Milestones in the Postal History of the Holy Land
The Struggle for Independence
In May 1939, the British government issued the ”White
Paper,” a policy report determining limitations on the
immigration of Jews to Eretz Israel. This act symbolized,
more than any other, the deterioration of British
sympathy for the idea of a Jewish national homeland
in Palestine and was contrary to a promise made by the
League of Nations. In September of that year, World War
II broke out. These two events, in effect, shaped the
history of the Jewish settlement in Palestine up until the
establishment of the State of Israel.
In spite of the “White Paper,” illegal immigration to
Palestine continued, even though the numbers were limited
by the outbreak of the War. Those who were caught by
the British were sent to detention camps in Mauritius
and Cyprus. Resistance to the British Mandate also
weakened during the War, and approximately 30,000 Jewish
volunteers from Eretz Israel and abroad, served in the
British Army on the European Front.
Following the War in 1945, the Jewish settlement in
Palestine returned to its opposition against British
rule and the three resistance movements — the Haganah,
Lechi and Etzel (Irgun) — began to attack British Army
installations. As a consequence, the British arrested
freedom fighters on the “Black Sabbath”, among them
a number of the Yishuv leaders. Some were imprisoned in
Latrun, while others were deported to internment camps in
Africa. The Etzel underground responded with a vengeance
and blew up the southern wing of the King David Hotel in
Jerusalem where administrative personnel of the British
Mandatory government were housed.
In February 1947, the British Foreign Minister Ernest
Bevin announced in Parliament that, since the British
had failed to provide a solution, the future of Palestine
would be determined in the United Nations. On 29.11.1947,
the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine
and the establishment of the State of Israel.
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