Every year on November 29th the international community marks the anniversary of the United Nations (hereinafter referred to as the ‘UN’) Partition Resolution 181(II) . It is sometimes forgotten ‘ and often not even known ‘ that this was the first blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian ‘two states for two peoples’ solution. While this resolution was accepted by Jewish leaders, it was renounced by Arab and Palestinian leadership who also, by their own acknowledgement, declared war on the fledgling Jewish state ‘ while also targeting the Jewish population living in their respective Arab countries.
The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ‘ within the broader Arab-Israeli conflict ‘ is deeply rooted. At the core of the conflict lies the Balfour Declaration. Created on 2 November 1917, the declaration is a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, which was written for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. It read as follows:
The impact of this document on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is immeasurable, having been incorporated into the Treaty of S??vres , referenced in the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence , and disputed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement . As Jack Straw, former British Foreign Secretary noted in a 2002 interview:
Had Resolution 181(II) been accepted, there would not have been the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the ensuing refugee problems. Instead, the annual November 29 UN-organized International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People might well have been a day commemorating peace in the Middle East, and the co-existent establishment of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.
Instead, in May 1948, the local Arab population of Mandate Palestine was joined by seven Arab countries in a collective UN-violated attempt to destroy the newly re-established Jewish state (see Appendix A). This war would become known to Israelis as the ‘War of Independence’ and to Palestinians as ‘The Catastrophe’ . This is distinction in narratives is vitally important in understanding the plight of both Jewish and Palestinian refugees over the past 67 years.