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Arabs fear freedom

Sat., Nov. 17, 2007

Sixty years ago this month the United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 181 (available on the Internet) partitioning Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish.

This resolution was adopted following determinations that both Arabs and Jews had legitimate claims to territory and the two groups had been unable to live together peacefully.

Each of the two states was to be democratic, specifically including the right of women to vote and hold office. The two states also were to guarantee human rights and minority rights, especially for the Arab minority in the Jewish state and the Jewish minority in the Arab state.

Interestingly, the plan also called for economic union, which would have drawn the two states into ever closer federation.

Jewish leadership accepted the U.N. plan. Arab leaders rejected and actively opposed it.

With the benefit of 60 years of hindsight, it is interesting to speculate whether Arab leaders acted because they feared having as their neighbor a democratic Arab state in which freedom and human rights were guaranteed to all, including women and religious minorities.

Howard Glass



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