The Restoration of Israel Was Not a Product of European Imperialism
Another common argument put forward by the PLO is that Israel is really the product of European imperialism and hence it does not represent a legitimate national movement of its own. As a result, Zionism came to be portrayed in the Arab world as "a hyper-aggressive variant of colonialism."16
This perception has also penetrated the discourse of Israel's European detractors. Initially, it is true that the idea of a restored Jewish homeland received its greatest push from the declaration in 1917 of the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, who called for its establishment after the British defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, ironically, during the subsequent years of the British Mandate over Palestine, European (and especially British) imperial policies actually obstructed the emergence of the Jewish national home.
First, the territory of Transjordan was cut off from the Palestine Mandate and granted by the British to the Hashemite dynasty from Arabia, who had lost their ancestral homeland, the Hijaz, to the Saudi clan of eastern Arabia.
Second, the British sought to further partition the remaining territory of western Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, reducing the area for Jewish settlement even more. Finally, with the 1939 White Paper, the British restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine just as Nazi Germany began its conquest of Europe and its Holocaust against European Jewry.
In this context, it is not surprising that Jewish underground movements waged an anti-colonial war in the 1940s against continuing British rule. In other words, Israel was anti-imperialist when it first emerged.
By contrast, the Arab states at the time were aligned with the imperial powers. The Arab states that invaded the nascent State of Israel fielded armies that were trained and supplied by the French and British Empires. During Israel's War of Independence, British officers commanded the Arab Legion of Transjordan, while the Royal Air Force, defending Egyptian airspace, fought the Israeli Air Force over the Sinai Peninsula in 1949.
And the nations of the world did not lift a finger when the Jews of Jerusalem were surrounded and faced annihilation, even though the UN had called for internationalization of the city. Only the Israel Defense Forces broke Jerusalem's siege and saved its Jewish residents.
In short, Jewish independence in Israel was won by a native and indigenous community acting in its own defense with little help from outside.