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British Palestine Mandate: The Shaw Commission

(March 31, 1930)

As a result of Arab rioting throughout Palestine, the British established a Commission of Inquiry whose purpose was to determine the cause of the rioting and to propose policies which would prevent further violence from erupting. Sir Walter Shaw chaired the Commission, which delivered its report in March 1930.

The Shaw Commission found that the violence occurred due to "racial animosity on the part of the Arabs, consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future." The report claimed that the Arabs feared economic domination by a group who seemed to have, in their perspective, unlimited funding from abroad.

The Commission reported that the conflict stemmed from different interpretations of British promises to both Arabs and Jews. The Commission acknowledged the ambiguity of former British statements and recommended that the government clearly define its intentions for Palestine. Importantly, it also recommended that the issue of further Jewish immigration be more carefully considered, in order to avoid "a repetition of the excessive immigration of 1925 and 1926." The issue of land tenure would only be eligible for review if new methods of cultivation stimulated considerable growth of the agricultural sector.

On the Commission's recommendation, immigration was halted until after another inquiry would resolve British policy. Arabs were pleased with the report, as they were with the Hope-Simpson Report which followed. The Hope-Simpson Report, along with the Passfield White Paper, were considered very pro-Arab, and led to a strong outcry from Jews all over the world.

Sources: The Jewish Agency for Israel and The World Zionist Organization