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Lord Peel Dies at 70: Headed Royal Commission Which Urged Partition of Palestine

VISCOUNT PEEL, WHO HEADED THE BRITISH ROYAL COMMISSION WHICH RECOMMENDED CREATION OF INDEPENDENT JEWISH AND ARAB STATES THROUGH THREE-WAY PARTITION OF THE HOLY LAND AS THE ONLY MEANS OF SETTLING ARAB-JEWISH DIFFICULTIES OF LONG STANDING, DIED AT PETERSFIELD EARLY TODAY AT THE AGE OF 70.

LORD PEEL’S DEATH BROUGHT TO AN END A LONG AND DISTINGUISHED CAREER IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE, CLIMAXED LAST YEAR WHEN HE WAS APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE 1936 DISORDERS IN PALESTINE AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE MANDATE.

HIS FIRST ROLE IN SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT WAS ALSO CONNECTED WITH A ROYAL COMMISSION, WHEN THE TURN OF THE CENTURY HE WAS NAMED TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION FOR THE PORT OF LONDON.

IN THE INTERVENING YEARS, HE HELD SUCH POSTS AS UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT (THEN AN UNPAID POSITION), SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA, FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS, MEMBER OF THE INDIAN ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE, CHAIRMAN OF THE WHEAT COMMISSION.

IN SUBMITTING A 404-PAGE REPORT ON THE PALESTINE INVESTIGATION, LORD PEEL ON BEHALF OF THE SIX-MAN BODY EXPLAINED THE REASONS THAT LED THE COMMISSION TO RECOMMEND A SOLUTION OF THE ARAB-JEWISH PROBLEM THAT HAS WON BITTER CONDEMNATION FROM THE ARABS, A MINGLED RECEPTION FROM THE JEWS AND AN “EXPECTANT ATTITUDE” FROM THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS. IN A RADIO BROADCAST LAST JULY 8, THE DAY THE REPORT WAS MADE PUBLIC, HE SAID:

” AS THE INQUIRY WENT ON, THE REAL TRAGEDY OF THE SITUATION WAS REVEALED. THIS LITTLE COUNTRY, NO BIGGER THAN WALES, WITH A POPULATION OF ABOUT A MILLION ARABS AND 400,000 JEWS, AT STRIFE WITH EACH OTHER, THEIR WAYS OF THOUGHT AND CONDUCT, THEIR SOCIAL LIFE AS INCOMPATIBLE AS THEIR NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS — IT WAS HOPED THAT IN TIME THE GREATER MATERIAL PROSPERITY BROUGHT TO THE COUNTRY BY THE JEWS MIGHT INDUCE THE ARABS TO ACCEPT THE POSITION.

“BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THE DIVERGENCE BETWEEN THE TWO RACES HAS WIDENED AND DEEPENED. THE JEWS, INSPIRED BY THEIR HISTORIC PAST, HAVE BEEN ANXIOUS TO SHOW WHAT THE JEWISH NATION CAN ACHIEVE WHEN SETTLED IN THE LAND OF THEIR ORIGIN AND FREED FROM THE SERVITUDES OF ALIEN COUNTRIES. THE ARABS, AGAIN, LOOK BACK TO THEIR OWN HISTORIC PAST AND HOPE TO RESTORE THE SPLENDORS OF THEIR GOLDEN AGE.

“THERE IS NO ALLEGIANCE TO A COMMON PALESTINIAN CITIZENSHIP. PEOPLE ARE ARABS OR JEWS, AND OWE LOYALTY TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND THEIR OWN TRADITIONS. THE IDEA OF A COMMON DEVOTION TO A PALESTINIAN CITIZENSHIP GROWS MORE HOPELESS EVERY DAY.”

THE REPORT, ACCOUNTED A LITERARY MASTER PIECE AS WELL AS AN INVALUABLE HISTORICAL DOCUMENT, PRECIPITATED ONE OF THE SHARPEST CONTROVERSIES IN THE HISTORY OF PALESTINE. AN INTERESTING SIDELIGHT TO THE ENTIRE SITUATION HAS BEEN THAT THE REPORT ITSELF BECAME A BEST-SELLER AND THUS PAID FOR THE ENTIRE COST OF THE INVESTIGATION.

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