Why was the State of Israel created in Palestine in 1948?
There are two operative parts to that question. There is the implicit question as to whether a Jewish State is something that should exist. There is the explicit question as to whether the geographical location chosen for this Jewish State is proper for its mission.
1) Why a Jewish State: Herzl explained quite well that the European concept of a nation-state was dependent on the idea that all of the people in any particular nation were of the same ethnic stock and heritage. Jews were branded by this system to be "the Other" and were regarded at best as possible equals and at worse as traitors, spies, thieves, and fifth columns. When the Dreyfus Affair turned out marches in Paris that said "Death to the Jews" on account of a kangaroo court against a particular guiltless Jew, it became clear that the Jew could not be integrated into Europe. After the Holocaust, the strongest proof that the Jew and the European Nation-State were irreconcilable, this view of denigrating "the Other" persists. In Europe, it is now directed at the Muslims since the Jews are not large enough of a threat to the European System. Unlike Muslims, though, which can return to their countries of origin if the discrimination becomes intolerable, the Jews did not have such a place. This is why the Jewish State is necessary. Since it came into existence it has accepted Jewish political refugees from over 50 nations and flown missions at its own expense to rescue Jews from at least 10 nations.
2) Why Palestine: Ahad Ha'am explains that the Jewish Soul is intrinsically connected to his history and in the same way that a German-American can never be as properly German as a German in Germany, the People of Israel can never be as properly Jewish if they are not in the Land of Israel. The relics in that land speak to a Jewish sensibility and character. There are also religious reasons as expounded by Rav Avraham Kook which posit that the development of a Jewish State in Israel hastens the arrival of the Messiah. There are additional political reasons why Palestine and not Europe. As explained above, the European Culture is strongly anti-Other and making a Jewish State there would have fostered much more contempt and alienation (ironically).
The Palestine that Israel was formed from and the Palestine that the Arabs who live in Palestine call their homeland are two different things.
First, why did the Jews want the land known as Palestine to be their State? The Jewish people are an ancient people - older than the Christians and the Muslims. Judaism, however, is not just a religion, but also a nationality. What I mean by this is that there existed a Jewish Kingdom in what is known today as Israel, as well as parts of Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. To gloss over much of history, the Romans conquered this land. Some Jews revolted and the Romans reconquered the land, but this time enslaved or exiled much of the Jewish populace and outlawed the practice of Judaism.
Following this second Roman conquest of the Kingdom of Judah (Israel) in 135 and the expulsion of most of the Jews from the land, the Romans renamed the country "Palestine," to further distance Jews from the territory. The name "Palestine" was taken from an earlier people who had ceased to exist called the Philistines (in no way related to the Arabs or the people now known as Palestinians. The Palestinians of today took their name from the Roman-branded land). The name stayed Palestine through the creation of Islam and the conquest by Islam throughout much of the Middle East.
In the turn of the 19th century, and with the rise of Zionism, many Jews started making their way back to the land of their forefathers. For 2000 years Jews all over the world have prayed for a day in which they would return to the land from which they were expelled. With the rise of Zionism, Jews decided to be proactive about that return rather than waiting for a Messiah to take them there. Throughout history, the Jewish people have not been welcomed in any land in which they resided (see the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290 or the Spanish Inquisition/expulsion of Jews in 1492, or the attempted genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis during WWII - not to mention the constant anti-Semitism experienced by Jews in their foreign lands). This is why the Jews yearned to one day return to their own land where they would no longer be strangers in a foreign land.
When the Jews landed in Palestine, it was ruled by the Turkish Empire. The border that you know as Israel today (or even the West Bank/Gaza) did not exist. The Arabs living within the administrative area of Palestine and what is today known as Jordan were mostly related and very similar - similar language/dialect, similar customs, similar family relations. In fact, today the majority of the population of Jordan is Palestinian.
With the advent of World War I, European powers made promises to many people to ensure their victory. One such promise was to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration, which stated British intentions to create a Jewish national home in the land of Palestine. However with the end of World War I, the British and French drew up new boundaries for countries in the Middle East (the conquered Turkish Empire) and divided the land of Palestine into the British Mandate of Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
Throughout the decades of British rule in the Mandate of Palestine, there was much unrest between the Jewish citizens and the Arab citizens, which culminated in the UN Resolution to divide the land once again (remember that Palestine had already been divided between an all Arab Trans-Jordan, which was given over to a minority ethnic group, the Hashemites, to control, and and mixed Jewish/Arab Palestine) into a Jewish State and an Arab State. Following the UN Resolution the Jewish citizens of Palestine accepted the resolution while the Arab citizens did not.
After the British left the Mandate of Palestine in May of 1948, the Jews declared Independence and called their nascent State Israel. The Palestinians, conversely, did not declare their own independence but instead attacked the Jewish State along with all of the surrounding Arab armies in an attempt to wipe the Jewish State and most of its population off the face of the map. Somehow they did not succeed and the Jewish State gained even more land.
So, you see, the Jews did not take the land of Palestine away from the Palestinians. In reality the situation is much more complicated than that. The Jews deserve a homeland just as much as the Palestinians do. The Palestinian had a chance to declare Independence in 1948, but didn't. They cared more about stopping the Jews from having a State than creating a Palestinian State. Throughout the political history of Israel, many Israeli government have offered to give back the Palestinian territories to the Palestinians so that they can declare Statehood, but only in exchange of peace. The Palestinians have consistently rejected these overtures.
The British Mandate of Palestine was home to two groups of people, both of whom deserve a State.
First you must understand that Jews were known as Palestinians until 1948 when overnight they became Israelis. It was then that the arabs in the area, by direction of yasser arafat and the arab league, took over the name palestinian to use as a political weapon against Israel. There is no palestinian people or community prior to 1948.
The "father" of the palestinians was an egyptian man born in cairo...yasser arafat.
The real question is...why was Israel's name changed to palestine. The land was originally called Israel thousands of years ago. The Roman empire conquered Israel and in an attempt to humiliate the Jews, who were just conquered by the romans, the name of Israel was changed Filistinia and a large part of the Jewish population was exiled. So you see, Israel was a jewish homeland 1700 years before Islam even existed.