Throughout the Arab-Israeli conflict, outside political powers have influenced the shape
and general direction of the conflict.
From 1922 until 1948, the political climate in this period,
known as the British Mandate, was shaped by numerous documents, figureheads, and promises
put forth by the British to both the Jews/Israelis and the Palestinians/Arabs.
During these 26
years of rule, the British mandate created a sense of political stability through regulations and
institutions created to keep peace between the two sides.
However, at the same time, through
mutually exclusive promises, guarantees, and implied concessions to both sides, the mandate
exacerbated the political controversy between the two sides, and set the stage for further and
more intense political conflict between the Zionists and the Arab extremists.
Prior to the British Mandate of Palestine, the territory, which later became known as
Palestine, belonged to the Ottoman Empire.
After World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire, the League of Nations, formed out of the Versailles Peace Conference, entrusted this
territory to the British (wikipedia.org).
However, prior to the end of WWI and the ratification of
the mandate by the League of Nations, the British had already begun making promises to both
the Zionists and the Arabs, creating tension in the interactions between all three parties.
During 1915 and 1916, the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry McMahon,
communicated through letters to the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein ibn Ali (wikipedia.org).
letters discussed the provisions for a revolt by the Arabs against the Turks (in order to help the
British) in exchange for Arab independence, and became extremely important in the British
relationship with the Arabs of Palestine.
The most important of these letters was the second,
written to Sherif Hussein by Henry McMahon on October 24, 1915.
The letter stated, “That
subject to the modifications stated above, Great Britain is prepared to recognize and uphold the
independence of the Arabs in all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of
From this letter, the Arabs came to understand that with a few