Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Peel Commission Report (July 1937)

As one thing leads to another, I came to read today this historic document, where one sentence distinguished itself to me:

Considering what the possibility of finding a refuge in Palestine means to thousands of suffering Jews, is the loss occasioned by Partition, great as it would be, more than Arab generosity can bear?

And then I remembered what I learned from recently watching the Israeli produced docu-drama about the Kastner Trial.

One of the most chilling testimonies in the trial was that of Joel Brand, which demonstrated how impotent was the Jewish Agency in 1944 when it came to mobilizing the British and American powers to intervene in any way on behalf of the doomed European Jews.

"Brand later testified that Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East and a close friend of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was present during one of the interrogations and is alleged to have said: "What can I do with this million Jews? Where can I put them?"

The first statement was written in 1937, when the world was beginning to get wise to what was being planned for the Jews, but even so, the report can only imagine "thousands" of suffering Jews getting a lease on life if permitted to immigrate to Palestine.

The second statement is made in 1944, when most of the world was already familiar with the dire reports that kept coming from Europe about the annihilation of millions of Jews. In the interim, the British Mandate restricted severely Jewish immigration, in spite of the warning in the Peel report that things looked very bad for the Jews in Europe. The Peel Report does not say that the land is saturated to the point where it can no longer accept more immigrants. Quite the contrary. It stipulates the importance of continued Jewish immigration and British commitment to it. Yet the British restricted immigration, because they buckled to Arab pressure to do so.

The Arabs of Palestine, though addressed with the most explicit plea in the report for showing "generosity" to the persecuted Jews of Europe, existentially threatened, did not for a second consider this possibility and continued to mount their pressure on the British to seal the borders. When there was hardly a country in the world open to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Hitler's ominous programmes, Mandate Palestine, which had been commissioned with the provision of a safe haven for Jews, chose to close ranks with the Arabs and seal the borders, against the Jews.

The only place that would have welcomed these refugees and could have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, joined the rest of the world's complicity in these crimes.

Today, the staple Palestinian argument is that they had no responsibility whatsoever for what happened to the Jews. But they did. They bear at least the same responsibility as as every country that ever refused to accept Jews who were looking to get out of Europe.

The Grand Mufti's special relationship with Hitler is another aspect of Arab complicity in the annihilation of the Jews:

As German political scientist Matthias Kuntzel chronicled in his work ... the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned the PLO's Fatah as well as al-Qaida, Hamas and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, owes much of its ideological success and pseudo-philosophical roots to Nazism."

"In the 1930s, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, rigorously courted the Nazis. When, in 1936, he launched his terror war against the Jewish Yishuv in the British controlled Palestine Mandate, he repeatedly asked the Nazis for financial backing, which began arriving in 1937." "From 1936-39 Husseini's terror army murdered 415 Jews. In later years, Husseini noted that were it not for Nazi money, his onslaught would have been defeated in 1937. His movement was imbued with Nazism. His men saluted one another with Nazi salutes and members of his youth movement sported Hitler Youth uniforms."

With this history as a model, the Palestinian Foundational documents which call for the destruction of Israel make a lot of sense. They were not conceived out of the blue, a reaction to the Six-Day-War and occupation, but were the natural denouement that began in 1920, premises taken to their logical conclusions.

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