White Paper of 1939

White Paper of 1939

Discussion
Ask a question about 'White Paper of 1939'
Start a new discussion about 'White Paper of 1939'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald
Malcolm MacDonald
Malcolm John MacDonald OM, PC was a British politician and diplomat.-Background:MacDonald was the son of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and Margaret MacDonald. Like his father he was born in Lossiemouth, Moray...

, the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Colonial Secretary
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

 who presided over it, was a policy paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

 issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate for Palestine
Palestine (mandate)
The British Mandate for Palestine, also known as the Palestine Mandate, The British Mandate of Palestine and the Mandate for Palestine, was a legal commission for the administration of Palestine, the draft of which was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 and...

, as recommended in the Peel Commission Report
Peel Commission
The Peel Commission of 1936-1937, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry set out to propose changes to the British Mandate of Palestine following the outbreak of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine...

 of 1937, was abandoned in favour of creating an independent Palestine governed by Palestinian Arabs and Jews in proportion to their numbers in the population by 1939 (section I). A limit of 75,000 Jewish immigrants was set for the five-year period 1940-1944, consisting of a regular yearly quota
Quota
-Commerce:* Import quota, a type of trade restriction* Production quota* Sales quota, a minimum sales goal for a set time span* Tariff-rate quota, a type of trade restriction-Electoral systems:* Droop quota* Election threshold* Hagenbach-Bischoff quota...

 of 10,000, and a supplementary quota of 25,000, spread out over the same period, to cover refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

 emergencies. After this cut-off date, further immigration would depend on the permission of the Arab majority (section II). Restrictions were also placed on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs (section III).

The White Paper was approved by Parliament in May 1939.

Background


During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the British had made two promises regarding territory in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Britain had promised the Hashemite
Hashemite
Hashemite is the Latinate version of the , transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe...

 governors of Arabia, through Lawrence of Arabia and the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
The McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, or the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, was a protracted exchange of letters during World War I, between the Sharif of Mecca, Husayn bin Ali, and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, concerning the future political status of the lands under the...

, independence for a united Arab country covering Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in exchange for their supporting the British against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The Ottoman Caliphate had declared a military jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 in support of the Germans and it was hoped that an alliance with the Arabs would quell the chances of a general Muslim uprising in British-held territories in Africa, India, and the Far East. Great Britain had also negotiated the Sykes-Picot Agreement
Sykes-Picot Agreement
The Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in Western Asia after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I...

, agreeing to partition the Middle East between Britain and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

A variety of strategic factors, such as securing Jewish support in Eastern Europe as the Russian front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 collapsed, culminated in the Balfour Declaration, 1917
Balfour Declaration, 1917
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild , a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim...

, with Britain promising to create and foster a Jewish national home in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. These broad delineations of territory and goals for both the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and Arab self determination was approved in the San Remo conference
San Remo conference
The San Remo Conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held in Sanremo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. It was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime ministers of Britain , France and Italy and...

.

In June 1922 the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 approved the Palestine Mandate with effect from September 1923. The Palestine Mandate was an explicit document regarding Britain's responsibilities and powers of administration in Palestine including 'secur[ing] the establishment of the Jewish national home', and 'safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine'. In September 1922, the British government presented a memorandum
Transjordan memorandum
The Transjordan memorandum was a British memorandum passed by the Council of the League of Nations on September 16, 1922. The memorandum described how the British government planned to implement the article of the Mandate for Palestine which allowed exclusion of Transjordan from the provisions...

 to the League of Nations stating that Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

 would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement, in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate, and this memorandum was approved on 23 September. Due to stiff Arab opposition and pressure against Jewish immigration, Britain redefined Jewish immigration by restricting its flow according to the country's economic capacity to absorb the immigrants. In effect annual quotas were put in place as to how many Jews could immigrate, while Jews possessing a large sum of money (500 Pounds) were allowed to enter the country freely.

Following the rise of Adolf Hitler
Hitler's rise to power
Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party that was known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei . This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era...

 and other anti-Semitic regimes
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 in Europe, a growing number of European Jews were prepared to spend the money necessary to enter Palestine. The 1936 Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

 stripped the 500,000 German Jews of their citizenship, making them stateless refugees. Jewish migration was impeded by Nazi restrictions on the transfer of finances abroad (departing Jews had to abandon their property), but the Jewish Agency was able to negotiate an agreement allowing Jews resident in Germany to buy German goods for export to Palestine thus circumventing the restrictions.

The large numbers of Jews entering Palestine led to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. Britain responded to the Arab revolt by appointing a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

, known as the Peel Commission
Peel Commission
The Peel Commission of 1936-1937, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry set out to propose changes to the British Mandate of Palestine following the outbreak of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine...

 which traveled out to Palestine and undertook a thorough study of the issues. The Peel Commission recommended in 1937 that Palestine be partitioned into two states, one Arab the other Jewish.

In January 1938, the Woodhead Commission
Woodhead Commission
The Woodhead Commission, properly known as the Palestine Partition Commission, was established in 1938 in the British Mandate of Palestine to investigate the implementation of the Peel Commission's plan for a partition of Palestine....

 explored the practicalities of partition, proposing that the Jewish state be substantially smaller and include only the coastal plain.

In July 1938, an international conference
Evian Conference
The Évian Conference was convened at the initiative of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in July 1938 to discuss the issue of increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. For eight days, from July 6 to July 13, representatives from 31 countries met at Évian-les-Bains, France...

 convened by the USA, failed to find a solution to the rapidly growing Jewish refugee problem.

In February 1939, the British staged a conference
St. James Conference
The St. James Conference was held from February 7 to March 17 in 1939 in the St James's Palace in London.It was held by Malcolm MacDonald, the British colonial secretary, to discuss with Arabs and Jews to determine the future of the region. The meeting ended without result on 17 March 1939...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to negotiate an agreement between the Arabs and the Zionists. The Arab delegation refused to meet its Jewish counterpart, to recognize their authority or even to use the same entrances to the building, so the British government made separate proposals to the two parties, who both rejected them. The conference ended in failure on March 17.

The British now believed that in the event of war, Jewish support was guaranteed or unimportant. However they feared that the Arab world might turn against them. This geopolitical consideration was, in Raul Hilberg's words, 'decisive'. Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 were independent and allied with Britain.

Content


The main points of the White Paper were:
  • Section I. The Constitution: It stated that with over 450,000 Jews having now settled in the mandate, the Balfour Declaration about "a national home for the Jewish people" had been met and called for an independent Palestine established within 10 years, governed jointly by Arabs and Jews:
    "His Majesty's Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country. [...] His Majesty's Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will."
    'The objective of His Majesty's Government is the establishment within 10 years of an independent Palestine State in such treaty relations with the United Kingdom as will provide satisfactorily for the commercial and strategic requirements of both countries in the future. [..] The independent State should be one in which Arabs and Jews share government in such a way as to ensure that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded.'
  • Section II. Immigration: Jewish immigration to Palestine under the British Mandate was to be limited to 75,000 over the next five years, after which it would depend on Arab consent:
    'His Majesty's Government do not [..] find anything in the Mandate or in subsequent Statements of Policy to support the view that the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine cannot be effected unless immigration is allowed to continue indefinitely. If immigration has an adverse effect on the economic position in the country, it should clearly be restricted; and equally, if it has a seriously damaging effect on the political position in the country, that is a factor that should not be ignored. Although it is not difficult to contend that the large number of Jewish immigrants who have been admitted so far have been absorbed economically, the fear of the Arabs that this influx will continue indefinitely until the Jewish population is in a position to dominate them has produced consequences which are extremely grave for Jews and Arabs alike and for the peace and prosperity of Palestine. The lamentable disturbances of the past three years are only the latest and most sustained manifestation of this intense Arab apprehension [...] it cannot be denied that fear of indefinite Jewish immigration is widespread amongst the Arab population and that this fear has made possible disturbances which have given a serious setback to economic progress, depleted the Palestine exchequer, rendered life and property insecure, and produced a bitterness between the Arab and Jewish populations which is deplorable between citizens of the same country. If in these circumstances immigration is continued up to the economic absorptive capacity of the country, regardless of all other considerations, a fatal enmity between the two peoples will be perpetuated, and the situation in Palestine may become a permanent source of friction amongst all peoples in the Near and Middle East.'
    "Jewish immigration during the next five years will be at a rate which, if economic absorptive capacity permits, will bring the Jewish population up to approximately one third of the total population of the country. Taking into account the expected natural increase of the Arab and Jewish populations, and the number of illegal Jewish immigrants now in the country, this would allow of the admission, as from the beginning of April this year, of some 75,000 immigrants over the next four years. These immigrants would, subject to the criterion of economic absorptive capacity, be admitted as follows: For each of the next five years a quota of 10,000 Jewish immigrants will be allowed on the understanding that a shortage one year may be added to the quotas for subsequent years, within the five year period, if economic absorptive capacity permits. In addition, as a contribution towards the solution of the Jewish refugee problem, 25,000 refugees will be admitted as soon as the High Commissioner
    High Commissioner
    High Commissioner is the title of various high-ranking, special executive positions held by a commission of appointment.The English term is also used to render various equivalent titles in other languages.-Bilateral diplomacy:...

     is satisfied that adequate provision for their maintenance is ensured, special consideration being given to refugee children and dependents. The existing machinery for ascertaining economic absorptive capacity will be retained, and the High Commissioner will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the limits of economic capacity. Before each periodic decision is taken, Jewish and Arab representatives will be consulted. After the period of five years, no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it."

  • Section III. Land: Previously no restriction had been imposed on the transfer of land from Arabs to Jews, while now the White Paper stated:
    "The Reports of several expert Commissions have indicated that, owing to the natural growth of the Arab population and the steady sale in recent years of Arab land to Jews, there is now in certain areas no room for further transfers of Arab land, whilst in some other areas such transfers of land must be restricted if Arab cultivators are to maintain their existing standard of life and a considerable landless Arab population is not soon to be created. In these circumstances, the High Commissioner will be given general powers to prohibit and regulate transfers of land.'


The White Paper was passed in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 by 268 to 179 in favour.

In March 1940, the British High Commissioner for Palestine issued an edict dividing Palestine into three zones.
In Zone A, consisting of about 63 percent of the country including the stony hills, land transfers save to a Palestinian Arab were in general forbidden. In Zone B. consisting of about 32 percent of the country, transfers from a Palestinian Arab save to another Palestinian Arab were severely restricted at the discretion of the High Commissioner. In the remainder of Palestine, consisting of about five percent of the country-which, however, includes the most fertile areas- land sales remained unrestricted.

Reactions and effects


The Zionists responded by organizing illegal migration which the British countered by blockading Palestine. This resulted in some famous incidents (See:Struma (ship), Patria disaster
Patria disaster
The Patria disaster on 25 November 1940 was the sinking by the Haganah of a French-built ocean liner in the port of Haifa, in which 260 people were killed and 172 injured....

, and Exodus (ship)
Exodus (ship)
Exodus 1947 was a ship that carried Jewish emigrants, that left France on July 11, 1947, with the intent of taking its passengers to the British mandate for Palestine. Most of the emigrants were Holocaust survivor refugees, who had no legal immigration certificates to Palestine...

.) Illegal Jewish immigrants captured before the war were imprisoned on Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

.

During the Parliamentary debate, Lloyd George described the White Paper as an act of perfidy
Perfidy
In the context of war, perfidy is a form of deception, in which one side promises to act in good faith with the intention of breaking that promise once the enemy has exposed himself .The practice is specifically prohibited under the 1977 Protocol I Additional to the...

 while Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 voted against the government in which he was a minister.
In a leader the Manchester Guardian described it as 'a death sentence on tens of thousands of Central European Jews' The Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 James Rothschild
James Armand de Rothschild
James Armand Edmond de Rothschild, DCM, DL, was a French-born British politician and philanthropist, from the wealthy Rothschild international banking dynasty....

 stated during the parliamentary debate that 'for the majority of the Jews who go to Palestine it is a question of migration or of physical extinction.'

The supervising authority of the League of Nations, the Permanent Mandates Commission
Permanent Mandates Commission
The Permanent Mandates Commission was the commission of the League of Nations responsible for oversight of mandates. The commission was established in 1919 under Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant and was headquartered at Geneva....

 abstained unanimously from endorsing the White Paper, though four members thought the new policy was inconsistent with that mandate.

Some supporters of the National Government were opposed to the policy on the grounds that it appeared in their view to contradict the Balfour Declaration. Several government MPs either voted against the proposals or abstained, including Cabinet Ministers such as Leslie Hore-Belisha
Leslie Hore-Belisha, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha
Isaac Leslie Hore-Belisha, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha PC was a British Liberal, then National Liberal Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister. He later joined the Conservative Party...

, as well as Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

.

The provisions of the White Paper were opposed both by the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine.

The Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 argued that the independence of a future Palestine Government would prove to be illusory, as the Jews could prevent its functioning by withholding participation, and in any case real authority would still be in the hands of British officials. The limitations on Jewish immigration were also held to be insufficient, as there was no guarantee immigration would not resume after five years. In place of the policy enunciated in the White Paper, the Arab Higher Committee called for 'a complete and final prohibition' of Jewish immigration and a repudiation of the Jewish national home policy altogether. Hajj Amin al-Husayni "astonished" the other members of the Arab Higher Committee by turning down the White Paper. Al-Husayni, according to Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

, turned the advantageous proposel down for the entirely selfish reason that "it did not place him at the helm of the future Palestinian state."

After the outbreak of war in September 1939, the head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel , also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora into the state of Israel.-History:...

 David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 declared: 'We will fight the White Paper as if there is no war, and fight the war as if there is no White Paper.'

In December 1942, when extermination of the Jews became public knowledge, there were 34,000 immigration certificates remaining. In February 1943, the British government announced that the remaining certificates could be used as soon as practicable to rescue Jewish children from southeastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria. This plan was partly successful but many people who received certificates were not able to emigrate (but those in Bulgaria survived). In July it was announced that any Jewish refugee who reached a neutral country in transit would be given clearance for Palestine. During 1943 about half the remaining certificates were distributed, and by the end of the war there were 3,000 certificates left.

At the end of World War II, the British Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 conference voted to rescind the White Paper and establish a Jewish state in Palestine, however the Labour Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

 persisted with the policy and it remained in effect until the British departed Palestine in May 1948.

After the war, the determination of Holocaust survivors
After the Holocaust
The aftermath of the Holocaust had a profound effect on society in both Europe and the rest of the world. Its impact could be felt in theological discussions, artistic and cultural pursuits and political decisions...

 to reach Palestine led to large scale illegal Jewish migration to Palestine. British efforts to block the migration led to violent resistance by the Zionist underground.

Illegal immigrants detained by the British Government were imprisoned in camps on Cyprus. The immigrants had no citizenship and could not be returned to any country. Those imprisoned included a large number of children and orphans.

From October 1946, the British Government, under the 'severest pressure' from the USA, relented and allowed 1,500 Jewish migrants a month into Palestine. The gesture was in deference to the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was a joint British and American attempt in 1946 to agree upon a policy as regards the admission of Jews to Palestine. The Committee was tasked to consult representative Arabs and Jews on the problems of Palestine, and to make other recommendations 'as may be...

. Half of those admitted came from the prison camps for illegal immigrants in Cyprus
Cyprus internment camps
Cyprus internment camps were camps run by the British government for internment of Jews who had immigrated or attempted to immigrate to Mandatory Palestine in violation of British policy...

 due to fears that a growing Jewish presence in Cyprus would lead to an uprising there.

The Provisional Council of Israel's first constitutional act was a Proclamation that "All legislation resulting from the British Government's White Paper of May, 1939, will at midnight tonight become null and void. This includes the immigration provisions as well as the land transfer regulations of February, 1940."

See also


  • Aliyah Bet
  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • British Mandate of Palestine
  • Churchill White Paper, 1922
    Churchill White Paper, 1922
    The Churchill White Paper of 3 June 1922 clarified how Britain viewed the Balfour Declaration, 1917...

  • 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine
  • Proposals for a Palestinian state
    Proposals for a Palestinian state
    Proposals for a Palestinian state currently refers to the proposed establishment of an independent state for the Palestinian people in Palestine on land that was occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967 and before by Egypt and by Jordan since 1949...

  • Army of Shadows, Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948
    Army of Shadows, Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948
    Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948 is a book published in 2004 by Hillel Cohen about the sale of land and other cooperation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel.-Overview:...