Partition and Civil War: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Part Eight
In August 1945, President Truman asked for the admission of 100,000 Holocaust survivors into Palestine, but the British maintained limits on Jewish immigration in line with the 1939 White Paper. The Jewish community rejected the restriction on immigration and also organized an armed resistance. These and United States pressure to end the anti-immigration policy led to the establishment of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.
In April 1946, the Committee reached a unanimous decision for the immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine, rescinding the white paper restrictions of land sale to Jews, that the country be neither Arab nor Jewish and the extension of U.N. Trusteeship. The U.S. endorsed the Commission findings concerning Jewish immigration and land purchase restrictions, while the U.K. conditioned their implementation on U.S. assistance in case of another Arab revolt.
In effect, the British continued to carry out the White Paper policy. The recommendations triggered violent demonstrations in the Arab states, calls for a Jihad, and an annihilation of all European Jews in Palestine.
U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal recommending a partition with economic Union of Mandatory Palestine to follow the termination of the British Mandate. On November 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan as Resolution 181(II).
The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. The Partition Plan, a four-part document attached to the resolution, provided for the termination of the Mandate, the progressive withdrawal of British armed forces and the delineation of boundaries between the two States and Jerusalem.
Part I of the Plan stipulated that the Mandate would be terminated as soon as possible and the United Kingdom would withdraw no later than August 1, 1948. The new states would come into existence two months after the withdrawal, but no later than October 1, 1948. The Plan sought to address the conflicting objectives of Arab nationalists in Palestine and Zionists. The Plan also called for Economic Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.
The Plan was accepted by the Jewish public, except for its fringes, and by the Jewish Agency despite its perceived limitations. With a few exceptions, the Arab leaders and governments rejected the plan of partition in the resolution and indicated an unwillingness to accept any form of territorial division with their reason being that it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter which granted people the right to decide their own destiny.
After the General Assembly of the United Nations voted for the Partition Plan for Palestine on November 30, 1947, a civil war began in Mandatory Palestine. This would be the first phase of the 1948 Palestine war. During the civil war, the Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine clashed (the latter supported by the Arab Liberation Army) while the British, who had the obligation to maintain order, organized their withdrawal and intervened only on an occasional basis.