How Arab Rejectionism Encouraged the British to Arrive at an Early Version of the Two-State Solution

In 1936, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the British-appointed grand mufti of Jerusalem, launched a general strike in Mandatory Palestine to protest the prospect of further Jewish immigration. The strike quickly led to violence and riots. After the initial violence had been quelled, Britain sent Lord William Peel to the land of Israel in order to head a commission that would investigate the situation and propose a solution. Oren Kessler, in a detailed look at the commission’s proceedings, describes its interviews with Arab leaders:

In mid-January [1937] the commissioners met Husseini. His appearance before them was short but sharp. The Mandate was illegitimate, he said, speaking through an interpreter. . . . What is more, he insisted, Jewish nationalism imperiled Muslim holy sites. . . . Creating a Jewish home in “an Arab ocean” has no historical precedent, he warned, and would make the Holy Land a permanent backdrop for blood. “It is impossible to place two distinct peoples, who differ from each other in every sphere of their life, in one and the same country.”

He reiterated his core demands: terminating the mandate, abandoning [Britain’s commitment to create a Jewish] national home, ceasing [Jewish] immigration, and prohibiting land sales. Questioned as to the fate of the 400,000 Jews already in Palestine, Husseini ventured only, “We must leave all this to the future.” Pressed as to whether the country could assimilate them, his response was brief. “No.”

In the subsequent days more prominent Arabs delivered testimony similar to Amin’s, berating Britain for the Mandate’s intrinsic inequity. The head of the Istiqlal party, [a hardline group but more moderate than Husseini], said the Arabs could neither forsake “one meter” nor the country handle one more immigrant. He refused to sit at the same table as Zionists, or to touch Mandate stamps because alongside [the Arabic word] Filastin they bore the Hebrew letters alef and yod, [the Hebrew acronym for “the land of Israel”].

In arriving at its suggestion that Mandatory Palestine be partitioned into Jewish and Arab states, the Peel Commission reflected the influence of this rejectionist Arab attitude. This, notes Kessler, “was Britain’s first recorded proposal of partition, of a ‘Jewish state,’ and of a two-state solution to the Palestine problem.”

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Amin Haj al-Husseini, British Mandate, History of Zionism, Two-State Solution

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin