A memorandum prepared by cabinet minister Herbert Samuel in January 1915, two months after the British declared war on the Ottoman Empire. In the memo, Samuel pointed out what he saw as the benefits and strategic interests associated with Britain annexing Palestine. By building a Jewish state there, Samuel argued that England would be able to “fulfil in yet another sphere her historic part of civiliser of the backward countries”.
In a series of letters exchanged between Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, and Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, the former promised to offer the Arabs independence if they revolted against the Ottoman Empire. The letters were the subject of heated debate after the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement were made public. The Arabs believed that the British violated the terms of the letters, while the British argued that Palestine was never part of the agreement.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret agreement between Great Britain and France, named after its two negotiators, Francois Georges-Picot of France and Sir Mark Sykes of Britain. The agreement divided areas of the Arab world between the two countries, in anticipation of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The agreement put historic Palestine under British and international rule.
The Balfour Declaration was a letter written by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour on behalf of Britain's government, promising the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. The letter was addressed to British Jewish community leader, Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild. The letter affirmed that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, without any mention of political rights.
This declaration was made by Britain to seven Arab leaders residing in Egypt. The declaration promised that the “future governments of those territories [under British rule including historical Palestine] should be based upon the principle of consent of the governed”.
The letter was written by David Hogarth, head of Britain's Arab Bureau in Cairo, to Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca. It was written in response to Hussein's inquiry about the Balfour Declaration. It confirmed that in Palestine, “no people shall be subject to another”, and that the leaders of the Zionist project intended friendship and co-operation with the Arabs.
Written a month after the Hogarth message, the Bassett Letter was a formal British letter sent to Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, regarding his inquiry about the Sykes-Picot Agreement. In the letter, Britain denied the agreement, calling it a Turkish invention to cause distrust between the Arabs and the British. The letter also affirmed Britain’s commitment to the liberation of Arabs from Turkish oppression.
King-Crane was an extensive official report conducted by the US government to determine the sentiments of the people living in Greater Syria and other areas after the demise of the Ottoman Empire. The report concluded that the wishes of the inhabitants of Syria, including Palestine, was to create a united and completely independent Syria and reject the British Mandate. It also showed that the inhabitants did not support the Zionist project, adding that the Zionist project was unjust and could only come about through force and that Zionists’ claim to the land as an ancient right could “hardly be seriously considered”. It recommended an American Mandate and said that a greatly reduced Zionist programme should be attempted with limited Jewish immigration and abandonment of the Jewish commonwealth idea.
The San Remo conference was a meeting of four main WWI allied powers: Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan. The conference passed mandates for Ottoman Empire areas, including Palestine. It confirmed what had been promised in the Balfour Declaration, without any mention of political rights for the inhabitants of Palestine.
This was a British inquiry into the Jerusalem riots that occurred in April 1920. The report concluded that the crisis was mainly the responsibility of Zionists, noting that the reasons for Arabs’ unrest included their concerns over the “inability to reconcile the Allies' declared policy of self-determination with the Balfour Declaration.”
The Churchill paper was prepared by the British government in response to the Jaffa riots in 1921. The report provided the British government’s interpretation of the Balfour Declaration. It confirmed that Palestine should not be converted into a Jewish national home; rather, a home for Jews should be founded “in Palestine”, confirming Palestinians’ right of self-government. The paper also suggested the reduction of Jewish immigration. However, it confirmed that Jewish immigration was a “right” based on their “ancient historic connection” to the land.
The Palestine Mandate was the official League of Nations document approving the British Mandate for Palestine. The purpose of the mandate was to place the country under advanced political, administrative and economic care of the British, as well as to secure the establishment of the Jewish national home. While the mandate did not specify facilitating a Palestinian state, it stipulated that no Palestinian territory should be “placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power”. It also stated that Jews who decided to permanently reside in Palestine would acquire Palestinian citizenship.
The Passfield white paper was written in response to the 1929 riots, affirming that Jewish immigration was disturbing the economy and should be greatly reduced. It reiterated what was mentioned in Churchill’s white paper - that it was not the intention of Britain to impose a Jewish nationality upon Palestinians; rather, it was to integrate Jews into the Palestinian community.
The Passfield paper was met by a strong reaction from Zionist organisations demanding a British explanation. Ramsay MacDonald, prime minister at the time, wrote the letter to Chaim Weizmann, president of the Zionist organisation, explaining Britain’s policy in Palestine. It reaffirmed Britain's commitment to Jewish immigration and land purchase, despite the recommendations made in the Passfield paper.
The Peel Commission was a formal British report investigating the reasons for the disturbances in Palestine in 1936. The report concluded that the Palestine Mandate was no longer effective and must be replaced. This was the first time a partition plan was proposed as a solution, with one part of the land assigned to the Arabs and the other to the Jews.
Following the failure to reach an agreement between Arabs and Zionists in the London Conference of 1939, Britain announced its new policy in Palestine for the following 10 years. Firstly, it stated that the promise in the Balfour Declaration had been fulfilled, with the Jewish population reaching 450,000 in Palestine, and reaffirmed that it was never Britain’s intention to create a Jewish state in Palestine. Secondly, the paper confirmed that the mandate would end in 1948 and be replaced by a Palestinian state governed by both Jews and Arabs. Thirdly, the paper announced that Jewish immigration would be limited in the following five years and stopped afterwards.
The report was prepared jointly by the US and Britain to examine the conditions in Palestine under the British Mandate. The report concluded that Palestine should neither be a Jewish state nor an Arab state, and recommended a new trusteeship with the purpose of creating a self-ruling government in Palestine, with both Arabs and Jews involved. It also asserted that Jewish immigration should be pushed forward, with 100,000 more immigrants admitted into Palestine.
Following the British Operation Agatha, which cracked down on Jewish insurgencies in Palestine, the statement of information was a British white paper investigating the events. The paper concluded that the Jewish insurgencies had links with the Jewish Agency, the formal Palestinian branch of the Zionist Organization.
A statement by Herschel V Johnson, US deputy representative to the UN, outlined the US position with regards to the question of Palestine. It stated that the US was supportive of continued Jewish immigration and a partition plan, with certain amendments. For example, the US believed that Jaffa should be part of the Arab state, since it was an Arab city.
UN General Assembly Resolution 181 was the resolution that adopted the partition plan for Palestine. The resolution recommended the withdrawal of Britain and the termination of the mandate, leaving behind two states in the county: Arab and Jewish.
In March 1948, Warren R Austin, US ambassador to the UN and representative at the Security Council, provided a statement regarding the US position on the Palestine issue. It stated that if Britain withdrew from Palestine in May 1948 as planned, it would leave behind chaos and possible violence. Therefore, the US recommended a temporary trusteeship for Palestine to be established under the Trusteeship Council of the UN to maintain peace and to afford the Jews and Arabs a chance to reach a peaceful agreement.
US President Harry Truman suggested in an official statement that while the US believed in the partition plan, it was concerned that it would not be implemented peacefully. He proposed an American trusteeship programme until the country was in a position to make a peaceful transition.
A day before the withdrawal of Britain from Palestine, David Ben-Gurion, the executive head of the World Zionist Organization, declared the independence of a Jewish state to be called Israel. The declaration affirmed Israel’s preparedness for the implementation of UN Resolution 181.
The UN mediator on Palestine prepared a progress report following his mediation efforts after the outbreak of the 1948 war in Palestine. The report discussed the UN-mediated truce agreements in June and July 1948 between the Jews and the Arabs. It also asserted the right of return for displaced Palestinians.
UN Resolution 194, adopted in December 1948, established a Conciliation Commission, which was tasked with facilitating peace. The resolution also affirmed Palestinians’ right of return. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis were given an opportunity to vote on the resolution.
Following the Six-Day War, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242, requesting Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in the war. The resolution advocated for a just settlement of the refugee problem.
First announced in 1964 and later expanded in 1968, the Palestinian National Charter was the covenant of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The charter stated that the boundaries of Palestine were the boundaries it had during the British Mandate. The Charter also considered the establishment of the state of Israel and the partition plan to be entirely illegal, and the Balfour Declaration to be null and void. The Charter was changed after the 1993 Oslo Accord.
Following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 338, encouraging all parties to enter into a cease-fire. It also called for the implementation of Resolution 282, requesting Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.
A peace agreement between Egypt and Israel that was mediated by the US, this deal provided a framework for the establishment of a self-governing authority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The agreement was signed without the participation of a Palestinian authority and was rejected by the UN in General Assembly Resolution 33/28.
Resolution 478 was adopted by the UN Security Council, rejecting Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as the “complete and united” capital of Israel. The resolution considered the claim illegal and a serious violation of international law.
The Oslo Accords represented the first direct Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. In the accords, Palestinian representatives recognised the state of Israel and its right to exist, and Israel recognised the PLO as the sole legitimate representative body of the Palestinian people, affirming their right to self-government. The accords also included the withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Oslo was followed by many peace talks on issues regarding Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements and Jerusalem.
The Arab Peace Initiative was a Saudi-led initiative to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The initiative called for a complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, reaching a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees, and accepting the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. In turn, the Arabs would consider the Arab-Israeli conflict over, sign a peace agreement with Israel, and establish normal relations with Israel.
In 2012, the State of Palestine received non-member observer State status in the UN. This was the first official international recognition of the Palestinian state.
The UK Foreign office issued a statement noting: “The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG does not intend to apologise. We are proud of our role in creating the state of Israel. The declaration was written in a world of competing imperial powers, in the midst of the First World War and in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire. In that context, establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution. Much has happened since 1917. We recognise that the declaration should have called for the protection of political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine, particularly their right to self-determination. However, the important thing now is to look forward and establish security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace.”
The size of each word represents the number of times it was used in each document. It does not represent the main keywords or ideas. The purpose of the visualisation is to show the change in language over the past 100 years.