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Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Palestinian Opposition to Partition

On 29 November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recommending the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, a Palestinian state, and a special international regime (corpus separatum) for Jerusalem and its environs; an economic union would be set up between the Jewish and Palestinian states. The Palestinians and other Arabs were as stunned as the Zionists and their sympathizers were jubilant. The very reactions of each side belied the claim that partition was a compromise solution.

Palestinian Opposition to Partition

The member states that championed and endorsed partition did so in the full knowledge of bitter Palestinian and Arab opposition to it. The Palestinans had lost some four thousand lives fighting partition from 1937 to 1939. Since its creation the Arab League had been warning against partition. The UN partition plan was based on the Zionist plan that President Truman had endorsed as early as August 1946. From the Palestinian perspective, partition was Zionist in provenance and conception, and tailored to meet Zionist needs and demands. That the UN resolution won 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions and one delegtion absent, was largely due to the enormous pressure brought to bear by the United States (including the personal intervention of President Truman) om member states to vote for it. To be sure, the Soviet Union voted for partition also, but only in order to end British rule in Palestine. Significanty, no African or Asian state voted in favor except Liberia and the Philippines. India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan all voted against, while China abstained. Many Latin American countries (including Mexico) abstained. Even the Canadian representative was heard to say that his country supported partition "with a heavy heart and many misgivings."1 The United Kingdom coyly abstained (Khalidi 305).

Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948. Washington DC: Institute For Palestine Studies, 1991.

1. Evan M. Wilson, Decision on Palestine (Stanford, Calif.:Hoover Institution Press, 1979), p. 127.

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