THE CASE AGAINST A JEWISH STATE IN PALESTINE: ALBERT HOURANI’S STATEMENT TO THE ANGLO-AMERICAN COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY OF 1946

Albert Hourani (1915–1993), associated for over thirty years with
Oxford University (Magdalene College, St. Antony’s College), was one
of the leading historians of the Middle East in the postwar period and
the author of many books, including Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age,
Europe and the Middle East, and A History of the Arab Peoples. Before
embarking on his Oxford career, Hourani was director of research at
the Arab Office in Jerusalem, and in 1946 was one of four Arabs (the
others being Jamal Husayni, ‘Awni ‘Abd al-Hadi, and Ahmad Shukayri)
to testify before the full committee of the Anglo-American Committee
of Enquiry called upon to review the Palestine Problem in the light of
Jewish refugee situation in Europe. For a detailed background of the
politics—local, regional, and international—leading up to the testimony,
see Walid Khalidi’s “On Albert Hourani, the Arab Office, and the
Anglo-American Committee of 1946” in this issue. What follows is the
full transcript of Hourani’s oral testimony—the last to be presented
for the Arab side—as issued in the proceedings “Public Hearings before
the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, Jerusalem (Palestine),
25 March 1946” (IPS Archives).


MR. CHAIRMAN, I THINK it is best to speak as shortly as is consistent with the
adequate expression of my most important ideas, and I shall therefore not go
over in detail the grounds which have already been covered in our written
evidence.

 I shall use my time in order to reply to certain questions which have
been raised in the course of your inquiry and to deal with certain considerations
which may be present in your minds. But before this, speaking as a member
of the Arab Office—and I believe as the last witness who will appear on the
Arab side—I think it is right to emphasize, without elaborating what needs
no further elaboration, the unalterable opposition of the Arab nation to the
attempt to impose a Jewish State upon it.

This opposition is based upon the
unwavering conviction of unshakeable rights and a conviction of the injustice
of forcing a long-settled population to accept immigrants without its consent
being asked and against its known and expressed will; the injustice of turning
a majority into a minority in its own country; the injustice of withholding
self-government until the Zionists are in the majority and able to profit by it.
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Jerusalem is the capital. Palestine, currently under occupation, is located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jordan and to the south of Lebanon. The territory of Palestine covers around 10,435 square miles.

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