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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

 

Palestinian Opposition to Partition Continues With Some Facts and Figures

Partition was seen by the Palestinians as imposing unilateral and intolerable sacrifices on themselves. The reasons for their opposition were the same as in 1937, except that the UN partition plan gave the proposed Jewish state 50 percent more territory than the 1937 plan had. The area of the Jewish state according to the UN plan would actually be larger than that of the proposed Palestinian state (5,500 square miles as compared with 4,500 square miles) at a time when the Jews constituted no more than 35 percent of the population and owned less than 7 percent of the land. Within the proposed Jewish state, Jewish landownership did not in fact exceed 600 square miles out of the total area of 5,500 square miles. Nearly all the citrus land (equally divided in ownership between Jews and Palestinians), 80 percent of the cereal land (entirely Palestinian-owned), and 40 percent of Palestinian industry would fall within the borders of the proposed Jewish state. Jaffa, the Palestinian state's major port on the Mediterranean, would be altogether cut off from its hinterland, and Gaza would lose its traditional links with the wheatlands of the Negev. Hundreds of villages would be separated from communal fields and pastures. The Palestinian state would lose direct access both to the Red Sea and to Syria. The economic union between the two states, on which partition had been postulated, was know beforehand to be impracticable. The patchwork of subunits into which partition would divide the country bore little relationship to the human and social realities on the ground. Khalidi, Walid. Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948.Washington DC: Institute For Palestine Studies, 1991.

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