Keeping Out the ‘Undesirable Elements’: The Treatment of Communists, Transients, Criminals, and the Ill in Mandate Palestine

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Abstract

In the new era of border control beginning after the First World War, the British-administered Palestine Mandate perceived non-Zionist migration as largely undesirable. Both discursively and practically, the Mandate administration crafted the category of the ‘undesirable migrant’ in order to limit its own responsibility for the presence in Palestine of economic, social, political, and morally undesirable Arab and Jewish migrants. Not only did the administration wish to absolve itself from responsibility and diplomatic protection over political agitators such as communists, but it also did not wish to support the mentally ill, transients, and labour migrants who settled in Palestine. The following offers an understanding of how best to situate this unwanted, largely non-Zionist migration into and out of Mandate Palestine within the broader history of Great Britain’s colonial and interwar treatment of undesirable movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1180
Number of pages28
JournalThe Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • deportation
  • migrants
  • illegal immigrants
  • Palestine Mandate
  • citizenship
  • documentary identity

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