Last updated on: 5/7/2008 12:49:00 PM PST

What Was the 1937 Peel Commission?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Lord Robert Peel (center), upon his arrival to British Mandate Palestine

The United Nations June 30, 1990 document titled "The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988, Part I 1917-1947," by the Division for Palestinian Rights, stated:

"The [British] Royal Commission to inquire into the [1936] 'disturbances' was headed by a former Secretary of State for India, Lord Robert Peel, and presented a 400-page report, a document of major importance in any examination of the Palestine problem...It acknowledged that, contrary to the previous official position, Palestinian resistance to the Mandate had shown that the 'dual obligations' [to Jews and Arabs] were not reconcilable. Faced with this dilemma it recommended, in Solomonian fashion, the partition of Palestine...

The Royal Commission's partition plan (which, the Commission emphasized, was not a final or definitive proposal) allotted roughly the northern quarter of Palestine and the major part of the western coastal plain to the Jewish state, about a third of the country's area. Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, with a corridor to the sea at Jaffa, would continue under a British Mandate."

Click map to enlarge

June 30, 1990 - United Nations (UN) 

Howard M. Sachar, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern and European History at Georgetown University, in his 1976 book A History of Israel, wrote the following:

"On November 11, 1936, the [British] Royal Commission of Inquiry arrived. Its instructions were to determine the fundamental causes of the unrest, to explore Arab and Jewish grievances, and to make recommendations for the future... After five months of preparation, the Royal Commission Report was issued in July 1937.

The plain truth was that Britain's obligations to the Arabs and Jews were essentially irreconcilable. There was no common ground between the two communities, one 'predominantly Asiatic in character, the other predominantly European,' and for these reasons the mandate 'cannot evolve...into a system of which both the Arabs and Jews would agree to participate.'

Certainly it was not Britain's intention to continue governing Palestine on the existing bases, without the consent of the local populations. But neither did the Royal Commission propose handing over 400,000 Jews to Arab domination, or nearly a million Arabs to Jewish rule. The only feasible solution, then, the report concluded, was to divide Palestine into two self-governing communities."

Full Text: Summary: 1937 Peel Commission Report

1976 - Howard M. Sachar, PhD