I think I’ve linked to this before but it doesn’t hurt to give this report its own post.
Sixty years ago, on Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed UNGA Resolution 181. This was the Partition Resolution which recommended dividing mandatory Palestine into two states, one for the Jewish population and one for the Arab population. The states were not to be exclusive to those groups but would include minority groups and would be democratic. Jerusalem was to be shared by the international community which would have jurisdiction. The borders of both states were essentially indefensible and in parts were barely contiguous. Although the Jewish community was given about 56% of the land, most of it included the Negev desert – not particularly arable or hospitable. The General Assembly anticipated that there would be significant migration of Jews to the new Jewish state, although at that time they had no idea there would be 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands that were going to be coming as well.
The General Assembly voted on this resolution on the basis of recommendations from a report by UNSCOP, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. UNSCOP was given the mission of providing a report within three months and spent that time intensively interviewing, researching and visiting the people and places in question. They concluded with two recommendations, a majority recommendation (partition) and a minority recommendation (for a federation – one state with two nations living in cantons).
The UNSCOP report is fascinating, informative, extremely reasonable in its approach and conclusions, and provides an amazing educational tool regarding the political, economic, social, religious, military and historic aspects of the conflict over Palestine and the birth of Israel…and still-birth of an Arab country. It’s lengthy, but it’s an easy and worthwhile read.