Cantonization Plan for Palestine Studied by United Nations Delegates
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Cantonization Plan for Palestine Studied by United Nations Delegates

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The nature of political thinking taking shape (##)ong members of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine may be seen from (##) federalization plan being considered by a delegation which has been exceedingly (##)tive in the Committee’s work.

The plan envisages immediate division of Palestine into seven Jewish and seven (##)ab cantonments, with a temporary ten-year federal government vested in a council (##)posed of one representative from each cantonment and an equal number of non-Palestine councillors appointed by the United Nations, presided over by a United Nations Governor.

This program would call for immediate evacuation of the British; giving the (##)ws complete authority over immigration, health, education, land development and (##)milar problems in all Jewish cantonments, including the Negev; placing trade, security and public works, including water pipelines and other improvements, under juris(##)action of the federal government.


After ten years a plebiscite would be held in each cantonment to determine nether it wishes to continue the plan, unite more strongly, or desires partition into separate Arab and Jewish states.

Under the plan, the Jewish cantonments would include the region north of Safad; the Tiberius area; the south-western section of the Beisan area; the coastal plain (##)rom Haifa to Jaffa, with the exception of the southern Jaffa district; the area south of Hebron; the area directly south of Beisan and north of the Dead Sea; and the (##)tire Negev south of a line running about eight miles north of Beersheba.

Arab cantonments would include the Safad, Beisan, Nablus, Hebron, Rahmallah, (##)affa and Gaza districts.


In the view of the delegates considering this plan, its advantages over partition are as follows : first, it would keep the country’s economy intact; second, it provides a period of observation to see if the Jews and Arabs can get along together under United Nations supervision; third, the divisions make civil war remote, as against the more dangerous possibilities under a two-state partition; fourth, security would be vested in UN-supervised police rather than in more extremist hands; fifth, partition is opposed not only by Arabs but also by certain sections of the Jewish population, including dissident groups and Communists.

Certain questions are raised by the plan. For example, it is said that it is impossible to map seven sizable cantonments in which there are Jewish majorities, except the Tel Aviv area, because the Jews have acquired Arab territory and there is and to be an Arab majority in such areas. Also, there are many economic functions (##)ch depend on a federal government but which would be unfeasible under federalization–taxation and allocation of funds, for example. Since the solution does not provide a Jewish state in the sense demanded, the Jews would probably reject it. Ad(##)istration would be complicated.

Yet the fact remains that UNSCOP is trying to find the beginning of a path (##)ding through the maze of complications. Members are currently vacillating between (##)tition and federalization, with at least one group for bi-nationalism and one for (##)tition. At least four delegations find themselves hampered by reluctance to ar(##)e at any solution which might be considered anti-British or take steps which may (##)end sovereign prerogatives.

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