British Mandate for Palestine 1920

For the first time in modern history, the land of Israel was earmarked to become a country, a reconstituted Jewish homeland. How did the Mandate come about? In 1919, the Zionist Organization drafted the document, including its set out terms to present to the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference that year. Lord Balfour was sympathetic to the Jewish cause and thus, all of the Zionist Organization’s terms were agreed upon.

When Lord Curzon took over as Foreign Minister later that year, he shut out the Zionist Organization from meetings on the British Mandate for Palestine terms. Dr. Weizmann, the representative of the Zionist Organization, was, however kept abreast of any changes. The British were not updating the Arabs on any of the terms of the Palestine Mandate, as the Mandate was only for Jews and their sovereignty.

The terms of the Mandate in 1920 included the following:

  • All religious rights of inhabitants in Palestine would be guaranteed
  • All civil rights were assured

Franco-British Boundary Convention of Dec. 23, 1920

  • At first, it was decided that Palestine’s borders would include ALL the areas of the country where the Twelve Tribes of Israel inhabited during the First Temple Period, meaning east & west of the Jordan River.


  • French negotiators illegally insisted that the now invalid Sykes-Picot line would be followed for the Northern border of Palestine. Palestine lost ancestral land already in the North and Northeast during these negotiations. In yet another border negotiation, Israel lost part of the Golan.
Keren Hayesod Zionist group
Keren Hayesod was established in London in the summer of 1920 to provide the Zionist movement with the necessary resources

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1920 British Mandate Map
British Mandate Map of Palestine; 1920

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In 1922, ALL 51 countries of the League of Nations unanimously signed and declared:

“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

All geo-political gears seemed to be in perfect legal coordination to secure a smooth transition to Jewish sovereignty over the ancestral Jewish homeland. However, in the latter part of 1922, Winston Churchill changed the course of the San Remo Conference agreement when he issued the first anti-Zionist, antisemitic White Paper.

Winston Churchill - Emir Abdullah meeting
Emir Abdullah meeting with Winston Churchill at the Cairo Conference (1921). Emir Abdullah was given 78% of the land promised to Jews (today's Jordan), and his brother, Emir Feisal was given Iraq.

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12 Tribes Map
The original homeland designated for Jews under the British Mandate was based on the 12 Tribes of Israel map

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