In the first of two essays, Oren Kessler, author of the forthcoming book Fire Before Dawn: The First Palestinian Revolt and the Struggle for the Holy Land, focuses on the 1937 Peel Commission. ‘A Clean Cut’ for Palestine: The Peel Commission Reexamined’ assesses why the commission decided that only partition had any chance of forestalling a descent into near-permanent conflict.
Kessler’s second essay, ‘A dangerous people to quarrel with’, reveals the secret 1937 testimony given by David Lloyd George to the Peel Commission. Lloyd George had been prime minister during the Balfour Declaration, and was one of nearly 60 witnesses whom the panel heard in private, and whose testimonies have been kept secret for eight decades.
Between 1937 and 1939 the British government conducted a dramatic policy shift in its Mandate policy. Using documents in the National Archive, including German documents photographed and sent to Whitehall by an American spy, Yaakov Lappin looks at why Britain reversed policy and abandoned partition, or what we now call the two state solution, and imposed strict limits on Jewish immigration to Palestine in 1939.
In ‘Perfidious Albion or Strategic Realpolitik? Reassessing Britain’s 1939 White Paper’, Ben Crome examines Jewish immigration to Mandate Palestine through the eyes of British policy-makers in the late 1930s.
The Palestinian-Arab perspective on the Balfour Declaration, Peel Commission, White Paper, and 1947 UN partition resolution often suffers from broad generalisations. In his essay Palestinians and the Partition Plan, Professor Mustafa Kabha seeks to present the Palestinian side in its complexity, demonstrating the variety of interests and positions which characterised the different groups within Palestinian-Arab society.