Palestine Mandate (September 1919 draft)

Draft of the Mandate for Palestine proposed by the Zionist Organisation, 24 September 1919  (1919) 

Final draft, of 1922, at Palestine Mandate
Source: Great Britain Foreign Office; Woodward, Ernest Llewellyn (1952). Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, Volume IV. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 429-439. 

Draft Mandate for Palestine, Zionist proposal, 24 September 1919Edit

The High Contracting Parties:

Recognising the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine (Erez Israel) and the claim which this gives them to reconstitute Palestine as their national home;

Associating themselves accordingly with the Declaration originally made by the British Government, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may 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;

Considering that this object can best be secured by the administration, for as long as may be necessary, of Palestine, by a State member of the League of Nations; Have agreed upon the following pro­visions:


The boundaries of Palestine are defined in Annex I to this Convention. A Commission representing the Governments of. . . shall be appointed at once to trace these boundaries on the spot.


The High Contracting Parties, recognising that it would be in accord­ance with the wishes of the peoples con­ cerned that Great Britain should be the Power selected to conduct the admini­stration of Palestine and to secure the observance of the provisions of this con­vention, hereby confer upon Great Britain a mandate to that end, including the right to exercise as such mandatory all the powers inherent in the Government of a sovereign state, in so far as such powers shall be consistent with the con­trol of the League of Nations and save as they shall be limited by the terms of this convention. Great Britain hereby accepts the mandate thus conferred upon it.


Great Britain shall be responsible for placing Palestine under such poli­tical, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the development of a self-governing Common­ wealth, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may 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.


Great Britain will encourage the widest measure of self-government for localities consistent with the local conditions.


An appropriate Jewish Agency shall be recognised as a public body with power to advise and co-operate with the Government in all administrative, economic, social and other matters affecting the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Government, to assist and take part in the development of the country. It shall have a pre-emptive right, upon fair and equitable terms, to construct and operate public works and utilities and develop the natural resources of the country. No private profits distributed by such agency shall exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital, and any further profits shall be utilised by it under trust for the benefit of the country. Concessions for the con­struction and operation of such public works and utilities and the development of such natural resources as are not undertaken by such agency, shall be granted by the Government only after consultation with it.
The Zionist Organisation shall forthwith be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish National Home.


The control and administration of Moslem Wakuf property in Palestine shall be undertaken by the Government, who shall respect Moslem law and the wishes of the founders, sofar as may be consistent with the public interests of the country as a whole.


The British Government in co-opera­tion with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 5 shall promote Jewish immigra­tion and close settlement by Jews on the land, and shall open for such settlement all public lands and all other lands that can be made available, the established rights of the present non-Jewish population being equitably safeguarded.


Jews who within five years from the coming into force of the present conven­tion, take up their permanent abode in Palestine, shall be entitled to abandon their existing nationality and become citizens of Palestine. The Government of Palestine shall also enact a nationality law so framed as to facilitate the acqui­sition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who may take up their permanent abode in Palestine after the expiry of the period offive years.


The immunities and privileges of foreigners as well as the rights of consular jurisdiction and protection for­ merly established in the Ottoman domi­nions by the capitulations and by usage are abolished in Palestine.


In the general legal system of Pales­tine, the Jews, Moslem and other com­munities shall have the right to maintain and develop their own judicial institutions in all civil matters exclusively concerning the members of their respective communities.


The Government of Palestine shall have full power to reserve the development of the country for local interests, including the Jewish agency re­ferred to in Article 5, and such other Jewish bodies approved by it as may be organised to facilitate the development of the Jewish National Home, and are officially recognised by the Govern­ment. In the construction and operation of public works and utilities and in the development of the natural resources of the country, the establishment of the Jewish National Home shall be a guiding principle. The Government shall provide for public ownership or effective public control of the natural resources of the country and of the public works and utilities established and to be established therein; shall safeguard the interests of the community against their ex­ploitation, and shall limit private profit from their development to a reasonable return on the capital employed therein, taking into account the extent and character of the risks assumed. The Government shall introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, and adequate to prevent the evils of land speculation, which shall, among other things, further the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land and discourage its uneconomic use or non-use, and limit the maximum areas of holdings.


The foreign relations of Palestine shall be conducted by Great Britain, and citizens of Palestine shall be entitled to the protection of Great Britain when out­ side the limits of Palestine. All States members of the League of Nations shall have the right to station consular officers in Palestine.


All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites of Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights there­ in, of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship therein, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the British Government, who will be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected there­with.


The British Government will be responsible for providing that certain Holy Places, religious buildings or sites, regarded with special veneration by the adherents of one particular religion, are transferred to the permanent possession and control of suitable bodies selected or appointed by it and representing the adherents of the religion concerned. The selection of the Holy Places, religious buildings or sites to be so transferred will be made by the British Government. The British Government will also be re­sponsible for deciding, after investigation by a Commission appointed by it and containing representatives of the denominations concerned, questions arising in connection with any Holy Places, religious buildings or sites which, in the opinion of the British Government should be dealt with under this article, but whose ownership or control may be disputed by two or more denominations. In all cases of transference, however, the right and duty of the Mandatory to maintain order and decorum in the places transferred, 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 by the Government of Palestine. The rights of possession and control conferred upon this Article are guaranteed by the League of Nations, and shall never be subject to any dimi­nution or modification whatsoever, un­ less by the consent of a majority of the Council of the League of Nations.


The responsibility for the protec­tion of all religious interests being thus exercised on behalf of the League of Nations by the British Government, all such protectorates previously exercised by any foreign states shall cease to operate in Palestine.




No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief Freedom of conscience and re­ligious toleration shall be allowed to all inhabitants of Palestine, including the exercise of all forms of worship, and no discrimination of any kind shall be made between any citizens of Palestine on the ground of race, sex or religion. No civil or political right of any citizen of Palestine shall be conditional upon, nor shall its exercise be affected by, any consideration of race, sex or faith or a change of faith, provided that this shall not prevent the selection of official representatives of races or faiths or forbid the definition of the franchise for their selection on the basis of race or faith. No hindrance shall be offered in spiritual matters either to the organisation of the different communities or to their relations with their spiritual chiefs. The right of each community to main­ tain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language shall not be denied or impaired. The control of the educational system in sofar as Jews are concerned shall be vested in the Jewish agency referred to in Article V.


The organisation of religious communities as millets where it exists already shall be maintained by the Government of Palestine as long as the Government considers it desirable. The administration of all schools provided or maintained by the Jewish agency referred to in Article V , or by subsidising bodies approved by it, shall, subject to compliance with such requirements of a general nature as the Government of Palestine may impose, be vested in the said agency or such bodies controlled by it as it may designate for the purpose.


Missionaries of all denominations shall be allowed freely to prosecute their calling and to maintain their schools, subject only to the requirements of public order, and there shall be no dis­ crimination against such schools and institutions as compared with other establishments providing similar stan­dards of education, it being understood that such schools and institutions shall not be assisted from the public funds. Missionary bodies will be allowed, subject to local laws, to erect such buildings and to acquire and hold such property as may be necessary for the conduct of their religious and educational work. So long, however, as the maintenance of public order renders such a measure necessary, missionaries who are subjects or citizens of any power which at any time since 1st August, 1914, has been at war with Great Britain may be excluded from Palestine unless they have applied for and obtained a permit from the Govern­ment.


The Government of Palestine may organise a local gendarmerie for the preservation of peace and order, but with this exception, no military, naval or air forces shall be raised or main­tained by Palestine, nor shall any forti­fication be created or bases established therein. Such forces as shall be raised shall be on a voluntary basis. Such British forces as may be stationed in Palestine shall be confined to such numbers as may be necessary for the maintenance of the internal order and protection of the frontiers against raids. No Palestinian territory shall be ceded, leased, or in any way placed under the control of any foreign power for the establishment of a naval, military or aerial base.


Subject to the provisions of Articles 5, 7 and 11 the commerce and navigation of all States members of the League of Nations while engaged in lawful enterprises shall enjoy equal treatment in Palestine. No attempt shall be made by Great Britain to obtain in Palestine for the commerce or navi­gation of its own subjects treatment more favourable than that which is accorded to the commerce and naviga­tion of other nations.


The British Government shall secure the observance, so far as local condi­ tions permit, of all international conventions dealing with matters referred to in Article 23 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.


English, Hebrew and Arabic, shall be the official languages of Pales­tine, and shall be employed inter alia on the stamps and money of Palestine.

23 (a).

The Government shall recognise the Jewish Sabbath and the Jewish holidays as legal days of rest without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of non-Jews and shall permit to all inhabitants the pursuit of their ordinary vocation on all days other than their respective days of rest and holidays.


(Whatever clause regarding annual report is agreed upon by Man­datory Commission for ‘A’ Mandates with due regard to the special character of the Mandate for Palestine.)


The Government of Palestine will co-operate, so far as religious and other local conditions permit, in the execution of any common policy adopted by the League of Nations for prevent­ ing and combating disease, including diseases of animals and plants.


The Government of Palestine shall take steps within twelve months from the exchange of ratifications of this convention to enact and thereafter to execute a Law of Antiquities based on the instructions contained in Annex 28 of this convention, which shall replace the former Ottoman Law of Antiquities. No attempt shall be made by Great Britain to obtain for the Archaeological research of its own citizens treatment more favourable than that which is accorded to the archaeological research of other nations.


The Mandatory Power recog­nises the obligations accepted by it under this convention to be matters of international concern of which the League of Nations has jurisdiction.


Without prejudice to the principles embodied in the Preamble to this convention, changes in its provisions may be made with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, and it shall be the duty of the Council to advise the recon­sideration of the present Convention, should the terms in its opinion have become inapplicable to existing conditions.


If any dispute whatever should arise between the members of the League of Nations relating to the inter­pretation or the application of the present convention which cannot be settled by friendly negotiations, such dispute shall be submitted to the permanent Court of International Justice to be established by the League of Nations.

It shall be the friendly right of the Jewish agency referred to in Article 5, to bring to the attention of the Council of the League of Nations any matter relating to the interpre­tation or application of the present conven­tion.