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Homeland: Part VI: Independence
By Mike Martin - January 7, 2009


War of Independence 1948
The war in Europe was particularly devastating for the Jewish people. The German Nazis had always spoken about the need to eliminate non-Aryan peoples from their midst and the war gave them the cover and opportunity to do this, first in Germany and then throughout all of their conquered territories. An estimated six million Jews were rounded up and placed on special transport to concentration camps where they were starved, tortured and executed. This period was known as the Holocaust and as word of it spread throughout Europe frantic Jews scrambled to leave their adopted homes and fled to any place that could offer them sanctuary. As the war ebbed to a close this became a flood of refugees who simply wanted to get out of Europe.

Many of them wanted to go to Palestine but the British governors were still limiting immigration and at one point arrested thousands of Jews who they claimed were illegal immigrants and even held the leadership of the Jewish agency in prison without trial to try and stop the flow of would be immigrants. In response the Jewish militias formed a common front of resistance with Haganah, Etzel and other militias joining forces to fight against the treatment of the Jews in Palestine. This united front collapsed in July, 1946 when Eztel bombed the King David Hotel, the British Military Headquarters in Palestine killing 92 people, most of them civilians.

The British response was swift and severe. Tel-Aviv was placed under curfew and they decided to imprison illegal Jewish immigrants indefinitely and without trial on Cyprus. In July 1947 the British Prime Minister Ernest Bevin ordered the Exodus, a ship of immigrants most of them Holocaust survivors to be sent back to Europe and referred the Palestine problem back to the United Nations.
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