The British Mandate: Overview

What is the overview of the Mandate Period?

Geographical Distribution of the Mandate

Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917, a letter that was formed on the request of the Zionist organization based in Britain, addressed to Lord Rothschild. This document announced Britain’s support for the Jews and supported their idea of creating a national home in Palestine. However, the Balfour Declaration clearly discouraged the act of violating the religious and civil rights of other non-Jewish communities in the place.

A peace conference was held in Paris in 1919 where Zionist and Arab representatives pleaded their case. It was here, through League of Nations, that Ottoman Empire was divided into different territories and assigned to the parties who were victorious in the War. Arabs did not agree with the idea of a Jewish state on the land which they considered their home as they feared dispossession and rule of the Zionists, which eventually happened. The ultimate result was that the British plan was adopted and the division of areas between France and Britain became the central issue rather than the view of the populace.

A provisional mandate was granted to Britain in 1920 which extended the Jordan River. In 1922, the boundary of Palestine was restricted to the area west of the river by the British. The area east of the river was named Transjordan which later received independence and became Jordan. Zionist movement felt a loss at having to let go of this much large area. It was 91,000 square kilometers of the original 118,000 square kilometers where Trans-Jordan was created. This area was declared out of bounds for still-to-be-declared land for Jews. This mandate was an international recognition of the purpose which Jews had stated for establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

British were in no rush to leave Palestine anytime soon; although they permitted Zionist organizations to initiate laying grounds for what was aimed to be a Jewish state. To lend a hand to their efforts, British allowed Jewish immigrants from the period of 1922 to 1948 to come to Palestine as well as the establishment of Jewish governing bodies. With the legal immigrations of over 350,000, Jews also immigrated illegally to Palestine, bringing this figure to 400,000.

It was in 1947 that the idea of Jewish state was formulized for the first time ever by the United Nations Partition Plan resolution 181. It was at that time that Britain realized the difficulty of ruling over a land with conflicting claims. Eventually, the British sought to end the mandate and after 26 years of rule over Palestine, it came to an end in May 1948.


6 thoughts on “The British Mandate: Overview”

    1. Reading this article and few of the replies about the Jews getting the worst end, I don’t understand how this can be possible. Just because the Palestinains had no issues with the Jews coming into their lands and homes, does not make it right to just give it to the Jews. As well this plan done by the British seems so open that they did not want them in Europe they only used this scheme to get rid of them from their own countries.
      Really, the Jews had no country even though majority lived in Europe and in a tricky way, they were told, hey we are going to help you get a state of your own, even though there was no state to give them. but stealing makes it right in the hands of politics. Why did they not give them part of their own land or even part of the US or any other non-Arab country, but hey wake up, they did not want them there!!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. Both Arabs and Jews got a bad deal in this situation; the UN gave away land that wasn’t theirs, and the fighting ensued.

  2. Almost all Jews believe firmly that Palestine was a Jewish land for 3-4000 years ago. How come, then, that Jews accepted the “creation of a national home” in Palestine in stead of requiring their own land?

    1. The Original Land of Biblical ancient Israel comprised of all of Jordan, Syria, Iran & Iraq, this was a conquered by the Roman empire and renamed Palestine to expunge its place in History. After WWII, The Jews who had lived in unbroken ownership in Jerusalem & surrounding areas, were joined by those survivors from the Nazi Holocaust. After 2000 years exile Jews were finally returning to their ancient homeland and being reunited with their long lost families. However Jews were still not in charge of their own destiny as the British controlled the area and partitioned it up into Jordan, Syria & Lebanon and some was given to Egypt. The Jews were so depleted by this time that once they got a chance to finally have their some of their own land back, they accepted a tiny fragment of their rightful birthright, just so they could survive. It was a case of something is better than nothing.

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