The White Paper
British mandate, 1939
In an attempt to quell the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, the British government declared a policy that became known as the White Paper of 1939. On the one hand it declared that the Jewish homeland would be created in Palestine in 10 years time, but it rejected the idea of partitioning Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, meaning that the Jews would be forced to live as a minority within an Arab state. But more egregiously, in the eyes of the Yishuv, the White Paper dramatically limited Jewish immigration to Palestine, all but shutting the door to millions of Jews trying to escape Europe at the start of World War Two. The White Paper limited immigration to only 75,000 Jews over five years, and thereafter Jewish immigration would continue under the sufferance of the Arab majority. The policy also restricted how much land Jews could purchase, and where.
The Arabs rejected the White Paper as being too favorable to the Jews, since it allowed five more years of immigration. However, its issuance did help bring about a cessation of Arab violence. The Jews rejected the White Paper as a horrifying betrayal of the Balfour Declaration at a time when the Jews of Europe were in great danger. The policy was usually cited as the chief justification for the Jewish resistance against British rule, and engendered Jewish acts of terrorism and clandestine operations in an attempt to thwart it. It would continue to be British policy until the Mandate ended in 1948. Its repeal was the very first act of the government of the State of Israel.