Eighty Years later: Cogent Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Photo: British National Portrait Gallery

Abba Eban, writing in The Israel Yearbook in 1977, recounted what a British official, Sir Reginald Coupland said about how to end or wind down political conflict in Palestine. Coupland was a member of the Peel Commission that suggested that Jews and Arabs would be better off if they lived in separate states. That was 80 years ago, July 1937.  Coupland wrote,

“An irrepressible conflict has arisen within the narrow confines of one small country… There is no common ground between them. They differ in religion and language. Their cultural and social life, their ways of thought and conduct are as incompatible as their national aspirations. Arabs and Jews might possibly learn to live and work together in Palestine if they would make a genuine effort to reconcile their national ideals and so build up in time a joint or dual nationality. But this they cannot do. National assimilation between Arabs and Jews is thus ruled out. In the Arab picture the Jews could only occupy the place they occupied in Arab Egypt or Arab Spain. The Arabs would be as outside the Jewish situation as the Canaanites in the old land of Israel. The National Home cannot be half national. In these circumstances to maintain that Palestinian nationality has any moral meaning is a mischievous pretense. Neither Arab nor Jew has any sense of service to a single state…

“The intensification of this process will continue… The educational systems, Arab and Jewish, are schools of nationalism… Peace and order and good government can only be maintained in a unitary Palestine for any length of time by a rigorous system of repression… The answer to the question ‘which of them will in the end govern all Palestine’ surely must be ‘neither.’ But while neither race can justly rule all Palestine we see no reason why each should not rule part of it… There is little value in maintaining the political unity of Palestine at the cost of perpetual hatred, strife and bloodshed.”    Nothing like context and perspective  See the 1937 Peel Report.