Following the crushing of the Arab Revolt of 1936–1939, the British government produced a strategy statement in May 1939 proclaiming the British goal of building a "independent Palestine State" tied to Britain and comprising both Jews and Arabs. The document also promised financial assistance to any country that would permit Jewish immigration to their territory.
The British government's policy was meant to appease both sides of the conflict so they would stop fighting each other. However, it was clear that this plan had no chance of success because there was no way both groups could come together and agree on one single state. Thus, this policy was simply a way for Britain to avoid getting involved in yet another war.
In July 1939, the British government announced its approval of a proposed agreement between Israel and HMG (Her Majesty's Government) under which Israel would accept a partial withdrawal from Palestine in exchange for economic aid from Britain. But when the Nazis invaded Poland in September, making war with France and Germany appear likely, the deal was canceled by London.
So the British White Paper of 1939 was not only an attempt to resolve the Palestinian problem once and for all time, but also a way for Britain to avoid getting involved in yet another war.
The British government produced a strategy statement limiting Jewish immigration to 75,000 people over the following five years. This White Paper also put a stop to Jewish land sales. Beginning in 1936, Palestinian Arabs began revolting against British control. The British government established a number of Royal Commissions to discover a solution. The 1937 Commission concluded that something must be done about the "Jewish problem". It recommended restricting Jewish immigration and building more Jewish homes, but it also suggested creating a separate state for Jews called Israel.
The British government adopted some parts of the White Paper, but not all of it. They limited Jewish immigration to 37,500 people between 1938 and 1941. But they did not create a state for Jews called Israel. Also, they built more than 7,200 Jewish homes in Palestine during this time period.
On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was declared by the United Nations.
The Balfour Declaration ("Balfour's promise" in Arabic) was a public vow issued by the United Kingdom in 1917 stating its intention to build "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. The declaration was made by Arthur James Balfour, who at that time was the British high commissioner for Egypt and Syria.
It followed Lord Salisbury's announcement in 1898 that Britain would support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine if it were accepted as part of a wider peace agreement after the First World War. However, the war ended before this could happen, and so the declaration became effective when it was issued under wartime legislation.
Its publication sparked mass Jewish immigration to Palestine, which helped strengthen the country's economy and society while providing a safe haven for Jews persecuted by the Nazis. However, Palestinian Arabs and other Muslims also benefited from the declaration, since it promised an end to Jewish settlement in Palestine which had begun several years earlier. Today, there is no country on earth that recognizes Israel's right to exist. Rather, every effort is made to deny that Israel exists at all. Nevertheless, Israel has existed for 70 years and many Arab countries are now stable democracies.
In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Palestinians and Israelis for their efforts to promote peace.
The document advocated for the formation of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state within ten years, opposing the Peel Commission's proposal to divide Palestine. It also capped Jewish immigration at 75,000 for five years, with additional immigration governed by the Arab majority (section II). The paper rejected the idea of a binational state (section III).
Here are some more detailed points:
The Jewish National Home - This term is used in the document to describe what would later become known as Israel. The paper says that it will "enable every Jew to find a safe refuge from his old world and to build a new life in Palestine."
The Palestinian State - The paper calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state under British protection. This state would be small and insecure, without any real territory or population.
Binational State - This term is used in the paper to describe what would later become Lebanon. The paper states that it is "not acceptable to us" because it would "create a situation where Jews and Arabs could live side by side without any identity being attributed to either."
Identity of Israel - The paper claims that Israel has an "identity based on religion" which makes it different from other countries who have identities based on language, race, or tradition.
Despite the fact that the McDonald White Paper included compassionate methods for Arabs and Jews, the Arabs complained, claiming that it did not mean the construction of an all-Arab state, which they considered unacceptable. The following were the principal provisions outlined in the McDonald White Paper of 1939:
1. A Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital. 2. Free immigration into the proposed Jewish state for some existing communities in Palestine. 3. An independent Arab state with Beirut as its capital. 4. Security arrangements to protect both states. 5. A joint Anglo-American commission to oversee the implementation of the paper.
The paper was not accepted by either side. In Israel, it was rejected by the Zionist leadership as a surrender to Arab demands. In Britain, it was criticized by the government as being too soft on Zionism.
It is important to understand that although the word "state" appears in the title of the document, this was not actually an official declaration of independence by either nation. Rather, it represented an agreement between them on how their future territories would be divided up. As such, it is more accurate to refer to it as a "treaty" rather than a "white paper".
In 1948, Israel and Egypt signed a treaty based on this agreement, but it never went into effect because Israel invaded Egypt first.