The Jewish policies followed by the Röhm regime are similar to those followed by Hitler in our own history, so it is not surprising that the response of Germany's Jews is pretty much the same in both cases. Emigration to Palestine increases dramatically in the early 1930s, alarming Palestine's Arabs.
The outbreak of war in Europe in May 1936 coincides with an Arab uprising in Palestine that lasts until October and costs the lives of 80 Jews, 140 Arabs, and 33 British soldiers. Due to the war emergency, the creation of the Peel Commission is delayed until 1937. When the members of the Commission arrive in Palestine, they are shocked to find leaflets circulating among the Arabs showing Ernst Röhm in an Arab robe and burnoose, trampling Jews underfoot. The crimes of the Röhm regime have dealt a considerable blow to anti-Semitism in Europe. The Polish government repeals all anti-Semitic legislation and outlaws discrimination against Jews. The governments of other states, notably Romania, follow suit. These actions, combined with the defeat of the Röhm regime and the occupation of Germany, cause Jewish immigration to Palestine to fall to 10,000 a year. This is barely enough to allow the Jews to keep pace with the increase in the Arab population, and absent some future surge in Jewish immigration, it may be impossible for the Jews to ever become a majority in Palestine.
The Peel Commission is stymied. If Palestine is partitioned, the resulting Jewish state will be too small to sustain itself. If Palestine is not partitioned, the majority Arabs will gain control, halt all Jewish immigration, and very likely will begin discriminating against the Jewish minority. In the
end, the Commission's members cannot agree on a course of action. For lack of any viable alternatives, the British Mandate will continue.
Sporadic Arab attacks on Jews continue into the late 1930s, along with occasional uprisings like that of 1936, and a militant Jewish group called the Irgun Zvai Leumi begins launching reprisal attacks on Arabs. Meanwhile, a growing number of Palestinian Jews decides that the only way to gain statehood is to seize power in Palestine, drive out the British, and subjugate the Arabs, in the hope that establishment of a Jewish state will draw more Jewish settlers.
The coup attempt is made on 2 November 1942, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. The Irgun seizes control of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and a number of police posts throughout Palestine, and its leader, Menachem Begin, declares himself head of the State of Zion. However, the expected general uprising by Palestine's Jews does not occur. The Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, David Ben-Gurion, denounces Begin and the Irgun, and British troops retake the King David Hotel by the 5th. Begin is killed in the battle for the hotel, and the Irgun is effectively destroyed. The British government is appalled by events in Palestine, and Prime Minister Attlee appoints another Commission to investigate the Palestinian situation, this one headed by Sir Horace Rumbold, Deputy Director of the Peel Commission.
In Palestine the Rumbold Commission finds that in the wake of the Begin Putsch, Arab attitudes have hardened. Haj Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, now insists that Palestine be granted independence under a majority Arab government. Ben-Gurion says that rather than become a minority in their own ancient homeland, Palestine's Jews will secede and form their own state. The dilemma facing the Commission seems insoluble. The Mandate cannot continue in the face of pressure from Jews and Arabs alike for independence, yet the claims of each group are mutually exclusive.
One commission member, General Orde Wingate, suggests that the Jews be granted a Polish-style autonomous region within Palestine, but al-Husseini rejects this. He insists that Palestine must be a unitary, centralized, Arab-dominated state. Ben-Gurion also initially rejects Wingate's proposal, but he is persuaded by Mordechai Anielewicz, a recent Polish immigrant, to change his
In the face of continuing resistance by al-Husseini, Wingate passes along a suggestion he receives from Sir John Bagot Glubb, commander of the Arab Legion in Transjordan. Glubb has sent word that Emir Abdullah of Transjordan would be willing to create a Jewish devo in an independent Palestine that included Transjordan. Al-Husseini rejects this proposal also, accompanied by a denunciation of Abdullah as a traitor to the Arab cause.
When the Rumbold Commission issues its report in June 1944, it recommends the establishment of a Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine under Abdullah comprising Palestine and Transjordan. The Twenty-Second Zionist Congress, meeting in Basle in July 1944, adopts the Rumbold Commission's findings. In Palestine a new Arab uprising is sparked by al-Husseini, and there is a simultaneous uprising in Transjordan against Emir Abdullah, who narrowly escapes assassination. The Arab Legion quells the uprising in Transjordan by September, though riots continue in Palestine for the rest of the year.
Independence is granted to the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine on 1 February 1945. The British High Commissioner hands over control of Palestine to King Abdullah, who makes his new capital in Jerusalem, while an expanded Arab Legion relieves the British Army. An anti-Jewish riot in Jerusalem is put down by the Arab Legion, and al-Husseini is arrested, though he later escapes and flees to Persia.
The Israeli Devo with its capital at Tel Aviv is established in northwestern Palestine on 1 May 1945, and a Jewish Legion is recruited from the ranks of the Jewish security force, the Haganah. David Ben-Gurion becomes the first Prime Minister of the Israeli Devo, and Secretary of State for Israel in Palestine's cabinet.