Conflicts & War

75 years on, Palestinians remain deprived of state, peace

By Sara Gomez Armas

Jerusalem, Nov 29 (EFE).- With the wounds from the Holocaust still fresh, on November 29, 1947 the United Nations adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine, a move that established the State of Israel and unleashed a seemingly endless conflict with no hope for peace for the Palestinians inhabiting those lands.

“It is an anniversary that nobody commemorates anymore, nobody cares what happened in 1947 because it is not interesting to remember that the founding of a Palestinian state remains pending,” Israeli historian Meir Margalit tells Efe.

Seventy-five years ago, the UN General Assembly gave the green light to resolution 181, which stipulated the creation of two states for two peoples and the placement of Jerusalem under a special international regime.

Margalit believes the decision was “coherent” and “necessary” at the time because there were 250,000 Jewish refugees who had survived the Holocaust and World War II.

But the historian believes it was poorly implemented because it drew an “inconsistent” and “weak” border, leaving large Arab communities on Israeli territory and the Jewish population of Galilee on Palestinian soil.

Clashes quickly broke out amid growing anger in the Arab world and a belief that Jews unfairly got almost half of the territory when they represented only a third of the population and owned just 7% of the land.

The State of Israel was created six months later on May 14, 1948, when David Ben Gurion declared independence, triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians refer to this day as al-Nakba (“catastrophe”).

The war resulted in some 700,000 Palestinians being uprooted from their land and was ended with the signature of armistice agreements in 1949 that drew the so-called Green Line, which divided East and West Jerusalem.


For decades, the Green Line remained ironclad, defended with a strong military presence.

No one in East and West Jerusalem wanted to live close to it because of the snipers lurking on both sides.

“Nobody crossed from one side to the other. Only police convoys escorted by the UN crossed to two Israeli areas in the east, the campus of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus – which had to transfer its academic activity to the west – and the Tomb of King David,” says Margalit.

But that changed in 1967, when Israel occupied the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula (which was eventually returned to Egypt, in 1979), the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, after the Six Day War.

The eastern half of the city was annexed in 1980, a move that was not recognized by the UN or the international community.

Since then, the Green Line in Jerusalem has been blurred “to the point that the new generations do not even know what it is,” Margalit points out.

“As Palestinians, we have lost East Jerusalem. It is out of the question,” says analyst Ziad Hammouri, believing it is “impossible” to revive the two-state solution proposed decades ago.

Hammouri points out that the situation in all the Palestinian territories is worse than ever.

“Gaza has been blockaded for 15 years and the connection between villages and cities has been lost in the West Bank due to the expansion of settlements, which prevents many Palestinians from moving freely to work or to school, and the roads built there are for the settlers,” he explains.

The risk of annexing the entire West Bank is “greater than ever,” with the far-right government poised to rule in Israel, although the Jewish state practically “already controls all of area C militarily and administratively, which represents 60% of that territory,” adds Hammouri.

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