The Partition of Palestine

Decision Crossroads in the Zionist Movement

By Itzhak Galnoor

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791421949, 379 pages, December 1994
Hardcover : 9780791421932, 379 pages, December 1994

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Table of contents





Chapter One. State, Territory, and Boundaries: A General Discussion

• Territorial Behavior

• The Roles of Territory

• Territory and the State

• Territory and the Nation-State

• Geopolitics and International Relations

• Boundaries

• Territorial Decisions

Chapter Two. The Background

• Boundaries of Palestine (E.I.)

• Establishment of the Royal Commission: External Events

• Establishment of the Royal Commission: Internal Events

• Chronology of Main Events

Chapter Three. The Predecision Phase

• Jewish Testimony Before the Royal Commission

• El-Husseini's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

• Zionist Attempts to Influence the Commission's Report

• The Internal Debate Before Publication of the Report

• Recommendations of the Royal Commission

Chapter Four. Choice Analysis

• Main Choices

• Positions at the Decision Crossroad, 1937

• The Arguments

Chapter Five. Predecision Positions

• Initial Reactions to the Report

• Division Within the Labor Parties and the Left

• Division Within the Center and the Right Parties

• Division Within the Religious and Ultra-Orthodox Parties

• Additional Positions

• Positions on the Eve of the Decision

Chapter Six. The Opponents

• Opposing the State

• Statehood: The Question of Timing

• Sovereignty, Yes; Partition, No

• Summary of the Opponents' Positions

Chapter Seven. The Undecided

• Extent of Territory

• Boundaries and Security

• Demography and the Question of "Transfer"

• Territories for Peace

Chapter Eight. The Proponents

• Partition Without Preconditions

• Partition as the "Right" Solution

• Total Support

• Summary of the Proponents' Positions

Chapter Nine. The Decision

• The Main Resolutions

• The Opposition

• The Decision-Making Process

• The Decision: Instrumental Pragmatism

• In the Wake of the 1937 Decision

Chapter Ten. 1937 and Its Aftermath

• Land and Settlement Policy: 1936-1939

• The "Arab Question" in the Zionist Decision

• State, Territory, and Boundaries: The Meaning of the 1937 Decision

• Territorial Decisions

Chapter Eleven. Territorial Decisions in the Zionist Movement (1919-1949)

• 1919

• 1937

• 1947

• Conclusions



• Archives



Some seventy-five years after the boundaries of the British Mandate for Palestine were set, the State of Israel still lacks a defined territory and agreed-upon boundaries, except for its boundary with Egypt. This book examines this unusual situation, concentrating especially on the perceptions of territory and boundaries within the Zionist movement.

Galnoor discusses the period from the first territorial decision in 1919 up to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, placing special emphasis on the relatively unknown Zionist, Palestinian, and Arab positions regarding territorial partition in 1937. And he argues that although dramatic changes have occurred in the international and regional arena, the partners to the conflict, the security considerations, and the international dilemmas, the 1937 decision contained the parameters of the choices that have confronted Arab and Israeli leaders ever since. His findings are of direct relevance to the ongoing Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, which once again revolve around the trade-off between national goals and territorial aspirations.

Itzhak Galnoor is Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and editor of the Eshkolot Library, a book series on society and politics in Israel. He was awarded the Naftali Prize in Social Sciences in 1987 for his book Steering the Polity—Communications and Politics in Israel.


"The merits of this study are of an uncommon order. It is an impressive use of rich historical materials by a political scientist to clarify crucial concepts — state, nation, territory, sovereignty, boundaries — and to probe fundamental issues. Galnoor examines the relative importance of geography and politics, pragmatism and ideology, in the choice among options on a fateful issue that is suffused with passion; the decision process; coalition-building; and the role of perceptions and attitudes in political behavior, in this case a turning point vote by a national movement. It is a highly analytical work, with a well-articulated framework and clearly defined categories, concepts, and research questions." — Michael Brecher, McGill University

"I found this book fascinating. As I read, I was constantly discussing it with those around me. It illuminated the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict from a perspective I had not thought much about." — Joel S. Migdal, University of Washington