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Cust's Cantonization Plan (1936)

Location
London, United Kingdom
Date
1936-03-04
People
Archer G. Cust, United Kingdom: Speaker
A plan presented by former Mandatory official Archer Cust during a lecture to the British Royal Central Asian Society on 4 March 1936. After surveying the history of Palestine from classical times up to the early Mandatory period, Cust claimed that in order for Britain to fulfill its obligations under the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine, as well as preserving its interests, it must implement in Palestine a scheme dividing the country into autonomous Jewish and Arab cantons. The Jewish canton would have its own administration, while the Arab canton would become part of the Transjordan Emirate, separated from the rest of the Mandate territory in 1922. The territorial extent of both cantons would reflect contemporary demographics, with the Jewish canton covering most of the plains and the Arab canton largely on the hills. "Special arrangements" would be made for the mostly uninhabited Beersheba district, as well as the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, while the latter and Haifa would remain under British control due to strategic and political considerations. The Mandatory administration would also retain responsibility for defense, customs and certain civil issues, while delegating "as much legislative and executive authority" to the cantonal administration.