Friday, January 8, 2010

1909: Committee of Union and Progress


The Second Aliyah occurred between 1904 and 1914, in which approximately 34,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, and particularly to the Galilee, after Sultan Abdülhamid permitted Jewish immigration to only the northern district of Palestine. In 1909, Zionist Jews of the Second Aliyah were able to establish their first Kibbutz community, named it Degania, which was founded near the Palestinian village of Umm Juni located on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. Kibbutzim communities are different from Jewish settlements, in which, Kibbutzim societies rely solely on agriculture and are established as separate entities that act independently and does not follow local authorities laws or regulations. Regardless of Sultan Abdülhamid's orders in not permitting new Jewish immigrants to settle in Palestine except for the Galilee, Zionist Jews of the Second Aliyah managed to sneak to Jaffa and were able to form a new Jewish society, named Ahuzat Bayit, in which was later expanded to become the city of Tel-Aviv.

During this time, Zionists were not happy with the actions of Sultan Abdülhamid in allowing Jewish immigrants to settle only in the Galilee, since this would not go with their plans of taking over Palestine and converting it into a Jewish state. Therefore, Zionists decided to eliminate the Ottoman Empire by using their influences to penetrate into the Committee of Union and Progress. In 1909, this committee along with the Young Turks movement, succeeded in seizing power from Sultan Abdülhamid, and replaced him with his younger brother Mehmed Reşad. The Committee of Union and Progress reconstituted the parliament and put the power and decision-making in the hands of the new appointed thirteen ministers, leaving the new Sultan, Mehmed Reşad, with absolutely no political power. The Committee of Union and Progress, widely influenced by Zionists, assigned only one Arab minister out of the thirteen minsters, although Arabs represented more than half of the Ottoman Empire's population, while assigning three Jewish ministers. One of the earliest decisions that was made by the new government is to allow the Jewish Zionist colonists into Palestine.

Several Arab and Turkish revolts arose in an attempt to restore the power from the Committee of Union and Progress back to Sultan Abdülhamid. However, the Committee of Union and Progress was able to put down all the revolts with the help of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a Jewish Freemason, who was also able to depose Sultan Abdülhamid and send him to exile in Selanik. Sultan Abdülhamid later explained that the reason behind his dethronement was his "determination to prevent the Jews from their determination on establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine"