November 29, 1947 :: United Nation’s Moment of Lucidity
Today is the 71st anniversary of the United Nation’s moment of lucidity. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish People to return to their ancient homeland of Israel. At the time, it was still called Palestine, the name given to the region by the ancient Romans after they destroyed Jerusalem and captured Israel from the Jews thousands of years ago. Over the following thousands of years, the Jews never gave up hope to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem as their eternal unified capital. This longing continued during the reign of many conquerors and rulers over the centuries. The British Empire was entrusted to administer the region after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. As the British Mandate was coming to an end in 1947, there was a brief moment when the world seemed to come to their senses. They voted in the United Nations in favor of the creation of a state for the Jewish Nation in a part of ancient Israel, while the majority of the region was offered to the Arabs. Unfortunately, the Arabs of the area and surrounding nations refused. What has happened since then continues to amaze — the creation of the modern State of Israel; repeated wars started by the Arabs and won by Israel; Islamic terrorism; offers of peace by Israel; constant refusals from the Arabs; and continued Israeli progress, innovation and advancements. And, at the center of all of this, continues to shine the eternal unified capital — Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Jerusalem Post Archive
United Nations Approves Partition Plan — November 29, 1947
Article Courtesy: Center for Israel Education via The Jewish News
The United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 181 by a vote of 33-13 with 10 abstentions. The Resolution recommended the creation of separate Arab and Jewish states in Palestine, linked by an economic union. This vote to partition Palestine gave the pioneers of the Zionist nation international legitimacy to establish a state, which came to fruition on May 14, 1948.
The concept of partition plan was originally introduced in 1937 in the Peel Commission Report, which remained a viable political solution through the 1940s. In 1944, while still enforcing the 1939 White Paper’s restrictions against Jewish immigration and land purchase, British High Commissioner Sir Harold MacMichael wrote in a private letter to London, “I see no alternative to partition …Jews and Arabs alike would enjoy the possession of their own respective territories….”
Facing increasing violence in Palestine, as well as deteriorating relations with the Zionists, the British turned to the newly created United Nations for help. In April 1947, the UN set up the UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine). Its purpose was to investigate the underlying causes for the persistent communal unrest and to make political recommendations about next steps. The UNSCOP committee included eleven nations: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia. In September, UNSCOP issued recommendations where a majority suggested a partition plan and a minority report suggested a federal solution of two communities living in one state.
Before the UN General Assembly adjourned on November 29, it appointed a five member commission to implement the partition plan. The commission proved useless, thus adding to the growing chaos in Palestine, whereupon, Britain withdrew its civilian administration in May 1948.
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