The U.S.-Proposed “Trusteeship Agreement” for Palestine: The UN-Styled Plan That Could Have Avoided Forcible Displacement of the Palestinian Refugees in 1948
AbstractIn this article, the author examines the U.S.-proposed “Trusteeship Agreement for Palestine,” circulated by the U.S. in the UN Security Council and in subcommittees of the General Assembly from March through May of 1948. The U.S. proposed a UN trusteeship for Palestine as a possible means to provide for a peaceful transition from the end of the British Mandate for Palestine into a new governmental entity that would provide equality under the law for all of its citizens. Notably, the proposed trusteeship arrangement would have avoided partition of Palestine. The author asserts that this, in turn, could have avoided the forcible displacement of three-quarters of a million Palestinian refugees in 1948, as well as Israel’s subsequent refusal to repatriate them. The author argues that the U.S.-proposed Trusteeship Agreement for Palestine sheds light on important norms of international law that existed in 1948 and that could, and should, have been followed by the United Nations in providing for the welfare and legal rights of all the inhabitants of mandate Palestine as the clock ticked down on the announced British withdrawal from Palestine as mandatory authority as of 15 May 1948.
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