Few Palestinians, if any, could have imagined they were to become victims of what would later be called ‘ethnic cleansing’.
After 30 years of British rule, the question of Palestine was referred to the United Nations, which had become the forum for conflict.
On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly met to devise a plan for the partition of Palestine. UN Resolution 181 divided Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as an internationalised city.
The Jewish state was granted 56 percent of the land; the city of Jaffa was included as an enclave of the Arab state; and the land known today as the Gaza Strip was split from its surrounding agricultural regions.
But making the proposed Arab state all but proved impractical in the eyes of many Palestinians.
When the draft resolution was presented for voting, Arab newspapers ran a ‘name and shame’ list of the countries that voted for the UN partition plan, and Arab protesters took to the streets.
Following the partition resolution, Britain announced it would end its mandate in Palestine on 14 May 1948.