Churchill Archive for Schools - Themes_Key questions_League of Nations

Did the League of Nations matter in the 1920s?

Source 2

Extracts from a report to the League of Nations by the Palestine Arab Congress in October 1924


CHAR 2/136/95

Simplified Transcript


The Palestine Arab Congress has repeatedly made its case against the attempts to take over Palestine by the Zionist Jewish movement. This case has been made to the League of Nations, to world public opinion and to the government of Britain. They argue that it is unfair to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine which is already the homeland of Muslim and Christian Arabs. It will also be impractical to make Palestine a self-governing state, which is meant to be the point of the system of Mandates.


Palestinian Arabs have been patient and have campaigned using constitutional methods not violence. But their views have been misunderstood by the Government and the League. Jews and Arabs are too different to live together. The Zionists have said they intend to dominate Palestine.

Arab demand

The Arabs demand a constitutional government in Palestine which represents Jews and Arabs in the proportion of population which existed before the arrival of so many Jews into Palestine. 

Original Transcript


Report on Palestine Administration


The Palestine Arab Case against Zionist Aggression has repeatedly been submitted to the League of Nations and to the World Public Opinion in general and that of England in particular, by several deputations that have been delegated for this purpose to the League, to England and to the Lausanne Peace Conference, by the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, who form over 91% of its population; as well as by the different branches of the Palestine Arab Congress in that country and abroad. That case may be summed up in the following:- The injustice of creating a National Home for the Jews in Palestine which is the well-established home of the Palestinian Arabs (Moslems and Christians) and the impracticability of training its inhabitants in self-government and preparing them for independence, which is the principal aim of the mandatory system, as long as the Jewish National Home Policy is in progress.


The Palestine Arabs met this oppressive policy with patience. Their opposition has been conducted on constitutional methods. But this attitude of theirs has been both misrepresented by the Government and misunderstood by the Mandatory. The daily slight frictions between Arab and Jew, whose ideas, principles, customs and modes of life take diametrically divergent lines cultivate and solidify hatred between both communities, and there must come a time when it will accumulate to such a degree as to defy all moral or political restraints. It is a gross error to believe that Arab and Jew may come to an understanding if only each of them exchanges his coat of extremism for another of moderation. When the principles underlying two movements do clash, it is futile to expect their meeting halfway. The Zionist Policy is best described by Dr. Eder, ex-chairman of the Zionist Executive in Palestine, when he was asked to do so by the Court of Inquiry for the Jaffa disturbances of May 1921: “There can only be one National Home in Palestine, and that a Jewish one, and no equality in the partnership between Jews and Arabs, but a Jewish predominance as soon as the number of that race are sufficiently increased.”

Arab Demand

The Arab demand may be summed up in the following words: The establishment in Palestine of a National Constitutional Government in which the two Communities, Arab and Jewish, will be represented in proportion to their numbers as they existed before the application of the Zionist Policy.

General Secretary
Executive Committee of the Palestine Arab Congress.
JERUSALEM. 6th Oct. 1924

What is this source?

This is a document published by the Palestinian Arab Congress (PAC), a group which represented the interests of the Arab population of Palestine. The PAC presented its arguments to numerous enquiries and League of Nations agencies.

Background to this source

The First World War saw the collapse of the Turkish Empire. This meant that many areas of the Middle East no longer had a government. The League of Nations made these areas (and others in other parts of the world) into League of Nations Mandates. These were run by members of the League (mostly by Britain or France). The aim was to prepare these areas to eventually rule themselves. In Palestine this led to tension between the Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews.

Additional information

Antisemitism increased in Europe long before the Nazis in the 1930s. Some Jews saw the answer as the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. This movement became known as Zionism. In 1917 the British government announced its support for the aim of a Jewish state and once Britain took control of Palestine they allowed large scale migration of Jews to the region with this aim in mind. This caused tension with the Arab population of Palestine.

How can we use this source in the investigation?

Remember we are hoping that this source can be useful to us in investigating how far the work of the League of Nations mattered in the 1920s:

Surface level: details, facts and figures

1 What is the Palestinian Arab Congress unhappy about?
2 Where have they made their case?
3 According to the source, how have the Arabs acted?
4 According to the source, can Arabs and Jews live together?
5 What do the Arabs demand?

Deeper level: inferences and using the source as evidence

Which of the inferences below can be made from this source?

On a scale of 1-5 how far do you agree that this source supports this inference? Which extract(s) from the source support your argument?
The Arabs are protesting against the policies of the British rather than the League

The Arabs do not see the League as an organization worth dealing with

The British can do what they want in Palestine and ignore the League

This is a reliable source about Arab views

This is a reliable source about Zionism

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Need some help interpreting the source?

  • This is a very useful source about the tensions and problems in the Middle East which are still an issue today. We can use it to see the arguments used by the Palestinians and we get a strong sense of how they feel about the situation.
  • Clearly we are only really getting the Palestinian perspective, but that still makes this a useful source about that perspective. We should not reject this source because it is one-sided as it is a useful source about the views of that side.
  • Although the document is not written by the League, it can be used to make some inferences about the relevance of the League. To begin with, we can see that the League is actively investigating the issue of Palestine. We can also see that the Palestinians felt that it was worthwhile to submit a report to the League. This is an important point with respect to the relevance of the League.

 Source 3

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