Occupied Enemy Territory Administration
Area of the OETA, according to the British Government's History of the Great War Based on Official Documents
|Common languages||Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, French, English|
o San Remo conference
|19 to 26 April 1920|
The Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (OETA) was a joint British, French and Arab military administration over Levantine provinces of the former Ottoman Empire between 1918 and 1920, set up on 23 October 1918 following the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and Arab Revolt of World War I. Although it was declared by the British military, who were in control of the region, it was preceded on 30 September 1918 by the 1918 Anglo-French Modus Vivendi in which it was agreed that the British would give the French control in certain areas, and the Hashemites were given joint control of the Eastern area per T.E. Lawrence's November 1918 "Sharifian plan".
The administration ended in OETA West and OETA South in 1920 following the assignment of the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon and British Mandate for Palestine at the 19-26 April 1920 San Remo conference.
In OETA East, British administration ended following the withdrawal of British forces from the territory in November 1919, and the subsequent declaration of the Arab Kingdom of Syria over the same area. The area was split into two after the French defeated King Faisal in July 1920; the northern part of the territory was combined with the French-administered OETA West, and the southern part became a no man's land and later became the Emirate of Transjordan.
|OETA South||OETA West||OETA East||Totals|
On 23 October 1918, following the British and Arab forces' defeat of the Ottoman empire, Field Marshal Edmund Allenby announced that the region was to be split into three administrative sub-units, which varied very little from the previous Ottoman divisions:
Under this administration the immediate needs of the people were provided for, seed grain and live-stock were imported and distributed, finance on easy terms was made available through the Army bankers, a stable currency was set up and postal services restored. Allenby insisted that as long as military administration was required, it was to remain his responsibility.
But, success of Turkish War of Independence, Mara?, Antep and Urfa sanjaks of former Halep Eyalet remained in Turkey after 1921. Also, Antakya and ?skenderun kazas of Halep Sanjak in one were separated as the Republic of Hatay in 1938. The republic joined to Turkey in 1939.
The area was divided into four districts: Jerusalem, Jaffa, Majdal and Beersheba, each under a military governor.
Both of the first two British administrators, Generals Money and Watson, were removed by London for not favoring the Zionists over the Arabs; when the OETA administration ended, Zionist politician Herbert Samuel was installed as the first civilian administrator. Samuel recorded his acceptance of the role, and the end of military administration, in an often-quoted document: "Received from Major-General Sir Louis J. Bols K.C.B.--One Palestine, complete."
OETA East was a joint Arab-British military administration. The Arab and British armies entered Damascus on 1 October 1918, and on 3 October 1918 Ali Rida al-Rikabi was appointed Military Governor of OETA East. Prince Faisal son of King Hussain of Mecca entered Damascus as on 4 October and appointed Rikabi Chief of the Council of Directors (i.e. prime minister) of Syria.
The boundary definition of OETA East left uncertainties to the south and east, leading to competing claims from the Kingdom of Hejaz and Occupied Iraq respectively - see Occupation of Ma'an and Occupation of Zor for further details.
The OETA was established on 23 October 1918, under the accepted rules of military occupation, and defined as follows:
The OETA administrations were disestablished at different times in each of the regions, following the formal appointment of civil administrations (prior to the formal coming into force of the mandates):