October 2, 2017 - The 80th Anniversary of the Two-State Solution
In 1937, an official British report first proposed the partition of Mandate Palestine. The story behind it helps to explain why the Arab-Jewish conflict remains unresolved.
In this epochal year of Zionist anniversaries—the 120th of the First Zionist Conference in Basle, the 100th of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th of the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, the 50th of the Six-Day War—there is yet another to be marked: the 80th anniversary of the 1937 British Peel Commission Report, which first proposed a “two-state solution” for Palestine. The story of the Peel report is largely unknown today, but it is worth retelling for two reasons:
First, it is a historic saga featuring six extraordinary figures, five of whom testified before the commission: on the Zionist side, David Ben-Gurion, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann, the leaders respectively of the left, right, and center of the Zionist movement; on the Arab side, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem; and on the British side, Winston Churchill, who gave crucial testimony in camera. Louis D. Brandeis, the leading American Zionist, also played a significant role.
Second, and perhaps even more important today, the story helps to explain why, a century after the Balfour Declaration, the Arab-Jewish conflict remains unresolved.