British Palestine, 1919-1939

Learning aims
By the end of this section of the course you should be able to:

  • Explain the terms of the the British Mandate for Palestine
  • Describe some of the changes to the geography of the Middle East after WWI
  • Explain the build of tension in Palestine in the years after 1919 brought about by the Balfour Declaration, Jewish immigration and the Peel Commission;

Key events and processes:


  1. Versailles and The British Mandate


      • Summarise the key provisions of the the Palestine Mandate
      • How are the British Mandate and the Balfour declaration related?
      • How far are the interests of Arab Palestinians recognised in the Mandate?
      • Summarise the key provisions of the Mandate

  3. British rule and Jewish immigration, 1919-1939



      • Using the Palestinian facts website AND the textbooks (especially Edexcel 4-6), create a bar graph of Jewish immigration into Palestine between 1919 and 1939.
      • Where are the peaks and troughs of Jewish Immigration during this period and how do you explain them?
      • Paired task
        • Was Jewish and Palestinian conflict inevitable?
        • Prepare a series of questions and answers to ask a Palestinian Arab and a recent Jewish immigrant to Palestine in 1947:
          • Carry out a role play with one student as interviewer and the other as the Palestinian Arab.
          • Carry out a second role play and swap roles.
      • Homework: Explain key features of Jewish immigration (7 marks)
      • What were the ambitions of the British White Paper of 1922 and why were they not fulfilled? Read Charlotte Kelsted, ‘100 years after the Balfour Declaration – revisiting Herbert Samuel’s Legacy’.

  5. The 1937 Peel Commission


    • Hodder, pp. 8-9;
    • Edexcel, pp. 7-8.

    Video: from BBC Bitesize


    1. Note taking: Palestine 1919-39 – Note-Taking Guide
    2. The Peel Commission Role Play
      • Develop a role-play based around the Peel Commission of 1936 which came after six months of fighting between Jews and Arabs in Palestine
    3. Read:Notes on British policy changes in Palestine.
    4. What are the key differences between 1937 Peel Commission and the McDonald Report that led to the White Paper of 1939? How do you explain the British change of policy?
    5. Why did ambitions for first a Legislative Assembly that would include both Jews and Arabs and then plans for an Arab Agency, analogous to the Jewish Agency, both fail?


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