In the confusion of Arab threat and British evasion that has followed publication of the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, the un- or misinformed citizen is hard-put to choose a position of justice without stagnation. His leaders have failed him, failed to point out for the citizens of the world the path, at last discovered, to the solution of the Palestine problem.
The Committee of Inquiry into Palestine was established as a body designed to hear both sides of an issue too hot for one nation or even the UN to handle, and then to make a decision on the basis of its hearings. Arab, Jew, Briton, and American voiced approval of its purpose, its personnel, its methods; each rushed to present his side of the case. Yet publication of its report finds the Commission standing alone behind its proposals. Each contesting group is back in its own shell: violently opposed to the recommendations, ignoring them, or unwilling to do anything about them.
Logic alone would call the procedure ridiculous, for a fact-finding body is valueless unless the parties being investigated agree at the start to accept the philosophy of the committee and realize that any argument with its decisions can come only on the basis of neglect or misuse of the facts. Neither the cynical buck-passing of Prime Minister Attlee nor the hysterical Arabian harangues have dealt with the facts presented in the investigation; the complaints of Zionists and President Truman's spineless praise have been just as blissfully uncognizant of the realities of the present situation.
A look behind the headlines into the actual-work of the Palestine Committee reveals a project which for its scope and precision, its humanity and yet its grasp of political facts, its economic common sense, its religious idealism is deserving of the utmost praise. The Committee looked at the plight of European Jews when it asked immediate admission of 100,000 to Palestine, but it recognized, too, the religious significance of the Holy Land to many peoples; it examined the economic importance and limitations of Palestine, but it also remembered the words of the original mandate and the faith placed in Great Britain by the League; it rejected the 1937 Peel Commission's contention that might (and oil) make right, but it refused, too, to put its trust in a short-sighted, if definite, series of figures.
Jews and Arabs face the hour of reckoning. Zionists who have been living with an ideal will have to demonstrate the sincerity of their humanitarian appeals by compromising that ideal for the present, and fighting for implementation of the report. If the Arabs are to hold even a whit of respect in the eyes of the world, they will have to heed the warning of the Committee: "We hope that . . . those who have opposed the admission of these unfortunate people into Palestine . . . will look upon the situation again, . . . at least that they will not make the position of these sufferers more difficult."
The Committee points a finger, too, at Britain, the United States, and the United Nations. It tells the British to fulfill their trust, to cease mouthing phrases about the necessity of disarming the weak, oil-less Jews, to admit that it is the powerful Moslem states which they fear; it asks Americans to give more than empty words; it challenges the UN to assume the burden its charter claims. The honesty and logic of the report of the Committee of Inquiry will make its conclusions, conscience-like, dog the nations and their leaders until the long-sought solution to the problem of Palestine is a fact.