The 11-member Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was formed. In the end, the majority of the members recommended that Palestine be divided into an Arab State and a Jewish State. Jerusalem would be awarded special international status.
On November 29th, 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (III) the Plan of Partition with Economic Union, per the UNSCOP. This resolution included an attached four-part documented, which included the termination of the Mandate for Palestine, progressive withdrawal of British forces, and border creation between the Arab state, Jewish state and Jerusalem. The creation of Arab and Jewish states were to be done by October 1st, 1948. Palestine would be divided into eight parts. Three parts would be allocated to the Arab state; three would be allocated to the Jewish state. The seventh part would be the town of Jaffa, which would be an Arab enclave, within the Jewish state. The eight part would be the international city of Jerusalem, which would be administered by the United Nations Trusteeship Council. Other details were included in the plan, including: citizenship details, economic union, transit, access to holy places, and also established UNSCOP to carry out the recommendations and the Security Council to implement the partition plan. The resolution was accepted by the Jewish Agency; however, it was not accepted by the Palestinian Arabs and Arab States
By 1948, the UN Security Council determined that the situation was a threat to peace and ordered a ceasefire. On December 11th, 1948, resolution 194 (III) was adopted, as a means of solving the problem in Palestine. The resolution declared that refugees that wished to return to their homes should be allowed to do so and live in peace. Compensation should be given to property owners not wishing to return. Demilitarization and internationalization of Jerusalem was ordered, as well as free access to holy places. Lastly, a three-member UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine was established, which assumed the functions of the UN Mediator, in trying to assist the parties in a final settlement
Impact of Settlements on Palestinians in the West Bank:
Although Jewish settlers on the West Bank feel they have the right to be there, given the history and previous declarations, mandates and resolutions, the Palestinians living in the area are negatively affected. In Hebron, a city that has been sanctified by Jews, Muslims and Christians as the burial site of Abraham, the persecution of Palestinians has become routine. Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) who protect the settlers violently harass and antagonize Palestinians in the area
Schneider reports about the situation her co-author and other volunteers for Inspire Dreams witnessed:
In the "open-air" market in old Hebron, Israeli settlers inhabit the second and third floors of buildings from which Palestinian families had been evicted years ago. From this vantage point, they hurl everything from rocks and debris to buckets of scalding oil, boiling water, and excrement on the Palestinians and their wares below. The metal grate
"roof" constructed by the Palestinians offers some protection from the larger objects, but not the liquids. In early August Sam and other Inspire Dreams volunteers witnessed the Israeli Defense Forces moving in on the marketplace, but not to protect the shopkeepers and their customers. Instead, they beat several of the shop owners and welded the doors to the stalls shut, effectively evicting the Palestinians from their workplaces.
Other report include harassment by a gang of boys shouting, "Visa! Visa! No Arabs!" And being told by IDF that if they had continued down the street further they may have been shot by Jewish settlers. At one of the Israeli checkpoints that exist at every West Bank city, one of the Arab-American members of their party had his camera smashed by an IDF soldier, because it had pictures of Jewish settlements. It is this sort of treatment, coupled with the violent attacks on Jewish settlers by Palestinian inhabitants, that add fuel to the fire regarding this land dispute, and is one of the reasons the two parties still have yet to come to some sort of peaceful resolution, despite the best efforts of the United Nations and other nations.
Preferential Treatment of Settlements:
The preferential treatment of Jewish settlements is another sticking point for many Palestinians. When a settlement is approved by the Israeli government, an outpost is developed. This is often a select number of families that move to an area and live there in traliers. There they wait until the Israeli government sends financial support and builds infrastructure
. This infrastructure includes by-pass roads.
The by-pass roads that link the settlements have a 50 to 75 meter buffer zone on each side. No construction is permitted in this zone, which has led to a loss of agricultural and privately-owned land by Palestinians. In addition to the consumption of their land, Palestinians are also forbidden to use these roads
. In addition, there is a disparity in resources, between the two parties.
Many of the Jewish settlements are constructed on prime agricultural land. Although settlements only constitute three percent of the land in the West Bank, a total of 40% is annexed by Israelis with their bypass roads and buffer zones. Other settlements are constructed over critical water resources, including springs, wells, and the Western Aquifer basin. In addition, Jewish settlers consume more water than Palestinian residents, with settlers consuming approximately 280 liters per day, while Palestinians only consume 86 liters per day, on average. The World Health Organization recommends a consumption rate of 100 liters per day, meaning settlers consume almost three times that amount
Addressing Settlements in the Future:
Addressing settlements in the future is a difficult challenge. Clearly, if there was an easy answer, this often violent situation would have been resolved decades ago. Today, years of peace talks have yet to realize real results, with the decades of political negotiations resulting in nothing truly agreed upon other than the Green Line, established by the 1949 Armistice, and the Israeli West Bank barrier, reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. Official cease fires exist, but violence on the streets continues, among the settlers and Palestinians. Moratoriums on construction of new settlements hold out for a couple of months, as a means of facilitating future negotiations, but even those are tentative.
Future dealings must take into account both sides of the argument. Palestinians perceive Jewish settlements as occupation in their sovereign state. With the impact on resources these settlements have, as well as the increasing size of the settlements, it's not surprising that Palestinians are concerned. They also see these settlements as a security threat for their nation.
On the Jewish side of the argument, this land is the land of their forefathers. It holds both historical and religious significance for the Jewish people. Defensively, there is also strategic worth to these settlements. This is validated by past invasion attempts, such as the invasion in 1948. In addition, international law appears to be on Israel's side. From the Balfour Declaration to the Mandate for Palestine to UN resolutions, the formation of a Jewish state in the area has been mandated.
In an increasingly globalized world, where borders are coming down to facilitate increased trade and partnerships, it's almost unfathomable that these two countries seem to be stuck in an era of isolationism. What would be best for both countries is to come to some sort of compromise, allowing Israel the Jewish state they were promised, plus giving the Palestinians the sovereignty they should have. With security a concern, perhaps an international zone, much as was suggested in resolution 181 with the city of Jerusalem, should be created. This buffer would help alleviate some of the security concerns both parties have.
Some believe a singular state, for both Palestinians and Jews, is the optimal solution. It would be wonderful if these two groups could focus on their commonalities, rather than their differences, and coexist peacefully within the same nation. This would address the challenge of the hundreds of thousands of people who have now intermixed in these contested areas. As it stands, if the land was officially divided into two states, many people would be displaced -- Jewish settlers that would end up in the Palestinian state and Palestinians who would end up in the Jewish state. Right now, these two groups live together in the same towns, along the same streets, and sometimes in the same buildings.
Despite the concern that a two-state system would only encourage continued conflict between the parties, and the belief that a single state would help ease discriminatory practices between the two religions, a democratic single state offers problems of its own. There would be a population inequality…