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.”

Read more at Fathom

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


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security