The Zionism of She’arit Hapleta was not all that ideologically grounded - it was a conclusion drawn from their experience during the catastrophe. What they longed for above all else was a homeland and a home to resolve their future as Jews and as DPs.
Ben-Gurion, then, seems to have been on the mark when he spoke of the “Zionist instincts” of She’arit Hapleta - a notion quite different from Zionist theorizing. Since the Zionist choice they made was a way of life stemming from their experience, they clung to it zealously and were willing to make extreme sacrifices to ensure its realization. Their Zionist aspirations were categorically expressed during the visit of the Anglo-American Committee of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), which came away convinced that the vast majority of survivors had their hearts set on settling in Palestine.
Some say that the yearning for Zion expressed by She’arit Hapleta was actually the traditional Jewish longing and not necessarily a conscious option for a new way of life. However, this contention does not stand up to the test of reason. A human population, however severe its plight, does not choose its home and its country without strong conviction and firm resolve. In recent decades we have seen that Jews in Mexico, in Iran or in Argentina, all of whom were forced to flee their homes, because they were persecuted as Jews, did not opt for Israel as a haven. True, the gates of the United States were closed to the majority of the Jewish refugees until the early 1950s, but West European democracies had been accessible: France, Holland, Italy, Belgium, yet relatively few settled there.
Source: Gutman, Yisrael, “She’arit Hapleta - Problems, Some Elucidation”, in: Gutman, Yisrael and Saf, Avital (eds.), She’arit Hapleta 1944-1948, Rehabilitation and Political Struggle, Proceedings of the Sixth Yad Vashem International Historical Conference, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1990, pp. 528-529.