This is the second installment of a two-part article on the recently released secret testimony to the Peel Commission. Part I (JPS 49, no. 1) showed how the secret testimony deepens our understanding of the structural exclusion of the Palestinians from the Mandate state. Part II now focuses on what the secret testimony reveals about the Peel Commission's eventual decision to recommend partition. It turns out that Zionist leaders were less central to this decision than scholars have previously assumed, and that second-tier British colonial officials played a key role in the commissioners' partition recommendation. British decision-making over the partition of Palestine was shaped not only by a broad ambition to put into practice global-imperial theories about representative government and the protection of minorities; it also stemmed from a cold-eyed self-interest in rehabilitating the British reputation for efficient colonial governance—by terminating, in as deliberate a manner as possible, a slack and compromised Mandatory administration.
The Secret Testimony of the Peel Commission (Part II): Partition
Laila Parsons is professor of modern Middle East history at McGill University. She is the author of The Druze between Palestine and Israel, 1947–1949 (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000), and numerous journal articles on the 1948 war, on rebel soldiers in the interwar period, and on the place of narrative and biography in the historiography of the modern Middle East. Her most recent book, The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence, 1914–1948 (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2016), was the recipient of the 2017 Palestine Book Award and the Society for Military History's 2017 Distinguished Book Award.
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Laila Parsons; The Secret Testimony of the Peel Commission (Part II): Partition. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 February 2020; 49 (2): 8–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2020.49.2.8
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