United Nations Partition of Palestine: British Withdrawl (April-May 1948)

Palestinian children British tank
Figure 1.--This AP wire photograph was dated April 29, 1948. The caption read, "Arab youngsters admire British tank: Two Arab youngsters question Btitish soldiers about a 28-ton Cromwell Tank standing guard at a road block in Jerusalem. Station is one of many set up by British authorities to protect neutrals during current Arab-Jewish warfare in the Holy Land." Notice how poorly designed the British tank is, obsolete military equipment.

The League of Nations had assummed responsiiity for Pallestine after the withdrawl of the Ottoman Empire. The United Nations assumed responsibility as the successor organization to the League of Nations assumed responsibility. Conflict between the Arabs and Jews became too intense for the British to control. Both sides began targetting the British. The most notable attack was the Irgun attack on the King David Hotel when many British officials were living. As a result of expanding Arab and British terrorism, the British proceeded to withdraw and turn over Palestine to the United Nations. The U.N. partition plan was to take effect on the date of British withdrawal from the Mandate Territory of Palestine. The British began withdrawing their military force (early April). The British mandate over Palestine was due to expire on May 15, 1948. The Jewish Leadership led by future Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared independence on May, 14, the day before the expiration. One observer calls the British withdrawl "probably the most shamefaced British withdrawal" from any of its possessions. [Shepherd]


Shepherd, Naomi. Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine, 1917-1948 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000), 290p.


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Created: 6:42 AM 11/2/2007
Last updated: 7:30 PM 11/3/2017