Hope Tripartition Will End “irrepressible Conflict”

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TONIGHT PUBLISHED ITS PLAN FOR SETTLING THE “IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT” IN PALESTINE BY CREATING INDEPENDENT JEWISH AND ARABS STATES THERE, WITH A THIRD STRIP OF LAND UNDER BRITISH CONTROL.

CONVINCED THAT THE AIMS OF JEWS AND ARABS IN PALESTINE ARE IRRECONCILABLE, AND THAT, UNDER THE PRESENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT, VIOLENT DISORDERS WILL CONTINUE, THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON PALESTINE, IN A REPORT ISSUED WITH THE STAMP OF CABINET APPROVAL, RECOMMENDED ABANDONMENT BY BRITAIN OF THE 17-YEAR-OLD LEAGUE OF NATIONS MANDATE AND PARTITIONING OF THE HOLY LAND.

BLAMING VARIOUS PHASES OF PALESTINE’S TROUBLES ON THE ARABS, THE JEWS, THE BRITISH ADMINISTRATION, THE TERMS OF THE MANDATE, AND BRITISH WARTIME COMMITMENTS TO JEWS AND ARABS, THE SIX-MAN COMMISSION HEADED BY EARL PELL, APPOINTED LAST JULY DURING THE ARAB GENERAL STRIKE TO DETERMINE THE CAUSE AND POSSIBLE CURE OF THE DISORDERS, UNANIMOUSLY URGED PARTITION AS THE ONLY WORKABLE PLAN FOR ENDING THE RECURRENT OUTBREAKS.

THE CABINET SIMULTANEOUSLY ISSUED A STATEMENT ESPOUSING THE MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REPORT, AND ANNOUNCING STEPS IT WILL TAKE TO PUT THEM INTO EFFECT, COUPLED WITH A WARNING THAT ANY SERIOUS UPRISING IN PALESTINE NOW WILL BRING PROMPT DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW.

THIS ADMONITION WAS BACKED BY AN ARRAY OF BRITISH MILITARY STRENGTH, WITH 18,000 TROOPS AND POLICE STANDING BY IN PALESTINE, AND THE CRUISER REPULSE STATIONED AT HAIFA.

THE STATEMENT ALSO PROPOSED AS AN “INTERIM” MEASURE, WHILE THE PARTITION SCHEME IS BEING EFFECTED, TO LIMIT JEWISH IMMIGRATION IN ALL CATEGORIES TO 8,000 PERSONS FOR THE EIGHT MONTHS FROM JULY 31 (WHEN THE PRESENT SCHEDULE ENDS) TO MARCH, 1938, “PROVIDED THE ECONOMIC ABSORPTIVE CAPACITY OF THE COUNTRY IS NOT exceeded.”

FIRST JEWISH STATE IN 2,000 YEARS

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2,000 YEARS THE JEWISH PEOPLE, UNDER THE PLAN, WOULD HAVE A SMALL INDEPENDENT STATE OF THEIR OWN IN PALESTINE. IT WOULD OCCUPY ROUGHLY THE NORTHERN ONE-THIRD OF THE REGION BETWEEN THE RIVER JORDAN AND THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, WITH A NARROW EXTENSION SOUTHWARD ALONG THE COAST, TAKING IN ABOUT THREE-FOURTHS OF THE COUNTRY’S SEABOARD. ALTOGETHER THE JEWISH STATE WOULD HAVE ABOUT SEVEN TIMES THE AREA OF NEW YORK CITY.

MOST OF THE REMAINING TWO-THIRDS OF PALESTINE, ACCORDING TO THE COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS, WOULD BE TURNED OVER TO THE ARABS, TO BE UNITED WITH TRANSJORDAN AS A SOVEREIGN ARAB STATE.

THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, AN AREA AROUND IT TAKING IN BETHLEHEM, AND A NARROW CORRIDOR TO THE PORT OF JAFFA, CUTTING THROUGH JEWISH AND ARAB TERRITORIES, WOULD REMAIN IN BRITISH CONTROL UNDER A NEW PERMANENT LEAGUE MANDATE. NAZARETH, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JEWISH STATE, WOULD ALSO BE MANDATED TO BRITAIN, AND THE BRITISH WOULD TEMPORARILY RETAIN THE CITIES OF HAIFA ACRE, SAFED AND TIBERIAS.

THE JEWISH AND ARAB STATES WOULD BE ESTABLISHED BY TREATIES WITH GREAT BRITAIN WHICH WOULD INCLUDE GUARANTEES OF EACH OTHER’S RIGHTS, PROTECTION OF MINORITIES AND ASSURANCE OF BRITISH SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE. THE ARAB STATE WOULD RECEIVE A GRANT OF £2,000,000 (ABOUT $10,000,000) FROM BRITAIN, BESIDES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE JEWISH STATE TO COMPENSATE FOR CEDED TERRITORY.

PROTESTS EXPECTED

THE COMMISSION ACKNOWLEDGED THAT IT DID NOT EXPECT EITHER JEWS OR ARABS TO RECEIVE THIS PLAN AT FIRST WITHOUT PROTEST, AS IT GIVES NEITHER PARTY ALL IT DEMANDS, BUT EXPRESSED HOPE THAT IT WOULD EVENTUALLY BE ACCEPTED BECAUSE “IT OFFERS EACH WHAT IT WANTS MOST, NAMELY FREEDOM AND SECURITY.”

THE ENTIRE 404-PAGE REPORT, ILLUSTRATED WITH NINE MAPS, WAS AIMED PRIMARILY AT DEMONSTRATING THIS VIEW.

THOUGH IT LAID RESPONSIBILITY FOR PALESTINE’S TROUBLES ON BOTH JEWS AND ARABS, THE COMMISSION DECLARED THE ARABS WERE IN ALMOST ALL CASES THE INSTIGATORS OF VIOLENCE. IT ALSO CRITICIZED THE BRITISH ADMINISTRATION IN PALESTINE VIGOROUSLY FOR EXCESSIVE LENIENCY TOWARD ARAB TERRORISM.

AT THE SAME TIME IT EXPRESSED UNDERSTANDING OF JEWISH AND ARAB ASPIRATIONS AND FEARS, PRAISED THE JEWISH DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY, AND POINTED OUT THAT BRITISH OFFICIALDOM WAS FACED WITH AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. BOTH SIDES IN THE CONTROVERSY FEEL THAT GREAT BRITAIN IS BOUND BY WORLD WAR PROMISES TO GRANT THEIR DEMANDS, THE COMMISSION POINTED OUT, ACKNOWLEDGING THAT BRITAIN HAS GRAVE OBLIGATIONS TO JEWS AND ARABS FOR WAR-TIME AID.

ARABS BLAMED FOR STARTING DISORDERS

IN ITS STUDY OF THE 1936 GENERAL STRIKE, WHICH BROUGHT ABOUT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMISSION, THE REPORT DIFFERED NOTABLY IN ONE IMPORTANT RESPECT FROM THE RECENT REPORT OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO THE LEAGUE MANDATES COMMISSION. WHILE THE GOVERNMENT REPORT BLAMED CHIEFLY THE JEWS FOR STARTING THE TROUBLE, THE PEEL COMMISSION DECLARED THE FIRST VIOLENCE WAS ON THE PART OF ARABS — THE MURDER OF TWO JEWS BY ARAB BANDITS ON THE NIGHT OF APRIL 15, 1936.

THE VIOLENCE THAT MARKED THE COURSE OF THE STRIKE COULD NOT BE DESCRIBED MERELY AS “DISTURBANCES,” THE REPORT SAID.

“IT WAS AN OPEN REBELLION OF THE PALESTINIAN ARABS, ASSISTED BY FELLOW-ARABS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, AGAINST BRITISH MANDATORY RULE,” THE COMMISSION DECLARED.

IT REPORTED THE OFFICIAL ESTIMATE OF THE TOLL OF THE STRIKE AS 80 JEWS KILLED AND 308 WOUNDED, 196 ARABS KILLED AND 804 WOUNDED, 16 POLICE KILLED AND 102 WOUNDED, AND 21 BRITISH SOLDIERS AND SAILORS KILLED AND 102 WOUNDED, A TOTAL OF 312 KILLED AND 1,316 WOUNDED. JEWISH CASUALTIES INCLUDED WOMEN AND CHILDREN, THE REPORT SAID. THERE WAS A CREDIBLE UNOFFICIAL ESTIMATE OF 1,000 ARABS KILLED WHILE FIGHTING, IT ADDED.

PROPERTY LOSS TO THE JEWS WAS ESTIMATED AT £250,000 (ABOUT $1,250,000), COST TO THE GOVERNMENT IN MILITARY EXPENSES AND LOST TAXES AT £3,500,000 (ABOUT $17,500,000) AND LOST TRADE AT “MILLIONS OF POUNDS.”

THE “UGLIEST ELEMENT” IN THE PALESTINE PICTURE, THE REPORT SAID, IS ARAB TERRORISM, DIRECTED NOT ONLY AT JEWS, BUT AT ARABS SUSPECTED OF BEING LUKEWARM TO THE ARAB NATIONALIST CAUSE. SUSPICION WAS RECORDED THAT THE JEWS, LIKE THE ARABS, POSSESS ILLEGAL ARMS, “THOUGH IT IS ONLY ON PARE OCCASIONS THAT ANY JEW HAS RESORTED TO THE USE OF UNAUTHORIZED FIREARMS.”

GRAND MUFTI HELD TO ACCOUNT

THE STRIKE WAS BLAMED TO A LARGE EXTENT ON THE ARAB HIGHER COMMITTEE, AND THE COMMISSION DECLARED THE GRAND MUFTI OF JERUSALEM WOULD HAVE TO TAKE A FULL SHARE OF RESPONSIBILITY. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE COMMISSION FOUND THAT JEWISH NATIONALISM “IS AS INTENSE AND SELF-CENTERED AS ARABS NATIONALISM.”

DECRYING THE EASY-GOING POLICY OF THE PALESTINE GOVERNMENT TOWARD ARAB TERRORISTS, AND ITS “INEFFECTUAL” LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE COMMISSION PRAISED THE JEWS FOR THEIR MODERATE AND PEACEFUL CONDUCT UNDER PROVOCATION.

“IF THERE IS ONE GRIEVANCE WHICH THE JEWS HAVE UNDOUBTED RIGHT TO PREFER, IT IS THE ABSENCE OF SECURITY,” THE REPORT SAID. “THEIR COMPLAINTS ON THIS HEAD WERE DIGNIFIED AND RESTRAINED.”

IN 1936, THE REPORT NOTED, THERE WERE 260 REPORTED CASES OF MURDER, 67 CONVICTIONS AND NO DEATH SENTENCES. COLLECTIVE FINES TOTALLING OVER £60,000 (ABOUT $300,000) WERE IMPOSED ON TOWNS AND VILLAGES FROM 1929 TO 1936, BUT ONLY £8,000 HAS BEEN COLLECTED, IT SAID.

WHATEVER ITS FAILINGS, THE LENIENT POLICY HAS AT LEAST DEMONSTRATED THAT EVEN EXTREME CONCILIATION WILL NOT SATISFY THE ARABS UNDER THE PRESENT REGIME, THE REPORT HELD.

“GOVERNMENT BY ARITHMETIC”

EQUALLY A FAILURE, IT ADDED, WAS THE GOVERNMENT’S EFFORT AT STRICT IMPARTIALITY.

“THE GOVERNMENT OF PALESTINE MIGHT ALMOST BE DESCRIBED AS GOVERNMENT BY ARITHMETIC,” THE REPORT SAID. “AND THE WORST OF IT IS THAT THE MORE STRICTLY AND WIDELY IT OPERATES, THE MORE IT NOURISHES THE SPIRIT OF ANTAGONISM BETWEEN THE RACES.”

THE BASIC CAUSE OF EVERY DISTURBANCE IN PALESTINE, THE COMMISSION HELD, HAS BEEN ARAB FEAR OF EVENTUAL JEWISH DOMINATION, HEIGHTENED BY THE SPEED WITH WHICH THE JEWS HAVE BUILT UP THEIR NATIONAL HOME.

NAZI, POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM CITED

THE ANTI-SEMITIC POLICES OF GERMANY AND POLAND, BY INCREASING THE PRESSURE FOR JEWISH IMMIGRATION, HAVE STILL FURTHER INTENSIFIED ARABS FEARS, THE COMMISSION ADDED. THE COMMISSION DECLARED IT COULD NOT “FORGET WHAT THE JEWS IN PALESTINE NEVER FORGET — THE SUFFERINGS OF THE JEWS IN EUROPE.”

THE REPORT DISMISSED AS OF SLIGHT EFFECT THE ITALIAN PROPAGANDA AMONG ARABS AGAINST BRITISH IMPERIALISM DURING THE ETHIOPIAN WAR, WHEN SANCTIONS WERE IMPOSED ON ITALY.

THE WEAKNESSES OF THE PRESENT REGIME ARE TO BE FOUND IN THE TERMS OF THE MANDATE, THE BALFOUR DECLARATION ESTABLISHING THE JEWISH NATIONAL HOME, AND BRITAIN’S PROMISES TO THE ARABS, THE COMMISSION HELD. THESE CONFLICTING OBLIGATIONS OF BRITAIN CAN BE RECONCILED ONLY BY CHANGING THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT, IT SAID.

THE JEWISH AND ARAB COMMUNITIES IN PALESTINE ARE INCREASINGLY DISSIMILAR, THE REPORT CONTINUED, WHILE THE JEWISH AGENCY AND THE ARAB HIGHER COMMITTEE ARE IN EFFECT PARALLEL GOVERNMENTS, RECEIVING GREATER ALLEGIANCE THAN THE PALESTINE ADMINISTRATION.

“NO LONGER AN EXPERIMENT.”

THE JEWISH NATIONAL HOME, THE COMMISSION DECLARED, “IS NO LONGER AN EXPERIMENT.”

“WITH EVERY YEAR THAT PASSES THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THIS INTENSELY DEMOCRATIC AND HIGHLY ORGANIZED MODERN COMMUNITY AND THE OLD-FASHIONED ARAB WORLD AROUND IT GROWS SHARPER, AND IN NOTHING, PERHAPS, MORE MARKEDLY THAN ON ITS CULTURAL SIDE,” THE REPORT SAID.

THE PALESTINE ARABS, THE COMMISSION ADDED, ARE AT LEAST AS WELL ABLE TO GOVERN THEMSELVES AS THOSE OF INDEPENDENT ARAB NATIONS ESTABLISHED IN RECENT YEARS.

BRITAIN CANNOT HAND OVER 400,000 JEWS TO ARAB RULE OR A MILLION ARABS TO BE GOVERNED BY THE JEWS, IT HELD. THEREFORE IT REJECTED THE MAXIMUM CLAIMS OF BOTH SIDES. IT ALSO ANALYZED AND TURNED DOWN ALTERNATE PLANS FOR CROWN COLONY GOVERNMENT AND FOR DIVIDING THE COUNTRY INTO SEMI-AUTONOMOUS JEWISH AND ARAB “CANTONS” WITH A CENTRAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

“PARTITION SEEMS TO OFFER AT LEAST A CHANCE OF ULTIMATE PEACE,” THE COMMISSION SAID. “WE CAN SEE NONE IN ANY OTHER PLAN.”

ALTERNATE RECOMMENDATIONS

IT NEVERTHELESS OUTLINED A SERIES OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO BE ADOPTED SHOULD PARTITION BE REJECTED AND THE PRESENT MANDATE SYSTEM CONTINUED.

IN EVENT OF ANY FUTURE OUTBREAK, MARTIAL LAW SHOULD BE DECLARED WITHOUT HESITATION, THE REPORT SAID, AND DISARMAMENT, FIRST OF THE ARABS AND THEN OF THE JEWS, SHOULD BE ENFORCED. STRICTER PRESS CENSORSHIP WAS PRESCRIBED.

IMMIGRATION OF JEWS SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO NOT MORE THAN 12,000 A YEAR FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, THIS FIGURE TO BE MODIFIED TO CONFORM WITH THE ECONOMIC ABSORPTIVITY OF THE COUNTRY, THE COMMISSION SAID, AND THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER SHOULD BE GIVEN VETO POWER OVER JEWISH LAND PURCHASES.

CALLED “MERE PALLIATIVES.”

BUT THESE AND OTHER SUGGESTED MEASURES THAT MIGHT BE TAKEN UNDER THE MANDATE WOULD BE MERE PALLIATIVES, THE COMMISSION SAID, AND WOULD NOT REMOVE ARAB AND JEWISH GRIEVANCES OR PREVENT THEIR RECURRENCE.

THE PARTITION SYSTEM, ON THE OTHER HAND, WOULD BE PRACTICAL AND JUST, IT HELD, AND WOULD BE AN HONORABLE SETTLEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH BRITISH OBLIGATIONS.

JEWISH STATE’S BOUNDARIES

THE BOUNDARY LINE OF THE JEWISH STATE RECOMMENDED BY THE COMMISSION WOULD FOLLOW THE EXISTING NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF PALESTINE AND THE EASTERN PALESTINE BORDER DOWN THE JORDAN TO LAKE TIBERIAS.

IT WOULD CROSS THE LAKE AND CONTINUE DOWN THE RIVER TO A LITTLE NORTH OF THE ARAB TOWN OF BEISAN, WHERE IT WOULD TURN WEST TO A POINT NEAR MEGIDDO AND THENCE SOUTH ALONG THE EASTERN EDGE OF THE MARITIME PLAIN, CONTINUING SOUTH OF THE PROPOSED JERUSALEM-JAFFA CORRIDOR TO ABOUT 10 MILES NORTH OF REHOVOT, AND THENCE EAST TO THE SEA.

THE ARAB STATE WOULD TAKE IN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, EXCEPT THE CORRIDOR, WITH OUTLETS TO THE SEA AT GAZA AND JAFFA, AND WOULD ALSO HAVE ACCESS TO THE PORT OF HAIFA.

EXISTENCE OF MINORITY POPULATIONS OF JEWS IN THE ARAB TERRITORY AND ARABS IN THE JEWISH REGION “CONSTITUTES THE MOST SERIOUS HINDRANCE TO THE SMOOTH AND SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF PARTITION,” THE COMMISSION SAID.

THERE ARE 225,000 ARABS IN THE PROPOSED JEWISH STATE, AND 1,250 JEWS IN THE ARAB STATE, IT REPORTED, BESIDES THE POPULATIONS OF ACRE, TIBERIAS, SAFED AND HAIFA. THE JEWISH POPULATION OF JERUSALEM AND HAIFA IS 125,000, AS AGAINST 85,000 ARABS, IT SAID.

AS A “CLEAN AND FINAL” SETTLEMENT, TO AVOID FUTURE FRICTION, THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDED EXCHANGE OF THE MINORITY POPULATIONS, VOLUNTARILY AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, BUT BY COMPULSION IF NECESSARY IN THE LAST ANALYSIS.

JEWS ASKED TO AID ARABS FINANCIALLY

THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDED FINANCIAL AID FROM THE JEWISH STATE TO THE ARAB STATE ON THE GROUND THAT THE JEWS WOULD BE RELIEVED OF THEIR PRESENT HEAVIER PER CAPITA SHARE IN THE COST OF GOVERNING THE WHOLE COUNTRY, AND THAT THE AREA OF THE JEWISH STATE WOULD BE GREATER THAN THE TOTAL LAND AREA NOW OWNED BY THE JEWS. THE £2,000,000 GRANT TO THE ARABS FROM THE BRITISH TREASURY HAS A PRECEDENT IN EARLIER GRANTS TO TRANSJORDAN, AND WOULD BE A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR PEACE, THE REPORT SAID.

THE NEW SET-UP COULD NOT BE INTRODUCED ALL AT ONCE, THE COMMISSION POINTED OUT. IT RECOMMENDED THAT DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD ALL JEWISH IMMIGRATION TO THE PROPOSED ARAB AREA AND LAND PURCHASES BY EITHER PEOPLE IN THE PROPOSED TERRITORY OF THE OTHER BE BARRED. IT ESTIMATED THAT SETTLEMENT OF THE PLAIN-LANDS OF THE JEWISH AREA WOULD BE COMPLETED IN TWO YEARS.

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