On August 16, 1945 – just two weeks after the end of the Potsdam conference in Germany, which helped set the postwar world order in motion – US president Harry Truman was presented with a vexing question: “What is the American position on Palestine?” He turned to the reporter and stated, “I have no desire to send 500,000 American soldiers there to make peace.”

It is remarkable that the fate of British Mandate Palestine, which had been promised as a Jewish homeland in 1917, managed to become an American issue so soon after the end of World War II. Seventy years later, Israel and the conflicts emanating from the 1940s are still central to US policy.

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