Diplomatic arrangements over the shape of governments in regions beset by conflict are rarely simple and straightforward. Historians are interested in these documents for what they tell us about the creation of official policy, and also because these agreements often exert a powerful influence on future events. Understanding those more recent developments often requires us to return to the earlier documents, to read them carefully, and to look for wording in those documents that might influence future events.
In this exercise you are presented with one such documentthe League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of July 24, 1922. The British government controlled this territory under the Mandate until 1948. Between 1922 and 1948, land rights in Palestine were hotly contested. And, they remain contested today. The conflict has been primarily between Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The Mandate for Palestine is one of the sources of this conflict.
After the Mandate was created, violent conflicts between Arab groups and Zionists (those advocating for a Jewish state in Palestine) broke out in the region periodically. In the 1940s, the level of violence rose, and in 1947, the United Nations proposed to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Arab groups rejected the proposal, and on May 14, 1948, Zionist leaders proclaimed the State of Israel. After a short war between the Israeli army and the combined armies of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, Israel won, and thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced to leave.
Read the following excerpt from the Mandate for Palestine. Which phrase do you think became the most important in future disputes over Palestine, setting the precedent for the 1948 declaration of the State of Israel?