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1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

The commission recommended the partition of Palestine. The Jews accepted the recommendation, but the Arabs opposed the plan..

In 1936, in partial response to the ongoing Arab disturbances, the British appointed a royal commission led by Lord Peel, to recommend a solution to the problems in Palestine. The Peel Commission undertook extensive hearings to come up with a solution to the problem. After considerable deliberation, the commission recommended the partition of Palestine into a small Jewish and a larger Arab State. The commission posited that Jewish settlement had been beneficial for Palestine as a whole, and that the Jews had taken some of the most arid, unmanageable parts of Palestine and brought them to life.

The Jews of Palestine deliberated on whether to accept the plan, for the State being promised was much smaller than anything the Jews had envisioned. On the other hand, this was a concrete opportunity for a Jewish State. Most importantly, this new Jewish State would have control over its immigration policies, and would thus be able to ensure a homeland for the mass of European Jewry. With this last point in mind, the Jews reluctantly decided to accept the plan. The Arabs, on the other hand, categorically rejected it. The British initially promised to implement the plan, but soon backed off due to Arab pressure.

What did the Peel Commission do?

The Peel Commission Plan (1937) In July 1937, the Peel Commission recommended for the first time a partition of the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state alongside an international zone, stretching from Jerusalem to Jaffa, that would remain under British mandatory authority.

Also Know, who wrote the Peel Commission? Peel Commission, in full Royal Commission of Inquiry to Palestine, group headed by Lord Robert Peel, appointed in 1936 by the British government to investigate the causes of unrest among Palestinian Arabs and Jews. Partition plan proposed by the Peel Commission report, 1937.

Similarly, what was the objective of Peel Commission?

The peel commission,formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission,was a British Royal Commission of inquiry,headed by Lord peel,appointed in 1936 to investigate the cause of unrest in mandatory palestine,which was administered by Britain.

What was the goal of the Balfour Declaration?

The Balfour Declaration ("Balfour's promise" in Arabic) was a public pledge by Britain in 1917 declaring its aim to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

Following the campaign of Arab terrorism in Palestine in 1936, the British Government decided to send out a Royal Commission which would "without bringing into question the fundamental terms of the Mandate, investigate the causes of unrest and any alleged grievances either of Arabs or of Jews." On 29 July, the appointment of this Royal Commission was announced. It was to be chaired by Lord Peel, a former Secretary of State for India. The five other members were Sir Horace Rumbold, one of the ablest men in the Diplomatic Service with wide experience as Minister and Ambassador in many countries of the world Sir Laurie Hammond, a distinguished Indian Civil Servant Sir William Morris Carter, an ex-Colonial Chief Justice, better known for his searching analysis of the problems of native lands and interests confronted with an immigrant community, both in Rhodesia and Kenya Sir Harold Morris, the universally acclaimed Chairman of the Industrial Court in Britain and Professor Reginald Coupland, Professor of Colonial History at Oxford, whose knowledge and study of Colonial administration in the then British Colonial Empire and in other colonial spheres was well known to students throughout the world.

This Commission (popularly known as the "Peel Commission") arrived in Palestine in mid-November 1936 and during the course of the next two months took evidence from over one hundred witnesses. On their return to England, the members of the Commission worked for another six months on their Report and at the end of June 1937 presented it to the British Government. The Report was unanimous and consisted of over four hundred pages. It included a comprehensive and analytical survey of the Palestine problem, an examination of the operations of the Mandate, and proposals for "the possibility of a lasting settlement"

Chapter xxii of the Report dealt with a plan of partition. Under this plan, the Mandate would terminate and Palestine would be divided into three areas: a Jewish State including the whole of the Galilee, the whole of the Jezreel Valley, the greater part of the Beisan and all of the coastal plain from Ras el-Nakura (Rosh Hanikra) in the north to Beer-Tuvia in the South an Arab State containing the rest of Palestine west of the Jordan together with Transjordan a British enclave remaining under Mandate, containing Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth on a permanent basis and as a temporary measure the towns of Haifa, Acre, Tiberias and Safed, which would ultimately become part of the Jewish State.

There were nearly a quarter of a million Arabs within the boundaries of the proposed Jewish State and about one and a half thousand Jews within the boundaries of the proposed Arab State. This was seen by the members of the Peel Commission as a serious problem and section 10 of chapter xxii of the Report dealt with this issue under the heading "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."(1)

A later paragraph stated that the existence of Jews in the Arab State and Arabs in the Jewish State would clearly constitute "the most serious hindrance to the smooth and successful operation of Partition." The "Minority Problem" had become only too familiar in recent years whether in Europe or in Asia and was one of the most troublesome and intractable products of post-war nationalism. The Report noted that nationalism was at least as intense a force in Palestine as it was anywhere else in the world.(2)

Similarly, under the entry "Refugees and the Exchange of Populations", the Encyclopaedia Britannica stated, "The mixture of populations had led to so much political trouble in modern times that this unmixing process must be regarded as a very considerable advantage."(3)

The Peel Commission believed that the partition of Palestine between the Arabs and Jews might "ultimately moderate and appease it as nothing else could." However, the members of the Commission were sufficiently experienced to realise that Partition could not absolutely eliminate friction, incidents and recriminations. The paragraph thus concluded, "If then the settlement is to be clean and final, this question of the minorities must be boldly faced and firmly dealt with. It calls for the highest statesmanship on the part of all concerned."(4)

The next paragraph of the Report quoted the precedent of a compulsory exchange of population between Greece and Turkey following the Greco-Turkish War of 1922, on the basis of a proposal by Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.(5)

Nansen, who was born in Norway in 1861, was a scientist, polar explorer and statesman. In 1921, he directed relief work for famine-stricken Russia. As the League of Nations' first High Commissioner for refugees, he was responsible for the protection and settlement of Russian, Armenian and Greek refugees. In 1922, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Following the war of 1921-2 between Turkey and Greece, Nansen put forward a proposal to solve the minorities problem existing between these two countries, in which there would be a compulsory exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. At the beginning of 1923, a convention was signed in Lausanne between Greece and Turkey providing for the compulsory transfer to Greece of Greek nationals of the Orthodox faith living in Turkey and the compulsory transfer to Turkey of Turkish nationals of the Moslem faith living in Greece, although some of the transferees' families had lived for over a century in the host country. A Mixed Commission and a group of sub-commissions, with members from the Greek and Turkish Governments and from the League of Nations, was set up. These commissions supervised or actually carried out the transportation of the persons transferred from one country to the other, valued their property, kept an exact record of it and established their claim for this value against the government of the country to which they were moved. A refugee settlement loan was floated under the auspices of the League of Nations, to enable Greece to absorb her refugees into productive employment. As a result of this loan, the refugees were absorbed very quickly into the economic system of the country. No such loan was made to Turkey.As a result the integration of the refugees in Turkey was more difficult. The number of people transferred was high - no less than some 1,300,000 Greeks and some 400,000 Turks. However, within eighteen months, the whole exchange was completed. Naturally, with an exchange of population involving nearly two million .people there were difficulties, particularly, in the liquidation of the ensuing property disputes, but following the settlement of all these problems, in 1930, a treaty of friendship was concluded between these two countries.

The Peel report noted that "Dr. Nansen was sharply criticized at the time for the inhumanity of his proposal, and the operation manifestly imposed the gravest hardships on multitudes of people. But 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 the ulcer had been clean cut out, and Greco-Turkish relations, we understand are friendlier than they have ever been before."(6)

Admittedly the analogy between the Greco-Turkish situation and the Palestine situation broke down at one essential point. In Northern Greece a surplus of cultivated land was available, or could be made available for the Greeks who were transferred from Turkey. However, in Palestine, no such surplus existed at that time. There would be no problem finding land for Jews transferred from the Arab State. The problem would arise for the far greater number of Arabs transferred from the Jewish State. The Report stated that "while some of them could be resettled on the land vacated by the Jews, far more land would be required for the resettlement of all of them." It was to be hoped that the execution of large-scale plans for irrigation, water-shortage and development in Transjordan, Beersheba and the Jordan Valley would solve this problem.(7) It was suggested that an immediate survey and authoritative estimate be made of the practical possibilities of irrigation and development in these areas. "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 exchange of land and population." Thus the availability of additional land would bring the situation in Palestine closer to the Greco-Turkish situation of 1923. Furthermore, the numbers to be transferred would be far smaller. Since transfer would reduce the antagonism existing between Jew and Arab and remove the potential for future Arab-Jewish friction, the members of the Commission 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." In conclusion, "If an agreement on the question were secured, provisions should be inserted in or added to the Treaties for the transfer under the supervision and control of the Mandatory Government, of land and population to the extent to which new land is, or may within a reasonable period become, available for re-settlement."(8)

As stated earlier, the Peel proposals allotted the Galilee, whose population was almost entirely Arab, and the Plains where the population was mixed, to the Jewish State. Paragraph 43 of chapter xxii made a distinction between these two areas with respect to the proposal for the exchange of land and population. In the case of North Galilee the Report stated that "it might not be necessary to effect a greater exchange of land and population than could be effected on a voluntary basis." The use of compulsion was not, however, excluded for the remaining areas. "But as regards the Plains, including Beisan, and as regards all such Jewish colonies as remained in the Arab State when the Treaties come into force, it should be part of the agreement that in the last resort the exchange would be compulsory."(9)

Who was to pay for the irrigation and development of the areas to which the Arabs would be moved from the Jewish State? The members of the Commission considered that the cost was heavier than the Arab States could be expected to bear, and suggested that the British people would be willing to help in order to bring about a settlement. The Commission recommended that "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 aforesaid scheme."(10) It can be seen that once again, the Peel Report spoke of the possibility of a compulsory transfer, or as they said "the transfer, voluntary or otherwise."

The mechanics of such a transfer would be protracted. First, the area would have to be surveyed and if found to be favourable, would be irrigated and developed. Only then could the transfer be put into operation. The members of the Commission considered that in all probability the proposed Treaty System would come into operation before all these things were completed. Therefore it should be laid down in the Treaties "that the full control of this work, as also of any such operations for the exchange of land and population as may be agreed on, should continue to be exercised by the Mandatory Government until its completion."(11)

The final word in the Report on this exchange of land and population was that the irrigation and development should be carried out with the least possible delay and that a new Partition Department be established in Jerusalem to deal with this work and such exchange operations as might follow.(12)

Before publication of the Peel Report, several of the members of the Commission wrote memoranda, as a basis for internal discussion. One of these memoranda was written by Reginald Coupland who said that he had "drafted this Note after full discussion with Sir Laurie Hammond and I think it represents our joint suggestions on the main points."(13)

In this paper he dealt at length with transfer of Arabs under the heading "The Exchange of Land and Population". While stating that this was by "far the most difficult part of the whole scheme", he admitted that there was "the encouraging precedent of the compulsory shifting" of nearly two million Greeks and Turks.(14)

After discussing details regarding demographic distribution, availability of land, surveying and funding, Coupland continued that "the ideal would be the evacuation of all Arabs and Jews from the Jew [sic] and Arab States respectively. This ideal was actually achieved in the Greco-Turkish exchange by a system of rigorous compulsion, the hardships of which have been compensated by the creation of peace and amity." He pointed out that this work had been made easier by virtue of the fact that both the Greek and Turkish governments had agreed and co-operated and because land had been available "it could all be done in one continuous vigorous 'push'." It was, said Coupland, rather different in Palestine where there was not a lot of land available and thus "it is for consideration whether it might not be wise to leave the exchange of land and people during the Transition period on a voluntary basis." However, at the end of this five year transition period "the process would become compulsory . Arab land-owners in the Jewish State and Jewish land-owners in the Arab State (if any are left there), would be compelled to sell their land at a fixed price provided that the Department had land available in the other State for the re-settlement of the owners, tenants or labourers. The evacuation and re-settlement of these latter would also be compulsory. This compulsory process might be repeated after an interval in which more land might have become available for resettlement."(15)

Coupland then asked if at the end "a substantial number of Arabs are left on Jewish land for whom there is no land for re-settlement, what then?" His answer was that "it would be up to the Jews to bribe the residue of Arabs out."(16)

He felt that the use of compulsion was necessary because "only so will the maximum of exchange be achieved."(17)

Another problem raised by Coupland to which he did not provide a solution was the fate of the urban Arabs, who were mostly labourers. "Shall we ignore them? Or shall we recommend that Government, under the Re-settlement Scheme, persuades (or compels) them to settle on the new land made available?"(18)

Coupland concluded by asking what would happen if the Arabs refused to agree to the partition of Palestine? He believed that in such a case "the Jews should nevertheless be empowered to purchase Arab land in the Jewish State at a fixed price". With regards to compulsory transfer he was less certain. "It seems doubtful if they should also have the power to evacuate, although without that power they might be confronted with a problem of 'landless Arabs' in the Jewish State." He hoped a solution to this problem would appear "when the time comes".(19)

One might mention that nearly a year later, after the British Government had completely changed its views and came out strongly against compulsory transfer, Coupland wrote a confidential letter to Weizmann and asked him to consider: “Failing a full-scale transfer (such as we recommended) can a plan be made for as much organised transfer as may be possible from the J. [Jewish] to the A. [Arab] area?"(19A). We can thus see that even though the British Government was now opposing compulsory transfer, Coupland was still tying to salvage what he could from the Peel Commission’s transfer proposal.

Another memorandum was written by Laurie Hammond on 23 May 1937 and was entitled "Note on 'Clean Cut'". In it, Hammond briefly entered into the question of transfer. He wrote as regarding Arabs left in the Jewish State or Jews left in the Arab State "we are, I gather, unanimous in agreeing" on a number of principles. One of these principles was that any such Arab or Jew "can claim to be bought out and given compensation . ". With regards to compulsory transfer he wrote "that there will be no compulsory transfer of population, except by voluntary agreement between the two States." In other words, the Jewish and Arab States could come to an agreement to compulsorily transfer population from their respective states and thus the individual transferees would have to move accordingly, whether they liked it or not! Hammond added the provision that "such transfer can only be effected when it has been proved that land suitable for the transferred population is actually available."(20)

Schechtman, in 1949, presenting his study of "The Case for Arab-Jewish Exchange of Population" held that there were three fundamental weaknesses in the Peel Commission's transfer proposal "which finally doomed the scheme in its entirety."

The first was that the Commission was in fact proposing a "one-way transfer of Arabs" since one could not balance 1,250 prospective Jewish transferees for the Arab State against 225,000 Arabs to be transferred from the Jewish state. "The ratio of almost 1:200 was conducive to the idea that there was not only inequality in numbers, but inequality in the very approach to, and treatment of the two ethnic groups involved." Actually, Schechtman is not mathematically accurate here. The Peel Report did not envisage the transfer of all the Arabs from the Jewish State. Paragraph 43 of Chapter xxii of the Report specifically stated that the transfer of the Arabs of North Galilee, as distinct from the remainder of the country, would be on a voluntary basis. In all probability, many North Galilean Arabs would choose not to transfer. The ratio would therefore be much lower than 1:200. However, it would still be high, hence the psychological argument brought by Schechtman is still valid.

The second weakness in the Peel Commission's proposal was that it "provided for the transfer of Arabs from the prospective Jewish State to the prospective Arab State only, without envisaging their resettlement in other, already existing, large Arab States with insufficient population."(21) In the Parliamentary debates following the Peel Commission's Report, several members had suggested that the Arab emigrants from the Jewish State be in part resettled in various existing Arab countries, rather than entirely within the borders of the original Mandatory Palestine.

Ten years later in 1947, following the decision of the United Nations to create separate Jewish and Arab States in Palestine, Anthony Eden, who had been Foreign Secretary at the time of the Peel Report, reminded the House in a two-day debate on Palestine, that the Peel Commission had recommended a population transfer, but the difficulty had been that "they were dealing only with Palestine." Eden then said, "I should have thought that the question which now arises is whether, with the co-operation of the adjoining Arab states, room might not be found to absorb some part of the Arab minority which will be left in the Jewish State. I should have thought that this was a question worth pursuing."(22)

The third weakness Schechtman noted was that "the lack of clarity about the voluntary or compulsory character of the transfer, jeopardised the workability of the entire partition solution."(23) It is difficult to understand Schechtman here. As far as the Report is concerned, paragraph 43 of chapter xxii clearly designated which areas were to have, if necessary, a compulsory transfer of population, and in which areas transfer was to be voluntary.

Jewish Agency Discusses Transfer

In the autumn of 1936, whilst the Peel Commission was collecting evidence, the executive of the Jewish Agency held two meetings in which the subject of transfer of Arabs was discussed.

The first of these meetings took place on 21 October.(24) At it, the Chairman David Ben-Gurion said: "Mr. Ussishkin spoke on population transfer, but the example which he mentioned was a population exchange between two countries Turkey and Greece who came to a mutual agreement on this. To our sorrow we are not yet a state and England will not do this for us and will not remove the Arabs from Palestine." Later in his speech, Ben-Gurion argued that if the Jews were to tell the Peel Commission that the Arabs should be transferred to Iraq or Iran, this would only strengthen the hands of the anti-Zionists. The members of the Commission would return to England believing that the Jews wanted to expel the Arabs from Palestine, and thus, this approval by Ussishkin would be a catastrophe for the Jews.

To this Ussishkin retorted, "Is it our politics to expel the Arabs from Palestine?"

Ben-Gurion then answered Ussishkin, "But that is what you said", adding, that if he would repeat it before an Englishman he would only cause damage.

From this exchange, it seems that Ben-Gurion was not opposed to transfer, but felt it was bad tactics and thus harmful to bring it up before the Peel Commission. We can in fact see Ben-Gurion's approval of transfer from a further meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive held just a few weeks later on 1 November. Needless to say these meetings were closed and the minutes clearly marked "Confidential"!

At this November meeting,(25) Ben-Gurion asked, "Why can't we purchase land there [Transjordan] for Arabs who want to settle in Transjordan? If it is permitted to transfer an Arab from the Galilee to Judea, why is it forbidden to transfer an Arab from the Hebron area to Transjordan, which is far closer?" Ben-Gurion said that he could see no difference between the west bank and the east bank of the Jordan.

Rabbi Yehudah Leib Fishman (later Maimon) was worried that by transferring Arabs only to Transjordan, the Jews would be giving up their rights to this area. Ben-Gurion categorically discounted this saying that by transferring Arabs to Transjordan the Jews would be solving an overcrowding problem west of the Jordan. Rabbi Fishman then asked Ben-Gurion, "Why not transfer them also to Iraq?"

Ben-Gurion replied that Iraq was not within the area of the Palestine Mandate. However if King Ghazi of Iraq would agree, Ben-Gurion said that he would not object, adding however that the Iraqi authorities at that period were not prepared to agree to such a transfer. He then argued, "If for some reason we are not able to settle there [Transjordan] we will resettle there the Arabs whom we will transfer from Palestine. Even the High Commissioner [Sir Arthur Wauchope] has agreed to this on condition we provide the transferees with land and money . and we agreed to this."

After Ben-Gurion had summarised his remarks, Maurice Hexter and David Senator, two non-Zionist memebers of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, objected to the proposal to transfer Arabs to Transjordan. [However, just a year later, after the Peel Commission had proposed transfer, Senator was to tell the same Jewish Agency Executive, "We should strive for maximum transfer", and Hexter was to attend meetings of the Population Transfer Committee of the Jewish Agency (- not for the purpose of opposing transfer!).]

During the following months, proposals for Arab transfer were submitted to the Peel Commission by Jewish organisations. Masalha goes as far as to suggest that transfer "was at the very center of Zionist lobbying efforts."(26) However as we have already seen, the assessments by Masalha in this matter must be treated with great caution.

One such proposal was submitted to the Peel Commission by the Jewish Agency Executive in February 1937. This memorandum contained a plan which dealt with the question of land and settlement in various areas of Palestine. The first stage would be to present the British Government with a plan for "crowding together existing Arab settlement, concentrating it in one location or several specific locations and evacuating an area for Jewish settlement." In the first instance, the Jews would try and get the agreement of the Arabs to give them part of their land in exchange for certain advantages, but should the Arabs fail to agree, then the plan required the British Government to "force the [Arab] people to exchange land or to move from one place to another."(27)

In the following month, Namier met with Weizmann and informed him in the greatest of secrecy of a meeting he had had with Reginald Coupland who was a member of the Peel Commission. At this meeting, Coupland had asked whether the Jews would be prepared to financially help the proposed Arab state. Namier had answered that such help would not be in cash but the "Jews were prepared to develop certain areas in the Arab state, in order to use them also for the purpose of a population exchange" - (the intention being development for the purpose of transferring Arabs from the proposed Jewish state to the proposed Arab state).(28)

On 12 June 1937, Shertok dined at the house of George Wadsworth, the U.S. Consul-General, during which they conversed at length. In the course of this conversation, the question of Transjordan came up. According to Shertok's diary, Wadsworth had said that "he knew Government had been rather strongly impressed by the suggestion contained in our final memorandum to the Royal [Peel] Commission about transplanting Arabs from Western Palestine to Transjordan in order to make room for new Jewish settlers. This was considered to be an eminently constructive proposal."(29)

It is not clear which memorandum Wadsworth is referring to. Masalha suggests that it was one drafted jointly by Ben-Gurion and Rutenberg in May 1937.(30) No such memorandum has been traced. However, a letter (not a memorandum) which indeed proposed transfer of Arabs to Transjordan, was written jointly by Ben-Gurion and Rutenberg on 7 June.(31) Perhaps the intention is to this letter.

On 11 July 1937, which was just a few days after publication of the Peel Report, a draft document entitled: “Re: Partition. Outlines of an Inquiry into the Problems of Exchange of Land & Population” was written. The initials of the writer are illegible, but on the top right hand corner is written “Mr. [Moshe] Shertok”, showing that he received a copy of this document.

The subjects dealt with in this document are: “the problem of transfer of population” how the experiences of population transfer in other countries could be applicable to Palestine “voluntary or compulsory exchange of population” geographical and other information required to implement a transfer in Palestine the procedure of transfer of population.(31A)

We can thus see that no time was lost in getting to work in order to advance the Peel Report’s proposal to transfer Arabs from Palestine!

Reactions of American Jewish Press

In May 1937, the newspaper "The New Palestine", which was the official organ of the American Zionist movement, put forward it own proposal for the transfer of Arabs. In an editorial entitled "Why Ignore Transjordan?", the paper wrote that since "Transjordan is practically empty of settlers" it could support a large increase in population. This is especially so as the soil there is much superior to the soil in Western Palestine. "Transjordan could become the natural reserve for the accommodation of tens of thousands of Arabs. Many thousands of Arabs in Palestine would automatically and naturally pass over the Jordan and find place for themselves in the Transjordan development." The editorial writer felt that "a discussion of this idea might be fruitful of results."(32) According to Medoff, this was the first time that "The New Palestine" "went on record as favoring efforts to encourage Arabs to leave Palestine."(33)

A month later, the same paper again came out in favour of Arab transfer. "Perhaps a scheme can be worked out for transferring Arabs from the Jewish area to the Arab area."(34)

British Government Reactions to the Peel Report

On 22 June 1937, the Peel Report was signed and circulated to the various ministerial departments. The Private Secretary immediately asked the Foreign Office's Eastern Department for its observations. The Report had made recommendations on provisional measures to be adopted during the continuation of the Mandate and final recommendations for a radical solution. On both these subjects, Sir George William Rendel, Director of the Eastern Department of the British Foreign Office, made his observations on the following day.

He was prepared under the prevailing circumstances to accept partition, but added that "this does not mean that the proposals of the Commission, particularly in regard to the method of partition, are not open to certain serious criticisms."(35) He then put forward five criticisms of the Peel Commission's scheme of partition. These were - the exclusion of the new Arab state from any reasonable access to the sea the allocation to the Jews of the best land the problems arising from corridors the continued British control over a number of cities in northern Palestine and the incorporation of the new Arab state into Transjordan.(36) It is apparent that Rendel made no objection whatsoever to the proposal for the transfer of population, which was an integral part of the Peel Commission's method of partition.

Similarly a Foreign Office memorandum of 19 June, 1937 which had made preliminary comments and criticisms on the Peel Report,(37) had made no mention of the transfer proposal.

Rendel's memorandum was passed around the department for the observations of its civil servants, which were very positive. "I have no criticism to offer on Mr. Rendel's comments with which I agree cordially."(38) "Mr. Rendel has done an admirable piece of work and I am glad that my first reactions should have been similar to his . "(39) None of these comments made any objection to population transfer.

Two days later, William Ormsby-Gore, the British Colonial Secretary, produced a memorandum for the British Cabinet. He wrote, "It would be difficult in any circumstances for His Majesty's Government to advise the rejection of the main argument and essential recommendations of a unanimous Royal Commission." Their "penetrating analysis of the situation" led him "to accept without hesitation" their "main conclusion that the best hope of a permanent solution. lies in the drastic and difficult operation of partition." Ormsby-Gore continued, "The particular scheme of partition which is submitted in the Report. appears to me to be equitable and well conceived in its main outlines." He added that "modifications of detail" might be found necessary and "numerous practical difficulties" might arise, but he saw no reason why "given a reasonable measure of consent, these difficulties should not be surmounted."(40) Ormsby-Gore concluded by putting forward a draft statement of policy to be published simultaneously with the Peel Report.(41)

Following a request, on 28 June, Rendel presented his comments on Ormsby-Gore's memorandum. He wrote that whilst "the principle of partition is right and must be adopted" he doubted whether the Foreign office could commit themselves to Ormsby-Gore's statement that the proposed scheme of partition could be regarded as "equitable and well conceived." He added, "Indeed, the objections to the 'particular scheme of partition' put forward by the Commission seem very formidable." He then referred to his earlier memorandum in which his objections were listed.(42) Later in his memorandum, Rendel suggested amendments to Ormsby-Gore's draft "Statement of Policy".(43)

Simultaneously, with the publication of the Peel Report on 7 July, the British Government brought out a "Statement of Policy", which closely resembled the draft written by Ormsby-Gore together with some, but by no means all, of the amendments suggested by Rendel. This statement began by noting that the Government had considered the unanimous Report of the Peel Commission and "find themselves in general agreement with the arguments and conclusions of the Commission."(44) They felt that Arab and Jewish aspirations could not be satisfied under the terms of the present Mandate and that "a scheme of partition on the general lines recommended by the Commission represents the best and most hopeful solution of the deadlock."(45) Towards the end of this document they stated that "in supporting a solution of the Palestine problem by means of partition, His Majesty's Government are much impressed by the advantages which it offers both to the Arabs and the Jews."(46)

Insofar as this study is concerned, the relevant point emerging from all the above is that neither this "Statement of Policy" of the British Government nor the above quoted documents from the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office, make any objections whatsoever to the Peel Report recommendation regarding population transfer, compulsory if necessary. This fact is particularly important in view of the document published by the British Government less than six months later (and described later in this work).

It is possible that the British Government had also expressed a positive attitude towards transfer of the Arabs from Palestine twenty years earlier, at the period of the Balfour Declaration. Earlier in this work, we referred to the tribute to Weizmann broadcast by the B.B.C. Third Programme at the end of 1963 in which Lord Boothby, a non-Jewish friend of Israel and President of the Anglo-Israel Association, stated that the Balfour Declaration "was a `watered down' version of a much tougher original draft which would have made Palestine a Jewish State outright and moved the Arab population elsewhere `more or less'."(47) In consequence of this statement, a lively debate took place in the British Jewish press. During the course of this debate, two themes were discernible - Weizmann's own personal attitude to transfer and the British Government's attitude at the time, to this question. The first we have already dealt with under the heading of the "Attitude of Weizmann towards transfer." With regard to the British Government's attitude, a "Jewish Chronicle" Editorial described Boothby's "original Balfour Declaration" as a myth. It pointed out that all successive versions of this Declaration were on record and nowhere was the removal of Arabs contemplated.(48)

Boothby's reply to these criticisms was that he had based himself on the memoirs of Sir Alec Kirkbride, who for decades had served the British Government in Palestine (including Transjordan). Kirkbride had written concerning this transfer of Arabs. "At the time of the issue of this (Palestine) mandate, His Majesty's Government were too busy setting up a civil administration in Palestine proper, west of the river Jordan, to be bothered about the remote and undeveloped areas which lay to the east of the river and which were intended to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine, which they were pledged to support, became an accomplished fact."(49) Boothby added that Kirkbride had been asked by a friend if he was absolutely certain of these facts, since this friend had never seen them documented either in British, Jewish or Arab archives. Kirkbride replied that he was "absolutely certain" adding that he thought that it had not been documented because "before such a plan was in even the rudimentary stage, the Churchill-Abdullah settlement of 1921, which resulted in the formation of the Emirate of Transjordan, put an end to it."(50) The identity of this "friend" is not stated, but it is possibly Christopher Sykes, who in his book "Cross Roads to Israel" wrote in a footnote that he had received a "communication" in this matter from Kirkbride.(51)

In addition to the evidence of Sir Alec Kirkbride, Boothby had based himself on numerous conversations he had had with Weizmann, who had been a close personal fiend of his. He had also received a letter from Vera Weizmann, the widow of Chaim Weizmann confirming the accuracy of his statement in the radio programme.(52)

In letters to both the "Jewish Chronicle"(53) and the "Jewish Observer and Middle East Review", Boothby pointed out that by a slip of the tongue, which is easy enough in an impromptu and unscripted broadcast, he gave the impression that such a transfer was written into the first draft of the Balfour Declaration. What in fact he meant to convey was that until the settlement imposed on the Middle East by Churchill in 1921, "Some transfer of population was regarded as implicit in, and consequential upon the Balfour Declaration."(54)

Possible support for Kirkdale's and Boothby's contention can be found in a telegram sent by Brigadier-General Gilbert Clayton to the British Foreign Office on 18 November 1918. Clayton wrote that "the districts East of the Jordan are thinly populated and their development would allow of considerable emigration from Palestine thereby making room for Jewish expansion."(55) This indicates that this was the line of thought amongst those British involved with Palestine at the end of the First World War. [At this period, Clayton was Chief Political Officer of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and also Military Governor of O.E.T.A.-South. A few years later, he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Government of Palestine.]

In January 1964, Jon Kimche, the Editor of the "Jewish Observer and Middle East Review" visited the Weizmann Archives. There, the Director, Boris Guriel told him that "serious substantiation can be found for Lord Boothby's contention as to the original meaning of the Balfour Declaration prior to its final version . The Arabs were never mentioned in the original draft and, by way of omission, the possibility of a transfer became plausible."(56) In a letter to the same newspaper, Guriel pointed out that "regardless of whether or not the actual draft contained the `transfer' point in letter, it is the spirit and the logical consequence which count."(57) Kimche observed that after he had "heard the views of Boris Guriel, the able and knowledgeable Director of the Weizmann archives in Rehovot, it looked to me as if Lord Boothby was right after all in his controversy over the Balfour Declaration."(58)

In the course of this correspondence, opposing opinions were expressed by Sir Leon Simon, who had been one of the members of the advisory Political Committee which Weizmann and Sokolow had set up early in 1917. This Committee heard reports of discussions with British Government representatives and discussed the various drafts of the "Balfour Declaration", both those proposed by its own members and those submitted by the Government. Simon stated that he could not recollect a word being spoken about transfer of populations, and that "my certainty on that point is shared by Mr. Harry Sacher," another member of this Committee.(59) In support of his case, Simon(60) quoted from instructions issued by Lord Curzon, British Foreign Secretary, and strong anti-Zionist, to the heads of the Palestine Administration. "The Arabs will not be despoiled of their land nor required to leave the country."(61)

Simon did not, however, state the reason for the formulation of these instructions. Herbert Samuel, who at that time was Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Economic Development of Palestine, had been asked how the hostility to Zionism in Palestine could best be allayed by the administrative authorities on the spot. In his answer, Samuel pointed out that this hostility resulted from the fact that the British administrators in Palestine were acting towards the Arabs in a way which was not in accord with the Balfour Declaration. He concluded that as a result "there would naturally arise among the Arabs a feeling of doubt whether the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine is really a decided issue, and a tendency to believe that if an agitation were set on foot and a threatening attitude adopted on their part, the British Government might well be ready to abandon the intentions it had at first announced." To prevent this contingency, Samuel proposed that certain instructions be sent by the British Government to the administration in Palestine.(62) These were accepted by Curzon, who then incorporated in a despatch the identical instructions as formulated by Samuel.

In conclusion, we might state that during the course of the correspondence in 1964, Boothby observed that this resettlement of the Arab population "could, and should, have been carried out between thirty and forty years ago by the British Government, on lavish lines, when they had both the power and the money to do it."(63)

A few days after the publication of the Peel Report, Dr. Alfred Abraham Bonne, an economist who had been Director of the Economic Archives for the Near East in Jerusalem produced a memorandum, entitled "Outline for an Enquiry into the Problems of Exchange of Land and Population."

He began by explaining that some past population exchanges "had had good results, both by removing the latent possibilities of racial and religious strife and by creating new possibilities for increased immigration." On the other hand "most of the efforts to settle racial controversies in territories of mixed population by agreement were not successful." Hence, according to Bonne, the Peel Commission came to the conclusion regarding Palestine that "the racial antagonism between Jews and Arabs could only be settled by very radical means. i.e. by the exchange of population."(64)

The Peel Commission Report had quoted as a precedent the Greco-Turkish population exchange. Bonne summed up the principles involved in this exchange and then pointed out the differences and analogues between the Greco-Turkish exchange and the proposed Jewish-Arab population exchange. He concluded that this exchange would "remove definitely the antagonism between Jews and Arabs in the new state", but in view of the technical difficulties involved, it would have to be carried out energetically with the active support and guidance of the Government together with outside financial help.(65)

Bonne then discussed the voluntary or compulsory nature of this population exchange. He noted that the "fact that the Commissioners themselves have considered a compulsory exchange of population entitles the Jewish Agency to examine such a possiblity without the fear of being charged with the reproach to have taken the initiative for the evacuation of the Arabs." However, he felt that the easiest solution would be for the Arabs themselves to agree to a voluntary exchange of population since a compulsory exchange would "lead to grave attacks on Zionism and would endanger the position of Jews in the Diaspora." Bonne wrote that it would be difficult to imagine the Zionist Movement, whose aim was to create a home for a landless people, being instrumental in the expulsion of an Arab people against its will. Were the Zionists to contemplate such an evacuation, the consequences would be very grave.(66)

However, Bonne recognised the fate of the proposed Jewish State entiely dependent on this exchange of population and that it was therefore necessary "to find a formula which is acceptable to the Arabs by not having the character of a compulsory expulsion, and which will nevertheless lead to the evacuation of the country by the Arabs." Since he was certain that the Arabs would not agree to a voluntary transfer, he considered that the problem of their evacuation should become part of a greater scheme such as, "The Reform of the Agricultural Situation in the Two New States". Bonne proposed that the best way to implement this would be by a "Mixed Commission", whose composition included neutral experts and which would be attached to the League of Nations. Such a Commission might "without to much stressing the point of 'Compulsory Evacuation', positively formulate its programme, say, 'Achievement of a Great Agricultural Reform in Both States by the Resettlement of the Arab Population in the New Arab State, Development of New Water Sources, Draining of Swamps, Rounding Off and Partition of Musha'a Lands, etc.'" He added that if after thoroughly investigating the feasibility of the scheme it was found to be workable, "it could claim to eliminate the disadvantages of compulsory evacuation without foregoing its advantages."(67)

Bonne's memorandum then discussed the statistical and technical details of such a transfer, including the size of the Arab population to be evacuated, its vocational distribution, the area of the Arab owned land in the proposed Jewish State which would have to be purchased, and the finance involved in such a transfer.(68)

Because of his expertise in this subject, Bonne was assigned various duties regarding the proposal for the transfer of Arabs from Palestine. These are to found in a document headed “Distribution of Duties”. This document, which is undated, seems to have been written between the time of the publication of the Peel Report (early July 1937) and the start of the 20th Zionist Congress (early August 1937).

Amongst those listed “for the [20th Zionist] Congress” are Dr. Bonne, whose duty was concerned with the “Transfer of Arab Residents from the Jewish Area to the Arab Area”. His name was also listed “for Negotiations with the British Government and the League of Nations” on the question of “Transfer of Land and Population”.(68A)

Reference was made to Bonne's memorandum in a memorandum brought out at the same period by Dr. H. Oppenheimer. In it he commented, "It has often been said that the evacuation scheme proposed by the Royal Commission is incompatible with their demand for the protection of minorities." To resolve this conflict, Oppenheimer considered that one would have to distinguish between two periods: the transition period, namely the period whilst the Arabs were being transferred, and the period which followed after. During this transition period "the methods of protecting the minorities have to be adapted to the requirements of the evacuation scheme." Only after completion of the transfer, would the Arabs remaining in Palestine "enjoy full protection of their rights."(68B )

At a meeting held between Ben-Gurion, Weizmann and the British Colonial Secretary, Ormsby-Gore on 28 June 1937, Weizmann requested that he and his friends be given a copy of the Peel Report before the official publication date. Ormsby-Gore agreed that this matter would be raised at a meeting to be held in two days time.(69)

On 1 July, Blanche Dugdale wrote in her diary, "Went to Zionist office and found Chaim (Weizmann) raging, after a telephone talk with Boyd (Ormsby-Gore's secretary) in which he learned he was not to get the Report till Monday (5 July) - i.e. three days before publication. I have never seen him so angry."(70) We also know from her diary that by Friday, 2 July, Shertok knew the contents of the Peel Report.(71) However Baffy did not state from where Shertok got his "pre-publication" information on the contents of the Peel Report, but it could well have been from Weizmann. A few days earlier (29 June), Weizmann, who by then had elicited from various sources information on many of the points made in the Peel Report, wrote a confidential letter to Stephen Wise. In this letter he listed these points and in connection with the transfer proposal, Weizmann wrote: "Something in the way of an exchange of populations - or perhaps more correctly of territories."(72)

On 5 July - two days before the publication of the Report - the Mapai Central Committee met. ["Mapai" - an acronym for Mifleget Poale Eretz Israel - the Palestine Workers' Party, was founded in 1930 by the amalgamation of several labour groups, as a Zionist-Socialist party faithful to the ideal of national redemption and socialism in the homeland. It immediately became the dominant party of the Jewish Community in Palestine.]

At the Mapai meeting on 5 July, Shertok gave a summary of the Peel Report, including the section on the population exchange proposal. He reported that the Commission had presented the exchange proposal very forcefully. "They say: At first glance, this appears to be a very bold thing, but the question before us is such that it requires a bold solution."

However, as Shertok pointed out, although the Commission put forward its proposal as an "Exchange of Population", the unequal numbers of Arabs and Jews involved by this "exchange" meant that the stress would inevitably be on a "compulsory transfer" of Arabs. He added, however, that the Peel Commission did not state this specifically but "hoped" that the Arab and Jewish leaders would themselves come to an understanding on this matter.(73)

Shertok's summary was followed by a discussion. However, only two speakers - Chaim Shorer and Yitzchak Ben-Zvi - referred to the recommendation on population transfer. Shorer felt "there was no real value to be placed on the chances of transferring the Arabs to Transjordan, because they would not wish to leave a Jewish Palestine of their own freewill, and we are not going to transfer them by force."(74)

Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, a founder of Mapai and later the second President of the State of Israel, commented in passing on this proposal, "Obviously there are great difficulties attached to the partition plan, for example the difficulty in transferring 100,000 Arabs from the Galilean mountains."(75)

The Mapai Central Committee was divided over the Peel Commission proposals, but decided to accept the principle of partition.

Further comments on transfer of Arabs were made by several speakers at a Mapai Council meeting held between 9 - 11 July 1937, which was a few days after the official publication of the Peel Report.

Amongst the speakers at this meeting was Yitzchak Tabenkin, who whilst stating that the Mapai Party should not press for a decision supporting the transfer of "tens of thousands of Arabs", added that "if the Arabs were to agree and we would be able to transfer them, I would not rebel against this". However, he said that he was against the establishment of a Jewish State if it involved the compulsory transfer of Arabs.(76) Hence we see that Tabenkin was prepared to accept voluntary transfer of Arabs whilst strongly opposing compulsory transfer.

Berl Katznelson spoke at some length on the question of Arab transfer. He said that this proposal in the Peel Report would do a great service to the Zionist cause were it to be implemented but were it not to be implemented it could be dangerous. He pointed out that there was a saying that there are things that one should always think about, but should never speak about. This saying was appropriate to the question of Arab transfer. He reminded the meeting that he had said at the time of the Arab pogroms that one needed to find all sorts of political solutions regarding the Arab question and "I told myself: The historical solution will be population exchange." Katznelson knew that there were Arab countries neighbouring Palestine who needed money and an increase in population, but to speak about it would be harmful and could lead to the Arabs rebelling. He observed that the British were talking of Arab transfer, and he asked whether they had a plan for implementation whether in fact there could there be such a plan and whether it could be implemented. If not why were the British talking about it?!(77)

Israel Idelson, a leading member of the Kibbutz HaMe'uchad movement, spoke about the demographic problem in Palestine and pointed out that no-one at that meeting could possibly believe that it would be possible within the near future to implement what the Peel Commission had proposed regarding Arab transfer. The Arabs would not transfer voluntarily - it was not in their interests to move to Transjordan or Beersheba. Regarding compulsory transfer, Idelson queried whether it was implementable or desirable? Moshe Shertok then interjected: "The compulsion comes after the agreement." Idelson agreed with Shertok and drew the parallel with the Greco-Turkish transfer, adding however, that the reason for Greece's agreement to compulsory transfer was that she knew that if her nationals did not transfer from Turkey, they would remain under an oppressive regime. It was the reality of the situation which forced Greece to agree to the transfer.(78)

Another speaker who brought up the question of transfer was Yitzchak Wilkansky (Elazari-Volcani), an agronomist who was one of the founders of the Institute for Agricultural Studies in Rehovot. He reminded the meeting that in the past when the Zionists had bought tracts of land, it was called "expulsion" and "now the mouth that forbade is the one which permits and speaks of population transfer. I think that we need to hold on to this paragraph even more than [demanding] extending the borders [of the proposed Jewish State]. This paragraph is the most important one for us and we should not be over-pious and righteous at a time when the Righteous Gentiles of the World, are in fact giving us permission". Wilkansky felt that implementing such transfer would not be easy "but this paragraph is very important and is worth more than two million dunams [of land]."(79)

These were not the first occasions that the various forums of the Mapai party had debated the question of possible partition and Arab transfer from Palestine. About sixteen months earlier, at a meeting of the Political Committee of Mapai, Ben-Gurion asked the meeting that in the event that Britain would be prepared to help the Zionists to the maximum, what should the Zionists demand from Britain. Moshe Beilinson, who was one of the chief spokesman of the Zionist Labour Movement, suggested that Britain should be approached for “extensive aid for a large development plan, which would enable the evacuation of large Arab tracts of land for our colonisation, through an agreement with the fellahin.”(79A)

A meeting of the Mapai Central Committee was held nearly a year later at the beginning of February 1937. The Peel Commission had just finished taking evidence in Palestine and Ben-Gurion attempted on the basis of its questions and comments, to forcast its recommendations. After putting forward a number of possibilities, he suggested that the Jews should be prepared for a radical solution of the problem, such as the establishment of two states, Jewish and Arab, in Palestine. The Commission was already thinking on these lines and it had also previously been suggested by Sir Stafford Cripps, a prominent member of the British Labour Party. After discussing the minimum practical area for the Jewish State, Ben-Gurion pointed out that there would be three hundred thousand Arabs within its borders which could result in a serious rebellion by the Arabs.

In the discussion which followed, Shertok said that such a partition plan was "filled with difficulties and explosive". He referred to the three hundred thousand Arabs who would find themselves under a Jewish Government. "It won't be easy to make a population exchange", said Shertok, "It won't be an easy thing to remove the Arabs of Bet Dagon and Zarnuga from their houses and orchards, and resettle them in the Huleh. And if (the Commission) really want to remove the Arab population by force, it will undoubtedly lead to bloodshed on such a scale that the present (Arab) rebellion in Palestine will in comparison fade into insignificance." He felt that population transfer could not be implemented, "at least during the transition period" without British might and he was doubtful whether the British would have the courage to defend militarily the building of a Jewish National Home.(80)

Shertok's opinion regarding the impracticability of the transfer of the Arabs from Palestine came up again in a conversation in London during the following month with a few colleagues, including Weizmann, Namier and Blanche Dugdale, who were voicing their opinions regarding the possible partition of Palestine. Shertok considered the partition plan as compared with other possibilities to be acceptable, but he felt that a major difficulty would be the question of defence. He added that population transfer was out of the question, since the Arabs in the Jewish State would not be prepared to exchange their orchards for land in Transjordan.(81)

Just over a month later at a meeting of the Zionist General Council held in Jerusalem on 22 April, the question of the Arabs in the proposed Jewish State came up. Shertok repeated his objections to the transfer of population which he felt was a "false attraction and a harmful idea." Again he queried the likelihood of any Arab being prepared to exchange land and asked what the proposed exchange would involve, adding that such a plan could lead to bloodshed. He also discounted the parallel with the Greco-Turkish population exchange, where he maintained the conditions were completely different, although he declined to itimise the differences. However, Shertok did qualify his statement with regard to the "distant" future. He said that he was prepared to see as a future possibility "the exchange of population on a more decisive scale and over a much greater area."(82)

Shertok's view that transfer might be possible in the future came up again at a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive in London at the beginning of 1943. Namier said that "transfer was the most essential thing" although he realised its difficulties especially concerning moving the peasants. To this Shertok replied that transfer could only come about by agreement. He did not envisage that such an agreement would be achieved prior to the creation of a Jewish State or of large-scale Jewish immigration though they "would work for such an agreement." Shertok said that British experts believed that the Arabs would become reconciled to a Jewish State once it had been established and that it was "then that transfer might become a possibility" but he did not think the two things would come about simultaneously.

In answer to a query as to whether "the question of transfer should be a matter for discussion amongst themselves or in public", Shertok replied that he "would not raise it in public, but of course, if someone were to raise it at a meeting", he would reply to it. Namier felt that the "whole question of transfer would be discussed on a much larger scale" after the termination of the Second World War and said that he had been told that "the question of transfer was gaining ground among statesmen." Whereupon Shertok answered , "If transfer on a large-scale were to come into question, then naturally (we) could bring in (our) own comparatively small problem."


Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry. A Survey of Palestine, vol. 1. Jerusalem: Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry, 1946. Reprint, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991.

Hurewitz, J. C. The Struggle for Palestine. New York: Schocken Books, 1976.

John, Robert, and Hadawi, Sami. The Palestine Diary: Volume 1, 1914 – 1945. New York: New World Press, 1970.

Morris, Benny. Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist – Arab Conflict, 1881 – 1999. New York: Knopf, 1999.

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

International commissions are regularly dispatched to investigate the problem of Palestine but have never formulated the political decisions that were put into practice. In introducing the commissions that are the focus of this study, the Introduction sets out what is at stake in this seeming paradox. It poses questions about the broader social and ideological effects of investigative commissions and how they spread liberalism's ideals through international law's institutions. This book explores the habitus of international law and takes legal rules as the "negative space" of analysis in order to look at law as an emotionally charged space of action. It proposes a way to think anthropologically about liberalism as an embodied and affectively charged way of being and makes an argument for the political and scholarly importance of exploring international law ethnographically.

In 1919 US President Woodrow Wilson sent the King-Crane Commission to the Arab region to assess public opinion in order to advise the Paris Peace Conference delegates regarding political transition after the Ottoman Empire's demise. The investigators found that the Arabs, including people who were coming to identify as Palestinian, had a clear vision for a democratic system of governance that would include constitutional guarantees for minority rights with special consideration for the rights of Jews as equal citizens. The commission was a first forum in which Arabs developed public hope that a liberal international order would include them in a nation-state of equal stature to others of the international community. Despite expressing their demands in the reasonable language of international law, the Great Powers granted the Palestine mandate to Great Britain. A full cycle of the hope and disappointment that would mark future international interventions in Palestine was complete.

By the time the British appointed the fateful Royal Peel Commission in 1936, the Arabs were declaring publicly that they had "no hope in the fairness of the government and thus, they see no point in cooperating with its Commission," as Palestinian leader Hajj Amin al-Husayni explained. Great Britain's penchant for sending investigative commissions to Palestine while continuing their mandate in a way that supported the Zionist project led Palestinians to boycott the Peel Commission—which would nevertheless go on to recommend the partition of Palestine into distinct Jewish and Arab entities. This chapter explains how the Arabs' initial rejection of the Peel Commission during the 1936–1939 Arab Revolt was enabled by the transnational development of an anticolonial world and its distinctive universalizing discourse not subsumed by the League of Nations or its articulations of international law.

Demands being made of Palestinians to prove their political credibility changed yet again after World War II. When the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was dispatched in 1946 to "examine the question of European Jewry and to . . . review the Palestine Problem in light of that examination," shifts in the overlying and underlying principles guiding assessments of Palestinian readiness for sovereignty became apparent. It is in the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that the newly crystallized political epistemology of suffering, sympathy, and humanitarianism comes into the frame, the moment when sympathy for Jewish suffering becomes the barometer of liberalism. In describing how Palestinians, Arab leaders, Zionists, the British, and Americans debated how to fulfill humanitarian ideals that prioritized helping the displaced Jews of Europe, this chapter demonstrates how the policing of affect is a fundamental part of how international law functions.

In 1969, the UN General Assembly established the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories. It became a matrix pulling a steady stream of Palestinians into the UN's instantiation of the liberal-legal order, continually reinstilling hope among an ever-wider array of Palestinians in international human rights and humanitarian law. Debates about this committee reveal how many at the UN believed that solving the Palestine issue through international law was synonymous with the mission of the UN itself. This equation turned the UN into a hothouse of hope for Palestinians in the 1960s and 1970s, fostering an expectation that there is an "international community" that cares about their predicament and can wield international law to do something about it. Third World solidarity for Palestinians at the UN cultivated a false hope in international law.

Just as sympathy for Jewish suffering became the requirement of the good liberal after World War II, showing a balanced compassion for the feelings of all was the mark of the new millennium's properly sympathetic liberal subject. This chapter provides an ethnographic account of the Mitchell Committee, a US-led fact-finding group that investigated the actions of Palestinians and Israelis during the second intifada that began in 2000. These "democratic listeners" prioritized the enactment of liberal communicative ideals, imposing false equivalences between occupier and occupied in a way that allowed apparent evenhandedness to displace legal principles. Palestinians, in contrast, reasserted their contention that the precepts of human rights and humanitarian law should be core to the conflict's solution. Not only did they look to international law for confirmation of Palestinian political positions, but also for validation of their moral claims and lived experience.

This chapter examines several UN investigations with a focus on the controversial Goldstone Mission's 2009 investigation into fighting in the Gaza Strip. It explores why many saw the Goldstone report that named some Israeli and Palestinian actions as possible war crimes as a turning point toward finally holding perpetrators of egregious violations accountable. It analyzes the liberal practice of redemptive witnessing and the intensifying discourse of crime and punishment that swirled through these commissions, and shows how the International Criminal Court and other international legal innovations inspired in Palestinians renewed hope in international law.

Engaging with a range of scholarly takes on law as an ideological social field, from Pierre Bourdieu to E. P. Thompson, the concluding chapter reflects on what a more thoroughly ethnographic and subaltern studies approach to questions of international legal hegemony might offer to our understanding of liberalism and Palestinian politics. The moments of history recounted in this book show how Palestinians held tight to liberal values and employed international legal tools to make their case because they were liberals who believed these values and principles to be a means to justice. This history gestures at why such an embroilment with international law matters it has produced repeatedly unfulfilled promises and hopeful expectations and has occluded of other forms of action, argument, and resistance.

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

"The aim of Zionism in the erection for the Jewish people of a publicly recognised, legally secured home in Palestine. Not a Jewish State". President of the 10th Zionist Congress, Basle 1911.

The Concept of Transfer

With Palestinian riots erupting in 1936, Britain decided to dispatch a commission to investigate the causes for the riots and the clashes taking place between Jews and Arabs. The Royal Commission, known as the Royal (Peel) Commission arrived in Palestine in November of that year led by William W Peel, 1 st Earl Peel (1867-1937). It interviewed Zionist and Arab leaders before it made its recommendations suggesting in a nut shell that &ldquosooner or later, there should be a transfer of land and, as far as possible, an exchange of population&rdquo.

Lord Peel arriving in Mandate Palestine, November 1936

The Commission&rsquos recommendations were seen as the first official indication of a plan to partition Palestine and to transfer its population, an idea credited to one of the Peel Commission members, Reginald Couplan, who was considered Zionism&rsquos greatest friend on the Royal Commission. But contrary to general belief, the idea of partition did not occur in the Commission's mind until after its members had left Palestine and after its 396-page Report had been written. For the first time in any government document, it was stated that the existing mandate for Palestine was unworkable and that the aspirations of Arabs and Jews were irreconcilable. Yet the Commision's Report was enthusiastically received by a powerful group called The Milner Group (see next section) and was accepted as policy.

So the transfer concept was slowly tied to the idea of partitioning and became the central core of all Zionist lobbying efforts that followed.

Moshe Shertok (1894-1965), who, like Jabotinsky, was born in the Ukraine, (and later became the 2 nd Prime Minister of Israel), was elected as the head of the political department of the Jewish Agency. He was crucial in formulating policies on the question of transfer. In a speech to the Zionist Actions Committee in April 1937, he stated:

&ldquoThe proposed Jewish state would not be continuous. The frontier line would separate villages from their fields&hellipthe Arab reaction would be negative [to the partition idea] because they would loose everything and gain almost nothing&hellipthey would loose the richest part of Palestine&hellipthe orange plantations, the commercial and industrial centres&hellipmost of the coastal areas&hellipand [they] would be driven out into the desert. As for now, we must not forget who would have to exchange the land? Those villagers who live more than others on irrigation, on orange and fruit plantations, in houses built near water wells and pumping stations, on livestock and property and easy access to markets. Where would they go? What would they receive in return? This would be such an uprooting, such a shock the likes of which had never occurred before and could drown the whole thing in rivers of blood&rdquo.

This revealing speech, could have been made today as it would reflect exactly what is happening to the Palestinian territories now. The fear amongst the Palestinian people was that the Peel Commission was taking one step towards turning the Balfour Declaration of a &lsquoJewish National Home&rsquo into a Jewish State.

Although Ben-Gurion admitted that he could forsee enormous difficulties &ldquoin uprooting by foreign force some 100,000 Arabs from the villages in Galilee which they have inhabited for hundreds of years&rdquo, he was, nevertheless, determined that &ldquowe must be prepared to carry out the transfer&hellipwe must expel Arabs and take their place, and if we have to use force&hellipthe we have force at our disposal&hellipOur strength will exceed theirs [the Arabs] and we will be better organised and equipped because behind us still stands&hellipthe whole younger generation of Jews from Europe and America&rdquo.

This is from a terrorist who became the first Prime Minister of Israel.

Eliezer Kaplan (1891-1952), born in Minsk, Belurussia, was appointed head of the Finance and Administrative Department of the Jewish Executive (and later became the Finance Minister in Ben-Gurion government). He declared that &ldquothe question here is not one of expulsion, but of organised transfer from Jewish territories to another place&rdquo.

Other Zionist leaders were even worried that such a transfer to neighbouring countries would actually jeopardize future expansion of the Jewish state [into these neighbouring countries]!

One of the leaders of the Mapai Party, Yosef Baratz (1890-1968), born in the Ukraine but moved to Palestine against his parents&rsquo wishes, was initially doubtful whether it would be possible to transfer 300,000 Palestinian Arabs. Yet, he confidently remembered that: &ldquo&hellipdind&rsquot we transfer Arabs from D&rsquoAganiya [the first Zionist communal settlement in Palestine where he lived and married] , Kenert, Merhavya and Mishmar Haemek? I remember the nights on which Shmuel Dayan [Moshe Dayan&rsquos father] and I were called to help Hashomer [a Zionist terrorist organization] carry out Arab evacuation. What was the sin in that?&rdquo.

Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) was born in a kibbutz to Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. He later became Israel&rsquos defense minister between 1953-1958. He spoke of the effect of the Zionist transfer policy on the Palestinian landscape [as quoted in Haaretz in April 1969]: Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages [in Palestine]. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not either. Nahlal [Dayan&rsquos own settlement] arose in the place of Mahlool Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis Kefar Yehushu&rsquoa in the place of Tal Al-Shuman. There is not one single place in this country [Israel] that did not have a former Arab population&rdquo.

The records of the Protocol of the 20 th Zionist Congress on 9 August 1937, show that the idea of transfer was heavily debated: &ldquoin Dr Weizman&rsquos opinion, it would be possible to transfer 100,000 Palestinians in 20 years, i.e., 5,000 per year. He [Weizmann] told of a plan to set up a fund for a large [Arab] re-settlement. The Jews will contribute to this the amount of 1 million Palestinian pounds, and another 2 million pounds will be given&hellipfrom the savings of the Mandatory treasury&rdquo.

Menachem Ussishkin (1863-1941), born in Imperial Russia and elected chairman of the powerful and influential Jewish National Fund, advocated the transfer of Palestinians not only to Transjordan, but to Iraq [the farther the better, he apparently thought]: &ldquothe Arab people in Palestine have immense areas of land at their disposal. Our people have nothing. We demand that our inheritance, Palestine, be returned to us&rdquo.

Dr Selig Soskinnother character, Dr Selig Soskin (1872-1959), Director of the Land Settlement Department of the Jewish National Fund, had extensive knowledge of land issues and means of transferring people form one place to another. He advocated the idea of total transfer of Palestinians as a condition for the establishment of a Jewish state. With the help of the Land Fund set up to purchase Arab land, he argued that the transfer must be carried out with the greatest speed possible: &ldquoThe transfer of the Arabs by such numbers in a long period shall not have the desired effect of freeing the country from the heavy burden of a second class citizen and from cheap producers. Besides, the small numbers suggested by the Peel Commission will be made up by the natural increase in numbers through their economic development under Jewish rule&rdquo. He estimated that 40,000 Palestinian families or 250,000 Palestinian Arabs will have to be transferred from the proposed Jewish state. The cost of this transfer, he estimated, would be about £P200 per Arab family.

For Zionists, the ‘two state solution’ has always meant more ethnic cleansing

David Ben-Gurion (Photo: Arnold Newman)

A Palestinian state has always been a fiction for Zionists. Therefore, the notion of partition in any form of historical Palestine was only ever endorsed by Zionists as a political-diplomatic means towards overtaking more territory and dispossessing more Palestinians.

To demonstrate this, I shall first go back to an early partition plan – that of the British Royal Peel Commission of 1937, to gradually reach our present day.

The British Peel Commission partition plan

The British Royal Peel Commission was constructed in order to determine the origins of the great tensions between what they would regard as “Jews and Arabs”, following the onset of the Great Arab Revolt by Arab Palestinians of 1936 (which lasted until 1939).

The Peel Commission report assessed that 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 Home.
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 Britain
(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 Power.

The Peel Commission’s suggested solution was to separate the two populations. The ‘Jewish state’ would consist of the central coastal plain and the northern Galilee areas, the ‘Arab state’ would be from the West Bank down through to the furthest south, and in between, a corridor from Jaffa to Jerusalem would be under British Mandate auspices.

This solution would involve what it called “exchange of populations”: ”

“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”.

What did exchange mean? The Peel Commission pointed out that there were about 225,000 Arabs alongside 400,000 Jews in the suggested Jewish state, and that minority– along with the 1250 Jews in the Arab state — created a problem.

The existence of these minorities clearly constitutes the most serious hindrance to the smooth and successful operation of Partition.

The Zionists understood “population exchange” as a euphemism for forced “transfer” in general, and they saw it as a welcomed opening and legitimation of their designs for ethnic cleansing so as to obtain a strong Jewish majority. David Ben-Gurion:

“In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the [Palestinian] Arab fellahin…it is important that this plan comes from the [British Peel] Commission and not from us…Jewish power, which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out the transfer on a large scale. You must remember, that this system embodies an important humane and Zionist idea, to transfer parts of a people to their country and to settle empty lands. We believe that this action will also bring us closer to an agreement with the Arabs.”

Ben-Gurion’s words confirm the utter centrality of “transfer” for the Zionist project. As Israeli historian Benny Morris put it:

“transfer was inevitable and inbuilt in Zionism – because it sought to transform a land which was ‘Arab’ into a Jewish state and a Jewish state could not have arisen without a major displacement of Arab population”.

Ben-Gurion, the Zionist leader who became the first prime minister of Israel, was in support of that partition – not as an end, but as a beginning. He wrote this to his son Amos in 1937:

“My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.”

And what, may we ask, is this “entire country”? The simple answer could be Mandate Palestine. But actually, Ben-Gurion had greater ambitions. Speaking in a Labor party meeting in 1937 in support of the Peel partition, he said:

“The acceptance of partition does not commit us to renounce Transjordan. One does not demand from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today–but the boundaries of the Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.”

This particular reference to Transjordan as a part of the coveted (some would say promised) land, put Ben-Gurion on par with the expansionist aims of the Jabotinskyite Revisionists to his right (they wanted a revision of the British Mandate to include Transjordan so that the Jewish State could cover both Palestine and Jordan. The Irgun emblem shows this as one territory).

Actually, Ben-Gurion’s visions of ‘Eretz Israel’ as he would regard it, and that he would covet, were yet bigger. In 1918 he described it:

“To the north, the Litani river [in southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-‘Arish and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan”.

A map of this vision was submitted by the World Zionist Organization in 1919 to the Paris Peace Conference in the wake of WW1.

The Peel Commission’s partition plan was naturally met with vehement disagreement by the native Palestinians. Its bias was obvious, and only strengthened what the British had already noted as “Arab distrust in the sincerity of the British Government” as well as “the general uncertainty as to the ultimate intentions of the Mandatory Power”. Eventually the plan was shelved. Yet the Zionists at the time were looking at the Peel partition plan with great interest, as mentioned. The “increase” and “reinforcement” of “strength” and the “powerful boost” that Ben-Gurion was writing about was not just a general political legitimation matter. The Peel partition plan had also entailed a population transfer, and was openly legitimizing it. It was using the precedence of the “exchange effected between the Greek and Turkish populations on the morrow of the Greco-Turkish War of 1922”.

The Zionists were thus rather giddy at this point, because the most central, inevitable and inbuilt aspect of their colonization was now openly being suggested by a major world power.

Zionist leader and later 1st President Chaim Weizmann wrote to the British-Palestine High Commissioner in 1937:

“We shall spread in the whole country in the course of time … this is only an arrangement for the next 25 to 30 years.”

Ben-Gurion would write in his diary in 1937:

“The compulsory transfer of the [Palestinian] Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own during the days of the first and second Temples. . . We are given an opportunity which we never dared to dream of in our wildest imaginings. This is MORE than a state, government and sovereignty – this is national consolidation in a free homeland.”

“With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] … I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.”

Ben-Gurion emphasized this position in 1938 once again:

“[I am] satisfied with part of the country, but on the basis of the assumption that after we build up a strong force following the establishment of the state–we will abolish the partition of the country and we will expand to the whole Land of Israel.”

The Zionists immediately acted on the Peel Commission notion of transfer, reading this as a principle green light for ethnic cleansing. They quickly established a Population Transfer Committee.

WW2, the White Paper and limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine

It would not be long before the world would be embroiled in another World War. Already in the 1937 Peel report, there was a recommendation to limit Jewish immigration, as a response to one of the mentioned causes of unrest:

“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” (chapter 10 in the report).

Eventually the British Government decided to apply some of the recommendations of the Peel 1937 report, and it did so in 1939, on the eve of the war, with what is known as the White Paper. Concerning immigration, it limited this to 75.000 over the next five years:

“For each of the next five years a quota of 10,000 Jewish immigrants will be allowed on the understanding that a shortage one year may be added to the quotas for subsequent years, within the five year period, if economic absorptive capacity permits.
In addition, as a contribution towards the solution of the Jewish refugee problem, 25,000 refugees will be admitted as soon as the High Commissioner is satisfied that adequate provision for their maintenance is ensured, special consideration being given to refugee children and dependents.”

Moreover, the White Paper went against the partition notion, and called for the establishment of a one independent Palestinian state within a period of ten years:

“The independent State should be one in which Arabs and Jews share government in such a way as to ensure that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded.”

This put the Zionists in a very awkward position. Their endeavor was indeed to make Palestine a Jewish State, while the White Paper stated unequivocally:

“His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.”

This was a major blow for the Zionists, in both political and practical terms. The duality of alliance that Zionists would now feel concerning the British, is epitomized in Ben Gurion’s famous quote from 1939:

“We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war.”

In 1942 Ben Gurion would gather thousands of Zionists at the Biltmore Hotel in New York, where the declaration therefrom included a complete rejection of the White Paper.

Although there were differing attitudes by various Zionist factions as to how this duality should play itself out throughout WW2, the end of the war also marked a moment of unity by all Zionist factions: in October 1945 they officially formed the Jewish Resistance Movement, wherein Ben Gurion’s maistream Haganah militias officially cooperated with the Revisionist militias (Irgun, Stern Gang), to attack British installations. The movement was officially dismantled in the wake of the King David Hotel bombing in 1946, where there was a disagreement about the timing of the attack, and the Haganah sought to distance itself from the Irgun and Lehi due to the somewhat unfortunate moral and political ramifications of the event in terms of public opinion. The main target of these militias was of course the eventual ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which would be achieved later, once it was clear that the British were disappearing as a colonial moderating force. They would later largely assist each other’s main goal in the various raids of 1948, and the newly formed Israeli army would incorporate all factions into its ranks.

1947 partition plan

Come 1947, and Jews were now constituting about 1/3 of Palestine’s population, owning close to 7% of the land. Nonetheless, the UN ‘partition plan’ awarded over 55% of the territory to them. This was of course internationally sanctioned colonialist expansionism by its very definition. The Palestinians naturally rejected it, and were right to do so, as Fathi Nemer excellently argues in his recent article on this site. The Zionists were of course elated once again by the partition plan, not because of the precise territory allocated (they were obviously not content with it, nor intended to stick to it), but because of the legitimacy afforded to the ‘Jewish state’.

This plan, though not anchored in international law (it was not in the UN’s mandate to create states), gave the Zionists a green light to continue the colonialist conquest of Palestine with full force. The campaign of ethnic cleansing began to take place well before Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948, by which time close to half of the Palestinian 1948 Nakba victims were already dispossessed, and over 200 Palestinian villages already destroyed. By early 1949, Israel had expanded beyond the UN partition plan lines, to 78% of historical Palestine.

Israel was never going to let those refugees back, because it was part of the whole point of creating a Jewish State.

Oslo accords

The 1993 and 1995 ‘Oslo accords’ between Israel and the PLO came out of the famous ‘peace process’ which started in 1991 in Madrid, during which Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir coined the ‘teaspoon policy’: endless negotiating sessions at which countless teaspoons amounting to mountains of sugar would be stirred into oceans of tea and coffee, but no agreement would ever be reached. Yet lo and behold, under Yitzhak Rabin, an agreement was reached. Many were in the erroneous impression that this was already some kind of ‘two state solution’, but it was not. Rabin assured several times that it was not, and unequivocally called it “less than a state” as far as Palestine was concerned, when he spoke to the Knesset just a couple of months before he was murdered.

The Oslo accords were actually an ‘interim’ agreement, which indeed ‘partitioned’ what was left of Palestine (22%) into a complicated network of full Israeli control (area C) over what was effectively an archipelago of Palestinian Bantustans. Area C of the West Bank is over 60% of that territory, and surrounds these ‘islands’ from all directions. Indeed – less than a state.

And what would this ‘interim’ possibly result in? Well, that was subject to future negotiations which were to take place, with all critical issues, including territory, refugees, Jerusalem etc.

This would mean that at best, Palestinians would be given supposedly ‘generous offers’ such as that of Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000, which would still amount to Bantustans. Under this plan the Palestinian land share in the West Bank for the first 6 to 21 years would be about 77% (if all went well, and better than with Oslo). Barak would chide them for not being satisfied with that, and that there is hence “no one to talk to”.

It has been somewhat of an orthodoxy in the West, that the Palestinian refugee return issue would simply be relegated to a “return” to the remaining bit of Palestine that would one day possibly be negotiated. Hence – the ‘two state solution’ as it would be called, would represent a legitimation of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, preserving the Zionist mission of ‘Jewish state’ which could not exist without ethnic cleansing.

It is worth noting in this respect, that even in the ‘Clinton parameters’ of late 2000, which went much further than Barak’s ‘generous offer’ of summer 2000 (Camp David), the refugee issue had to be taken away from Israel: both parties had to agree that refugees would not return to Israel, but to what was left of Palestine (or resettled elsewhere), and that this would satisfy UN Resolution 194 of December 1948 calling for their return. Following the failed negotiations of these parameters in January 2001 (Taba), the parties declared that “they have never been so close to an accord”.

A private note written by Barak to his Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami on the eve of the Taba negotiations, reveals the absolutely intransigent Israeli attitude concerning refugees:

“Shlomo shalom

– Enormous readiness for a painful settlement but not a humiliating one. (the right of return).

– Vital to preserve hope …but with realism – there is no agreement because we insist on what is vital for Israel (no right of return, appropriate settlement blocs, Jerusalem and the holy places and security arrangements)”.

(This note was passed on to Avi Shlaim and is cited in his updated edition of The Iron Wall).

Notice, how the refugee right of return is considered “humiliating” by Barak.

Barak eventually suspended the talks, in order to attend to the upcoming elections, in which he was expected to lose to Sharon, and did, by a landslide.

“Disengagement” from Gaza

If Zionists accept ‘partition’ in historical Palestine, this is to be considered a temporary matter as we have seen, and a move that offers some future prospect of expansion. Hence, Sharon’s famous 2005 ‘disengagement’ from Gaza, was a move designed to strengthen, not weaken, Israeli expansionism. Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weissglass expressed this ahead of the ‘disengagement’:

“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. […] That is exactly what happened. You know, the term `peace process’ is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it’s the return of refugees, it’s the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen…. what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did.”

It is internationally and widely understood that Israel never really ‘disengaged’ from Gaza. It merely took some 8,000 settlers out, threw the key away, and kept controlling Gaza, which has now become an uninhabitable concentration camp, subject to seasonal massacre campaigns.

As Weissglass noted, Israel got points for its settler-expansionism in the West Bank, and the Oslo area C has become a major arena for accelerated ethnic cleansing, with various future plans for annexation coming also from government officials.

This is what ‘partition’ means for Israel. It never meant a ‘two state solution’ as we would generally understand it. Israel has never accepted the existence of an actual Palestinian state on any part of historical Palestine, only some form of ‘autonomy’ in “less than a state” as Rabin said, or in a “state minus” as Netanyahu said.

It is natural that many people perceive ‘partition’ as a kind of compromise: both ‘sides’ get a part of the cake, as it were. But this is not a correct appraisal, when the balance of power is as it is. In this state of affairs, any ‘compromise’ that Israel accepts is only a strengthening of its power to take more. Just as Ben-Gurion had written to his son in 1937: “This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole”.

The question is, whether we want to let Palestinians be subject to the schemes of Zionists, David Ben-Gurion, Dov Weissglass, et al, because that would mean that they would not get their rights until they all turn into Finns. In other words, when hell freezes over.

So where are the Palestinian voices in mainstream media?

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Our news and analysis is available to everyone – which is why we need your support. Please contribute so that we can continue to raise the voices of those who advocate for the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity and peace.

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What was the purpose of the Peel Commission?

Headed by Lord Robert Peel, the Peel Commission was a royal commission of inquiry from London that was sent to Palestine to investigate the roots of the Arab-Jewish conflict at the height of the 1936-39 disturbances in 1936-39.

The commission evidenced a massive amount of testimonies in Palestine, and in July 1937 issued its recommendations, that of abolishing the Mandate system of British administered Palestine, and that of partitioning the country between the Arabs and Jews.

The Commission further recommended the creation of a zone of international supervision between Jaffa and Jerusalem, that would remain under the British government&rsquos administration.

According to the Peel Commission, the Jewish state would include - the Jezreel Valley. the Galilee, the coastal strip stretching from Mount Carmel on towards south of Be'er Tuvia. The newly created Arab state would include the hilly regions of Judea, Negev, and Samaria.

The commission further highlighted prohibiting Jews from purchasing land in the area till the region has been parted between the two communities.

To overcome the problems of demarcation problems, the commission proposed concurrent land exchanges with the transfer of population from one side to the other. Demarcating the precise partitioning borders was rightly entrusted to a technical committee.

The British government had at that time accepted the recommendations of the Peel Commission for the division of Palestine, and the announcement of the same was endorsed by the Parliament in London.

The Arabs outrightly rejected the proposal and refused to regard the partition as a solution, while on the Jewish side bitter disagreements erupted between supporters and opponents of the Peel Commission. The erupting drama ultimately led to the plan being shelved.

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

c u s t o m c a r t o g r a p h y

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Belchertown State School (Images of America)

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Partitioning Palestine: British Policymaking at the End of Empire

University of Chicago Press: 2019
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maps A, B, and C, October 1938
&bull Palestine Land Transfers Regulations, 1940
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&bull Highway &ldquodesire lines&rdquo and proposed highway construction, 1948
&bull Alternate routes proposed by Cambridge anti-highway organizers, 1965
&bull The Southwest Corridor through Boston's southern neighborhoods

Megan Ybarra
Green Wars: Conservation and Decolonization in the Maya Forest
University of California Press: 2017
&bull Extent of the Maya Forest*
&bull Fieldwork sites and the Franja Transversal del Norte*
&bull Original and current boundaries of Lake Lachuá National Park*
&bull Ethnolinguistic map*
* Sadly, these maps were altered by the press without my knowledge
or consent what was published is NOT what was submitted.

Keith Stavely & Kathleen Fitzgerald
United Tastes: The Making of the First American Cookbook
University of Massachusetts Press: 2017
&bull American Cookery: Original editions, advertisements, later printings,
and plagiarisms, 1796&ndash1831

Conrad Edick Wright
Pedagogues and Protesters: The Harvard College Student Diary of Stephen Peabody, 1767&ndash1768
University of Massachusetts Press: 2017
&bull Harvard Class of 1769: Places of Residence at Matriculation
&bull Peabody's Trip to Watertown, May 25, 1767
&bull Peabody's Travels, July 16, July 17, and July 21&ndash25, 1767
&bull Peabody's Trip to Dunstable, October 5&ndash6, 1767

Jessica M. Marglin
Across Legal Lines: Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco
Yale University Press: 2016
&bull Map of Morocco
&bull Map of Fez
&bull Family Tree of Shalom Assarraf (1820&ndash1910)

Matthew Karp
This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy
Harvard University Press: 2016
&bull Growth of Slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States, c. 1830&ndash1860
&bull Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, c. 1841
&bull Slavery and Abolition: The Hemispheric Balance of Power, c. 1843

Ed Orzechowski
You'll Like It Here: Donald Vitkus&mdashBelchertown Patient #3394
Levellers Press: 2016
&bull Plan of the Belchertown State School campus
&bull Massachusetts, showing the town of Belchertown and the
Belchertown State School
(Maps reprinted with permission from Robert N. Hornick's The Girls and Boys of Belchertown: A Social History of the Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded, University of Massachusetts Press: 2012)

Karim M. Tiro
&ldquoA Sorry Tale: Natives, Settlers, and the Salmon of Lake Ontario, 1780&ndash1900&rdquo
Published in The Historical Journal
June 2016
&bull The Lake Ontario region showing locations mentioned in the text

Andrea Felber Seligman
&ldquoWealth Not by Any Other Name: Inland African Material Aesthetics in Expanding Commercial Times, ca. 16th&ndash20th Centuries&rdquo
Published in International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume 48:3, December 2015
&bull Ruvuma Region, Central East Africa
&bull Approximate meanings and locations of the term *makungu

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal
izen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution
Harvard University Press: 2015
&bull The Atlantic world, circa 1776
&bull Europe, circa 1789
&bull The Caribbean, circa 1794
&bull Citizenship certificates issued by collectors of customs, 1796&ndash1802
&bull Certification of a sailor's citizenship, circa 1812

Doris Bargen
Mapping Courtship and Kinship in Classical Japan: The Tale of Genji and Its Predecessors

University of Hawaii Press: 2015
&bull The Heian Capital and its Environs
&bull Residences in the Northeastern Part of the Heian Capital
&bull Genealogical Charts (8)

Gerald M. McFarland
The Last of Our Kind: Third in the Buenaventura Series
Sunstone Press: 2015
&bull Don Carlos's Santa Fe, 1706

S usan Pedersen
The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire

Oxford University Press: 2015
&bull League of Nations: Mandated African Territories, 1922
&bull League of Nations: Mandated Pacific Territories, 1932
&bull League of Nations: Mandated Middle-East Territories, c. 1932
&bull Road Network of Rwanda/Burundi, 1925, 1931, and 1936
&bull Exploration and Control in Mandated New Guinea in the early 1930s
&bull Charts (4)

Karim M. Tiro
&ldquoThe View from Piqua Agency: The War of 1812, the White River Delawares, and the Origins of Indian Removal&rdquo
Published in Journal of the Early Republic
Volume 35, Number 1, Spring 2015
&bull Piqua and the West

Lawrence A. Babb
Understanding Jainism

Dunedin Academic Press: 2015
&bull The Jain Cosmos

Nick Mills
The American Experience in Vietnam: Reflections on an Era
Zenith Press: 2014
&bull North and South Vietnam, circa 1967
&bull Corps tactical zones and administrative divisions of South Vietnam,
circa 1967
&bull Tet Offensive, 1968
&bull Ho Chi Minh Trail

David Shapira
The Medal of Honor: A History of Service Above and Beyond
Zenith Press: 2014
&bull The War Between the States 1861&ndash1865
&bull North and South Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh Trail, circa 1967
&bull Kham Duc base and airfield, May 12, 1968
&bull Mogadishu, October 3&ndash4, 1993
&bull Ganjgal Valley, Eastern Afghanistan, September 8, 2009

Robert E. Cray
Lovewell's Fight: War, Death, and Memory in Borderland New England
University of Massachusetts Press: 2014
&bull Locations and waterways mentioned in the text

Gerald M. McFarland
What the Owl Saw: Second in the Buenaventura Series
Sunstone Press: 2014
&bull Don Carlos's Santa Fe, 1704&ndash1708

Robert E. Jones
Bread Upon the Waters: The St. Petersburg Grain Trade and the Russian Economy, 1703&ndash1811

University of Pittsburgh Press: 2013
&bull Natural Waterways in Northwestern Russia
&bull Commercial Plan of St. Petersburg in the 1770s
&bull Provinces of European Russia in the Late Eighteenth Century
&bull Vegetation Zones and Provinces of European Russia in the Late
Eighteenth Century

Lawrence A. Babb
Emerald City: The Birth and Evolution of an Indian Gemstone Industry

State University of New York (SUNY) Press: 2013
&bull Johari Bazar and environs

Barbara Reeves-Ellington
Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East, 1831&ndash1908
University of Massachusetts Press: 2013
&bull The Ottoman Balkans 1831&ndash1908, showing major towns, American mission stations, and other locations mentioned in the text

Robert N. Hornick
The Girls and Boys of Belchertown: A Social History of the Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded
University of Massachusetts Press: 2012
&bull Plan of the Belchertown State School campus
&bull Massachusetts, showing the town of Belchertown and the Belchertown
State School

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal and Evan Haefeli
&ldquoTransnational Connections: Special Issue Introduction&rdquo
Published in Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 2012
&bull The Dutch empire, ca. 1640&ndash1674
&bull The Dutch Caribbean, ca. 1780

Evan Haefeli
New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty
University of Pennsylvania Press: 2012
&bull Dutch Republic, c. 1648
&bull Dutch World, c. 1650
&bull Dutch Caribbean, c. 1650
&bull New Netherland, c. 1657
&bull New Netherland, c. 1664
&bull New York, 1672

Keith A. Erekson
Everybody's History: Indiana's Lincoln Inquiry and the Quest to Reclaim a President's Past
University of Massachusetts Press: 2012
&bull Map of Indiana's &ldquoPocket&rdquo counties

Karim M. Tiro
The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation from the Revolution Through the Era of Removal
University of Massachusetts Press: 2011
&bull Oneida territory in the later eighteenth century
&bull Map of Oneida lands, 1785&ndash1846

Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
This map was published as part of a director's guide to the play &ldquoBeowulf&rdquo produced in Canning, Nova Scotia: 2011
&bull Beowulf's World

Donald Robinson
Town Meeting: Practicing Democracy in Rural New England
University of Massachusetts Press: 2011
&bull Ashfield and western Massachusetts
&bull Lot divisions in early Huntstown (Ashfield)
&bull Locations of Proprietors' meetings and town meetings
&bull Water district and sewage treatment plant
&bull Locations of Sanderson Academy
&bull Ashfield's town common and other public spaces

Jan Lin
The Power of Urban Ethnic Places: Cultural Heritage and Community Life
Routledge: 2010
&bull Ethnic neighborhoods and major landmarks of Houston
&bull Ethnic sites and downtown landmarks of Houston
&bull Major heritage sites of Miami

Clifford Putney
Missionaries in Hawai'i: The Lives of Peter and Fanny Gulick, 1797&ndash1883
University of Massachusetts Press: 2010
&bull The Hawaiian Islands
&bull The Gulicks: A Family Tree

Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
This map was published as part of a director's guide to the play &ldquoRockbound&rdquo produced in Canning, Nova Scotia: 2009
&bull The World of Rockbound

Bill Loughrey
Political Will: Dominating Force in American History
Scholarly and Specialized Publishing: 2009
&bull Invention of the printing press with notable persons
&bull Index of human activity

David Hunt
Vietnam's Southern Revolution: From Peasant Insurrection to Total War
University of Massachusetts Press: 2008
&bull My Province
&bull Region 2 and the Mekong Delta

Pamela E. Brooks
Boycotts, Buses, and Passes: Black Women's Resistance in the U.S. South and South Africa
University of Massachusetts Press: 2008
&bull Alabama (with neighboring southern states)
&bull Montgomery, Alabama
&bull South Africa (with provincial divisions)
&bull Greater Johannesburg (with Alexandra and Soweto)

Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr.
Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China: Mao's Great Leap Forward Famine and the Origins of Righteous Resistance in Da Fo Village
Cambridge University Press: 2008
&bull Provinces of China, neighboring countries, and area of study
&bull Hebei-Shandong-Henan border area, showing location of Da Fo village

Kate Blackmer
Taipei, Taiwan 1988: One Woman's Photographic Journey
Blackmer Press: 2008
&bull Black and white photographs taken while studying in Taiwan
&bull Click here for a preview

Evan Haefeli
&ldquoA Scandalous Minister in a Divided Community: Ulster County in Leisler's Rebellion, 1689&ndash1691&rdquo
Published in New York History
Volume 88/4, Fall 2007
&bull Ulster County, New York, and selected locations, 1690

Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company
This map was published as part of a director's guide to the play &ldquoThe Odyssey&rdquo produced in Canning, Nova Scotia: 2007
&bull Odysseus' World

Young Life Rockbridge Alum Springs
This map was published as part of a bike and hike trail guide to the Young Life Rockbridge Alum Springs area in Rockbridge, Virginia: 2007
&bull Bike and Hike Map

Evan Haefeli
&ldquoThe Revolt of the Long Swede: Transatlantic Hopes and Fears on the
Delaware, 1669&rdquo
Published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Volume CXXX, Number Two, April 2006
&bull The Delaware 1669

Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney
Captive Histories: English, French, and Native Narratives of the 1704
Deerfield Raid
University of Massachusetts Press: 2006
&bull The Northeast, circa 1660&ndash1725
&bull Routes of Quentin Stockwell, 1677, and Daniel Belding, 1696
&bull Routes of the 1704 Deerfield captives
&bull The greater Montreal region, early 1700s
&bull Escape route of Thomas Baker, Martin Kellogg Jr., John Nims, and
Joseph Petty, 1705

Marla Miller
The Needle's Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution
University of Massachusetts Press: 2006
&bull The Connecticut River Valley

Brushy Hills
This map was published as part of a trail guide to the Brushy Hills area in Lexington, Virginia: 2005
&bull Trail Map of Brushy Hills

Lawrence A. Babb
Alchemies of Violence: Myths of Identity and the Life of Trade in Western India
Sage Publications, New Delhi: 2004
&bull Rajasthan with India insert

Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney
Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield
University of Massachusetts Press: 2003
&bull Map of the Northeast, circa 1660&ndash1725
&bull Early town plan of Deerfield, circa 1700
&bull Boucherville, 1673
&bull Map of the Northeast showing tribal homelands, Native villages, and
movements, circa 1675&ndash1704
&bull The Deerfield Stockade during the assault, February 29, 1704
&bull Routes of the captives, 1704
&bull Offensive operations during the War of the Spanish Succession,
&bull The greater Montreal region, early 1700s

Gerald McFarland
Inside Greenwich Village: A New York City Neighborhood, 1898&ndash1918
University of Massachusetts Press: 2001
&bull Greater Greenwich Village, 1900
&bull Important Village Sites, Chapters 1&ndash2
&bull Important Village Sites, Chapters 3&ndash4
&bull Important Village Sites, Chapter 5
&bull The Seventh Village, 1912&ndash1918

Leonard B. Glick
Abraham's Heirs: Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe
Syracuse University Press: 1999
&bull Carolingian Empire, ca. 825
&bull Holy Roman Empire and France, ca. 1150

Jan Lin
Reconstructing Chinatown: Ethnic Enclave, Global Change
University of Minnesota Press: 1998
&bull Geographic sources of Chinese emigration
&bull Chinatown and Lower Manhattan
&bull Core and satellite Chinatowns in New York City

Mitziko Sawada
Tokyo Life, New York Dreams: Urban Japanese Visions of America, 1890&ndash1924
University of California Press: 1996
&bull The Fifteen Wards of Tokyo in 1894

Lawrence A. Babb
Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture
University of California Press: 1996
&bull Gujarat and Rajasthan with selected locations
&bull The Jain Cosmos

Neil Salisbury
&ldquoThe Indians' Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of Europeans&rdquo
Published in The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History and Culture
Third Series, Volume LIII, Number Three, July 1996
&bull Selected Native American centers in North America, ca. 1250
&bull Selected Native American centers in North America, ca. 1645

Robert E. Jones
&ldquoOpening a Window on the South: Russia and the Black Sea 1695-1792&rdquo
Published in A Window on Russia: Papers from the V International Conference of the Study Group on Eighteenth-Century Russia
Edited by Maria Di Salvo and Lindsey Hughes.
La Fenice Edizioni, Rome: 1996
&bull The Black Sea Region of Russia

Ben Wisner
&ldquoSocio-Economic and Gender Aspects of Environmental and Sustainable Development&rdquo
Published in the FAO/ILO/UNDP Field Manual on Participatory Project Identification and Formulation
United Nations Press: 1996
&bull Development Strata
&bull Root Causes of Environmental Degradation

Ben Wisner
&ldquoThere are Worse Things than Earthquakes: Hazard Vulnerability and Mitigation Capacity in the Greater Los Angeles Region&rdquo
Published in Ken Mitchell's book Mega Cities and Disaster
United Nations University Press, Tokyo: 1996
&bull Growth of Population of Greater Los Angeles
&bull Ozone Smog in Southern California
&bull Ground-Surface Uplift around Palmdale, California
&bull Flood Hazards in Los Angeles County
&bull Primary Distribution System for Water
&bull Hispanic Population in Greater Los Angeles
&bull Plant Closings in Los Angeles County 1978&ndash1982
&bull Los Angeles County Flood Control Structures
&bull Areas of Brush Fires in Los Angeles County 1919&ndash1973
&bull Poverty Areas in Parts of Greater Los Angeles

Ben Wisner
&ldquoBridging &lsquoExpert' and &lsquoLocal' Knowledge for Counter Disaster Planning in Urban South Africa&rdquo
Published in GeoJournal
Volume 37, Number 3, November 1995
&bull Major Urban Areas in Southern Africa
&bull Alexandra Township, South Africa
&bull Informal Settlements within the Greater Johannesburg Area
&bull Urban Development on the Jukskei River Watershed Viewed in
1940 and 1983

Jan Lin
&ldquoEthnic Places, Postmodernism, and Urban Change in Houston&rdquo
Published in The Sociological Quarterly
Volume 36, Number 4, Fall 1995
&bull Ethnic Neighborhoods and Major Landmarks in Houston
&bull Ethnic Sites and Downtown Landmarks of Houston in Detail

Richard W. Wilkie and Kate Blackmer
Geography: People and Places in a Changing World
West Publishing Company: 1995 second edition 1996
&bull Coauthored geography workbook
&bull Companion volume to a cultural geography textbook written by
Professor Paul Ward English at the University of Texas

Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney
&ldquoRevisiting The Redeemed Captive: New Perspectives on the 1704 Attack on Deerfield&rdquo
Published in The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History and Culture
Third Series, Volume LII, Number One, January 1995
&bull Map of the Northeast, Showing Rivers, Villages, and East-West Route&rdquo
&bull Map of the Northeast, Showing Tribal Homelands and Movements Circa

Reprinted in: Colin G. Calloway (editor)
After King Philip's War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England
Dartmouth: University of New England Press: 1997

1936 Royal Peel Commission - History

In more than a century, the world saw Palestinian Arabs carrying out a violent uprising which was named in the history as ‘the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39’. The uprising mobilized thousands of Palestinians belonging to all classes to take part in the revolt and patriotism was fanned among the masses through the mediums of press, media, schools and literary circles. British were taken aback by the intensity of the uprising and the extent to which it reached. They shipped over 20,000 troops in Palestine while the Zionists also had some 15,000 Jews prepared for their own nationalist faction by 1939.
The revolt initiated in the form of unprompted acts of violence after Sheikh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam was killed in 1935 by the British troops. The violence was escalated after two Jews were killed in April 1936 and a general strike was initiated in Nablus and Jaffa. It was at this time that the Arab political groups established an Arab Higher Committee and the presidency was given to Amin al-Husayni, the mufti of Jerusalem. The committee declared a general strike, forbade Arabs to pay taxes and called for the closing of municipal governments. Moreover, it demanded that a ban should be put on Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews. One of the purposes of the strike was to ask for national independence. Along with the strike, Palestinian Arabs were joined by Arabs from neighboring countries who then targeted the British troops and Jewish settlements installed in the northern parts. By the end of the year, this movement had taken the form of a national revolt where its main strength was the Arab peasantry. A royal commission was sent over to Palestine, presided by Lord Robert Peel who scrutinized the ongoing situation of the revolt and prepared a report stating the root cause of the uprising as Arab desire for independence. Peel Commission was formed which declared the mandate unsuccessful and decided that the land should be partitioned. Arabs were horrified after knowing that the commission has given more land to Jews than their existing landholding. Resultantly, the revolt became more intense during 1937 and 1938. The British declared a martial law in September 1937. As a result, the Arab Higher Committee was dissolved and many members of the Palestinian organizations were arrested. Mufti al-Husayn fled from the country, never to return. The revolt lasted till 1939 with high casualty rates. An estimated 5000 Arabs were killed in the revolt, 15000 got wounded and another 5600 were imprisoned. Although the revolt was unsuccessful in achieving its goals, it gave birth to a national identity. Most of the leaders of the revolt where either killed or they fled, leaving a demoralized Arab population behind them who were unable to recover from the after effects of the revolt. Nevertheless, it proved to be significant event in the history of Palestine as it signaled the involvement of other Arab countries in the Palestinian cause. Lion King Musical San Francisco Tickets  La Boheme Chicago Tickets  Wicked Houston 2012 Tickets

Watch the video: Любительская немецкая киносъемка окружения Красной армии в Барвенковком котле (January 2022).