Documentary on Partition of Palestine 1947–With Map

In 1947, the UN General Assembly voted 33-13 (with 10 abstentions and 1 absent) in favour of a resolution (181) that would partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs. Today in IS309 we watched Benny Brunner’s documentary, Al Nakba (“the catastrophe”, in Arabic), which sets out to tell the story of the partition, the ensuing civil war, and the Arab-Israel war of 1948. The documentary was based on the historian Benny Morris’ book, The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-49. We discussed (at times heatedly) issues regarding the morality/efficacy of partition as a potential solution to some situations of inter-ethnic conflict. In addition, we read Chaim Kaufmann’s article “When all else fails: Population Transfers and Partitions in the Twentieth Century,” which argues that there are situations where partition is a legitimate policy approach to inter-ethnic violence.

2 thoughts on “Documentary on Partition of Palestine 1947–With Map”

  1. I do see the need for partition, as suggested by Kauffman, but as Alexander stated above, complete partition was not achieved. Had there been a way to successfully partition Israel/Palestine completely, the outcome may have been different, but I do recognize that certain circumstances made this task extremely difficult. As the two groups shared certain regions, mass migration would inevitably occur. It was a good suggestion to use international forces to achieve this peacefully, but I do not think it could have realistically occurred without violence, even with the presence of mediators.

  2. While not in complete support of Kauffman’s view in regards to ethnic conflict resolution through partition, I do believe that the way in which the partition took place in Israel/Palestine had a significant effect upon the ensuing conflict and violence. Kauffman advocates for complete partition of conflicting groups, and as the map above illustrates, this was not achieved in this case – the Jewish and Arab populations were split amongst 3 regions each, which were spread throughout the former state of Palestine. Mass migration, supported and secured by international forces (as suggested by Kauffman) coupled with a proper, complete partition, would have allowed for proper resettlement of these regions and possibly avoid the levels of ethnic conflict that we are witnessing in the region today.

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