II. Early Mandate Period

II. Early Mandate Period

Period
II. Early Mandate Period
2 November 1917 to 15 April 1936

As World War I came to an end, Palestine was placed under British rule, first in the form of the military administration of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration and later as a Class A Mandate of the League of Nations. Palestinians were relieved that the hardships of the war and the Ottoman rule (which had become increasingly unpopular in the years preceding the war) were finally over, but their relief was quickly tempered by British commitments to the Zionist project in Palestine and the realization that efforts toward Arab independence would be undermined at all turns by the European powers. Jewish immigration, though uneven, significantly increased Palestine’s Jewish population, and Zionist institutions grew stronger and increasingly entrenched within the Mandate’s governing structures. As Palestinian political leaders sought to engage the British administration, popular forms of resistance periodically erupted into violent clashes, the most significant being the Buraq Uprising of 1929 and widespread anti-British demonstrations in 1933. By the end of 1935, Palestine stood poised on the brink of full-blown revolt.

In the summer of 1919, structures emerged through which the European powers would assert their control over the Arab provinces of the former Ottoman Empire and undermine Arab efforts for self-determination. In June, the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations were signed, introducing a post–World War I order in which the Arab provinces were recognized as “independent nations,” to be assisted in their path toward independent statehood by a Mandatory. Meanwhile, in July, the General Syrian Congress was held in Damascus at which delegates from throughout the Levant elected Emir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein, king of an Arab state to comprise Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Transjordan. But Faisal’s Arab state was quickly scuppered by the European powers: by July 1920, Faisal had been deposed by the French, who with Britain’s acquiescence imposed their rule in Lebanon and Syria under the Mandate framework.

Britain, in return, was allotted the Mandate for Palestine in April 1920 at the San Remo Conference. This was done despite the fact that Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant stipulated that the wishes of the communities concerned must be taken into account. The King-Crane Commission, dispatched to the Levant in May 1919, had indeed recorded Palestinians’ support for Arab independence and their overwhelming concerns about Britain’s support for Zionism as expressed in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In April 1920, the first violent clashes occurred between Palestinians and Jewish immigrants in Jaffa, in which five Jews were killed and two hundred wounded; four Palestinians were also killed and twenty-one injured. A British commission of inquiry attributed the riots to Palestinian “disappointment at the non-fulfillment of the promise of independence” and “fear of economic and political subjection” to Zionists.

Palestinian concerns were inflamed further by the appointment of Sir Herbert Samuel, a prominent British Zionist, to the post of high commissioner of the Palestine Mandate. In May 1921, clashes between rival Zionist factions spilled into Jaffa and prompted Palestinian protests against Zionist immigration in which forty-six Jews and sixty-eight Palestinians were killed. Meanwhile, Palestinians were also mobilizing politically and diplomatically against British support for Zionism. They organized Christian-Muslim associations in major cities, which went on to hold four national congresses between January 1919 and August 1922 and elected an Executive Committee. In 1921 and 1922, three Palestinian delegations visited London to present their case for a policy that prioritized the rights and needs of Palestine’s Arabs. Undeterred, Britain forged ahead with its commitment to Zionism but attempted to clarify it: a 1922 White Paper declared that Britain’s intention was to support the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, not the conversion of all of Palestine into such a home, and it linked the regulation of Jewish immigration into Palestine to the “economic absorptive capacity” of the country. In July 1922, the League of Nations approved the terms of Britain’s Mandate for Palestine, which reiterated Britain’s commitment to the Zionist project in multiple articles, and in September 1923 the Mandate officially came into effect.

Between 1923 and 1929, Zionists made steady progress in their project to establish a Jewish national home. From 1918 to 1929 some sixty new Zionist colonies were established, Zionist landownership rose from 2.04 percent of the total area of the country in 1919 to 4.4 percent in 1929, and immigration increased the Jewish proportion of the population from 9.7 percent to 17.6 percent during the same period. Zionist institutions in Palestine continued to assert themselves—in August 1929, the Jewish Agency was created to represent Jewish communities worldwide—and the British continued to privilege Zionist interests over the principle of self-determination or any structures that would have given the Palestinians political power commensurate with their demographic weight.

In 1929, Palestinian frustrations boiled over after right-wing Revisionist Zionists led a demonstration to the Western Wall/al-Buraq, a site holy to Jews and Muslims, to protest the status quo that had governed rights and access to religious sites in Palestine for centuries. The threat of the violation of this status quo prompted a violent reaction among Palestinians, and demonstrations and riots spread throughout the country, the most deadly occurring in Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safad. The clashes exposed the depths of Palestinians’ resistance to the imposition of the Zionist project against their will and prompted the British to consider the long-term impact of their pro-Zionist policy. In March 1930, a commission of inquiry (the Shaw Commission) confirmed that Palestinians saw Jewish immigration as both an economic and political threat, and another report (the Hope-Simpson Report), published in October, concluded that there was no additional land available for agricultural settlement by new Jewish immigrants. The British government issued, also in October 1930, another White Paper (Passfield White Paper) that recognized the conclusions drawn in these reports and advocated that greater attention be paid to Palestinian grievances. However, fierce Zionist criticism of the White Paper led to its virtual withdrawal in February 1931.

The Zionists made a number of gains in the 1930s, spurred forward by the rise of anti-Semitism—official and unofficial—in many European countries and Zionist efforts to channel Jews fleeing such oppression toward Palestine. Between 1931 and 1936, sixty-four new Zionist colonies were established, Zionist land ownership in Palestine rose to 5.4 percent of the total area, and the Jewish proportion of the population increased to 29.5 percent. The radical influx of Jewish immigrants invigorated Zionist institutions, including the illegal military organization Haganah. In October 1935, the discovery of a massive illegal arms shipment destined for the group confirmed Palestinians’ fears that the Zionist movement sought their displacement by military—in addition to political, demographic, and economic—means.

The early 1930s were also a period of increased Palestinian political activity. New political parties were formed and new newspapers were established; traditional elite-based politics were challenged and complemented by the rapid development of groups such as the Arab Youth Congress, the Young Men’s Muslim Association, the scouting movement, and the Istiqlal Party. Meanwhile, the global economic depression, combined with British policies and Zionist pressure, drove many young Palestinians from rural areas to cities in search of work. These groups became the raw material for the new popular political trends that were emerging. In 1933, large demonstrations throughout Palestine gave voice to the anger and frustration with British rule and were met violently by its agents. At the same time, secret paramilitary organizations began to organize in various regions of Palestine, the most famous being the Black Hand group led by Izzeddin al-Qassam. Al-Qassam was a Syrian who had fled the French authorities and gained a following in Haifa, where he preached at a mosque that catered to the new rural migrant underclass. In 1935, al-Qassam and a group of his followers clashed with British police and he was killed. His funeral in Haifa turned into a mass demonstration. As the following years would demonstrate, Palestinians were willing to risk everything to resist the British-backed imposition of Zionism.

AW

 

Selected Bibliography

Bunton, Martin. Colonial Land Policies in Palestine, 1917–1936. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Huneidi, Sahar. A Broken Trust: Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians, 1920–1925. London: I. B. Tauris, 2001.

Lesch, Ann M. Arab Politics in Palestine, 1917–1939: The Frustration of a Nationalist Movement. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979.

Muslih, Muhammad. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press; Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1988.

Seikaly, May. Haifa: Transformation of an Arab Society, 1918–1939. London: I.B. Tauris, 1995.

II. Early Mandate Period
E.g., 2018/12/14
E.g., 2018/12/14

Early Mandate Period

1917

1918

1919

1920

1921

1922

1923

1924

1925

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

Policy/program

Balfour Declaration Is Made
2 November 1917

Colonization

Arrival in Palestine of the Zionist Commission
April 1918

Popular action

Establishment of Muslim-Christian Societies
October 1918 - December 1918

Legal Colonization

Proclamations No. 75 and No. 76 on Immovable Property
18 November 1918

Diplomatic Policy/program

The King-Crane Commission Tours the Region and Makes a Recommendation
January 1919 - August 1919

Colonization

3rd Wave of Jewish Immigration to Palestine
1919 - 1923

Popular action

1st Palestinian National Congress Is Held in Jerusalem
27 January 1919 - 10 February 1919

Contextual Policy/program

Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations Covenant Signed
28 June 1919

Popular action Policy/program

General Syrian Congress Is Held in Damascus
2 July 1919

Contextual Institutional

Covenant of the League of Nations Enters into Force
10 January 1920

Popular action Policy/program

The General Syrian National Congress Proclaims the Independence of Syria
27 February 1920 - 8 March 1920

Violence

Anti-Zionist Disturbances Break out in Palestine; Palin Commission of Inquiry
April 1920

Diplomatic Policy/program

San Remo Conference
25 April 1920

Sanctions

Scheduled Second Palestinian National Congress Cannot Meet
15 May 1920

Institutional

Founding of the Haganah, the Jewish Paramilitary Organization
June 1920

Institutional Colonization

International Zionist Conference Meets in London
July 1920

Institutional

Palestine Civil Government
1 July 1920

Contextual

French Occupy Damascus
24 July 1920

Institutional

Advisory Council for Palestine Is Established
October 1920

Legal Colonization

Mahlul Land Ordinance
1 October 1920

Legal Colonization

Transfer of Land Ordinance
1 October 1920

Institutional

Establishment of the Histadrut
December 1920

Popular action Institutional

3rd Palestinian National Congress Meets in Haifa
13 December 1920 - 19 December 1920

Legal

Mewat Land Ordinance
16 February 1921

Biographical

Prince Abdullah Is Named Emir of Transjordan
11 April 1921

Violence

May Day Clashes in Jaffa
1 May 1921 - 7 May 1921

Biographical

Amin al-Husseini Elected Mufti of Jerusalem
8 May 1921

Institutional

4th Palestinian National Congress Is Held in Jerusalem
29 May 1921 - 4 June 1921

Institutional Diplomatic

12th Zionist Congress Is Held in Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary)
1 September 1921 - 14 September 1921

Institutional Violence

The Report of the Haycraft Commission of Inquiry on Jaffa Disturbances is Published
October 1921

Legal

Transfer of Land Amendment Ordinance No. 2
8 December 1921

Institutional

Regulation Concerning the Supreme Moslem Sharia Council
20 December 1921 - 9 January 1922

Policy/program

White Paper (Churchill) of 1922 Is Published
3 June 1922

Diplomatic Institutional

The League of Nations Ratifies Britain’s Mandate over Palestine and Recognizes the Zionist Organization
24 July 1922

Legal Institutional

Promulgation of the Palestine Order in Council
10 August 1922

Policy/program Popular action

5th Palestinian National Congress Meets in Nablus
20 August 1922 - 1 September 1922

Socio-Economic

1st British Census of Palestine
October 1922

Popular action Institutional

Palestinians Boycott Elections
February 1923 - March 1923

Popular action

6th Palestinian National Congress Is Held in Jaffa
16 June 1923

Contextual Diplomatic

Treaty of Lausanne is Signed with Ataturk's Turkey
24 July 1923

Institutional Policy/program

13th Zionist Congress Is Held in Carlsbad
6 August 1923 - 18 August 1923

Legal Institutional

Official Onset of British Mandate for Palestine.
29 September 1923

Popular action

Palestinians Reject Arab Agency Scheme
12 October 1923

Institutional Popular action

Founding of the Arab National Party in Jerusalem
8 November 1923

Colonization

4th Wave of Jewish Immigration to Palestine
1924 - 1928

Institutional Policy/program

Establishment of the Zionist Revisionist Movement
1925

Socio-Economic

Palestine Arab Workers Society Is Established
25 March 1925

Popular action Cultural

Anti-Balfour Demonstrations in Palestine
25 March 1925 - 1 April 1925

Institutional Policy/program

14th Zionist Congress is Held in Vienna
18 August 1925 - 31 August 1925

Legal Institutional

Correction of Land Registers Ordinance, No. 12
16 February 1926

Legal Sanctions

Collective Punishment Ordinance Is Issued
16 May 1926

Legal Institutional

Municipal Elections Are Held in Palestine
April 1927

Contextual

Powerful Earthquake in Palestine and Transjordan
11 July 1927

Institutional Colonization

15th Zionist Congress Is Held in Basel
30 August 1927 - 11 September 1927

Institutional Colonization

Land Settlement Ordinance No. 9
30 May 1928

Popular action Policy/program

7th Palestinian National Congress Meets in Jerusalem
20 June 1928 - 27 June 1928

Popular action Sanctions Violence

Tension Over al-Buraq/ Western Wall
24 September 1928 - 30 October 1928

Popular action

Islamic Conference in Defense of al-Buraq and Muslim Holy Places in Jerusalem
1 November 1928

Legal Policy/program

White Paper (Amery) on Status Quo at al-Buraq / Western Wall
27 November 1928 - 27 December 1928

Institutional Policy/program

16th Zionist Congress Is Held in Zurich
28 July 1929 - 11 August 1929

Legal Colonization

Protection of Cultivators Ordinance No. 27
31 July 1929

Violence

al-Buraq / Western Wall Disturbances
15 August 1929 - 29 August 1929

Popular action

1st Palestine Arab Women Congress Is Held in Jerusalem
26 October 1929

Legal Policy/program

League of Nations Council Appoints a Commission on al-Buraq / Western Wall
January 1930 - November 1930

Policy/program Violence

Shaw Commission Report on al-Buraq / Western Wall Disturbances
31 March 1930 - 2 May 1930

Diplomatic Popular action

4th Palestinian Delegation to London
1 April 1930 - 23 May 1930

Socio-Economic

Establishment of the Arab Bank in Jerusalem
21 May 1930 - 14 July 1930

Sanctions

Hanging of Palestinian Militants
17 June 1930

Policy/program Colonization

Hope-Simpson Report Is Published
1 October 1930 - 20 October 1930

Policy/program Colonization

White Paper (Passfield) of 1930 Is Published
20 October 1930

Policy/program

MacDonald's Reassurance to Weizmann
13 February 1931

Institutional Violence

Establishment of Irgun
April 1931

Institutional Policy/program

17th Zionist Congress Is Held in Basel
30 June 1931 - 15 July 1931

Policy/program Colonization

Lewis French and the Palestine Development Scheme
19 July 1931 - December 1931

Socio-Economic

2nd British Census of Palestine
November 1931

Popular action

Pan-Islamic Congress Is Held in Jerusalem
7 December 1931 - 17 December 1931

Popular action

Challenging the Pan-Islamic Congress, a Conference of the Palestinian Islamic Nation Is Convened
11 December 1931

Policy/program Popular action

An Arab National Conference Meets on the Sidelines of the Pan-Islamic Congress
13 December 1931

Institutional Popular action

Arab Youth Congress Meets in Jaffa
4 January 1932

Institutional Popular action

Establishment of the Istiqlal Party
2 August 1932

Socio-Economic Institutional

Establishment of the Arab National Fund
September 1932 - 8 August 1935

Socio-Economic

Creation of the Arab Agricultural Bank
1933

Colonization

Increase in Jewish Immigration from Germany
1933 - 1935

Institutional Colonization

18th Zionist Congress Is Held in Prague
21 August 1933 - 3 September 1933

Legal Colonization

Protection of Cultivators Ordinance, No. 37
31 August 1933

Popular action

General Strike in Palestine
27 October 1933

Policy/program Violence

Murison Commission of Inquiry
February 1934

Institutional Biographical

Death of Musa Kazim Husseini
March 1934

Institutional Popular action

Foundation of Four Palestinian Parties
December 1934 - October 1935

Socio-Economic

Oil Pipeline Connecting Northern Iraq to Haifa Opens Officially
January 1935

Institutional Policy/program

19th Zionist Congress Meets in Lucerne
20 August 1935 - 4 September 1935

Diplomatic Colonization

Nuremberg Laws and Jewish Immigration
15 September 1935

Violence

Arms Shipment to the Haganah
October 1935

Violence Popular action

Death of Shaykh Izzeddin al-Qassam
12 November 1935 - 21 November 1935

Popular action

Joint Memorandum of Palestinian Parties
25 November 1935

Policy/program Institutional

Revival of the Legislative Council Idea
December 1935 - March 1936