Why the Arab-Jewish Conflict Remains Unresolved

(Mosaic) Rick Richman - This year marks the 80th anniversary of the 1937 British Peel Commission Report, which first proposed a "two-state solution" for Palestine. The Palestinian Arabs rejected both the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which formally declared British support for "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, even after Britain in 1923 severed the larger portion of Palestine, east of the Jordan River, and recognized Emir Abdullah of Transjordan as its new ruler. In 1936, the Arabs sabotaged trains, roads, and telephone lines, engaged in widespread violence against Jews, and conducted guerrilla attacks against British Mandate authorities. In response, the British established the Peel Commission to "ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances" and make recommendations for the future. On July 7, 1937, the British Cabinet released the Peel Commission Report. It traced the 3,000-year Jewish connection to Palestine; found that building the Jewish national home had been advantageous to the Arabs; noted the very large increases of the Arab population in Jewish urban areas; and observed that Jewish hospitals and clinics served both Arabs and Jews. The report concluded that the underlying cause of the Arab revolt was the implacable Arab opposition to the Jewish presence in Palestine. The report stated that the "ugliest element in the picture" was attacks by Arabs on Arabs who were suspected of insufficient adherence to the views of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. The commission found that Arab nationalism in Palestine, rather than arising from "positive national feeling," was "inextricably interwoven with antagonism to the Jews." Thus, even if the Jewish national home were "far smaller...the Arab attitude would be the same." Nor could Arab "moderates" facilitate a peaceful settlement, since on major issues they invariably ended up siding with the extremists. Eighty years after the first proposal for a two-state solution, even "moderate" Palestinian Arab leaders still reject its basic premise. They want a Palestinian state, but not if the price is recognition of a Jewish state.

2017-10-03 00:00:00

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