What was the British Mandate?
British forces entered Jerusalem and the city gave itself up to the war victors on December 9, 1917. This was done literally with General Allenby entering the city from Jaffa Gate, leading a victory convoy. This was the end to the glorious four centuries of the Ottoman-Turk Empire, giving way to a thirty year British rule.
The Paris-Peace Conference was held from January to June 1919 where the Mandate system came into existence under the Article 22 of the Convent of the League of Nations, which stated that the nations who are unable to hold a government on their own will be given under the trust of advanced countries who will handle the state affairs until such nations have gained enough strength to operate the government affairs on their own. This concept was approved and taken up through the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.
The question of executing the Treaty of Versailles was raised up in a meeting held at San Remo, Italy, between the representatives of France, Britain, Belgium, Greece, Japan and Italy in April 1920. The leading role in deciding the mandates was played by the allies’ countries through the members of their supreme council. Mandates in the Middle East were fixed through adopting the basic features of the Treaty of Sevres.
The administrative control of Palestine was allotted to the British mandate and the territory was named “British Mandate for Palestine”. In July 1920, the civil administration of the mandate took over military and Jerusalem was made the capital.
Terms were laid down for the British mandate which incorporated the features of the Balfour Declaration and these terms were approved by the League of Nations Council on July 24, 1992 and made official in September of the same year. Although not a member of the League of Nations, United States endorsed the idea of a Jewish national home through a joint resolution of the United States Congress.
The squeaky Jewish wheel kept on turning with grease provided at the expense of the Arab population as the mandate, similar to the Balfour Declaration, called upon the need to establish a separate Jewish home with Jewish organization to be set up. Moreover, Jewish immigration was encouraged while a term stating that no prejudice would be shown to the rights of other sections of the population. The official languages of the territory were decided to be English, Arab and Hebrew.
Winston Churchill was the British colonial secretary at that time who summoned a major conference in Cairo in March 1921 to look through the issues of Middle East. Following this conference, the Palestine Mandate was divided along the Gulf of Aqaba Line of the Jordan River and this portion was named “Transjordan”. This newly established territory was to have its own Arab administration, although still under the general supervision of the commissioner for Palestine Mandate, but Abdullah was appointed as its emir.
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