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Saturday, December 01, 2007

 

Response to Freedland on Comment Is Free

Freedland concludes 'A Small, Slender Chance For Peace in the Middle East':

"Today is the 60th anniversary of the UN vote which sought to partition historic Palestine into two states, one for the Jews, one for the Palestinians. It is a resolution that remains only half-implemented. Now there is a slender chance of completing the job - and surely, despite the thousand obstacles, the world has to grab it with both hands."

My response is a quotation from Walid Khalidi:

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

"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 land ownership 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 known 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. "

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