Palestine forme d par t o f th e Ottoma n Empir e unti l th e en d o f th e Firs t World War , whe n i t wa s assigne d a s a Leagu e o f Nation s mandat e t o Britain (formall y effectiv e Sept . 1923) . The original purpos e was to establish a Jewis h homeland , whic h Britai n ha d supporte d i n th e Balfou r Declaration ( 2 Nov . 1917) . This pla n arouse d oppositio n fro m th e loca l Arab population, the Palestinians. Britain, mindful tha i the Balfour Declar - ation ha d als o promise d protectio n fo r th e right s of non-Jewis h commu - nities i n Palestine , followe d a n ambivalen t polic y i n th e fac e o f growin g Arab-Jewish friction . Durin g the period o f th e mandat e th e Jewish popu - lation increase d fro m 56,00 0 t o 650,000 . Afte r th e Secon d Worl d Wa r pressure mounted for an independent Jewish state, partly in reaction to the holocaust o f th e Europea n Jew s durin g th e war . Britain , however , ha d begun t o back awa y from th e concept o f the Balfour Declaration , a 193 9 White Pape r havin g resulte d i n Jewis h immigratio n t o Palestin e bein g severely restricted . Thes e regulation s remaine d i n forc e durin g an d afte r the holocaust . This resulted in a campaign o f growing violence on the part of th e Jewis h settlers , whic h mad e Palestin e ungovernabl e an d finall y forced th e Britis h t o op t fo r surrenderin g th e mandat e an d referrin g th e problem to the United Nations (2 April 1947) .