Jews Evacuate the Old City, 1936

In 1936, Palestinian Arabs called a general strike and rebellion. In response, the British government created a commission, led by Lord Peel, to investigate the cause of the violence. The Commission concluded that the cause of the violence was growing Palestinian anxiety over the increase of Jewish immigration, and it recommended that Palestine be partitioned into two states:  an Arab state, which would become part of Transjordan, and a smaller Jewish state. The city of Jerusalem, as well as several cities well outside its boundaries, would remain under British mandate. The Arabs, though divided, ultimately rejected this proposal in its entirety. The Jews, after much debate, chose to accept it (with demands for more generous borders) reflecting a belief that, given the international religious interests involved, they had little chance of being awarded Jerusalem. The Peel Plan was not implemented, and a new commission, the Woodhead Commission, was appointed in 1938. It rejected the idea of partition, maintaining that is was impractical, given Palestine’s small size. The Woodhead Report would also ultimately be shelved.

Excerpted from My Jewish Learning: Jerusalem Contested