British Economic Policy in Palestine, 1919 - 1935: the Construction of Haifa harbour, a case study
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This dissertation addresses the question of how Britain was able to achieve its imperial goals in Palestine in spite of the limitation imposed by the League of Nations’ mandate system. To do so, it investigates the construction of Haifa harbour as a case study. The crucial issue was that Britain as the mandatory power and as a founding member of the League of Nations was compelled to adhere to the open door clause and give foreign nationals access to economic opportunities in the mandated territories. Conformity with the mandate system provided the legitimacy necessary for the British government to control Palestine in the context of the new international law that emerged as a result of World War I, prohibiting annexation of acquired territories. Debates in Whitehall occurred about how to obtain economic and strategic benefits whilst keeping rivals away and without breaching the mandate system. Broadly speaking, the Colonial Office’s position was to follow the traditional colonial approach while the Foreign Office insisted on adapting to the new global regulations. On several issues policy functioned: on the method of carrying out the harbour works; on the issuing of a loan for Palestine; and on efforts to convince the Iraq Petroleum Company to adopt a route for the oil pipeline from Iraq to terminate in Haifa. This was also made possible due to the British government’s employment of an interventionist policy. With the completion of the construction at Haifa harbour, the British government was able to achieve a balance between its own interests and the requirements of the international community and the needs of the local inhabitants.
AuthorsRifai, Ghada Issa Said
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