British Mandate for Palestine (legal instrument …

Posted By on July 23, 2015

This article is about the Mandate instrument passed by the League of Nations granting Britain a mandate over the territories of the Ottoman Empire, that today are the State of Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jordan. For a history of the period, see Mandatory Palestine and Emirate of Transjordan. League of Nations - Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan Memorandum

British Command Paper 1785, December 1922, containing the Mandate for Palestine and the Transjordan memorandum

The British Mandate for Palestine, shortly Mandate for Palestine, or the Palestine Mandate was a League of Nations mandate for the territory that had formerly constituted the Ottoman Empire sanjaks of Nablus, Acre, the Southern part of the Vilayet of Syria, the Southern portion of the Beirut Vilayet, and the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, prior to the Armistice of Mudros.

The draft of the Mandate for Palestine was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922, supplemented via the 16 September 1922 Trans-Jordan memorandum[2][3] and then came into effect on 29 September 1923[2] following the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne.[4][5] The mandate ended at midnight on 14 May 1948. The Palestine Mandate legalized the temporary rule of Palestine by Great Britain.

The document was based on the principles contained in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and the San Remo Resolution of 25 April 1920, by the principal Allied and associated powers after the First World War. The objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, "until such time as they are able to stand alone."[6] The approximate northern border with the French Mandate was agreed upon in the PauletNewcombe Agreement of 23 December 1920.[7]

Transjordan had been a no man's land following the July 1920 Battle of Maysalun.[8] During this period, the British chose to avoid any definite connection with Palestine[9] until a March 1921 conference at which it was agreed that Abdullah bin Hussein would administer the territory under the auspices of the Palestine Mandate. The Trans-Jordan Memorandum annulled the articles regarding the Jewish National Home in the territory east of the Jordan. It also established a separate "Administration of Trans-Jordan" for the application of the Mandate, under the general supervision of Great Britain. On 18 April 1946, Transjordan was formally separated from the Palestine Mandate,[10] with Abdullah remaining the king.

When the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the First World War in April 1915, it threatened Britain's communications with India via the Suez Canal, besides other strategic interests of the allies. The conquest of Palestine became part of British strategies aimed at establishing a land bridge between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. This would enable rapid deployment of troops to the Gulf, then the forward line of defence for British interests in India, and protect against invasion from the north by Russia. A land bridge was also an alternative to the Suez Canal.[11]

In response to French initiatives, the United Kingdom established the de Bunsen Committee in 1915 to consider the nature of British objectives in Turkey and Asia in the event of a successful conclusion of the war. The committee considered various scenarios and provided guidelines for negotiations with France, Italy, and Russia regarding the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The Committee recommended in favour of the creation of a decentralised and federal Ottoman state in Asia.[12]

At the same time, the British and French also opened overseas fronts with the Gallipoli (1915) and Mesopotamian campaigns. In Gallipoli, the Turks successfully repelled the British, French and Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs).

From 1915, Zionist leader and anglophile Ze'ev Jabotinsky was pressing the British to agree to the formation of a Zionist volunteer corps that would serve under the aegis of the British army. The British eventually agreed to set up the Zion Mule Corps, which assisted in the failed invasion of Gallipoli. After Lloyd George was made prime minister during the war, the British waged the Sinai and Palestine Campaign under General Allenby. This time the British agreed to a "Jewish Legion", which participated in the invasion. Russian Jews regarded the German army as a liberator and the creation of the Legion was designed to encourage them to participate in the war on Britain's side.

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