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End Israel's Occupation: 40 years too many

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MAP 3: 1949-1967

With the rejection of the UN partition by the Arab states and the moves by the Zionists to implement their Plan Dalet, which called for the total expulsion of the Palestinian population, the Arab league took the decision to intervene when the Mandate ended. But already up to 250,000 Palestinians had been uprooted, displaced or killed by April 1948, and the most notorious massacre - Deir Yassin - served to create fear and flight in the population.

Following the Zionists’ unilateral Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, five Arab armies belatedly intervened in Palestine to reverse the establishment of the Jewish settler-colony and to try and safeguard at least the portion allocated to the Arab State. The Israeli victory was due largely to it being better armed and organized as well as doing behind the scene deals with Jordan, which greatly weakened the Palestinians’ ability to defend their land.

This was particularly so as the Arab states were each fighting at the time for their own independence from colonial rule, and the Palestinians being an occupied people, had no army as such to defend itself. On the eve of the 1948 war, the Jewish fighting forces were 50,000 strong, of which 30,000 were fighting troops; Palestinian outfits numbered no more than 7,000 with volunteers from the Arab world reaching 3,000 over the next few months. Israeli troops increased to 80,000 whereas the Arab forces never exceeded 50,000 and were poorly organized.

Over 720,000 Palestinians were effectively ethnically cleansed from 77% of Palestine and 418 Palestinian villages were destroyed. Many fled to neighbouring Arab countries and some were internal refugees that had to flee again in the 1967 six-day war. Their numbers have grown to 4.5 million and they live in refugee camps under UNRWA’s care having been denied their “right of return”. Today three-quarters of the Palestinian people are displaced and more than half are displaced outside the borders of their historic homeland. From 1948-67, the West Bank and East Jerusalem was ruled by Jordan, which annexed the area in 1950 and the Gaza strip came under Egyptian military administration, while the remainder was claimed by Israel. Palestine effectively disappeared. Up until 1966 Israel’s remaining indigenous Arab population lived under military government which meant that while they were given a passport and the right to vote, in every other aspect they were stripped of their rights. Today they are still not full citizens as Israel is defined as a Jewish state.







© 2007 Women For Palestine