Peel Commission

The Peel Commission, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry, headed by Lord Peel, appointed in 1936 to investigate the causes of unrest in Mandatory Palestine, which was administered by Britain, following the six-month-long Arab general strike in Mandatory Palestine.

On 7 July 1937, the commission published a report that, for the first time, stated that the League of Nations Mandate had become unworkable and recommended partition.[2] The British cabinet endorsed the Partition plan in principle, but requested more information.[3] Following the publication, in 1938 the Woodhead Commission was appointed to examine it in detail and recommend an actual partition plan.

The Arabs opposed the partition plan and condemned it unanimously.[4] The Arab High Committee opposed the idea of a Jewish state[5] and called for an independent state of Palestine, "with protection of all legitimate Jewish and other minority rights and safeguarding of reasonable British interests".[6] They also demanded cessation of all Jewish immigration and land purchase.[5] They argued that the creation of a Jewish state and lack of independent Palestine was a betrayal of the word given by Britain.[3][7]

The Zionist leadership was bitterly divided over the plan.[5] In a resolution adopted at the 1937 Zionist Congress, the delegates rejected the specific partition plan. Yet the principle of partition is generally thought to have been "accepted" or "not rejected outright" by any major faction: the delegates empowered the leadership to pursue future negotiations.[5][8][9][10] The Jewish Agency Council later attached a request that a conference be convened to explore a peaceful settlement in terms of an undivided Palestine.[5] According to Benny Morris, Ben-Gurion and Weizmann saw it 'as a stepping stone to some further expansion and the eventual takeover of the whole of Palestine.’[5][11]

Report of the Palestine Royal Commission
PeelMap
Peel Commission Partition Plan, July 1937
CreatedJuly 1937
Ratified7 July 1937[1]
PurposeInvestigation of the causes of the 1936 Arab revolt in Palestine

Creation

Palestine Royal Commission Cmd 5479.djvu&page=2
Palestine Royal Commission Cmd 5479

The Commission was established at a time of increased violence; serious clashes between Arabs and Jews broke out in 1936 and were to last three years. On 11 November 1936, the commission arrived in Palestine to investigate the reasons behind the uprising. The Commission was charged with determining the cause of the riots, and judging the grievances of both sides. Chaim Weizmann made a speech on behalf of the Jews. On 25 November 1936, testifying before the Peel Commission, Weizmann said that there are in Europe 6,000,000 Jews ... "for whom the world is divided into places where they cannot live and places where they cannot enter."[12]

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, testified in front of the commission, opposing any partition of Arab lands with the Jews. He demanded full cessation of Jewish immigration. Although the Arabs continued to boycott the Commission officially, there was a sense of urgency to respond to Weizmann's appeal to restore calm. The former Mayor of Jerusalem Ragheb Bey al-Nashashibi—who was the Mufti's rival in the internal Palestinian arena, was thus sent to explain the Arab perspective through unofficial channels.

Conclusions

Lord Peel 1936 a
Peel outside the commission
Lord Peel 1936 b
Weizmann giving evidence

The causes of the Arab rebellion that broke out in the previous year were judged to be

[F]irst, the desire of the Arabs for national independence; secondly, their antagonism to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, quickened by their fear of Jewish domination. Among contributory causes were the effect on Arab opinion of the attainment of national independence by ‘Iraq, Trans-Jordan, Egypt, Syria and the Lebanon; the rush of Jewish immigrants escaping from Central and Eastern Europe; the inequality of opportunity enjoyed by Arabs and Jews respectively in placing their case before Your Majesty’s Government and the public; the growth of Arab mistrust; Arab alarm at the continued purchase of Arab land by the intensive character and the "modernism" of Jewish nationalism; and lastly the general uncertainty, accentuated by the ambiguity of certain phrases in the Mandate, as to the ultimate intentions of the Mandatory Power.[13]

The Commission found that the drafters of the Mandate could not have foreseen the advent of massive Jewish immigration, that they considered due to "drastic restriction of immigration into the United States, the advent of the National Socialist Government in Germany in 1933 and the increasing economic pressure on the Jews in Poland."[14] They wrote that "The continued impact of a highly intelligent and enterprising race, backed by large financial resources, on a comparatively poor indigenous community, on a different cultural level, may produce in time serious reactions."[15]

The Commission found that "though the Arabs have benefited by the development of the country owing to Jewish immigration, this has had no conciliatory effect. On the contrary, improvement in the economic situation in Palestine has meant the deterioration of the political situation".[15] Addressing the "Arab charge that the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land cannot be maintained," noting that "Much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp and uncultivated when it was purchased."[16] They write that "The shortage of land is, we consider, due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population".[16] "Endeavours to control the alienation of land by Arabs to Jews have not been successful. In the hills there is no more room for further close settlement by Jews; in the plains it should only be allowed under certain restrictions."[13]

The Commission stated that Government have attempted to discharge the contradictory obligations of the Mandatory under conditions of great difficulty by "holding the balance" between Jews and Arabs. Repeated attempts to conciliate either race have only increased the trouble. The situation in Palestine has reached a deadlock.[13] Development of local autonomy and selfgoverning institutions, this also has been hampered.[13]

The summary report statement concerning the possibility of lasting settlement states:

An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible. The Arabs desire to revive the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews desire to show what they can achieve when restored to the land in which the Jewish nation was born. Neither of the two national ideals permits of combination in the service of a single State.[17]

Recommendations

The Commission reached the conclusion that the Mandate had become unworkable and must be abolished[2] in favor of partition, as the only solution to the Arab-Jewish "deadlock". It outlined ten points on: a Treaty system between the Arab and Jewish States and the new Mandatory Government; a Mandate for the Holy places; the frontiers; the need for Inter-State Subvention; the need for British Subvention; tariffs and ports; nationality; civil service; Industrial concessions; and the Exchange of land and populations.[18]

A Treaty system based on the Iraqi-Syrian precedent, proposed: Permanent mandates for the Jerusalem area and "corridor" stretching to the Mediterranean coast at Jaffa—and the land under its authority (and accordingly, the transfer of both Arab and Jewish populations) be apportioned between an Arab and Jewish state. The Jewish side was to receive a territorially smaller portion in the mid-west and north, from Mount Carmel to south of Be'er Tuvia, as well as the Jezreel Valley and the Galilee, while the Arab state linked with Trans-Jordan was to receive territory in the south and mid-east which included Judea, Samaria, and the sizable Negev desert.[19]

The report stated that Jews contribute more per capita to the revenues of Palestine than the Arabs, and the Government has thereby been enabled to maintain public services for the Arabs at a higher level than would otherwise have been possible. Partition would mean, on the one hand, that the Arab Area would no longer profit from the taxable capacity of the Jewish Area. On the other hand, (1) the Jews would acquire a new right of sovereignty in the Jewish Area; (2) that Area, as we have defined it, would be larger than the existing area of Jewish land and settlement; (3) the Jews would be freed from their present liability for helping to promote the welfare of Arabs outside that Area. It is suggested, therefore, that the Jewish State should pay a subvention to the Arab State when Partition comes into effect. Citing the separation of Sind from Bombay and of Burma from the Indian Empire, as precedents for such financial arrangement.[19][20]

The report stated that if Partition is to be effective in promoting a final settlement it must mean more than drawing a frontier and establishing two States. Sooner or later there should be a transfer of land and, as far as possible, an exchange of population.[19][21] Citing as precedent the 1923 Greek and Turkish exchange, which addressed the constant friction between their minorities. While noting the absence of cultivable land to resettle the Arabs, which would necessitate the execution of large-scale plans for irrigation, water-storage, and development in Trans-Jordan, Beersheba and the Jordan Valley.[19][21] The population exchange, if carried out, would have involved the transfer of up to 225,000 Arabs and 1,250 Jews.[19][21]

Reactions

The Arab reaction

The entire spectrum of Palestinian Arab society rejected the partition plan. There was widespread public opposition including in the media and by religious figures.[5][6] According to Henry Laurens, the Arabs saw the publication of the plan as a ringing disavowel of every key undertaking the Mandatory authorities had made since its inception, that there would be no separate Jewish state, no land expropriations and no expulsions of people. The proposed land swaps and population transfers were seen as annulling and inverting a century of economic development of the littoral region, with, apart from Jaffa and Gaza, Palestinians dispossessed of the essential rural and urban heritage that had evolved over the preceding century of coastal development. Jerusalem was placed outside the future Palestinian state.[22] Palestinians were shocked both by the declaration their land would be divided, and that they themselves would be denied statehood, while the Jewish state, extending over a third of the country,[6][23] would absorb the whole of the Galilee, where an overwhelming percentage of the land was owned by Arabs and Jews had only a slender presence.[24][25][26] In compensation, the Arabs were offered valuable areas to the east of Jordan and the southern portion of the Beisan sub-district where irrigation would have been possible.[27] Indignation was widespread with Arabs complaining that the Plan had allotted to them "the barren mountains," while the Jews would receive most of the five cultivable plains, the maritime Plain, the Acre Plain, the Marj Ibn 'Asmir, Al Huleh and the Jordan Valley[28] For the Arabs, the plan envisaged giving Zionists the best land, with 82% of Palestine’s principle export, citrus fruit, consigned to Jewish control.[28][27][29]

The idea of transfer of population met strong opposition.[11] Under the Peel proposal, before transfer, there would be 1,250 Jews in the proposed Arab state, while there would be 225,000 Arabs in the Jewish state. The Peel proposal suggested a population transfer based on the model of Greece and Turkey in 1923, which would have been "in the last resort ... compulsory".[6] It was understood on all sides that there was no way of dividing the land which would not have meant a large number of Arabs (a large minority or even a majority) in the land designated for a Jewish state.[30]

At the leadership level, there were tensions between the factions. Husseini, who according to his biographer was an "authoritarian who could not tolerate opposition", feared the recommended merger with Transjordan under the rule of King Abdullah. The latter stood to gain much from partition; reaching an accord with the Nashashibis could have consolidated his rule and left Husseini powerless.[5] The Palestinians also opposed being consigned to the far more economically feeble society of the Transjordan.[22]

Despite some initial support by the Nashashibi family of notables and Jordan's King Abdullah,[5][2][24] the Arab Higher Committee (HAC) and the Nashashibis (who had strong roots in both the littoral region and Jerusalem and had defected from the HAC) opposed the partition plan and condemned it unanimously. They argued that the creation of a Jewish state and lack of independent Palestine was a betrayal of the word given by Britain,[3] and emphatically rejected the idea of giving land to the Jews.[31] This objection was accompanied by a proposal that Britain adhere to its promise of a sovereign democratic state with constitutional guarantees for the rights of the Jewish minority.[5] The Plan was also repudiated at the Bloudan Conference convened in Syria on 8 September, where parties from all over the Arab world rejected both the partition and establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.[32] In 1937, the US Consul General at Jerusalem reported to the State Department that the Mufti refused the principle of partition and declined to consider it. The Consul said the emir Abdullah urged acceptance on the ground that realities must be faced, but wanted modification of the proposed boundaries and Arab administrations in the neutral enclave. The Consul also noted that Nashashibi sidestepped the principle, but was willing to negotiate for favourable modifications.[33]

The Jewish reaction

On 20 August 1937, the Twentieth Zionist Congress expressed that at the time of the Balfour Declaration it was understood, that the Jewish National Home was to be established in the whole of historic Palestine, including Trans-Jordan, and that inherent in the Declaration was the possibility of the evolution of Palestine into a Jewish State.[34]

While some factions at the Congress supported the Peel Report, arguing that later the borders could be adjusted, others opposed the proposal because the Jewish State would be too small. The Congress decided to reject the specific borders recommended by the Peel Commission, but empowered its executive to negotiate a more favorable plan for a Jewish State in Palestine.[35][36] In the wake of the Peel Commission the Jewish Agency set up committees to begin planning for the state. At the time, it had already created a complete administrative apparatus amounting to "a Government existing side by side with the Mandatory Government."[36]

At the same Zionist Congress, David Ben-Gurion, then chairman of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, told those in attendance that, though "there could be no question...of giving up any part of the Land of Israel,... it was arguable that the ultimate goal would be achieved most quickly by accepting the Peel proposals."[37] University of Arizona professor Charles D. Smith suggests that, "Weizmann and Ben-Gurion did not feel they had to be bound by the borders proposed [by the Peel Commission]. These could be considered temporary boundaries to be expanded in the future."[37] Ben-Gurion saw the plan as only a stage in the realisation of a larger Jewish state.[38]

The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and Ben-Gurion, had convinced the Zionist Congress to approve equivocally the Peel recommendations as a basis for more negotiation.[39][40][41] Ben-Gurion wrote: "The compulsory transfer of the Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we have never had, even when we stood on our own during the days of the First and Second Temples: [a Galilee almost free of non-Jews]. ... We are being given an opportunity which we never dared to dream of in our wildest imagination. This is more than a state, government, and sovereignty—this is a national consolidation in a free homeland. ... if because of our weakness, neglect or negligence, the thing is not done, then we will have lost a chance which we never had before, and may never have again".[42]

Ben-Gurion wrote 20 years later: "Had partition [referring to the Peel Commission partition plan] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed—most of them would be in Israel".[43]

Aftermath

The Peel Plan proved to be the master partition plan, on which all those that followed were either based, or to which they were compared, ushering in a fundamental change in the British outlook on Palestine's future.[3]

Following the report publication the British Government released a statement of policy, agreeing with its conclusions and proposing to seek from the League of Nations authority to proceed with a plan of partition.[2] In March 1938, the British appointed the Woodhead Commission to "examine the Peel Commission plan in detail and to recommend an actual partition plan". The Woodhead Commission considered three different plans, one of which was based on the Peel plan. Reporting in 1938, the Commission rejected the Peel plan primarily on the grounds that it could not be implemented without a massive forced transfer of Arabs (an option that the British government had already ruled out).[44] With dissent from some of its members, the Commission instead recommended a plan that would leave the Galilee under British mandate, but emphasised serious problems with it that included a lack of financial self-sufficiency of the proposed Arab State.[44] The British Government accompanied the publication of the Woodhead Report by a statement of policy rejecting partition as impracticable due to "political, administrative and financial difficulties".[45]

At the Bloudan Conference in 1937, parties from all over the Arab world rejected both the partition and establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, thus claiming all of Palestine.[46]

See also

References

  1. ^ Debate and vote on 23 May 1939; Hansard. Downloaded 10 December 2011
  2. ^ a b c d Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry - Appendix IV Palestine: Historical Background
  3. ^ a b c d Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine 1929-1948
  4. ^ Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment (New York, 2011), p. 85.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Elie Podeh, Chances for Peace: Missed Opportunities in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, University of Texas Press 2015 pp.28ff.
  6. ^ a b c d Sumantra Bose (30 June 2009). Contested Lands. Harvard University Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-674-02856-2.
  7. ^ British Policy in Palestine, 1937-38: From the Peel to the Woodhead Report, Bulletin of International News, Vol 15, No. 23 (Nov. 19, 1938), pp.3-7
  8. ^ Itzhak Galnoor, Partition of Palestine, The: Decision Crossroads in the Zionist Movement, State University of New York Press 2012 p.208.
  9. ^ Allan Gerson, Israel, the West Bank and International Law, Frank Cass 1978 pp.87-88 n.33.
  10. ^ Herbert Druks, The Uncertain Friendship: The U.S. and Israel from Roosevelt to Kennedy, ABC-Clio/Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001 p.33.
  11. ^ a b Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist- Arab Conflict, 1881-2001, Vintage Books 2001 pp.136-7
  12. ^ Chaim Weizmann (1 January 1983). The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann: series B. Transaction Publishers. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-0-87855-297-9. On 25 November 1936, testifying before the Peel Commission, Weizmann said that there are in Europe 6,000,000 Jews ... "for whom the world is divided into places where they cannot live and places where they cannot enter."
  13. ^ a b c d Report, p. 363-364.
  14. ^ Report, p. 289.
  15. ^ a b Report, p. 299.
  16. ^ a b Report, p. 242.
  17. ^ LEAGUE OF NATIONS SUMMARY OF THE REPORT OF THE PALESTINE ROYAL COMMISSION "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2005-10-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine 1929-1948, By Roza El-Eini, pages 320
  19. ^ a b c d e OFFICIAL COMMUNIQUE IN 9/37: Summary of the Report of the 'Palestinian Royal Commission'
  20. ^ The Arab-Israeli Conflict: An Introduction and Documentary Reader, 1 September 2009, By Gregory S. Mahler, Alden R. W.
  21. ^ a b c Report, p. 389–391
  22. ^ a b Henry Laurens, Un mission sacrée de civilisation, 1922–1947, vol.2 of La Question de Palestine, , Fayard Paris pp.351–403 pp.351–52.
  23. ^ British Policy in Palestine, 1937–38: From the Peel to the Woodhead Report, Bulletin of International News, Vol 15, No. 23 (Nov. 19, 1938), pp.3–7
  24. ^ a b Ted Swedenburg, 'The Role of the Palestinian Peasantry in the Great Revolt 1936–1939,' in Edmund Burke III and Ira Lapidus (eds.), Islam, Politics, and Social Movements, University of California Press pp 189–194.
  25. ^ Philip Mattar, Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Infobase Publishing 2005 p.366.
  26. ^ W. F. Deedes, Words and Deedes: Selected Journalism 1931-2006, Pan Macmillan, 2013 p.289: 88,200 Arabs versus 2,900 Jews, the former controlling 1,321,000 dunums compared to the latter’s 35,900.
  27. ^ a b Hurewitz, J. C. (1979). The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics: A Documentary Record. British-French supremacy, 1914-1945. 2. Yale University Press. p. 712. ISBN 978-0-300-02203-2. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  28. ^ a b Roza El-Eini, Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine 1929-1948, Routledge, 2004 pp.328–329.
  29. ^ Jacob, Daniel (30 June 2014). Citrus Fruits. Oxford Book Company.
  30. ^ Benny Morris (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
  31. ^ British Policy in Palestine, 1937-38: From the Peel to the Woodhead Report, Bulletin of International News, Vol 15, No. 23 (Nov. 19, 1938), pp.3–7
  32. ^ Mattar, Phillip (2005), Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Infobase Publishing, p. 104, ISBN 0-8160-5764-8, archived from the original on 5 August 2012
  33. ^ Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa Volume II, Page 894 [1]
  34. ^ Zionist Peel Commission resolution. At Wikisource
  35. ^ Jewish Agency for Israel, Twentieth Congress - Zurich, 1937
  36. ^ a b Jewish Agency for Israel, Timeline: 1937
  37. ^ a b Charles D. Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 7th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010), 138-140.
  38. ^ Mandated Imaginations in a Regional Void. Moshe Behar, Middle East Studies Online Journal, Issue 5, Volume 2 (2011), pp. 102-104
  39. ^ William Roger Louis (2006). Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonization. I.B.Tauris. p. 391. ISBN 978-1-84511-347-6. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  40. ^ Benny Morris (2009). One state, two states: resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict. Yale University Press. p. 66. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  41. ^ Benny Morris (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. pp. 11, 48, 49, . ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6. Retrieved 25 July 2013. p. 11 "while the Zionist movement, after much agonising, accepted the principle of partition and the proposals as a basis for negotiation"; p. 49 "In the end, after bitter debate, the Congress equivocally approved –by a vote of 299 to 160 – the Peel recommendations as a basis for further negotiation.
  42. ^ Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985; pp 180-182
  43. ^ (One Palestine Complete, p. 414)
  44. ^ a b "Woodhead commission report".
  45. ^ Statement by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty November 1938. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  46. ^ Mattar, Phillip (2005), Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Infobase Publishing, p. 104, ISBN 0-8160-5764-8, archived from the original on 5 August 2012

Further reading

  • Palestine Royal Commission Report Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, July 1937. His Majesty’s Stationery Office., London, 1937. 404 pages + maps.
  • Aharon Cohen, Israel and the Arab World (Funk and Wagnalls, New York, 1970) pp. 207–210

External links

1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine

The 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, later came to be known as "The Great Revolt", was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs in Mandatory Palestine against the British administration of the Palestine Mandate, demanding Arab independence and the end of the policy of open-ended Jewish immigration and land purchases with the stated goal of establishing a "Jewish National Home". The dissent was directly influenced by the Qassamite rebellion, following the killing of Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam in 1935, as well as the declaration by Hajj Amin al-Husseini of 16 May 1936 as 'Palestine Day' and calling for a General Strike. The revolt was branded by many in the Jewish Yishuv as "immoral and terroristic", often comparing it to fascism and nazism. Ben Gurion however described Arab causes as fear of growing Jewish economic power, opposition to mass Jewish immigration and fear of the English identification with Zionism.The general strike lasted from April to October 1936, initiating the violent revolt. The revolt consisted of two distinct phases. The first phase was directed primarily by the urban and elitist Higher Arab Committee (HAC) and was focused mainly on strikes and other forms of political protest. By October 1936, this phase had been defeated by the British civil administration using a combination of political concessions, international diplomacy (involving the rulers of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Yemen) and the threat of martial law. The second phase, which began late in 1937, was a violent and peasant-led resistance movement provoked by British repression in 1936 that increasingly targeted British forces. During this phase, the rebellion was brutally suppressed by the British Army and the Palestine Police Force using repressive measures that were intended to intimidate the Arab population and undermine popular support for the revolt. During this phase, a more dominant role on the Arab side was taken by the Nashashibi clan, whose NDP party quickly withdrew from the rebel Arab Higher Committee, led by the radical faction of Amin al-Husseini, and instead sided with the British – dispatching "Fasail al-Salam" (the "Peace Bands") in coordination with the British Army against nationalist and Jihadist Arab "Fasail" units (literally "bands").

According to official British figures covering the whole revolt, the army and police killed more than 2,000 Arabs in combat, 108 were hanged, and 961 died because of what they described as "gang and terrorist activities". In an analysis of the British statistics, Walid Khalidi estimates 19,792 casualties for the Arabs, with 5,032 dead: 3,832 killed by the British and 1,200 dead because of "terrorism", and 14,760 wounded. Over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population between 20 and 60 was killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. Estimates of the number of Palestinian Jews killed range from 91 to several hundred.The Arab revolt in Mandatory Palestine was unsuccessful, and its consequences affected the outcome of the 1948 Palestine war. It caused the British Mandate to give crucial support to pre-state Zionist militias like the Haganah, whereas on the Palestinian Arab side, the revolt forced the flight into exile of the main Palestinian Arab leader of the period, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem – Haj Amin al-Husseini.

1937 Ben-Gurion letter

The 1937 Ben-Gurion letter is a letter written by David Ben-Gurion, then head of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency, to his son Amos on 5 October 1937. The letter is well known by scholars as it provides insight into Ben-Gurion's reaction to the report of the Peel Commission released on 7 July of the same year. It has also been subject to significant debate by scholars as a result of scribbled-out text that may or may not provide written evidence of an intention to "expel the Arabs" or "not expel the Arabs" depending on one's interpretation of whether such deletion was intended by Ben-Gurion.

The original handwritten letter is currently held in the IDF Archive.

1937 in Mandatory Palestine

Events in the year 1937 in the British Mandate of Palestine.

Arab general strike (Mandatory Palestine)

The Arab general strike in Mandatory Palestine of 1936 was a general strike of all Arabs in Mandatory Palestine engaged in labour, transport and shopkeeping, which began on 19 April 1936 and lasted until October 1936; and which degenerated into violence and the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine.

Bevin Plan

The Bevin Plan, also described as the Bevin–Beeley Plan was Britain’s final attempt in the mid-20th century to solve the troubled situation that had developed between Arabs and Jewish people in Mandatory Palestine.The plan was proposed by the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin at the London Conference of 1946–47, following the rejection of the Morrison–Grady Plan. Bevin had been advised by diplomat Harold Beeley.It was also rejected by all parties.Bevin and Beeley were subsequently cast in a negative light in Israeli legend "as a malevolent midwife at the birth of the state". Following the rejection, the British Government referred the issue of Palestine to the United Nations, leading to the creation of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.A number of elements of the Bevin plan were similar to the March 1948 American trusteeship proposal for Palestine, proposed four months after the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

Black Sunday, 1937

Black Sunday, 1937 refers to a series of acts undertaken by Jewish militants of the Irgun faction against Arab civilians on 14 November 1937. It was among the first challenges to the Havlagah (lit. restraint) policy not to retaliate against Arab attacks on Jewish civilians.

Bloudan Conference of 1937

The Bloudan Conference of 1937 (Arabic transliteration: al-Mu'tamar al-'Arabi al-Qawmi fi Bludan) was the first pan-Arab summit held in Bloudan, Syria on 8 September 1937. The second Bloudan conference was held nine years later in 1946.

It was called by the Arab Higher Committee in response to the Peel Commission which recommended the partition of Palestine, then under British control, into Arab and Jewish states. The Peel Commission's recommendations were rejected by the participating delegates while the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine against the British authorities and increased Jewish immigration in Palestine was widely supported. The Bloudan Conference held historical significance for being an early display of collective Arab concern regarding the Zionist movement.

Greater Israel

Greater Israel (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל השלמה; Eretz Yisrael Hashlema) is an expression, with several different Biblical and political meanings over time. It is often used, in an irredentist fashion, to refer to the historic or desired borders of Israel.

Currently, the most common definition of the land encompassed by the term is the territory of the State of Israel together with the Palestinian territories. An earlier definition, favored by Revisionist Zionism, included the territory of the former Emirate of Transjordan. Religious uses of "Greater Israel" refer to one of the Biblical definitions of the Land of Israel found in Genesis 15:18–21, Deuteronomy 11:24, Deuteronomy 1:7, Numbers 34:1–15 or Ezekiel 47:13–20.

Harold Morris (politician)

Sir Harold Spencer Morris MBE (December 1876 – 11 November 1967) was an English barrister, judge and National Liberal MP.

Intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine

The intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine was the civil, political and armed struggle between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Yishuv during the British rule in Mandatory Palestine, beginning from the violent spillover of the Franco-Syrian War in 1920 and until the onset of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

Jewish land purchase in Palestine

Jewish land purchase in Palestine refers to the acquisition of land in Mandatory Palestine by Jews from the 1880s until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

London Conference of 1939

The London Conference (1939), or St James's Palace Conference, which took place between 7 February-17 March 1939, was called by the British Government to plan the future governance of Palestine and an end of the Mandate. It opened on 7 February 1939 in St James's Palace after which the Colonial Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald held a series of separate meetings with an Arab and a Jewish delegation, because the Arab delegation refused to sit in the same room as the Jewish delegation. When MacDonald first announced the proposed conference he made clear that if no agreement was reached the government would impose a solution. The process came to an end after five and a half weeks with the British announcing proposals which were later published as the 1939 White Paper.

Peel Street, Montreal

Peel Street

(officially in French: rue Peel) is a major north-south street located in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Street links Pine Avenue, near Mount Royal, in the north and Smith Street, in the Southwest borough, in the south. The street's southern end is at the Peel Basin of the Lachine Canal. The street runs through Montreal's shopping district. The Peel Metro station is named for the street.

Permanent Mandates Commission (Palestine)

The British Mandate for Palestine was finally confirmed in 1922 . The civil Mandate administration was formalized with the League of Nations' consent in 1923 following the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 339

United Nations Security Council Resolution 339 was adopted on 23 October 1973 in order to bring a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War where Resolution 338 two days before had failed.

The resolution primarily reaffirmed the terms outlined in Resolution 338 (itself based on Resolution 242), returning the forces of both sides back to the position they held when the cease fire (338) came into effect, and a request from the United Nations Secretary-General to undertake measures toward the placement of observers to supervise the cease fire.

The resolution was adopted with 14 votes to none; the People's Republic of China did not participate in the voting.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 350

United Nations Security Council Resolution 350, adopted on 31 May 1974, established the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. UNDOF was initially established for a period of six months, but has had its mandate renewed by subsequent resolutions.

Resolution 350 was adopted by 13 votes to none, with China and Iraq not participating in the voting.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 452

United Nations Security Council Resolution 452, adopted 20 July 1979, was on the issue of the Israeli settlements in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, specifically the illegality thereof. It states "the policy of Israel in establishing settlements in the occupied Arab territories has no legal validity and constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949" and "calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."

The resolution was adopted by 14 votes to none, with 1 abstention (United States).

United Nations Security Council Resolution 497

United Nations Security Council resolution 497, adopted unanimously on 17 December 1981, declared that the Israeli Golan Heights Law, which effectively annexed the Golan Heights, is "null and void and without international legal effect" and further calls on Israel to rescind its action.The Council requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council within two weeks on the implementation of the resolution, and in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Council would reconvene, not later than 5 January 1982, to discuss further action under the United Nations Charter.

White Paper of 1939

The White Paper of 1939 was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in response to the 1936–39 Arab Revolt. Following its formal approval in the House of Commons on 23 May 1939, it acted as the governing policy for Mandatory Palestine from 1939 until the British departure in 1948, the matter of the Mandate meanwhile having been referred to the United Nations.The policy, first drafted in March 1939, was prepared by the British government unilaterally as a result of the failure of the Arab-Zionist London Conference. The paper called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state within 10 years, rejecting the idea of partitioning Palestine. It also limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 for 5 years, and ruled that further immigration was to be determined by the Arab majority (section II). Restrictions were put on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs (section III).

The proposal did not meet the political demands proposed by Arab representatives during the London Conference and was officially rejected by the representatives of Palestine Arab parties acting under the influence of Haj Amin Eff el Husseini while more moderate Arab opinion represented in the National Defence Party was prepared to accept the White Paper.Zionist groups in Palestine immediately rejected the White Paper. There was a campaign of attacks on government property, which lasted for several months. On 18 May a Jewish general strike was called.Regulations governing land transfers and clauses relating to immigration were implemented although at the end of the five-year period in 1944, only 51,000 of the 75,000 immigration certificates provided for had been utilized. In circumstances where Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing violence and persecution, the White Paper's limits were relaxed and legal immigration was permitted to continue indefinitely at the rate of 18,000 a year. Key provisions were ultimately never to be implemented, initially because of cabinet opposition following the change in government, and later because of preoccupation with World War II.

Key documents of Mandatory Palestine
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s

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