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Sunday, November 30, 1997 Published at 10:51 GMT

World: Middle East

Palestine partition anniversary

Special ceremonies have been held in Israel to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations vote to partition Palestine - an event which paved the way for the birth of the state of Israel and the outbreak of the first Arab-Israeli war.

There was an anniversary ceremony at the square in Tel Aviv where Jews danced with joy in 1947 on hearing the result of the UN vote.

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, called on the United Nations to grant the Palestinians full nation status at the UN to mark the anniversary. He said that such a move would strengthen efforts to reach a full and total peace in the region.

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan -- in a message to mark the anniversary -- said that for all the difficult decisions which had been made since 1947, the hardest still lay ahead.

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