The British produced the Peel Commission that concluded there should be an end to the Palestine Mandate. The Peel Commission recommended a two-state solution: one Arab, one Jewish, because of the promises made to both Arabs and Jews during the First World War. The 1930s saw a growth of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and across Europe that also brought a growth in Jewish migration to Palestine. Arab resentment of the arrival of large numbers of Jews saw the British deploy more troops on the streets of Jerusalem and other major cities.

Arab violence erupted against the British during the General Strike of 1936 and again in 1937. This was a rethink on their position in the Middle East and a withdrawal from the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

In 1939, the British published their White Paper on the future of Palestine. It recommended controlled Jewish migration for five years and thereafter continued Jewish migration with Arab consultation and permission. The Arab communities refused. Professor Yezid Sayigh argues this was a mistake, because it would have led to the creation of an Arab state far sooner.

First broadcast:
29 January 2004

Students may find it useful to make a list of key factors that led to the changing British attitude towards Palestine by 1939 and their eventual withdrawal by 1948.