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British Mandate of Palestine 1922 – 1948

Mandate Government of Palestine – Eretz Israel

Last modified: 2023-10-28 by martin karner
Keywords: british mandate of palestine | palestine | union flag | israel | eretz israel |
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[Union Flag (British Mandate of Palestine)] 1:2 image by Clay Moss, 16 December 2006

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Until 1916, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire and used the Ottoman flag. The British took Jerusalem in December 1916. The Allied Supreme Council created a British mandate on 25 April 1920 and the League of Nations approved it 24 July 1922. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, providing for a Jewish national home, applied to Palestine, but not Transjordan. Transjordan was separated from Palestine as an autonomous state on 26 May 1923.
T.F. Mills, 16 December 1997

After the 1914–18 War the former Turkish province of Palestine was under British Military Administration until the League of Nations granted it to Britain as a Mandated Territory. The Colonial Office reluctantly took over from the Army in 1923. Some thought that it was not an appropriate responsibility for the Colonial Office, and that either the Foreign Office or a special Secretary of State should have taken charge. Nothing was done about a flag as it was not considered desirable that the territory should have a special badge.

1926. The Customs Service applied for an ensign to identify their launches.

1927. The Palestine Shipping Register was established and a defaced Red Ensign authorised.

1929. The existing Customs ensign was cancelled, Blue Ensign defaced 'PALESTINE' in a white circle adopted, together with Customs and Posts jacks.

1932. Palestine Police Flag proposal.

1932–1934. Proposals for a new badge.

1935. High Commissioner badge and flag.

1948. Departmental and High Commissioner flags cancelled on 15th May 1948, but the Palestine Red Ensign posed some problems.

Information about British Palestine flags is in the Public Record Office at Kew in documents ADM 1/8771/162, ADM 1/9162, ADM 1/21248, CO 323/1180/24, CO 323/1181/17, CO 323/1182/2, CO 1182/11, CO 323/1222/10, CO 323/1272/7, CO 323/1333/1, CO 323/1333, CO 323/1377/16, MINT 24/101, MINT 25/1, MINT 25/2.

David Prothero, 4 March 2002

[Ed. note: Concerning the question if some Zionist flags had any official status during the British Mandate, see our sub-section Use of Zionist Flags in the Palestine Mandate.]