This Day in History (29-Nov-1947) – U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

As part of the 19th-century Zionist movement, Jews had begun settling in Palestine as early as 1820. The effort to establish a Jewish homeland received British approval in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. During the 1930s, Jews persecuted by the Hitler regime poured into Palestine. The post-World WarII acknowledgment of the Holocaust—Hitler’s genocide of 6 million Jews—increased international interest in and sympathy for the cause of Zionism. The British mandate to govern Palestine, which had been in place since 1923, ended after the war, and, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small international zone. Arabs rejected the idea, but the plan moved forward and the British officially withdrew on May 14, 1948, and the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.

Hostilities broke out almost immediately after the state of Israel was proclaimed. Neighboring Arab nations invaded, intent on crushing the newly declared State of Israel. Israel emerged victorious, affirming its sovereignty. By the cease-fire on Jan. 7, 1949, Israel had increased its original territory by 50%, taking western Galilee, a broad corridor through central Palestine to Jerusalem, and part of modern Jerusalem. The new border is called the Green Line. As many as 750,000 Palestinians either flee or are forced from Israel and settle in refugee camps near Israel’s border. The status of the refugees goes on to become a sticking point in further Arab-Israeli relations. The Palestinian defeat and exodus is known as the Nakba, or disaster.

The new Israel government was admitted to the UN on May 11, 1949. The remaining areas of Palestine were divided between Transjordan (now Jordan), which annexed the West Bank, and Egypt, which gained control of the Gaza Strip. Through a series of political and social policies, Jordan sought to consolidate its control over the political future of Palestinians and to become their speaker. Jordan even extended citizenship to Palestinians in 1949.

The conflicts around Israel and Palestine continued for years. In October 2011, UNESCO admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member.

Reference:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/un-votes-for-partition-of-palestine

http://www.infoplease.com/world/countries/israel-palestine-conflict/early-history.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine

This Day in History (9-Apr-1957) – Suez Canal cleared for all shipping

The Suez Canal is considered to be the shortest link between the east and the west due to its unique geographic location; it is an important international navigation canal linking between the Mediterranean sea at Port said and the red sea at Suez. The idea of linking the Mediterranean sea with the red sea by a canal dates back to 40 centuries. The first who dug it was Senausert III, Pharaoh of Egypt (1874 B.C.). This canal was abandoned to silting and reopened several times until 640 A.D.

The first efforts to build a modern canal came from the Egypt expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte, who hoped the project would create a devastating trade problem for the English.  but they miscalculated a difference of ten meters between the two sea levels and gave up the idea, as it would sweep away the Nile Delta. In 1858 ‘Universal Company of the Maritime Suez Canal’ was formed with authority to cut a canal and to operate it for 99 years, after which ownership would return to the Egyptian government. Excavation of the canal actually began in 1859 and completed in 1869 when the barrage of the Suez plains reservoir was breached and waters of the Mediterranean flowed into the Red Sea and the canal was opened for international navigation.

Under the terms of The Convention of Constantinople signed in 1888, the canal was opened to vessels of all nations without discrimination, in peace and war. After World war II, Egypt had proposed to build Aswan dam on Nile river to prevent flood sitations. Dam was being funded by USA. However during Israel conflict USA withdrew the dam funding in July 1956. Egypt president Gamal Abd El Naser’s response was the nationalization of the Suez Canal on account of expiry of lease period of Suez Canal company. That same day, Egypt closed the canal to Israeli shipping. In October, Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai. Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. The Egyptian forces were defeated, but they did block the canal to all shipping. The three allies had attained a number of their military objectives, but the Canal was now useless and heavy pressure from the United States and the USSR forced them to withdraw. The Suez crisis is widely believed to have contributed significantly to Britain’s decline as a world power. Suez canal was reopened in 1957.
Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/9

http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg/sc.aspx?show=8

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis