Dr. Nadia Abu-Zahra, speaks to over 100 academics, public servants and representatives of Canadian civil society who met in Ottawa on February 22 at a day-long “Canada and Palestine” symposium. Organizers see it as the “launch of an ongoing, pluralistic” discussion on the issue of Canada and Palestine. Read more…
Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Palestinian Canadian doctor, was shot in both legs last May by an Israeli sniper in Gaza. He was one of 1700 wounded on that day alone. He talked about what he saw and felt at a recent lecture organized in Toronto by Canadian Friends of Sabeel. Learn more…
Test your knowledge. Rate yourself: The right answers are below (no peeking)
Fewer than 10 correct answers – you need to brush up
11- 15 right answers – impressive
16 – 19 right answers – very impressive – a history buff!
21 right answers – We are sure you peeked!!
In the General Assembly vote in 1947, how did Canada vote “yes” or “no”?
How many parts was Palestine to be divided into?
Who cast Canada’s vote?
What special role did Canada play?
What did the New York Times call the proposal to partition Palestine?
What Canadian diplomat was praised by jubilant Zionist groups as the “Lord Balfour of Canada”?
How did the Palestinian delegation vote? Yes or no? (this is a trick question)
Were the Jewish groups in Palestine in favour of, or opposed to, the partition plan?
What was the final vote count in the UN General Assembly?
After the vote, how much longer did British military forces remain in Palestine?
What did the UN resolution say about the fate of the “minorities” living in each of the new states?
Is that what happened?
Were the Palestinians expelled militarily, or did they just “run away”?
Where did non-Jewish Palestinians flee to?
When did Israel declare itself as a State?
How many Palestinians had been expelled or frightened into leaving by that date?
When did neighbouring Arab countries declare war on the new State of Israel?
What were the borders of the new State of Israel?
How much longer did the expulsions continue?
When hostilities ended in 1949, how many Palestinians were still in Israel, and how many had been made refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, and in neighbouring countries?
In the General Assembly vote in 1947, did Canada vote “yes” or “no” on the resolution to divide Palestine? Canada voted “yes” to the partition of Palestine.
How many parts was Palestine to be divided into?Three:According to UN resolution 181,Palestine was to be divided into 1: A Jewish State, 2: an Arab State, and 3:the City of Jerusalem which was to be independent, and under international protection as the shared heritage of the 3 major religions in the region: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Who cast Canada’s vote?Canada’s vote was cast by our ambassador to the UN, Lester B. Pearson(later to become prime minister of Canada)
What special role did Canada play?Canada was a member of a small sub-committee (UN Special committee on Palestine) that proposed partition.
What did the New York Times call the proposal to partition Palestine? The New York Times called the partition plan “The Canadian plan”. (Engler, op. cit. p. 38)
Lester Pearson supported the partition of Palestine. Zionists called him the “Lord Balfour of Canada”
What Canadian diplomat was praised by jubilant Zionist groups as the “Lord Balfour of Canada”? The same Lester B. Pearson. (ref: The Truth May Hurt, p. 39 by Yves Engler)
How did the Palestinian delegation vote on the idea of partition? Yes or no? (this is a trick question) Palestine did not have a vote. It was not a member of the UN (it was still under the British mandate).
Were the Jewish groups in Palestine in favour of, or opposed to, the partition plan? Jewish groups were divided. Some, like the Irgun militia group, were opposed to partition. They thought they deserved the whole of mandate Palestine. Others, like David Ben Gurion’s Jewish Agency, thought it was wiser to accept the partition as a temporary first step.
What was the final vote count in the UN General Assembly? The vote was 38 in favour, 13 opposed, 10 abstaining, 1 absent. The UN had only 57 members in 1947, and was dominated by Europe and North American and Latin American nations.
After the vote, how much longer did British military forces remain in Palestine? Palestine officially remained under British control for another 6 months, until May 15 1948.
Irgun recruiting poster. It claimed all of Palestine and all of Jordan as part of “Erez Israel”
Is that what happened? NO. The day after the UN vote, while Britain was still nominally in control and five months before Israel’s declaration of independence, Zionist militias began attacking Palestinians in Jaffa, the largest Palestinian city. This is described with remarkable frankness at the Etzel Museum, called the “Museum of the Liberation of Jaffa”.
Were the Palestinians expelled militarily, or did they just “run away”?Some wealthy and well educated Palestinians fled right after partition sensing trouble ahead. In some villages there were massacres and people forced to leave at gunpoint. In other cases, people ran to safety when they heard about massacres in neighbouring villages which the British military made no effort to stop. But, international law makes no distinction between the two. They all are refugees
Where did non-Jewish Palestinians flee to? The Zionist forces tried to push the Palestinians in specific directions. Some were pushed north to Lebanon, others went inland towards Syria and Jordan. Many fled to Gaza. Some went into hiding in the mountains or deserts inside what would become Israel.
When did Israel declare itself as a State? Israel declared its independence on May 14th, 1948, the day before the British mandate was scheduled to end.
How many Palestinians had been expelled or frightened into leaving by that date? It is estimated that when Israel declared independence, about 400,000 Palestinians had already been displaced.
When did neighbouring Arab countries declare war on the new State of Israel? Neighbouring Arab countries declared war on Israel May 15th, 1948, the day after the British mandate ended and Israel had declared itself a state.
What were the borders of the new State of Israel? Israel did not declare its borders. It continued to seize territory expelling more people. It finally signed a series of armistices with its neighbours establishing a temporary “green line”. This green line has become Israel’s “de facto” border, and allowing Israel to control of about 50% more land than was authorized by the UN vote.
How much longer did the expulsions continue? Israeli forces continued rounding up and expelling Palestinians for another 8 or 9 months. Other mass expulsions occurred even after 1949.
When hostilities ended in 1949, how many Palestinians were still in Israel, and how many had been made refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, and in neighbouring countries? At that time, there were still about 150,000 Palestinians inside Israel, and another 750,000 refugees spread out in the region.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. This requires a good knowledge about historical facts. If we have our facts wrong, please help us. We encourage brief comments (under 100 words) from serious readers. To learn more about what we do, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CTIP has received a copy of an open letter from Ahmad Abu Artema, one of the key organizers of the Palestinian ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza, inviting Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to come and visit Gaza. ‘You will see we are not hate fueled terrorists, but desperate young people searching for a solution to our unfair situation,’ he writes. Read more.(more…)