Britain backs Jordan and Israel to end the Arab-Jewish conflict

November 6, 2017 by David Singer
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has acknowledged that Jordan and Israel represent the only viable “two state solution” that can end the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph on 29 October – ahead of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration on 2 November – the Foreign Secretary stated:

“I have no doubt that the only viable solution to the conflict resembles the one first set down on paper by another Briton, Lord Peel, in the report of the Royal Commission on Palestine in 1937, and that is the vision of two states for two peoples.”

The Royal Commission had been authorised by Royal Warrant dated 7 August 1936:

“… to enquire into the manner in which the Mandate for Palestine is being implemented in relation to our obligations as mandatory towards the Arabs and the Jews respectively; and to ascertain whether, upon a proper construction of the terms of the Mandate, either the Arabs or the Jews have any legitimate grievances upon account of the way in which the Mandate has been, or is being implemented;”

Significantly the Royal Warrant did not mention or identify the “Palestinians” as being a party to the dispute. There were only two parties – the “Arabs” and the “Jews” – not three.

The “two-state solution” – one Jewish, one Arab – first envisioned in article 25 of the 1922 Mandate for Palestine (Mandate) – had restricted Jewish rights to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in just 22% of the territory covered by the Mandate. The Jews had accepted that proposal but the Arabs had rejected it.

The Peel Commission after a lengthy and detailed Inquiry confirmed that the “two-state solution” contemplated by the Mandate – one Jewish, one Arab – remained the only solution to end the grievances between Arabs and Jews – concluding that:

“two sovereign independent States would be established-the one an Arab State, consisting of Trans-Jordan united with that part of Palestine which lies to the east and south of a frontier such as we suggest in Section 3 below; the other a Jewish State consisting of that part of Palestine which lies to the north and west of that frontier.”

Transjordan – renamed Jordan in 1950 – comprised the remaining 78% of the territory contained in the Mandate for Palestine closed to Jewish settlement under the Mandate. Britain still retained full responsibility for Transjordan as Mandatory Power until Transjordan was finally granted independence by Britain in 1946.

The Peel Commission’s “two-state solution” is shown on the following map:

The Arabs rejected partition and the creation of any Jewish State. The Jews accepted the principle of partition – but not the borders designated on the map.

Boris Johnson has advanced the resolution of the Arab-Jewish conflict by highlighting that:

  • the only viable “two-state solution” is the partition proposed by the Peel Commission with newly-negotiated borders agreed between Jordan and Israel
  • Jordan remains the Arab key to resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict – which a naïve and gullible world continues to ignore.

Trying to create two Arab States and one Jewish State in an area where only one Arab state and one Jewish state is warranted by history, geography and demography has been a diplomatic disaster with horrendous consequences for Arabs and Jews.

Jordan and Israel – the two successor States to the Mandate – currently exercising sovereignty in 95% of former Palestine – need to sit down and resolve Jewish and Arab claims to the remaining 5%.

Britain’s reaffirmation of Peel’s proposed “two-state solution” is long overdue.

The “two-state solution” posited in 1922 and 1937 – Jordan and Israel – still remains the only viable solution to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict in 2017.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

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