The British Mandate in Palestine: The Strange Case of the 1930 White Paper

The British Mandate in Palestine: The Strange Case of the 1930 White Paper After the “Wailing Wall” riots and pogroms that swept Palestine in August 1929, a British Commission of Inquiry reported that the Zionist project in Palestine could not proceed without encroaching upon the rights of the Palestinians, creating a class of landless Arabs. The minority Labour government endorsed these conclusions, in its White Paper of October 1930. But in a period of severe economic crisis, with Britain fearful of the Zionist lobby in the United States, and dependent upon Zionist finance to maintain its rule over Palestine, the government retreated from its own policy, in unique constitutional circumstances. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Jewish Studies Brill

The British Mandate in Palestine: The Strange Case of the 1930 White Paper

European Journal of Jewish Studies, Volume 10 (1): 79 – Mar 2, 2016

The British Mandate in Palestine: The Strange Case of the 1930 White Paper


Introduction During the course of their tenure of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1920–1948), the British issued three major Statements of Policy (White Papers): in 1922, 1930 and 1939. Each one re-formulated British policy in the country. But whereas the White Papers of 1922 and 1939 became the law of the land, the 1930 White Paper did not. It was debated by the House of Commons but never put to the vote. Had it been passed into law, it would have effectively curtailed, if not halted completely the further development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. Instead, the 1930 White Paper was bypassed, by a personal letter written by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader. This unique event in the history of the Palestine Mandate, if not in British constitutional history, is the subject of this article. In 1922, following two waves of Arab riots against the Jews (in 1920 and 1921), the British government issued its first White Paper on Palestine. It reassured the Zionists that the Jews were in Palestine by right, and not by grace. At the same time, it reassured the Palestinian Arabs that it was not the government’s intention to impose a Jewish State on Palestine, and that in future, Jewish immigration would be regulated according to the country’s “economic absorptive capacity.” It also promised the first steps towards local autonomy—the establishment of a Legislative Council. During the next eight years, Palestine enjoyed a period of relative calm. Arab quiescence in British rule was secured by the allocation of key offices (with their perquisites) to the two major Palestinian clans (the Husaynis and the Nashashibis). The import of Zionist-generated Jewish capital paid not only for Britain’s administrative costs in Palestine, but it also helped fund two of its imperial projects in the region (Haifa harbour and the Baghdad-Haifa railroad and oil pipeline)—all at no cost...
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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1025-9996
eISSN
1872-471X
DOI
10.1163/1872471X-12341287
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

After the “Wailing Wall” riots and pogroms that swept Palestine in August 1929, a British Commission of Inquiry reported that the Zionist project in Palestine could not proceed without encroaching upon the rights of the Palestinians, creating a class of landless Arabs. The minority Labour government endorsed these conclusions, in its White Paper of October 1930. But in a period of severe economic crisis, with Britain fearful of the Zionist lobby in the United States, and dependent upon Zionist finance to maintain its rule over Palestine, the government retreated from its own policy, in unique constitutional circumstances.

Journal

European Journal of Jewish StudiesBrill

Published: Mar 2, 2016

Keywords: Ernest Bevin; Sir John Chancellor; John Hope-Simpson; Ramsay MacDonald; Lord Passfield (Sydney Webb); Shaw Commission; Beatrice Webb; Chaim Weizmann

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