What was the Peel Commission of 1936-1937?
Royal Commission Report
Peel Commission Partition Map
The violence of the Arab Revolt starting in 1936 led Britain to set up a new Royal Commission (the Peel Commission) in to examine the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. A long term solution was needed for the political future of Palestine. The Jewish Homeland contemplated by the Mandate could develop as an independent state, a part of a federal state or within a binational territorial state. And what should be done with the Arabs, still the majority of the population? Should they be given control over the territory given their absolute denial of any national rights whatsoever to the Jews, a clear conflict with the fundamental basis of the Mandate?
In their Report of July of 1937, the Peel Commission attributed the underlying cause of the Arab revolt to the desire of the Arabs for national independence and their hatred and fear of the establishment of a National Jewish Home. The Commission recommended freezing Jewish immigration at 12,000 per year for five years and that a plan for partition of the land be developed.
With regard to partition, the Peel Commission advised that "the most strenuous effort should be made to obtain an agreement for the exchange of land and population" following Churchill's perceptive comment that the implementation of Zionism presumed a policy of population transfer. The Peel report suggested that in the last resort, "the exchange would be made compulsory." The precedent cited was the Convention of Lausanne (1923), which provided, on paper, international legal sanction for the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.
The Peel Commission recommendation for partition was rejected by the British Government and there was no further consideration of the idea of population transfer.
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