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In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to divide Palestine into two states--Jewish and Arab--with the Jerusalem area (including Bethlehem) to be controlled by an international governing body. The final vote of the U. N. General Assembly was 33-13 (with 10 abstentions). Jewish leaders accepted the plan, but it was denounced by virtually the entire Arab world, including all independent Arab and Muslim nations. Civil war broke out almost immediately. Six months later, the Jewish state declared itself the independent nation of Israel. Meanwhile, the Arab nations of Syria, Egypt and Iraq attacked Israeli forces, primarily in the Jerusalem area. A truce was announced a month later, during which time Israel expanded its army and gained control of surrounding areas.
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