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Palestine Mandate (December 1920 draft)

Draft Mandate for Palestine, 7 December 1920Edit

The Council of the League of Nations.

WHEREAS by Article 132 of the Treaty of Peace signed at Sevres on the tenth day of August, 1920, Turkey renounced in favour of the Principal Allied Powers all rights and title over Palestine ; and Whereas by Article 95 of the said treaty the High Contracting Parties agreed to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the Administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as might be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers; and

Whereas by the same article the High Contracting Parties further agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country; and

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine; and

Whereas the terms of the Mandate in respect of Palestine have been formulated in the following terms and submitted to the Council of the League for approval; and

Whereas His Britannic Majesty has accepted the Mandate in respect of Palestine and undertaken to exercise it on behalf of the League of Nations in conformity with the following provisions;


Hereby approves the terms of the said mandate as follows:—

Article 1.

His Britannic Majesty shall have the right to exercise as Mandatory all the powers inherent in the Government of a sovereign State, save as they may be limited by the terms of the present Mandate.

Article 2.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safe-guarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.

Article 3.

The Mandatory shall encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities consistent with the prevailing conditions.

Article 4.

An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country.

The Zionist organisation, so long as its organisation and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.

Article 5.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.

Article 6.

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4 close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

Article 7.

The Administration of Palestine will be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.

Article 8.

The immunities and privileges of foreigners, including the benefits of consular jurisdiction and protection as formerly enjoyed by Capitulation or usage in the Ottoman Empire, are definitely abrogated in Palestine.

Article 9.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that the judicial system established in Palestine shall safeguard (a) the interests of foreigners; (b) the law; and (to the extent deemed expedient) the jurisdiction now existing in Palestine with regard to questions arising out of the religious beliefs of certain communities (such as the laws of Wakf and personal status). In particular the Mandatory agrees that the control and administration of Wakfs shall be exercised in accordance with religious law and the dispositions of the founders.

Article 10.

Pending the making of special extradition agreements relating to Palestine, the extradition treaties in force between the Mandatory and other foreign Powers shall apply to Palestine.

Article 11.

The Administration of Palestine shall take all necessary measures to safeguard the interests of the community in connection with the development of the country and, subject to Article 311 of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey, shall have full power to provide for public ownership or control of any of the natural resources of the country or of the public works, services and utilities established or to be established therein. It shall introduce a land system appropriate, to the needs of the country, having regard, among other things, to the desirability of promoting the, close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land.

The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate, upon fair and equitable terms, any public works, services and utilities, and to develop any of the natural resources of the country, in so far as these matters are not directly undertaken by the Administration. Any such arrangements shall provide that no profits distributed by such agency, directly or indirectly, shall exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital, and any further profits shall be utilised by it for the benefit of the country in a manner approved by the Administration.

Article 12.

The Mandatory shall be entrusted with the control of the foreign relations of Palestine, and the right to issue exequaturs to consuls appointed by foreign Powers. It shall also be entitled to afford diplomatic and consular protection to citizens of Palestine when outside its territorial limits.

Article 13.

All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights, of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory, who will be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected therewith : provided that nothing in this Article shall prevent the Mandatory from entering into such arrangement as he may deem reasonable with the Administration for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this Article into effect; and provided also that nothing in this Mandate shall be construed as conferring upon the Mandatory authority to interfere with the fabric or the management of purely Moslem sacred shrines' the immunities of which are guaranteed.

Article 14.

In accordance with Article 95 of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey, the Mandatory undertakes to appoint as soon as possible a special Commission to study and regulate all questions and claims relating to the different religious communities. In the composition of this Commission the religious interests concerned will be taken into account. The chairman of the Commission will be appointed by the Council of the League of Nations. It will be the duty of this Commission to ensure that certain Holy Places, religious buildings or sites regarded with special veneration by the adherents of one particular religion, are entrusted to the permanent control of suitable bodies representing the adherents of the religion concerned. The selection of the Holy Places, religious buildings or sites so to be entrusted, shall be made by the Commission, subject to the approval of the Mandatory.
In all cases dealt with under this Article, however, the right and duty of the Mandatory to maintain order and decorum in the place concerned shall not be affected, and the buildings and sites will be subject to the provisions of such laws relating to public monuments as may be enacted in Palestine with the approval of the Mandatory.
The rights of control conferred under this Article will be guaranteed by the League of Nations.

Article 15.

The Mandatory will see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, is ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.

The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language (while conforming to such educational requirements of a general nature as the Administration may impose) shall not be denied or impaired.

Article 16.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for exercising such supervision over missionary enterprise in Palestine as may be required for the maintenance of public order and good government. Subject to such supervision, no measures shall be taken in Palestine to obstruct or interfere with such enterprise or to discriminate against any missionary on the ground of his religion or nationality.

Article 17.

The Administration of Palestine may organise on a voluntary basis the forces necessary for the preservation of peace and order, and also for the defence of the country, subject, however, to the supervision of the Mandatory, who shall not use them for purposes other than those above specified save with the consent of the Administration of Palestine, and except for such purposes, no military, naval or air forces shall be raised or maintained by the Administration of Palestine.

Nothing in this Article shall preclude the Administration of Palestine from contributing to the cost of the maintenance of forces maintained by the Mandatory in Palestine.

The Mandatory shall be entitled at all times to use the roads, railways and ports of Palestine for the movement of troops and the carriage of fuel and supplies.

Article 18.

The Mandatory must see that there is no discrimination in Palestine against the nationals of any of the States members of the League of Nations (including companies incorporated under their laws) as compared with those of the Mandatory or of any foreign State in matters concerning taxation, commerce, or navigation, the exercise of industries or professions, or in the treatment of ships or aircraft. Similarly, there shall be no discrimination in Palestine against goods originating in or destined for any of the said States, and there shall be freedom of transit under equitable conditions across the mandated area.

Subject as aforesaid and to the other provisions of this Mandate the Administration of Palestine may on the advice of the Mandatory impose such taxes and customs duties as it may consider necessary, and take such steps as it may think best to promote the development of the natural resources of the country and to safeguard the interests of the population.
Nothing in this Article shall prevent the Government of Palestine on the advice of the Mandatory from concluding a special customs agreement with any State, the territory of which in 1914 was wholly included in Asiatic Turkey or Arabia.

Article 19.

The Mandatory will adhere on behalf of the Administration to any general international conventions already existing or that may be concluded hereafter with the approval of the League of Nations respecting the slave traffic, the traffic in arms and ammunition, or the traffic in drugs, or relating to commercial equality, freedom of transit and navigation, aerial navigation and postal, telegraphic and wireless communication or literary, artistic or industrial property.

Article 20.

The Mandatory will co-operate on behalf of the Administration of Palestine, so far as religious, social and other conditions may permit, in the execution of any common policy adopted by the League of Nations for preventing and combating disease, including diseases of plants and animals.

Article 21.

The Mandatory will secure, within twelve months from the date of the coming into force of this Mandate, the enactment, and will ensure the execution of a Law of Antiquities based on the provisions of Article 421 of Part XIII of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey. This law shall replace the former Ottoman Law of Antiquities, and shall ensure equality of treatment in the matter of archaeological research to the nationals of all States, members of the League of Nations.

Article 22.

English, Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of Palestine. Any statement or inscriptions in Arabic on stamps or money in Palestine shall be repeated in Hebrew and any statements or inscriptions in Hebrew shall be repeated in Arabic.

Article 23.

The Administration of Palestine shall recognise the holy days of the respective communities in Palestine as legal days of rest for the members of such communities.

Article 24.

The Mandatory shall make to the Council of the League of Nations an annual report as to the measures taken during the year to carry out the provisions of the Mandate. Copies of all laws and regulations promulgated or issued during the year shall be communicated with the report.


Article 25.

It any dispute whatever should arise between the members of the League of Nations relating to the interpretation or the application of these provisions which cannot be settled by negotiation, this dispute shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice provided for by Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Article 26.

The consent of the Council of the League of Nations is required for any modification of the terms of the present Mandate, provided that in the case of any modification proposed by the Mandatory, such consent may be given by a majority of the Council.

Article 27.

In the event of the termination of the Mandate conferred upon the Mandatory by this Declaration, the Council of the League of Nations shall make such arrangements as may be deemed necessary for safeguarding in perpetuity, under guarantee of the League, the rights secured by Articles 13 and 14, and for securing, under the guarantee of the League, that the Government of Palestine will fully honour the financial obligations, legitimately incurred by the Administration of Palestine during the period of the Mandate.

The present copy shall be deposited in the archives of the League of Nations and certified copies shall be forwarded by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations to all Powers Signatories of the Treaty of Peace with Turkey.