Sometimes I go down rabbit holes. You know — scrolling online from one article to another which leads to a third and it never ends. Today I explored a gold mine instead.
I started with Michael Lynk’s article about the history of the U.N. partition 75 years ago of Israel and Palestine. Prelude to Partition: 75 Years Ago, a U.N. Committee Determined Palestine’s Fate (April 30, 2022). I really respect Professor Lynk, a Canadian law professor who served as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Palestine for a number of years. (See here and here and here.) His recounting of the history is magnificent in its global context as well as focus on details.
In its detailed coverage of the UNSCOP report, The Economist in early September 1947 called the majority plan “both unjust and unworkable.” The majority plan recommended that the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine, which made up 34 percent of its population, be given almost two-thirds of the country’s land area, both of its ports, most of its primary water sources and most of its valuable citrus plantations. At the time, the Yishuv only owned 7 percent of the land in Palestine. Almost all of Palestine’s industries—Arab, Jewish and foreign—would be in the new Jewish state. Yet, under this plan, the Jewish state would still be demographically a binational state, with almost an equal population of Jews and Palestinian Arabs. For their part, the Palestinians were asked to accept a rump statelet with little of the country’s economic wealth, and a heavy dependence upon the goodwill of the new Jewish state to make the proposed economic union functional.
With modifications, the UNSCOP majority plan was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 29, 1947 in Resolution 181. The General Assembly vote was delayed several times because the United States and the Jewish Agency representatives were not confident that they had gathered the requisite two-thirds of U.N. member states to support the partition resolution. Only after significant diplomatic arm-twisting, and an abrupt change of mind by several developing countries, was the final vote conducted. While slightly more territory was assigned to the proposed Arab state by the General Assembly, the lopsided features of the UNSCOP majority plan remained largely intact. The rest has been a calamitous history for the Palestinians.
We should each return to the beginning and remember this history which unleashed the trauma that persists to this day. And if you don’t know this history, Professor Lynk’s essay is a good place to begin.
The partition of Palestine as recommended by the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine, Sept. 1, 1947. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
Then I started wondering about the website/publication/organization that had published Professor Lynk’s essay. DAWN – Democracy for the Arab World Now – was founded in early 2018 by Jamal Kashoggi just months before his brutal murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. I had never heard of DAWN.
The deliberate de-development of democracy and the erosion of human rights in the Arab world are detrimental to its peoples, economies, and future prospects for peace and prosperity. Since the brief flowering of the Arab Spring in 2011, the region has seen a harsh crackdown against democratic dissent and youth activism. Many tens of thousands have been forced into exile. Many more have been killed, jailed, and silenced at home. Repressive governments – often with powerful United States backing – have joined forces to block the democratic aspirations of their peoples.
Friends, colleagues, and supporters are now carrying on Kashoggi’s legacy – establishing DAWN with the mission of advancing democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in member nations of the Arab League through an integrated program of monitoring and research, advocacy and publicity, publications, and broad-based coalition-building.
I explored the DAWN website and found the most recent essay published February 13, 2023. Ending the ‘Special Relationship’: A Proposal for Transforming the Biden Administration’s Israel Policy. See here. WOW! Stay tuned!
2 responses to “DAWN – Democracy for the Arab World Now”
Yes, I go down the rabbit hole too. Wow! Thank you Lora, for turning me on to DAWN, and also for introducing me to Prof. Michael Lynk!
In solidarity, MJ
Reblogged this on penelopap.