League of Nations, November, 30 1937.
REPORT of the PALESTINE ROYAL COMMISSION
presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the United Kingdom
Parliament by Command of His Britannic Majesty (July 1937).
Distributed at the request of the United Kingdom Government.
SUMMARY OF THE REPORT OF THE PALESTINE ROYAL COMMISSION.
The Members of the Palestine Royal Commission were :-
Rt. Hon. EARL PEEL, G.C.S.I., G.B.E. (Chairman).
Rt. Hon. Sir HORACE RUMBOLD, Bart., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., M.V.O.
Sir LAURIE HAMMOND, K.C.S.I., C.B.E.
Sir MORRIS CARTER, C.B.E.
Sir HAROLD MORRIS, M.B.E., K.C.
Professor REGINALD COUPLAND, C.I.E.
Mr. J. M. MARTIN was Secretary.
The Commission was appointed in August, 1936, with the following terms of
To ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances which broke out in
Palestine in the middle of April; to enquire into the manner in which the
Mandate for Palestine is being implemented in relation to the obligations of the
Mandatory towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively; and to ascertain
whether, upon a proper construction of the terms of the Mandate, either the
Arabs or the Jews have any legitimate grievances on account of the way in
which the Mandate has been or is being implemented; and if the Commission is
satisfied that any such grievances are well-founded, to make recommendation
for their removal and for the prevention of their recurrence.
The following is a summary of the Commission’s Report:
PART I: THE PROBLEM
Chapter I. – The Historical Background
A brief account of ancient Jewish times in Palestine, of the Arab conquest and
occupation, of the dispersion of the Jews and the development of the Jewish
Problem, and the growth and meaning of Zionism.
Chapter II. – The War and the Mandate
In order to obtain Arab support in the War, the British Government promised the
Sherif of Mecca in 1915 that, in the event of an Allied victory, the greater part
of the Arab provinces of the Turkish Empire would become independent. The
Arabs understood that Palestine would be included in the sphere of
In order to obtain the support of World Jewry, the British Government in 1917
issued the Balfour Declaration. The Jews understood that, if the experiment of
establishing a Jewish National Home succeeded and a sufficient number of
Jews went to Palestine, the National Home might develop in course of time into
a Jewish State.
At the end of the War, the Mandate System was accepted by the Allied and
Associated Powers as the vehicle for the execution of the policy of the Balfour
Declaration, and, after a period of delay, the Mandate for Palestine was
approved by the League of Nations and the United States. The Mandate itself is
mainly concerned with specific obligations of equal weight — positive
obligations as to the establishment of the National Home, negative obligations
as to safeguarding the rights of the Arabs. The Mandate also involves the
general obligation, implicit in every Mandate, to fulfil the primary purpose of the
Mandate System as expressed in the first paragraph of Article 22 of the
This means that the well-being and development” of the people concerned are
the first charge on the Mandatory, and implies that they will in due course be
enabled to stand by themselves.
The association of the policy of the Balfour Declaration with the Mandate
System implied the belief that Arab hostility to the former would presently be
overcome, owing to the economic advantages which Jewish immigration was
expected to bring to Palestine as a whole.
Chapter III. – Palestine from 1920 to 1936
During the first years of the Civil Administration, which was set up in 1920, a
beginning was made on the one hand with the provision of public services,
which mainly affected the Arab majority of the population. and on the other
hand with the establishment of the Jewish National Home. There were
outbreaks of disorder in 1920 and 1921, but in 1925 it was thought that the
prospects of ultimate harmony between the Arabs and the Jews seemed so
favourable that the forces for maintaining order were substantially reduced.
These hopes proved unfounded because, although Palestine as a whole became
more prosperous, the causes of the outbreaks of 1920 and 1921, namely, the
demand of the Arabs for national independence and their antagonism to the
National Home, remained unmodified and were indeed accentuated by the
“external factors,” namely, the pressure of the Jews of Europe on Palestine and
the development of Arab nationalism in neighbouring countries.
These same causes brought about the outbreaks of 1929 and 1933. By 1936
the external factors had been intensified by–
(1) the sufferings of the Jews in Germany and Poland, resulting in a great
increase of Jewish immigration into Palestine; and
(2) the prospect of Syria and the Lebanon soon obtaining the same
independence as Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Egypt was also on the eve of
Chapter IV. – The Disturbances of 1936
These disturbances (which are briefly summarized) were similar in character to
the four previous outbreaks, although more serious and prolonged. As in 1933,
it was not only the Jews who were attacked, but the Palestine Government. A
new feature was the part played by the Rulers of the neighbouring Arab States
in bringing about the end of the strike.
The underlying causes of the disturbances of 1936 were–
(1) The desire of the Arabs for national independence;
(2) their hatred and fear of the establishment of the Jewish National
These two causes were the same as those of all the previous outbreaks and
have always been inextricably linked together. Of several subsidiary factors, the
more important were–
(1) the advance of Arab nationalism outside Palestine;
(2) the increased immigration of Jews since 1933;
(3) the opportunity enjoyed by the Jews for influencing public opinion in
(4) Arab distrust in the sincerity of the British Government;
(5) Arab alarm at the continued Jewish purchase of land;
(6) the general uncertainty as to the ultimate intentions of the Mandatory
Chapter V. – The Present Situation
The Jewish National Home is no longer an experiment. The growth of its
population has been accompanied by political, social and economic
developments along the lines laid down at the outset. The chief novelty is the
urban and industrial development. The contrast between the modern democratic
and primarily European character of the National Home and that of the Arab
world around it is striking. The temper of the Home is strongly nationalist.
There can be no question of fusion or assimilation between Jewish and Arab
cultures. The National Home cannot be half-national.
Crown Colony government is not suitable for such a highly educated,
democratic community as the National Home and fosters an unhealthy
The National Home is bent on forcing the pace of its development, not only
because of the desire of the Jews to escape from Europe, but because of
anxiety as to the future in Palestine.
The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920, and it has had
some share in the increased prosperity of Palestine. Many Arab landowners
have benefited from the sale of land and the profitable investment of the
purchase money. The fellaheen are better off on the whole than they were in
1920. This Arab progress has been partly due to the import of Jewish capital
into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the National
Home. In particular, the Arabs have benefited from social services which could
not have been provided on the existing scale without the revenue obtained from
Such economic advantage, however, as the Arabs have gained from Jewish
immigration will decrease if the political breach between the races continues to
Arab nationalism is as intense a force as Jewish. The Arab leaders’ demand for
national self-government and the shutting down of the Jewish National Home
has remained unchanged since 1929. Like Jewish nationalism, Arab nationalism
is stimulated by the educational system and by the growth of the Youth
Movement. It has also been greatly encouraged by the recent Anglo-Egyptian
and Franco-Syrian Treaties.
The gulf between the races is thus already wide and will continue to widen if
the present Mandate is maintained.
The position of the Palestine Government between the two antagonistic
communities is unenviable. There are two rival bodies — the Arab Higher
Committee allied with the Supreme Moslem Council on the one hand, and the
Jewish Agency allied with the Va’ad Leumi on the other — who make a stronger
appeal to the natural loyalty of the Arab and the Jews than does the
Government of Palestine. The sincere attempts of the Government to treat the
two races impartially have not improved the relations between them. Nor has
the policy of conciliating Arab opposition been successful. The events of last
year proved that conciliation is useless.
The evidence submitted by the Arab and Jewish leaders respectively was
directly conflicting and gave no hope of compromise.
The only solution of tile problem put forward by the Arab Higher Committee
was the immediate establishment of all independent Arab Government, which
would deal with the 400,000 Jews now in Palestine as it thought fit. To that it
is replied that belief in British good faith would not be strengthened anywhere in
the world if the National Home were now surrendered to Arab rule.
The Jewish Agency and the Va’ad Leumi asserted that the problem would be
solved if the Mandate were firmly applied in full accordance with Jewish claims:
thus there should be no new restriction on immigration nor anything to prevent
the Jewish population becoming in course of time a majority in Palestine. To
that it is replied that such a policy could only be maintained by force and that
neither British public opinion nor that of World Jewry is likely to commit itself to
the recurrent use of force unless it is convinced that there is no other means by
which justice can be done.
_________ PART II: THE OPERATION OF THE MANDATE
The Commission exhaustively considered what might be done in one field after
another in execution of the Mandate to improve the prospects of peace. The
results of this enquiry are embodied in Part II of the Report. The problems
confronting the various branches of tile Mandatory Administration are
described, and the grievances of the Arabs and Jews under each head
discussed. The principal findings of the Commission are as follows:–
Chapter VI. – Administration
The Palestinian officers in the Government Service work well in normal times,
but in times of trouble they are unreliable. There should be no hesitation in
dispensing with the services of those whose loyalty or impartiality is uncertain.
As regards British officers, the cadre is too small to admit of a Civil Service for
Palestine alone and the Administration must continue to draw on the Colonial
Service, but the ordinary period of service in Palestine should be not less than
seven years. Officers should be carefully selected and given a preliminary
course of instruction.
The Commission recognise the difficulties of the British Administration, driven
from the first to work at high pressure with no opportunity for calm reflection.
There is over-centralization and insufficient liaison between Headquarters
Departments and the District Administration.
The grievances and claims of the Arabs and Jews as regards the Courts cannot
be reconciled and reflect the racial antagonism pervading the whole
Administration. The difficulty of providing a judicial system suitable to the
needs of the mixed peoples of Palestine is enhanced by the existence of three
official languages, three weekly days of rest, three sets of official holidays and
three systems of law. As regards Jewish suspicions as to the conduct of
criminal prosecutions, the Commission point to the difficulties of the Legal
Department in a land where perjury is common and evidence in many cases,
particularly in times of crisis, unobtainable, and conclude that the animosity
between the two races, particularly in times of crisis, has shown its influence to
the detriment of the work of a British Senior Government Department. The
appointment of a British Senior Government Advocate is recommended.
The Jaffa-Haifa road should be completed as speedily as possible.
Further expert enquiry is necessary before deciding whether a second
deep-water port is required. It would be best to build such a port, if at all, at
the junction of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, equally accessible from each.
There is no branch of the Administration with which the Jewish Agency does
not concern itself but the Agency is not open to criticism on this ground. Article
4 of the Mandate entitles it to advise and co-operate with the Government in
almost anything that may affect the interests of the Jewish population. It
constitutes a kind of parallel government existing side by side with the
Mandatory Government and its privileged position intensifies Arab antagonism.
The Arab Higher Committee was to a large extent responsible for maintaining
and protecting the strike last year. The Mufti of Jerusalem as President must
bear his due share of responsibility. It is unfortunate that since 1929 no action
has been practicable to regulate the question of elections for the Supreme
Moslem Council and the position of its President. The functions which the Mufti
has collected in his person and his use of them have led to the development of
an Arab imperium in imperio. He may be described as the head of a third
parallel government. The Commission discuss a proposal for an enlarged Arab
Agency, consisting of representatives of neighbouring Arab countries as well as
of the Arabs in Palestine, to balance the Jewish Agency. If the present Mandate
system continues some such scheme will have to be considered.
Chapter VII. – Public Security
Although expenditure on public security rose from GBP 265,000 in 1923 to
over GBP 862,000 in 1935-36 (and GBP 2,230,000 in 1936-37, the year of the
disturbance) it is evident that the elementary duty of providing public security
has not been discharged. Should disorders break out again of such a nature as
to require the intervention of the Military, there should be no hesitation in
enforcing martial law throughout the country under undivided military control.
In such an event disarmament should be enforced and an effective frontier
organisation established for stopping smuggling, illegal immigration and gun
running. In the absence of disarmament the supernumerary police for the
defence of Jewish Settlements should be continued as a disciplined force.
The collection of intelligence was unsatisfactory during the strike. The majority
of Palestinian officers in the Criminal investigation Department are thoroughly
devoted and loyal, but the junior ranks, like the majority of the District police,
though useful in times of peace, are unreliable in time of trouble. It would be
highly dangerous to expose the Arab police of Palestine to another strain of the
same kind as that which they endured last summer.
In “mixed” areas British District Officers should be appointed.
Central and local police reserves are necessary. A large mobile mounted force is
also essential, whether in the form of a Gendarmerie or by increasing the British
After the 1929 disturbances, though 27 capital sentences were confirmed, only
three murderers suffered the extreme penalty. In 1936 there were 260 reported
cases of murder, 67 convictions and no death sentences. The prompt and
adequate punishment of crime is a vital factor in the maintenance of law and
Collective fines totalling over GBP 60,000 were imposed during the years
1929-36: only GBP 18,000 has been collected up to date. If collective fines are
to have a deterrent effect they should be limited to a sum that can be realized,
and a body of punitive police should be quartered on the town or village until
the fine has been paid.
The penalties provided by the Press ordinance and the action taken under it are
insufficient. An Ordinance should be adopted providing for a cash deposit which
can be confiscated and for imprisonment as well as payment of a fine; also, in
case of a repetition of the offence, for forfeiture of the press.
Police barracks and married quarters are urgently necessary in certain towns.
The entire cost of the measures proposed could not be met from the revenues
of Palestine. Grants-in-aid from His Majesty’s Government in the United
Kingdom would be required on a generous scale. The immediate effect of these
measures would be to wider, the gulf that separates the Arab from the Jew,
with repercussions spreading far beyond the borders of Palestine.
Chapter VIII. – Financial and Fiscal Questions
Until recent years the public finances allowed no great scope for development
in the social services. The accumulation of a considerable surplus was a feature
of the four years beginning 1932, and there were grounds for a conservative
attitude towards this development. The conclusion that the existence of a large
surplus reflects undue parsimony is not borne out by close analysis, since the
entire surplus is found to be so heavily mortgaged that it is little more than a
reasonable provision for existing commitments.
If the inward flow of capital, which is the most singular feature of the economy
of Palestine, were to be arrested, there is no reason why the removal of
exceptional advantages should result in penury, though there might be some
reduction in the standard of living until the new economy was established. In
the event of a prolonged period of economic stagnation the danger of an
exodus of capital cannot be altogether excluded.
It is not possible in the absence of adequate statistics to measure the truth of
the Arab complaint that industrial protection chiefly benefits the Jews and that
its burdens are chiefly borne by the Arabs. It is hoped that the new Department
of Statistics may soon enquire into the incidence of taxation and that new
duties will be considered in relation to the whole burden of taxation and not
merely as affecting the particular industry.
There is no question as to the need of increasing the export trade and finding
markets for the ever increasing citrus output. After examining various possible
expedients for overcoming the difficulties which result from the
non-discrimination in tariff policy required by Article 18 of the Mandate, the
Commission conclude that the provisions of Article 18 are out of date. Without
an amendment of that Article Palestine must continue to suffer from the
restrictions which hamper international trade, and negotiations should be
opened without delay to put the trade of Palestine on a fairer basis.
Chapter IX. – The Land
A summary of land legislation enacted during the Civil Administration shows the
efforts made to fulfil the Mandatory obligation in this matter. The Commission
point to serious difficulties in connection with the legislation proposed by the
Palestine Government for the protection of small owners. The Palestine Order in
Council and, if necessary, the Mandate should be amended to permit of
legislation empowering the High Commissioner to prohibit the transfer of land in
any stated area to Jews, so that the obligation to safeguard the right and
position of the Arabs may be carried out. Until survey and settlement are
complete, the Commission would welcome the prohibition of the sale of isolated
and comparatively small plots of land to Jews. They would prefer larger
schemes for the rearrangement of proprietorship under Government supervision.
They favour the proposal for the creation of special Public Utility Companies to
undertake such development schemes subject to certain conditions.
An expert Committee should be appointed to draw up a Land Code.
Recommendations are made with a view to the expediting of settlement (the
need for which is paramount) and to the improvement of settlement procedure.
The present system of Land Courts is contributory to delay. Until survey and
settlement are complete there should be two or three Land Courts separate
from the District Courts and each under a single British Judge.
Up till now the Arab cultivator has benefited on the whole both from the work
of the British Administration and the presence of Jews in the country, but the
greatest care must now be exercised to see that in the event of further sales of
land by Arabs to Jews the rights of any Arab tenants or cultivators are
preserved. Thus, alienation of land should only be allowed where it is possible
to replace extensive by intensive cultivation. In the hill districts there can be no
expectation of finding accommodation for any large increase in the rural
population. At present, and for many years to come, the Mandatory Power
should not attempt to facilitate the close settlement of the Jews in the hill
The shortage of land is due less to purchase by Jews than to the increase in
the Arab population. The Arab claims that the Jews have obtained too large a
proportion of good land cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying
orange groves was sand dunes or swamps and uncultivated when it was
Legislation vesting surface water in the High Commissioner is essential. An
increase in staff and equipment for exploratory investigations with a view to
increasing irrigation is recommended. The scheme for the development of the
Huleh district is commended.
The Commission fully realize the desirability of afforestation on a large scale of
a long term forest policy, but, having regard to their conclusion as to the
scarcity of land in the hills for the agricultural population, they cannot
recommend a policy involving expropriation of cultivators on a large scale until
other cultivable land or suitable employment on the land can be found for them.
In the aggregate, however, a large amount of land is fit for afforestation but not
for cultivation, and the Commission endorse a policy of afforestation of steep
hillsides to prevent erosion the prevention of grazing on land fit for
afforestation, and, where practicable, the establishment of village forests for
the benefit of neighbouring cultivators.
Chapter X. – Immigration
The problem of immigration has been aggravated by three factors:– (1) the
drastic restrictions imposed on immigration in the United States, (2) the advent
of the National Socialist Government in Germany, and (3) the increasing
economic pressure on the Jews in Poland.
The continuous 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. The principle of
economic absorptive capacity, meaning that considerations of economic
capacity and these alone should determine immigration, is at present inadequate
and ignores factors in the situation which wise statesmanship cannot disregard.
Political, social and psychological factors should be taken into account. His
Majesty’s Government should lay down a political high level of Jewish
immigration. This high level should be fixed for the next five years at 12,000
per annum. The High Commissioner should be given discretion to admit
immigrants up to this maximum figure, but subject always to the economic
absorptive capacity of the country.
Among other alterations in the immigration regulations the Commission
recommend that the Administration should have direct control over the
immigrants coming in under Category A(i) (persons with GBP 1,000 capital),
and any person who desires to enter Palestine under this category should
convince the Immigration authority not only that he is in possession of GBP
1,000, but also that there is room in Palestine for additional members in the
profession, trade or business which he proposes to pursue.
The definition of dependency should be revised so as to fall under two heads,
(1) near relatives who, dependency being presumed, would have a right to
come in, and (2) other relatives, in respect of whom the Immigration authority
would have to be satisfied that they can be maintained by the immigrant or
permanent resident concerned, as long as they remain dependent for
The final allocation of immigration certificates as determined by the Jewish
Agency should be submitted by the High Commissioner for approval.
Greater use should be made of the machinery of the District Administration in
making enquiries in connection with the preparation of the half-yearly Labour
Schedules. The housing situation is an economic consideration to which greater
regard should be given when considering absorptive capacity.
In so far as immigration has been the major factor in bringing the Jewish
National Home to its present stage of development, the Mandatory has fully
implemented this obligation to facilitate the establishment of a National Home
for the Jewish people in Palestine, as in evidenced by the existence of a Jewish
population of 400,000 persons. But this does not mean that the National Rome
should be crystallized at its present size. The Commission cannot accept the
view that the Mandatory, facilitated the establishment of a National Home,
would be justified in shutting its doors. Its economic life depends to a large
extent on further immigration and a large amount of capital has been invested in
it on the assumption that immigration would continue.
Restrictions on Jewish immigration will not solve the Palestine problem. The
National Home seems already too big to the Arabs and, whatever its size, it
bars the to their attainment of national independence.
Chapter XI. – Trans-Jordan
The articles of the Mandate concerning the National Home do not apply to
Trans-Jordan and the possibility of enlarging the National Home by Jewish
immigration into Trans-Jordan rests on the assumption of concord between
Arabs and Jews. Arab antagonism to Jewish immigration is at least as bitter in
Trans-Jordan as it is in Palestine. The Government of Trans-Jordan would
refuse to encourage Jewish immigration in the teeth of popular resistance.
Chapter XII. – Health
The Jewish grievances are summed up as complaints that not enough money
has been spent, by the Mandatory Government to assist the medical services
established by the Jews from their own resources. What is given to one service
must be taken from another, and it is not always remembered that Palestine,
despite the economic development of the National Home is still a relatively poor
country. The whole question illustrates the difficulty of providing services in
one State for two distinct communities with two very different standards of
Chapter XIII. – Public Works and Services
If it be assumed that the distribution of posts as between the two races should
be proportional to the size of their respective populations, the Government have
fairly maintained this proportion in the Civil Service generally, although the rapid
expansion of the Jewish community has made this extremely difficult.
In Palestine, where there are different rates of pay for Arab and Jewish
unskilled labourers, and also frequent fluctuations in wage rates, it is practically
impossible to maintain employment on public works on any fixed proportion
between the races.
The Commission make no recommendation with regard to the employment of
Jews and non-Jews in Government Departments and on public works and
services. They refer to the difficulties created by the antagonism between the
two races, the differences in their standard of living and rates of wages and the
additional complication of three different Holy Days, and state that they are
satisfied that the Government have taken a broad view in dealing with the
situation and that there is no foundation for the suggestion that the
Government attitude towards the employment of Jews is unsympathetic.
Chapter XIV. – The Christians
The religious stake of the Christians in the Holy Places is just as great as that of
the Jews or Moslems. The Christians of the world cannot be indifferent to the
justice and well-being of their co-religionists in the Holy Land.
A memorandum setting out the grievances of the Arab Orthodox Community
and complaining of the laissez-faire attitude of the Government was received
too late for examination in detail, but it is pointed out that the Financial
Commission appointed under the Orthodox Patriarchate Ordinance of 1928 has
carried out an effective reform of the Patriarchate’s finances and that the
reorganization of the internal affairs of the Patriarchate, including the
establishment of a Mixed Council, has been discussed between the
Government, the Patriarchate and the Laity and is at present under
consideration by the Government.
The Commission refer to the question of Sunday work by Christian officials
resulting from the strict observance of the Jewish Sabbath, and are disposed to
agree with the view that the existing state of affairs throws too much work on
Christians officials and impairs the spiritual influence of the Christian Church.
In political matters the Christian Arabs have thrown in their lot with their
Chapter XV. – Nationality Law and Acquisition of Palestinian Citizenship
As regards the grievances of the Arabs (stated to number about 40,000) who
left Palestine before the War intending eventually to return but have been
unable to obtain Palestinian citizenship, the Commission suggest that at least
those who are able to establish all an unbroken personal connection with
Palestine and who are prepared to give a definite formal assurance of their
intention to return, should be admitted to Palestinian citizenship.
As regards Jews, the existing legislation implements the obligation of the
Mandate on this subject. The Jews have not availed themselves readily of the
opportunity afforded them of becoming Palestinian citizens, and this is
accounted for by the fact that their chief interest is in the Jewish Community
itself. Allegiance to Palestine and to the Government are minor considerations
to many of them.
The Commission do not agree with those who criticise the restriction of the
municipal franchise to Palestinian citizens. It is most desirable that all persons
who intend to reside permanently in the country should become Palestinian
citizens, and this qualification for voting is a direct inducement, to them to do so.
Chapter XVI. – Education
It seems unfortunate that the Administration has been unable to do more for
education. It is not only the intrinsic value of education that should be
considered. Any efforts to raise the material standards of life among the
fellaheen can only be successful if they have received sufficient mental training
to profit from technical instruction. Considering, the inadequacy of the existing
provision for Arab education, the Administration should regard its claims on the
revenue as second in importance only to those of public security.
Worse than the insufficiency of Arab schools, however is the nationalist
character of the education provided in the schools of both communities and for
that the Commission can see no remedy at all. The ideal system of education
would be a single bi-national system for both races. But that is virtually
impossible under the Mandate, which prescribes the right of each community to
maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own
language.” The existing Arab and Jewish school systems are definitely
widening and will continue to widen the gulf between the two races.
Wherever practicable, e.g. in new technical or trade schools, mixed education
should be promoted.
As regards the Jews’ claim for a larger grant for their system of education, the
Commission consider that, until much more has been spent on the development
of Arab education, so as to place it on a level with that of the Jews, it is
unjustifiable to increase the grant to the latter, however desirable it might be in
other circumstances. The extent to which the Jews have taxed themselves for
education is one of the best features of the National Home; and such “self-help”
deserves all support; but it should not be given by altering the present
proportion between the grant to the Jews and the amount spent on the Arabs;
it should result from an increase in the total expenditure on education.
The contrast between the Arab and Jewish systems of education is most
striking at the top. The Jews have a university of high quality. The Arabs have
none and the young intelligenzia of the country are unable to complete their
education without the cost and inconvenience of going abroad. In any further
discussion of the project of a British University in the Near East the possibility
should be carefully considered of locating it in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem
Chapter XVII. – Local Government
The present system of rural self-government (through local Councils) falls short
(1) in a lack of flexibility, (2) in undue centralization. An attempt should be
made to strengthen those few local councils which still exist in the Arab rural
areas, but the Commission do not favour an attempt at present to revivify
councils which have broken down or to create new ones unless there is a
genuine demand for them. There can be little really effective extension of village
self-government until the provision of primary education has had more time to
The deficiencies of the present system of municipal government are (1) a lack
of initiative on the part of the more backward municipalities, and (2) the
limitations set to initiative on the part of the more progressive municipalities by
an Ordinance which subjects them all to the same measure of Government
control and centralized administration. The limitation of power and responsibility
largely accounts for the lack of interest shown by the townspeople in most
Tel Aviv has unique problems of its own caused by its phenomenal growth
during the last five years. The objectives which the people of Tel Aviv have set
before them in the way of social services are in themselves admirable, and the
ratepayers have shown a commendable readiness to bear high rates for their
realization. The town has been faced with, and to a considerable extent
surmounted, exceptional difficulties without seriously impairing its financial
The more important local councils and all the municipalities should be
reclassified by means of a new Ordinance into groups according to their
respective size and importance. The degree of power and independence could
then be varied to suit each class. For the first class of municipality the powers
provided under the existing Ordinance are inadequate and should be extended.
The services of an expert authority on local government should be obtained to
assist in drafting the new Ordinance and in improving and co-ordinating the
relations between Government and the municipalities, particularly in the larger
towns, with special reference to the need of removing the causes of the
present delay in approving municipal budgets.
The need of Tel Aviv for a substantial loan should be promptly and
The normal constitutional relationship between the central and local authorities
is impossible in Palestine.
Chapter XVIII. – Self-governing Institutions
Such hopes as may have been entertained in 1922 of any quick advance
towards self-government have become less tenable. The bar to it–Arab
antagonism to the National Home–so far from weakening, has grown stronger.
The Jewish leaders might acquiesce in the establishment of a Legislative
Council on the basis of parity, but the Commission are convinced that parity is
not a practicable solution of the problem. It is difficult to believe that so artificial
a device would operate effectively or last long, and in any case the Arab
leaders would not accept it.
The Commission do not recommend that any attempt be made to revive the
proposal of a Legislative Council, but since it is desirable that the Government
should have some regular and effective means of sounding public opinion on its
policy, the Commission would welcome an enlargement of the Advisory Council
by the addition of Unofficial Members, who might be in a majority and might be
elected, who could make representations by way of resolution, but who would
not be empowered to pass or reject the budget or other legislative measures.
Again, the Arabs are unlikely to accept such a proposal.
The Arabs of Palestine, it has been admitted, are as fit to govern themselves as
the Arabs of Iraq or Syria. The Jews of Palestine are as fit to govern
themselves as any organized and educated community in Europe. Yet,
associated as they are under the Mandate, self-government is impracticable for
both peoples. The Mandate cannot be fully implemented nor can it honourably
terminate in the independence of an undivided Palestine unless the conflict
between Arab and Jew can be composed.
Chapter XIX. – Conclusion and Recommendations
The Commission recapitulate the conclusions set out in this part of the Report,
and summarize the Arab and Jewish grievances and their own
recommendations for the removal of such as are legitimate. They add, however,
that these are not the recommendations which their terms of reference require.
They will not, that is to say, remove the grievances nor prevent their
recurrence. They are the best palliatives the Commission can devise for the
disease from which Palestine is suffering, but they are only palliatives. They
cannot cure the trouble. The disease is so deep-rooted that in the
Commissioners’ firm conviction the only hope of a cure lies in a surgical
PART III: THE POSSIBILITY OF A LASTING SETTLEMENT
Chapter XX. – The Force of Circumstances
The problem of Palestine is briefly restated.
Under the stress of the World War the British Government made promises to
Arabs and Jews in order to obtain their support. On the strength of those
promises both parties formed certain expectations.
The application to Palestine of the Mandate System in general and of the
specific Mandate in particular implies the belief that the obligations thus
undertaken towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively would prove in course
of time to be mutually compatible owing to the conciliatory effect on the
Palestinian Arabs of the material prosperity which Jewish immigration would
bring in Palestine as a whole. That belief has not been justified, and there
seems to be no hope of its being justified in the future.
But the British people cannot on that account repudiate their obligations, and,
apart from obligations, the existing circumstances in Palestine would still require
the most strenuous efforts on the part of the Government which is responsible
for the welfare of the country.
The existing circumstances are summarized as follows.
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
The conflict has grown steadily more bitter since 1920 and the process will
continue. Conditions inside Palestine especially the systems of education, are
strengthening the national sentiment of the two peoples. The bigger and more
prosperous they grow the greater will be their political ambitions, and the
conflict is aggravated by the uncertainty of the future. Who in the end will
govern Palestine?” it is asked. Meanwhile, the external factors will continue to
operate with increasing force. On the one hand in less than three years’ time
Syria and the Lebanon will attain their national sovereignty, and the claim of the
Palestinian Arabs to share in the freedom of all Asiatic Arabia will thus be
fortified. On the other hand the hardships and anxieties of the Jews in Europe
are not likely to grow less and the appeal to the good faith and humanity of the
British people will lose none of its force.
Meanwhile, the Government of Palestine, which is at present an unsuitable form
for governing educated Arabs and democratic Jews, cannot develop into a
system of self-government as it has elsewhere, because there is no such
system which could ensure justice both to the Arabs and to the Jews.
Government therefore remains unrepresentative and unable to dispel the
conflicting grievances of the two dissatisfied and irresponsible communities it
In these circumstances peace can only be maintained in Palestine under the
Mandate by repression. This means the maintenance of security services at so
high a cost that the services directed to “the well-being and development” of
the population cannot be expanded and may even have to be curtailed. The
moral objections to repression are self-evident. Nor need the undesirable
reactions of it on opinion outside Palestine be emphasized. Moreover,
repression will not solve the problem. It will exacerbate the quarrel. It will not
help towards the establishment of a single self-governing Palestine. It is not
easy to pursue the dark path of repression without seeing daylight at the end of
The British people will not flinch from the task of continuing to govern Palestine
under the Mandate if they are in honour bound to do so, but they would be
justified in asking if there is no other way in which their duty can be done.
Nor would Britain wish to repudiate her obligations. The trouble is that they
have proved irreconcilable, and this conflict is the more unfortunate because
each of the obligations taken separately accords with British sentiment and
British interest. The development of self-government in the Arab world on the
one hand is in accordance with British principles, and British public opinion is
wholly sympathetic with Arab aspirations towards a new age of unity and
prosperity in the Arab world. British interest similarly has always been bound up
with the peace of the Middle East and British statesmanship can show an
almost unbroken record of friendship with the Arabs. There is a strong British
tradition, on the other hand, of friendship with the Jewish people, and it is in
the British interest to retain as far as may be the confidence of the Jewish
The continuance of the present system means the gradual alienation of two
peoples who are traditionally the friends of Britain.
The problem cannot be solved by giving either the Arabs or the Jews all they
want. The answer to the question which of them in the end will govern
Palestine must be Neither. No fair-minded statesman can think it right either
that 400,000 Jews, whose entry into Palestine has been facilitated by he
British Government and approved by the League of Nations, should be handed
over to Arab rule, or that, if the Jews should become a majority, a million Arabs
should be handed over to their rule. But while neither race can fairly rule all
Palestine, each race might justly rule part of it.
The idea of Partition has doubtless been thought of before as a solution of the
problem, but it has probably been discarded as being impracticable. The
difficulties are certainly very great, but when they are closely examined they do
not seem so insuperable as the difficulties inherent in the continuance of the
Mandate or in any other alternative arrangement. Partition offers a chance of
ultimate peace. No other plan does.
Chapter XXI. – Cantonisation
The political division of Palestine could be effected in a less thorough manner
than by Partition. It could be divided like Federal States into provinces and
cantons, which would be self-governing in such matters as immigration and
land sales as well as social services. The Mandatory Government would remain
as a central or federal government controlling such matters as foreign relations,
defence, customs and the like.
Cantonisation is attractive at first sight because it seems to solve the three
major problems of land, immigration and self-government, but there are obvious
weaknesses in it. First, the working of federal systems depends on sufficient
community of interest or tradition to maintain harmony between the Central
Government and the cantons. In Palestine both Arabs and Jews would regard
the Central Government as an alien and interfering body. Secondly, the financial
relations between the Central Government and the cantons would revive the
existing quarrel between Arabs and Jews as to the distribution of a surplus of
federal revenue or as to the contributions of the cantons towards a federal
deficit. Unrestricted Jewish immigration into the Jewish canton might lead to a
demand for the expansion of federal services at the expense of the Arab
canton. Thirdly, the costly task of maintaining law and order would still rest
mainly on the Central Government. Fourthly, Cantonisation like Partition cannot
avoid leaving a minority of each race in the area controlled by the other. The
solution of this problem requires such bold measures as can only be
contemplated if there is a prospect of final peace. Partition opens up such a
prospect. Cantonisation does not. Lastly, Cantonisation does not settle the
question of national self-government. Neither the Arabs nor the Jews would
feel their political aspirations were satisfied with purely cantonal
Cantonisation, in sum, presents most, if not all, of the difficulties presented by
Partition without Partition’s one supreme advantage–the possibilities it offers of
Chapter XXII. – A Plan of Partition
While the Commission would not be expected to embark oil the further
protracted inquiry which would be needed for working out a scheme of Partition
in full detail, it would be idle to put forward the principle of Partition and not to
give it any concrete shape. Clearly it must be shown that an actual plan can be
devised which meets the main requirements of the case.
1. A Treaty System
The Mandate for Palestine should terminate and be replaced by a Treaty System
in accordance with the precedent set in Iraq and Syria.
A new Mandate for the Holy Places should be instituted to fulfil the purposes
defined in Section 2 below.
Treaties of alliance should be negotiated by the Mandatory with the
Government of Trans-Jordan and representatives of the Arabs of Palestine on
the one hand and with the Zionist Organisation on the other. These Treaties
would declare that, within as short a period as may be convenient, two
sovereign independent States would be established–the one an Arab State
consisting of Trans-Jordan united with that part of Palestine which lies to the
cast and south of a frontier such as we suggest in Section 3 below; the other a
Jewish State consisting of that part of Palestine which lies to the north and
west of that frontier.
The Mandatory would undertake to support any requests for admission to the
League of Nations which the Governments of the Arab and the Jewish States
The Treaties would include strict guarantees for the protection of minorities in
each State, and the financial and other provisions to which reference will be
made in subsequent Sections.
Military conventions would be attached to the Treaties, dealing with the
maintenance of naval, military and air forces, the upkeep and use of ports,
roads and railways, the security of the oil pipe line and so forth.
2. The Holy Places
The Partition of Palestine is subject to the overriding necessity of keeping the
sanctity of Jerusalem and Bethlehem inviolate and of ensuring free and safe
access to them for all the world. That, in the fullest sense of the mandatory
phrase, is “a sacred trust of civilization”–a trust on behalf not merely of the
peoples of Palestine but of multitudes in other lands to whom those places, one
or both, are Holy Places.
A new Mandate, therefore, should be framed with the execution of this trust as
its primary purpose. An enclave should be demarcated extending from a point
north of Jerusalem to a point south of Bethlehem, and access to the sea should
be provided by a corridor extending to the north of the main road and to the
south of the railway, including the towns Lydda and Ramle, and terminating at
The protection of the Holy Places is a permanent trust, unique in its character
and purpose, and not contemplated by Article 22 of the Covenant of the
League of Nations. In order to avoid misunderstanding, it might frankly be
stated that this trust will only terminate if and when the League of Nations and
the United States desire it to do so, and that, while it would be the trustee’s
duty to promote the well-being and development of the local population
concerned, it is not intended that in course of time they should stand by
themselves as a wholly self-governing community.
Guarantees as to the rights of the Holy Places and free access thereto (as
provided in Article 13 of the existing Mandate), as to transit across the
mandated area, and as to non-discrimination in fiscal, economic and other
matters should be maintained in accordance with the principles of the Mandate
System. But the policy of the Balfour Declaration would not apply; and no
question would arise of balancing Arab against Jewish claims or vice versa. All
the inhabitants of the territory would stand on an equal footing. The only
official language” would be that of the Mandatory Administration. Good and
just government without regard for sectional interests would be its basic
It would accord with Christian sentiment in the world at large if Nazareth and
the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) were also covered by this Mandate. The
Mandatory should be entrusted with the administration of Nazareth and with full
powers to safeguard the sanctity of the waters and shores of Lake Tiberias.
The Mandatory should similarly be charged with the protection of religious
endowments and of such buildings, monuments and places in the Arab and
Jewish States as are sacred to the Jews and the Arabs respectively.
For the upkeep of the Mandatory Government, a certain revenue should be
obtainable, especially from the large and growing urban population in its charge,
both by way of customs duties and by direct taxation; but it might prove
insufficient for the normal cost of the administration. In that event, it is
suggested that, in all the circumstances, Parliament would be willing to vote the
money needed to make good the deficit.
3. The Frontier
The natural principle for the Partition of Palestine is to separate land and settled
from the areas in which the Jews have acquired land and settled from those
which are who are wholly or mainly occupied by Arabs. This offers a fair and
practicable basis for Partition, provided that in accordance with the spirit of
British obligations, (1) a reasonable allowance is made within the boundaries of
the Jewish State for the growth of population and colonization, and (2)
reasonable compensation is given to the Arab State for the loss of land and
Any proposal for Partition would be futile if it gave no indication, however
rough, as to how the most vital question in the whole matter might be
determined, i.e., the frontier. As a solution of the problem, which seems both
practicable and just, a rough line is proposed below. A Frontier Commission
should be appointed to demarcate the precise frontier.
Starting from Ras an Naqura, it follows the existing northern and eastern
frontier of Palestine to Lake Tiberias and crosses the Lake to the outflow of the
River Jordan, whence it continues down the river to a point a little north of
Beisan. It then cuts across the Beisan Plain and runs along the southern edge of
the Valley of Jezreel and across the Plain of Esdraelon to a point near Megiddo,
whence it crosses the Carmel ridge in the neighbourhood of the Megiddo road.
Having thus reached the Maritime Plain, the line runs southwards down its
eastern edge, curving west to avoid Tulkarm, until it reaches the
Jerusalem-Jaffa corridor near Lydda. South of the Corridor it continues down
the edge of the Plain to a point about 10 miles south of Rehovot, when it turns
west to the sea.
The observations and recommendations are made with regard to the proposed
frontier and to questions arising from it:–
(i) No frontier can be drawn which separates all Arabs and Arab-owned land
from all Jews and Jewish-owned land. (ii) The Jews have purchased substantial
blocks of land in the Gaza Plain and near Beersheba and obtained options for
the purchase of other blocks in this area. The proposed frontier would prevent
the utilization of those lands for the southward expansion of the Jewish
National Home. On the other hand, the Jewish lands in Galilee, and in particular
the Huleh basin (which offers a notable opportunity for development and
colonization), would be in the Jewish Area. (iii) The proposed frontier
necessitates the inclusion in the Jewish Area of the Galilee highlands between
Safad and the Plain of Acre. This is the part of Palestine in which the Jews
have retained a foothold almost if not entirely without a break from the
beginning of the Diaspora to the present day, and the sentiment of all Jewry is
deeply attached to the “holy cities” of Safad and Tiberias. Until quite recently,
moreover the Jews in Galilee have lived on friendly terms with their Arab
neighbours; and throughout the series of disturbances the fellaheen of Galilee
have shown themselves less amenable to political incitement than those of
Samaria and Judaea where the centres of Arab nationalism are located. At the
“mixed” towns of Tiberias, Safad, Haifa, and Acre there have been varying
degrees of friction since the “disturbances” of last year. It would greatly
promote the successful operation of Partition in its early stages, and in
particular help to ensure the execution of the Treaty guarantees for the
protection of minorities, if those four towns were kept for a period under
Mandatory administration. (iv) Jaffa is an essentially Arab town and should
form part of the Arab State. The question of its communication with the latter
presents no difficulty, since transit through the Jaffa-Jerusalem Corridor would
be open to all. The Corridor, on the other hand, requires its own access to the
sea, and for this purpose a narrow belt of land should be acquired and cleared
on the north and south sides of the town. (v) While the Mediterranean would be
accessible to the Arab State at Jaffa and at Gaza, in the interests of Arab trade
and industry the Arab State should also have access for commercial purposes
to Haifa, the only existing deep-water port on the coast. The Jewish Treaty
should therefore provide for the free transit of goods in bond between the Arab
State and Haifa. The Arab Treaty, similarly, should provide for the free transit of
goods in bond over the railway between the Jewish State and the Egyptian
frontier. The same principle applies to the question of access for commercial
purposes to the Red Sea. The use of that exit to the East might prove in course
of time of great advantage to both Arab and Jewish trade and industry, and,
having regard to those possibilities, an enclave on the north-west coast of the
Gulf of Aqaba should be retained under Mandatory administration, and the Arab
Treaty should provide for the free transit of goods between the Jewish State
and this enclave. The Treaties should provide for similar facilities for the transit
of goods between the Mandated Area and Haifa, the frontier and the Gulf of
4. Inter-State Subvention
The 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. There have been recent
precedents for equitable financial arrangements of this kind in those connected
with the separation of Sind from Bombay and of Burma from the Indian Empire,
and in accordance with those precedents a Finance Commission should be
appointed to consider and report as to what the amount of the subvention
The Finance Commission should also, consider and report on the proportion in
which the Public Debt of Palestine, which now amounts to about GBP
4,500,000, should be divided between the Arab and the Jewish States, and
other financial questions. The Commission should also deal with telegraph and
telephone systems in the event of Partition.
5. British Subvention
The Inter-State Subvention would adjust the financial balance in Palestine; but
the plan involves the inclusion of Trans-Jordan in the Arab State. The taxable
capacity of Trans-Jordan is very low and its revenues have never sufficed to
meet the cost of its administration. From 1921 to the present day it has
received grants-in-aid from the United Kingdom, which have amounted to a
total sum of GBP 1,253,000 or an average of about GBP 78,000 a year. Grants
have also been made towards the cost of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force, and
loans to the amount of GBP 60, 000 have been provided for earthquake-relief
and the distribution of seed.
The Mandate for Trans-Jordan ought not to be relinquished without securing, as
far as possible, that the standard of administration should not fall too low
through lack of funds to maintain it; and in this matter the British people might
fairly be asked to do their part in facilitating a settlement. The continuance of
the present Mandate would almost inevitably involve a recurrent and increasing
charge on the British Treasury. If peace can be promoted by Partition, money
spent on helping to bring it about and making it more effective for its purpose
would surely be well spent. And apart from any such considerations the British
people would, it is believed, agree to a capital payment in lieu of their present
annual liability with a view to honouring their obligations and making peace in
In the event of the Treaty system coming into force, Parliament should be asked
to make a grant of GBP 2,000,000 to the Arab State.
6. Tariffs and Ports
The Arab and Jewish States, being sovereign independent States, would
determine their own tariffs. Subject to the terms of the Mandate, the same
would apply to the Mandatory Government.
The tariff-policies of the Arab and Jewish States are likely to conflict, and it
would greatly ease the position and promote the interests of both the Arab and
Jewish States if they could agree to impose identical customs-duties on as
many articles as possible, and if the Mandatory Government, likewise, could
assimilate its customs-duties as far as might be with those of one or both of the
It should be an essential part of the proposed Treaty System that a commercial
convention should be concluded with a view to establishing a common tariff
over the widest possible range of imported articles and to facilitating the freest
possible interchange of goods between the three territories concerned.
All persons domiciled in the Mandated Area (including Haifa, Acre, Tiberias,
Safad and the enclave on the Gulf of Aqaba, as long as they remain under
Mandatory administration) who now possess the status of British protected
persons would retain it; but apart from this all Palestinians would become the
nationals of the States in which they are domiciled.
8. Civil Services
it seems probable that, in the event of Partition, the services of the Arab and
Jewish officials in the pre-existing Mandatory Administration would to a large
extent be required by the Governments of the Arab and Jewish States
respectively, whereas the number of British officials would be substantially
reduced. The rights of all of them, including rights to pensions or gratuities,
must be fully honoured in accordance with Article 28 of the existing Mandate.
This matter should be dealt with by the Finance Commission.
9. Industrial Concessions
In the event of Partition agreements entered into by the Government of
Palestine for the development and security of industries (e.g., the agreement
with the Palestine Potash Company) should be taken over and carried out by
the Governments of the Arab and Jewish States. Guarantees to that effect
should be given in the Treaties. The security of the Electric Power Station at
Jisr el Majami should be similarly guaranteed.
10. Exchange of Land and Population
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.
The Treaties should provide that, if Arab owners of land in the Jewish State or
Jewish owners of land in the Arab State should wish to sell their land and any
plantations or crops thereon, the Government of the State concerned should be
responsible for the purchase of such land, plantations and crops at a price to be
fixed, if requires, by the Mandatory Administration. For this purpose a loan
should, if required, be guaranteed for a reasonable amount.
The political aspect of the land problem is still more important. Owing to the
fact that there has been no census since 1931 it is impossible to calculate with
any precision the distribution of population between the Arab and Jewish areas;
but, according to an approximate estimate, in the area allocated to the Jewish
State (excluding the urban districts to be retained for a period under Mandatory
Administration) there are now about 225,000 Arabs. In the area allocated to
the Arab State there are only about 1,250 Jews; but there are about 125,000
Jews as against 85,000 Arabs in Jerusalem and Haifa. The existence of these
minorities clearly constitutes the most serious hindrance to the smooth and
successful operation of Partition. If the settlement is to be clean and final, the
question must be boldly faced and firmly dealt with. It calls for the highest
statesmanship on the part of all concerned.
A precedent is afforded by the exchange effected between the Greek and
Turkish populations on the morrow of the Greco-Turkish War of 1922. A
convention was signed by the Greek and Turkish Governments, providing that,
under the supervision of the League of Nations, Greek nationals of the Orthodox
religion living in Turkey should be compulsorily removed to Greece, and Turkish
nationals of the Moslem religion living in Greece to Turkey. The numbers
involved were high–no less than some 1,300,000 Greeks and some 400,000
Turks. But so vigorously and effectively was the task accomplished that within
about eighteen months from the spring of 1923 the whole exchange was
completed. The courage of the Greek and Turkish statesmen concerned has
been justified by the result. Before the operation the Greek and Turkish
minorities had been a constant irritant. Now Greco-Turkish relations are
friendlier than they have ever been before.
In Northern Greece a surplus of cultivable land was available or could rapidly be
made available for the settlement of the Greeks evacuated from Turkey. In
Palestine there is at present no such surplus. Room exists or could soon be
provided within the proposed boundaries of the Jewish State for the Jews now
living in the Arab area. It is the far greater number of Arab who constitute the
major problem; and, while some of them could be re-settled on the land vacated
by the Jews, far more land would be required for the re-settlement of all of
them. Such information as is available justifies the hope that the execution of
large-scale plans for irrigation, water-storage, and development in Trans-Jordan,
Beersheba and the Jordan Valley would make provision for a much larger
population than exists there at the present time.
Those areas, therefore, should be surveyed and an estimate made of the
practical possibilities of irrigation and development as quickly as possible. If, as
a result, it is clear that a substantial amount of land could be made available for
the re-settlement of Arabs living in the Jewish area, the most strenuous efforts
should be made to obtain an agreement for the transfer of land and population.
In view of the present antagonism between the races and of the manifest
advantage to both of them for reducing the opportunities of future friction to
the utmost, it is to be hoped that the Arab and the Jewish leaders might show
the same high statesmanship as that of the Turks and the Greeks and make the
same bold decision for the sake of peace.
The cost of the proposed irrigation and development scheme would be heavier
than the Arab State could be expected to bear. Here again the British people it
is suggested, would be willing to help to bring about a settlement; and if an
arrangement could be made for the transfer, voluntary or otherwise, of land and
population, Parliament should be asked to make a grant to meet the cost of the
If it should be agreed to terminate the Mandate and establish a Treaty System
on a basis of Partition, there would be a period of transition before the new
regime came into force, and during this period the existing Mandate would
continue to be the governing instrument of the Palestine Administration. But the
recommendations made in Part II of the Report as to what should be done tinder
the existing Mandate presupposed its continuance for an indefinite time and
would not apply to so changed a situation as the prospect of Partition would
The following are recommendations for the period of transition:–
(1) Land.–Steps should be taken to prohibit the purchase of land by Jews
within the Arab Area (i.e., the area of the projected Arab State) or by Arabs
within the Jewish Area (i.e., the area of the projected Jewish State). The
settlement of the plain-lands of the Jewish Area should be completed within
two years. (2) Immigration.–Instead of the political “high-level” there should be
a territorial restriction on Jewish immigration. No Jewish immigration into the
Arab Area should be permitted. Since it would therefore not affect the Arab
Area and since the Jewish State would soon become responsible for its results,
the volume of Jewish immigration should be determined by the economic
absorptive capacity of Palestine less the Arab Area. (3) Trade.–Negotiations
should be opened without delay to secure the amendment of Article 18 of the
Mandate and to place the external trade of Palestine upon a fairer basis. (4)
Advisory Council.–The Advisory Council should, if possible, be enlarged by the
nomination of Arab and Jewish representatives; but, if either party refused to
serve, the Council should continue as at present. (5) Local Government.–The
municipal system should be reformed on expert advice. (6) Education.–A
vigorous effort should be made to increase the number of Arab schools. The
“mixed schools” situated in the area to be administered under the new Mandate
should be given every support, and the possibility of a British University should
be considered, since those institutions might play an important part after
Partition in helping to bring about an ultimate reconciliation of the races.
Chapter X. – Conclusion
Considering the attitude which both the Arab and the Jewish representatives
adopted in giving evidence, the Commission think it improbable that either party
will be satisfied at first sight with the proposals submitted for the adjustment of
their rival claims. For Partition means that neither will get all it wants. It means
that the Arabs must acquiesce in the exclusion from their sovereignty of a piece
of territory, long occupied and once ruled by them. It means that the Jews
must be content with less than the Land of Israel they once ruled and have
hoped to rule again. But it seems possible that on reflection both parties will
come to realize that the drawbacks of Partition are outweighed by its
advantages. For, if it offers neither party all it wants, it offers each what it
wants most, namely freedom and security.
The advantages to the Arabs of Partition on the lines we have proposed may be
summarized as follows:–
(i) They obtain their national independence and can co-operate on an equal
footing with the Arabs of the neighbouring countries in the cause of Arab unity
and progress. (ii) They are finally delivered from the fear of being swamped by
the Jews, and from the possibility of ultimate subjection to Jewish rule. (iii) In
particular, the final limitation of the Jewish National Home within a fixed
frontier and the enactment of a new Mandate for the protection of the Holy
Places, solemnly guaranteed by the League of Nations, removes all anxiety lest
the Holy Places should ever come under Jewish control. (iv) As a set-off to the
loss of territory the Arabs regard as theirs, the Arab State will receive a
subvention from the Jewish State. It will also, in view of the backwardness of
Trans-Jordan, obtain a grant of GBP 2,000,000 from the British Treasury; and,
if an agreement can be reached as to the exchange of land and population, a
further grant will be made for the conversion, as far as may prove possible, of
uncultivable land in the Arab State into productive land from which the
cultivators and the State alike will profit.
The advantages of Partition to the Jews may be summarized as follows:–
(i) Partition secures the establishment of the Jewish National Home and relieves
it from the possibility of its being subjected in the future to Arab rule. (ii)
Partition enables the Jews in the fullest sense to call their National Home their
own; for it converts it into a Jewish State. Its citizens will be able to admit as
many Jews into it as they themselves believe can be absorbed. They will attain
the primary objective of Zionism–a Jewish nation, planted in Palestine, giving
its nationals the same status in the world as other nations give theirs. They will
cease at last to live a minority life.
To both Arabs and Jews Partition offers a prospect–and there is none in any
other policy–of obtaining the inestimable boon of peace. It is surely worth some
sacrifice on both sides if the quarrel which the Mandate started could he ended
with its termination. It is not a natural or old-standing feud. The Arabs
throughout their history have not only been free from anti-Jewish sentiment but
have also shown that the spirit of compromise is deeply rooted in their life.
Considering what the possibility of finding a refuge in Palestine means to man
thousands of suffering Jews, is the loss occasioned by Partition, great as it
would be, more than Arab generosity can bear? In this, as in so much else
connected with Palestine, it is not only the peoples of that country who have to
be considered. The Jewish Problem is not the least of the many problems which
are disturbing international relations at this critical time and obstructing the path
to peace and prosperity. If the Arabs at some sacrifice could help to solve that
problem, they would earn the gratitude not of the Jews alone but of all the
There was a time when Arab statesmen were willing to concede little Palestine
to the Jews, provided that the rest of Arab Asia were free. That condition was
not fulfilled then, but it is on the eve of fulfilment now. In less than three years’
time all the wide Arab area outside Palestine between the Mediterranean and
the Indian Ocean will be independent, and, if Partition is adopted, the greater
part of Palestine will be independent too.
As to the British people, they are bound to honour to the utmost of their power
the obligations they undertook in the exigencies of war towards the Arabs and
the Jews. When those obligations were incorporated in the Mandate, they did
not fully realize the difficulties of the task it laid on them. They have tried to
overcome them, not always with success. The difficulties have steadily become
greater till now they seem almost insuperable. Partition offers a possibility of
finding a way through them, a possibility of obtaining a final solution of the
problem which does justice to the rights and aspirations of both the Arabs and
the Jews and discharges the obligations undertaken towards them twenty years
ago to the fullest extent that is practicable in the circumstances of the present