Flawed Foundations: The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This book chapter is the first published research to show systematically that the makers of the Balfour Declaration did not promise the creation of a Jewish State, and that the British Government did not, in fact, define its meaning or expected outcome. Furthermore, it argues that, as a result, Britain’s League of Nations Mandate for ruling Palestine, which was based on the Declaration, was not fit for purpose: the declared aim of British rule in Palestine had no specific meaning, and there was no planned endgame for Palestine. The British Government did not seek to rectify this gap until the Arab uprising of 1936, as they intended to remain in the Holy Land for the foreseeable future, due to its strategic importance. This lack of planning resulted from a series of incorrect assumptions: that the Palestinian Arabs were not a national community and would eventually accept Zionism, that Zionist leaders did not want a state, and that both groups could be controlled by effective colonial rule. British policy was thus fundamentally flawed. Moreover, the policy vacuum on the future of Palestine, I contend, greatly exacerbated the conflict. This research builds on the argument that I presented in my monograph The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance, 1914-1918 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), which did not systemically analyse how the meaning of the Declaration was understood by policy-makers during the Great War and the Mandate, or consider how this void affected British rule in Palestine.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBritain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years
    EditorsR. Miller
    Number of pages212
    ISBN (Print)978-0754668084
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


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