration by both Arabs and of Jews across Mandate borders and need to discourage such incursions.

This led to the passing of the Passfield White Paper. The paper stated that the development of a Jewish National Home in Palestine is a consideration, which would enjoy continued support, but it was not central to mandate governance. The paper stated that the British intended to fulfill mandate obligations to both Arabs and Jews, and were committed to resolve any conflicts that might surface as a result of respective needs of both Arabs and Jews.

This did not stop Jewish immigration, at all. Between 1929 and 1939, over 250’000 Jews immigrated to Palestine. This became known as the Fifth Aliyah. Most of these Jews were from Eastern Europe, and were professionals. They included doctors, lawyers, and academics. Due to the increased anti-Semitism in Europe, more Jews fled to Palestine every year. This led to rising tension between the Arabs and Jews. To counter this, the British reacted by restricting immigration.

The result was a mass illegal immigration between 1933 and 1948. Over 110,000 immigrants illegally settled in Palestine, increasing the Jewish population to almost half a million. As the treatment of Jews in Europe got worse during World War II, more and more Jews fled to Palestine seeking safety and protection. Out of desperation, many migrated illegally.

The British were unable to control the immigration, or stop it at all. The Arabs grew more worried as the local Jewish community increased in number. Fearing a Jewish takeover, a mass Arab revolt took place in 1936.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts.

S2E2: Palestine Pt 2 – 1400 OMG

The British needed allies in the Ottoman Empire to divide/fracture it. They found their ally in Sharif Husayn. Sharif Husayn is the appointed custodian of Mecca/Medina, or governor of Hijaz.

Despite being appointed by the Ottoman Empire, Husayn does not see eye to eye with them. Husayn, along with Faisal of Iraq, is convinced of the importance of unity among Arab speaking regions of the Ottoman Empire.

This nationalist sentiment is augmented by anti-Turkic movements in Arab provinces, aided by the public reaction to Jamal Pasha’s hanging of 15 intellectuals and poets in Damascus, and another 21 in Beirut. Husayn has support in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and among nationalists in Egypt….

Over the next few episodes, in Season 2, we will dive deep into the events that led to the formation of the State of Israel. Together, we will understand the roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and understand the history of this important region of the Muslim world.

Listen online at the bottom of this page, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Download now on Apple Podcasts.
Stream for free on Spotify.

Transcript

The British needed allies in the Ottoman Empire to divide/fracture it. They found their ally in Sharif Husayn. Sharif Husayn is the appointed custodian of Mecca/Medina, or governor of Hijaz.

Despite being appointed by the Ottoman Empire, Husayn does not see eye to eye with them. Husayn, along with Faisal of Iraq, is convinced of the importance of unity among Arab speaking regions of the Ottoman Empire.

This nationalist sentiment is augmented by anti-Turkic movements in Arab provinces, aided by the public reaction to Jamal Pasha’s hanging of 15 intellectuals and poets in Damascus, and another 21 in Beirut. Husayn has support in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and among nationalists in Egypt.

Britain was very interested in compensating French in the region, given the high national and financial costs France incurred in Europe during WWI– and thus make arrangements with France. These arrangements are also intended to avoid French expansion in the region.

In a series of 10 letters to Sharif Husayn between 1915 and 1916, Arthur Henry McMahon–British High Commissioner to Egypt–proposes independence for Arab provinces subject to certain conditions.

Despite disagreements over Palestine, McMahon agrees to territorial demands made by Husayn–subject to further negotiations– and Husayn agrees to initiate an Arab Revolt against Ottomans

Another part of the agreement is that Husayn’s sons will become kings–Faisal becomes king of Iraq, and Abdallah becomes king of Jordan.

Just like the story we heard earlier in Medina, the Arabs, accompanied by T.E. Lawrence, conquer Damascus and create an Arab kingdom. This kingdom is led by Faysal until the French conquered Damascus–he reigns for 2 months. The short-lived Arab kingdom was thought to be a revival of Umayyad Dynasty.

In 1915 and 16 the Arabs hold off the Ottomans when they try to push towards the Suez Canal under the leadership of Jamal Pasha. In 1917, Baghdad revolts and is captured. Later that same year, Gaza is captured–though, Allenby of Britain takes over. In 1918, the Arab Revolt forces capture Damascus, and the French fleet takes Beirut. The Ottoman armies retreat to Anatolia, and the British Army occupies Istanbul and most of the Arab speaking provinces, which ends the war in the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire.

Sykes – Picot

Now, let’s talk about some of the treaties which were a result of this conflict.

First, Sykes–Picot of 1916.Sykes–Picot is a secret Treaty between Britain, France and Russia. It is an arrangement intended cut up the Ottoman Empire among the three countries, and alleviate tensions between Britain and France.

The terms of the treaty recognizes France’s territorial claims to Syria, and divides up the Middle East in the following ways:

  • France gets Lebanon, Syria and the coastal region.
  • Britain gets Iraq–especially southern Iraq from Baghdad
    to the Gulf–and indirect influence from Gaza to Kirkuk.

The agreement is in direct contradiction to overtures made in the Husayn-McMahon letters. As a result, Faysal goes to Kitchener, who denies the existence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Balfour Declaration

Next is the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Balfour Declaration promises to help set up/support a Jewish community in Palestine. Arthur Balfour–the British foreign minister– promised, in a letter to Baron L. Walter Rothschild not to undermine Jewish rights in other countries, and not to disrupt existing non-Jewish religious communities in the region.


The Balfour Declaration is the culmination of Zionist-nationalist activities in Europe in
response to the “Jewish Problem.”

Faisal–Weizmann Agreement

The Faisal–Weizmann Agreement is also signed in 1917. Faisal being Sherif Husain’s son and Weizmann being the Zionist leader who negotiated the Balfour agreement. Both parties are committed to the most cordial goodwill and understanding–to encourage immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale while also protecting the rights of the Arab peasants and tenant farmers, and to safeguard the free practice of religious observances. The Muslim Holy Places are to remain under Muslim control.

The Zionist movement must also undertake efforts to assist the Arab residents of Palestine, and the future Arab state to develop their natural resources and establish a growing economy.

The agreement creates a commission after the Paris Peace Conference to agree upon a border between an Arab state and Palestine. Both Parties are to uphold the Balfour Declaration of 1917, with Great Britain handling any disputes.

Conclusion:

The stage is now set for a clash for the land of Palestine. With Britain promising these lands to multiple parties through various treaties, they would now have to have a diplomatic solution to the problem they created.

Join us next time as we dive deeper into the events leading to the formation of Israel during the aftermath of World War I.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts.

S2E1: Palestine Pt 1 – 1400 OMG

Our story begins in Europe in the 18th century. At that time, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. More specifically, it was generally considered part of the Greater Syrian Province, an area that includes modern day Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq west of the Euphrates. At that time, Ottoman Law protected the rights of all Jews and Christians living within their borders…

Over the next few episodes, in Season 2, we will dive deep into the events that led to the formation of the State of Israel. Together, we will understand the roots of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, and understand the history of this important region of the Muslim world.

Listen online at the bottom of this page, or wherever you get your podcasts:
Download now on Apple Podcasts.
Stream for free on Spotify.

Transcript

Anti-Semitism in Europe

Our story begins in Europe in the 18th century. At that time, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. More specifically, it was generally considered part of the Greater Syrian Province, an area that includes modern day Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq west of the Euphrates. At that time, Ottoman Law protected the rights of all Jews and Christians living within their borders.

The situation in Europe, however, was a different story. In Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine, many Jews lived in rural, agricultural communities called shtetl. The locals made Jews their scapegoats for any political and economic turmoil. This led to a concept called Pogroms i.e. organized campaigns of violence and discrimination against the Jewish community. A good example of this is what occurred in 1882. A major pogrom was ordered by Tsar Alexander III which included many laws that limited where Jews could live and which occupations they could hold. These Pogroms served as a distraction for the community from the growing public frustration with poor conditions in Russia.

In Western Europe, the situation wasn’t much better. Most Jews lived in urban centers. In order to be accepted in society and to escape explicit anti-Semitism, many chose to secularize. The only alternative was retaining a visible Jewish expression, but this often meant living in ghettos, a segregated community that did not mix with broader society.

Secularized Jews felt that by becoming secular and/or converting to Christianity, they would be seen as assimilated and accepted in western countries like Germany, Austria, Great Britain and France, though anti-Semitism was still present, lurking under the surface.

But one event in 1894 changed everything and shook the Jewish community of Europe. This is known as the Dreyfus Affair.

The Dreyfus Affair and the Birth of Zionism

Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an officer in the French Legion. When military secrets were leaked, the commander needed a scapegoat. So Dreyfus was wrongly accused of reason for supposedly communicating French military secrets to German embassy officials in Paris.

Dreyfus was not given a fair trial and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, even after the actual culprit was discovered (and acquitted). This exposed the deep anti-Semitism of the French, as they were satisfied with the outcome, and ignored the injustice that they had done. It showed that even the most liberal and enlightened French people at that time had a deep dislike for the Jews.

This incident caused a media frenzy. Many journalists began to write about the topic, exposing the hypocrisy of the French government. The most important of these writers was Emile Zola. This caused a political crisis and eventually led to a retrial of Dreyfus. However, despite the clear proofs of his innocence, he was still given a 10 year sentence. Eventually, he was pardoned, but it was only in 1906 that he was fully exonerated from these crimes.

The entire incident shook the Jewish community to its core, both in France and elsewhere. They now felt that no level of assimilation or stature would immunize them from anti-Semitism. They needed a solution. Some of their thinkers arrived at an idea to protect them from Anti-Semitism: Zionism.

Zionism is the idea of establishing a Jewish State in the original land of Israel, which at that point in time was Palestine, a province of the Ottoman Empire. Many Jews became convinced that they needed to migrate to Palestine and established their own land where they could be safe from Anti-Semitism. So began a mass migration of Jews to Palestine.

The Aliyahs

The mass migration of the Jews to Palestine is known in Hebrew as the Aliyahs. There were three major Aliyahs before the establishment of Israel. The first Aliyah took place between 1882 and 1903. During this time, thirty-five thousand Jews migrated from Russia and Yemen to Palestine. They established their own agricultural communities to support themselves there.

The second Aliyah took place between 1904 and 1914. During this period, over forty thousand Jews migrated, mainly from Russia, to Palestine. During this period, they revived the Hebrew language and established the Kibbutzim system. The Kibbutzim system refers to the sharing of communal wealth between the immigrants. This eased the path of immigration for many poorer Jews.

Finally, from 1919 until 1923, another forty thousand Jews migrated to Palestine. This time they came from various countries, including the Soviet Union, Poland and Romania. They further developed the agricultural sector the new Jewish community and established a National Council and various other administrative systems. Now there were more than one hundred thousand Jews settled in Palestine, they began to mobilize to formulate their own state.

World War I
 
World War I was an event that forever changed the Muslim world. We discussed the effects of this war in details in episodes one and two of season 1. You can listen to those episodes for more details, but for now we will react the events that directly relate to the formation of Israel. Several events during World War I led to the formation of Israel. These include the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British making multiple contradictory promises to various parties including the Arabs and Jews, and the division of the conquered Arab lands among Britain, France, and their allies. Let’s begin by recapping the British alliance with the Arabs, and the results of that.

The British needed allies in the Ottoman Empire to divide/fracture it. They found their ally in Sharif Husayn. Sharif Husayn is the appointed custodian of Mecca/Medina, or governor of Hijaz.

Despite being appointed by the Ottoman Empire, Husayn does not see eye to eye with them. Husayn, along with Faisal of Iraq, is convinced of the importance of unity among Arab speaking regions of the Ottoman Empire.

Join us next time as we dive deeper into the events leading to the formation of Israel during the aftermath of World War I.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts.

S1E8: The Siege of Mecca Pt 2 – 1400 OMG

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S1E7: The Siege of Mecca – 1400 OMG

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S1E6: The Iranian Revolution Pt 2. – 1400 OMG

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Stream for free on Spotify.
Download now on Apple Podcasts.