Clash of Worlds : Britain and Palestine Part 3
Part 3 of the “Clash of Worlds” series follows the “yellow brick road” along the way from the Sykes-Picot Agreement, McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, Treaty of Versailles, San Remo Conference, League of Nations, Paulet–Newcombe Agreement, and Mandate for Palestine. The British government had to decide whether to grant independence to their Arab allies of the Great War or continue European rule through Mandates. Meanwhile the Arabs in Palestine continue with terror against Jews and revolt against the Mandatory government.
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The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence was a series often 10 letters from July 1915 to March 1916 exchanged during World War I between Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, and Lieutenant Colonel Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner to Egypt. The British government agreed to recognize Arab independence after the war in exchange for the Sharif of Mecca launching the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
Following the Balfour Declaration, which promised a national home for the Jews in Palestine, and the leaking of the secret 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement in which Britain and France proposed to split and occupy parts of the territory, the Sharif and other Arab leaders considered the agreements made in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence had been violated. Hussein refused to ratify the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The armistice was signed on 11 November 1918. It took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
San Remo Conference
The San Remo Conference was a meeting from 19 to 26 April 1920 of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council as an outgrowth of the Paris Peace Conference. Resolutions passed at this conference determined the allocation of Class “A” League of Nations mandates for the administration of three former Ottoman territories: Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia. Syria and Mesopotamia were provisionally recognized as states, however, Palestine was not.
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. On 1 November 1920, the headquarters of the League was moved from London to Geneva, where the first General Assembly was held on 15 November 1920.
The Palais Wilson on Geneva’s western lakeshore, named after US President Woodrow Wilson in recognition of his efforts towards the establishment of the League, was the League’s first permanent home from 1 November 1920 until that body moved its premises to the Palais des Nations on 17 February 1936.
At the end of the First World War, the Allied powers were confronted with the question of the disposal of the former German colonies in Africa and the Pacific, and the several Arabic-speaking provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Quasi-colonial territories were established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 June 1919.
The mandate system means that territories would be administered by different governments on behalf of the League – a system of national responsibility subject to international supervision. There were three mandate classifications: A (parts of the old Ottoman Empire), B (former German colonies) and C (South West Africa and certain South Pacific Islands).
The A mandates were “certain communities” that had
…reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.
The Mandate of Palestine was to be governed by the mandatory power, the United Kingdom, until the territory deemed capable of self-government. The League of Nations ceased to exist on 31 July 1947.
The Mandate for Palestine
The Mandate for Palestine was a “Class A” League of Nations mandate for British rule over the territories of Palestine and Transjordan. The Balfour Declaration’s “national home for the Jewish people” was to be established in Palestine.
Transjordan had become a no man’s land following the July 1920 Battle of Maysalun between the forces of the Arab Kingdom of Syria and the French Army of the Levant. In March 1921 the Cairo Conference decided that Abdullah bin Hussein would administer the territory under the auspices of the British Mandate for Palestine with a fully autonomous governing system. Thus a separate Arab Emirate – a Hashemite dynasty – had been established in Transjordan.
The approximate northern border with the French Mandate was agreed upon in the Paulet–Newcombe Agreement of 23 December 1920.
The Paulet–Newcombe Agreement was a 1923 agreement between the British and French governments regarding the position of the boundary between the Mandates of Palestine and Mesopotamia, attributed to Great Britain, and the Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon, attributed to France. The Paulet-Newcombe Line is based on the preliminary 1920 agreement, known as the Franco-British Boundary Agreements.
Mandatory Palestine: Mark Sykes, David Lloyd George, Herbert Samuel