United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine
|UN General Assembly
Resolution 181 (II)
UNSCOP (3 September 1947) and UN Ad Hoc Committee (25 November 1947) partition plans. The UN Ad Hoc committee proposal was voted on in the resolution.
|Date||November 29 1947|
|Vote||For: 33 — Abs. 10 — Against: 13|
|Result||Recommendation to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out in the resolution|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a plan for the future government of Palestine. The Plan was described as a Plan of Partition with Economic Union which, after the termination of the British Mandate, would lead to the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan as Resolution 181(II).
Part I of the Plan contained provisions dealing with the Termination of the Mandate, Partition and Independence. The Mandate would be terminated as soon as possible and the United Kingdom would withdraw from Palestine no later than the previously announced date of 1 August 1948. The new states would come into existence two months after the withdrawal, but no later than 1 October 1948. The Plan sought to address the conflicting objectives and claims of two competing movements: Arab nationalism and Jewish nationalism, known as Zionism. Part II of the Plan included a detailed description of the proposed boundaries for each state. The Plan also called for Economic Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.
- 1 Earlier proposals for partition
- 2 UNSCOP
- 3 Ad Hoc Committee
- 4 The vote
- 5 Reactions
- 6 Subsequent events
- 7 The Resolution as a legal basis for Palestinian statehood
- 8 See also
- 9 Footnotes
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
Earlier proposals for partition
The League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine as part of the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. A British census of 1918 estimated 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews.
In the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British foreign secretary stated that the British government viewed “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people [with the understanding that] nothing should be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine . . . .” . Neither partition nor statehood was mentioned as the means of accomplishing the National Home. Lord Curzon, who later succeeded Balfour as foreign secretary, wrote a memorandum expressing concern about what would become of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine who had “occupied the country for the best part of 1,500 years” and would “not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants, or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water to the latter." 
In 1937, the Peel Commission proposed a Palestine divided into an Arab state, a much smaller Jewish state (about 15%), and an international zone. The Arab leadership rejected the plan. The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and Ben Gurion had convinced the Zionist Congress to approve equivocally the Peel recommendations as a basis for more negotiation. These proposals contained provisions for the relocation of Arab population to areas outside the borders of the new Jewish state, modelled on the population exchange between Greece and Turkey; they were also rejected by the Arab side.
The British Woodhead Commission considered several additional plans for partition. In 1938 the British government issued a policy statement declaring that "the political, administrative and financial difficulties involved in the proposal to create independent Arab and Jewish States inside Palestine are so great that this solution of the problem is impracticable". Representatives of Arabs and Jews were invited to London for the St. James Conference, which proved unsuccessful.
The MacDonald White Paper of May 1939 declared that it was "not part of [the British government's] policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State" and sought to eliminate Jewish immigration to Palestine. The Jewish Agency hoped to persuade the British to restore Jewish immigration rights, and cooperated with the British in the war against Fascism. Aliyah Bet was organized to spirit Jews out of Nazi controlled Europe, despite the British prohibitions. The White Paper also led to the formation of Lehi, a small Jewish terrorist organization which opposed the British, and, at one time, sought to make an agreement with the Nazis. However Lehi had less than 100 members and after an investigation by a minor official, the Nazis lost interest. Nothing was ever decided.
After World War II, despite pressure to allow the immigration of large numbers of Jewish Holocaust survivors to Palestine, the British maintained limits on Jewish immigration in line with the 1939 White Paper. The Jewish community rejected the restriction on immigration and also organized an armed resistance. These and United States pressure to end the anti-immigration policy led to the establishment of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. In April 1946, the committee reached a unanimous decision. The Committee approved the American condition of the immediate acceptance of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine. It also recommended that there be no Arab, and no Jewish State. US President Harry S. Truman angered the British government by issuing, without forewarning, a statement supporting the 100,000 refugees, but refusing to acknowledge the rest of the committee's findings. Bevin told the committee that he would accept their decision if it were unanimous  But the British government had conditioned the implementation of the report's recommendations on the US providing assistance if force would be required to do so, but that was not offered. The US War Department had issued an earlier report which stated that an open-ended US troop commitment of 300,000 personnel would be necessary to assist the British government in maintaining order against an Arab revolt.
On 7 February 1947, Britain announced its intent to terminate the Mandate for Palestine. On 2 April 1947, Britain formally asked the United Nations to make recommendations regarding the future government of Palestine. On 15 May 1947, the UN appointed the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), composed of representatives from eleven states. To make the committee more neutral, none of the Great Powers were represented. The UNSCOP spent three months conducting hearings and a general survey of the situation in Palestine.
On 18 July 1947, the SS Exodus, a ship packed with Holocaust Survivors wanting to immigrate to Palestine, arrived off the coast. The ship was intercepted by the Royal Navy and a struggle ensued in which two passengers and a crew member died. UNSCOP members watched as the Exodus passengers were forcibly transferred to ships bound for France. The passengers refused to disembark in France, and the British ultimately decided to transfer the passengers to Hamburg, Germany. The voyage resulted in spectacularly bad press for the British and was followed by UNSCOP members as they deliberated in Geneva.
On 3 September 1947, the Committee reported to the General Assembly. CHAPTER V: PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS (I), Section A of the Report contained eleven proposed recommendations (I - XI) approved unanimously. Section B contained one proposed recommendation approved by a substantial majority dealing with the Jewish problem in general (XI). CHAPTER VI: PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS (II) contained a Plan of Partition with Economic Union to which seven members of the Committee (Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden and Uruguay), expressed themselves in favour. CHAPTER VII RECOMMENDATIONS (III) contained a comprehensive proposal that was voted upon and supported by three members (India, Iran, and Yugoslavia) for a Federal State of Palestine. In CHAPTER VIII A number of members of the Committee expressed certain reservations and observations.
Both the Arab State and the Jewish State proposed by the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out in CHAPTER VI: RECOMMENDATIONS (III) of the UNSCOP report of 3 September 1947 were composed of three major sections, linked by extraterritorial crossroads. The Arab State would receive the Western Galilee, with the town of Acre, the hill country of Samaria and Judea, and the southern coast stretching from north of Isdud (now Ashdod) and encompassing what is now the Gaza Strip, with a section of desert along the Egyptian border. The Jewish State would receive the Coastal Plain, stretching from Haifa to Rehovot, the Eastern Galilee (surrounding the Sea of Galilee and including the Galilee panhandle) and the Negev desert, including the southern outpost of Umm Rashrash (now Eilat). The Corpus Separatum included Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the surrounding areas.
The Plan tried its best to accommodate as many Jews as possible into the Jewish State. In many specific cases, this meant including areas of Arab majority (but with a significant Jewish minority) in the Jewish state. Thus the Jewish State would have an overall large Arab minority. Areas that were sparsely populated (like the Negev desert), were also included in the Jewish state to create room for immigration. According to the plan, Jews and Arabs living in the Jewish state would become citizens of the Jewish state and Jews and Arabs living in the Arab state would become citizens of the Arab state.
By virtue of Chapter 3, Palestinian citizens residing in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem, as well as Arabs and Jews who, not holding Palestinian citizenship, resided in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem would, upon the recognition of independence, become citizens of the State in which they were resident and enjoy full civil and political rights.
The Plan would have had the following demographics (data based on 1945). This data does not reflect the actual land ownership by Jews, local Arabs, Ottomans and other land owners. This data also excludes the land designated to Arabs in Transjordan.
|Territory||Arab and other population||% Arab and other||Jewish population||% Jewish||Total population|
|Data from the Report of UNSCOP: 3 September 1947: CHAPTER 4: A COMMENTARY ON PARTITION|
The land allocated to the Arab State in the final plan included about 43% of Mandatory Palestine[unreliable source?] and consisted of all of the highlands, except for Jerusalem, plus one-third of the coastline. The highlands contain the major aquifers of Palestine, which supplied water to the coastal cities of central Palestine, including Tel Aviv.[unreliable source?] The Jewish State was to receive 56% of Mandatory Palestine, a slightly larger area to accommodate the increasing numbers of Jews who would immigrate there.[unreliable source?] The Jewish State included three fertile lowland plains – the Sharon on the coast, the Jezreel Valley and the upper Jordan Valley. The bulk of the proposed Jewish State's territory, however, consisted of the Negev Desert. The desert was not suitable for agriculture, nor for urban development at that time. The Jewish State would also be given sole access to the Red Sea.
Ad Hoc Committee
On 23 September 1947 the General Assembly established an ad hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question to consider the UNSCOP report. Representatives of the Arab Higher Committee and Jewish Agency were invited and attended.
During the committee's deliberations, the British government endorsed the report's recommendations concerning the end of the mandate, independence, and Jewish immigration. However, the British did "not feel able to implement" any agreement unless it was acceptable to both the Arabs and the Jews, and asked that the General Assembly provide an alternative implementing authority if that proved to be the case.
The Arab Higher Committee rejected both the majority and minority recommendations within the UNSCOP report. They "concluded from a survey of Palestine history that Zionist claims to that country had no legal or moral basis". The Arab Higher Committee argued that only an Arab State in the whole of Palestine would be consistent with the UN Charter.
The Jewish Agency expressed support for most of the UNSCOP recommendations, but emphasized the "intense urge" of the overwhelming majority of Jewish displaced persons to proceed to Palestine. The Jewish Agency criticized the proposed boundaries, especially in the Western Galilee and Western Jerusalem (outside of the old city), arguing that these should be included in the Jewish state. However, they agreed to accept the plan if "it would make possible the immediate re-establishment of the Jewish State with sovereign control of its own immigration."
The ad hoc committee made a number of boundary changes to the UNSCOP recommendations before they were voted on by the General Assembly.
The predominantly Arab city of Jaffa, previously located within the Jewish state, was constituted as an enclave of the Arab State.
The Bedouin settlement and population figures were revised in a report submitted by a representative of the government of the United Kingdom on 1 November 1947. The Palestine Administration conducted an investigation and used the Royal Air Force to perform an aerial survey of the Beersheba District. They reported that the Bedouins had the greater part of two million dunams under cereal grain production. The administration counted 3,389 Bedouin houses together with 8,722 tents. The report explained that:
"It should be noted that the term Beersheba Bedouin has a meaning more definite than one would expect in the case of a nomad population. These tribes, wherever they are found in Palestine, will always describe themselves as Beersheba tribes. Their attachment to the area arises from their land rights there and their historic association with it."
On the basis of that investigation, the Palestine Administration estimated the Bedouin population at approximately 127,000. The report noted that the earlier population "estimates must, however, be corrected in the light of the information furnished to the Sub-Committee by the representative of the United Kingdom regarding the Bedouin population. According to the statement, 22,000 Bedouins may be taken as normally residing in the areas allocated to the Arab State under the UNSCOP's majority plan, and the balance of 105,000 as resident in the proposed Jewish State. It will thus be seen that the proposed Jewish State will contain a total population of 1,008,800, consisting of 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews. In other words, at the outset, the Arabs will have a majority in the proposed Jewish State." The boundary of the Arab state was modified to include Beersheba and a strip of the Negev desert along the Egyptian border, while a section of the Dead Sea shore and other additions were made to the Jewish State. This move increased the Jewish percentage in the Jewish state from 55% to 61%.
The proposed boundaries would also have placed 54 Arab villages on the opposite side of the border from their farm land. In response, the United Nations Palestine Commission was empowered to modify the boundaries "in such a way that village areas as a rule will not be divided by state boundaries unless pressing reasons make that necessary". These modifications never occurred.
Passage of the resolution required a two-thirds majority of the valid votes, not counting abstaining and absent members, of the UN's then 56 member states. On 26 November, after filibustering by the Zionist delegation, the vote was postponed by three days. According to multiple sources, had the vote been held on the original set date, it would have received a majority, but less than the required two-thirds. The delay was used by supporters of Zionism in New York to put extra pressure on states not supporting the resolution.
Reports of pressure for and against the Plan
Reports of pressure for the Plan
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Proponents of the Plan reportedly put pressure on nations to vote yes to the Partition Plan. A telegram signed by 26 US senators with influence on foreign aid bills was sent to wavering countries, seeking their support for the partition plan. Many nations reported pressure directed specifically at them:
- United States (Vote: For): President Truman later noted, "The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me."
- India (Vote: Against): Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru spoke with anger and contempt for the way the UN vote had been lined up. He said the Zionists had tried to bribe India with millions and at the same time his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, had received daily warnings that her life was in danger unless "she voted right".Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister, the Indian ambassador to the U.N, occasionally hinted that something might change in favour of the Yishuv. But another Indian delegate said that India would vote for the Arab side, because of their large Moslem minority, although they know that the Jews has a case.
- Liberia (Vote: For): Liberia's Ambassador to the United States complained that the US delegation threatened aid cuts to several countries. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., President of Firestone Natural Rubber Company, with major holdings in the country, also pressured the Liberian government
- Philippines (Vote: For): In the days before the vote, the Philippines' representative General Carlos P. Romulo stated "We hold that the issue is primarily moral. The issue is whether the United Nations should accept responsibility for the enforcement of a policy which is clearly repugnant to the valid nationalist aspirations of the people of Palestine. The Philippines Government holds that the United Nations ought not to accept such responsibility". After a phone call from Washington, the representative was recalled and the Philippines' vote changed.
- Haiti (Vote: For): The promise of a five million dollar loan May or may not have secured Haiti's vote for partition.
- France (Vote: For): Shortly before the vote, France's delegate to the United Nations was visited by Bernard Baruch, a long-term Jewish supporter of the Democratic Party who, during the recent world war, had been an economic adviser to President Roosevelt, and had latterly been appointed by President Truman as the United States' ambassador to the newly created UN Atomic Energy Commission. He was, privately, a supporter of the Irgun and its front organization, the American League for a Free Palestine. Baruch implied that a French failure to support the resolution might cause planned American aid to France, which was badly needed for reconstruction, French currency reserves being exhausted and its balance of payments heavily in deficit, not to materialise. Previously, in order to avoid antagonising its Arab colonies, France had not publicly supported the resolution. After considering the danger of American aid being withheld, France finally voted in favour of it. So, too, did France's neighbours, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Reports of pressure against the Plan
Concerning the welfare of Jews in Arab countries, a number of direct threats were made:
- Jamal Husseini promised, “The blood will flow like rivers in the Middle East”. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Said, said: “We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in".
- Iraq’s prime minister Nuri al-Said told British diplomats that if the United Nations solution was not “satisfactory”, “severe measures should [would?] be taken against all Jews in Arab countries".
Concerning the welfare of Jews in Arab countries, a number of predictions were made:
- '"On 24 November the head of the Egyptian delegation to the General Assembly, Muhammad Hussein Heykal, said that “the lives of 1,000,000 Jews in Moslem countries would be jeopardized by the establishment of a Jewish state.","
- In a speech at the General Assembly Hall at Flushing Meadow, New York, on Friday, 28 November 1947, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Fadel Jamall, included the following statement: Partition imposed against the will of the majority of the people will jeopardize peace and harmony in the Middle East. Not only the uprising of the Arabs of Palestine is to be expected, but the masses in the Arab world cannot be restrained. The Arab-Jewish relationship in the Arab world will greatly deteriorate. There are more Jews in the Arab world outside of Palestine than there are in Palestine. In Iraq alone, we have about one hundred and fifty thousand Jews who share with Moslems and Christians all the advantages of political and economic rights. Harmony prevails among Moslems, Christians and Jews. But any injustice imposed upon the Arabs of Palestine will disturb the harmony among Jews and non-Jews in Iraq; it will breed inter-religious prejudice and hatred. 
The Arab states warned the Western Powers that endorsement of the partition plan might be met by either or both an oil embargo and realignment of the Arab states with the Soviet Bloc.
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions and 1 absent, in favour of the modified Partition Plan. The final vote was as follows:
In favour, (33 countries, 72% of voting):
- Latin American and Caribbean (13 countries):
- Western European and Others (12 countries):
- Eastern European (5 countries):
- African (2 countries):
- Asia-Pacific (1 country)
Against, (13 countries, 28% of voting):
- Asia-Pacific (10 countries):
- Western European (1 country):
- African (1 country):
- Latin American and Caribbean (1 country):
Abstentions, (10 countries):
- Latin American and Caribbean (6 countries):
- Asia-Pacific (1 country):
Republic of China
- African (1 country):
- Western European and Others (1 country):
- Eastern European (1 country):
Absent, (1 country):
- Asia-Pacific (1 country):
Votes by region
What later came to be known as the United Nations Regional Groups showed relatively aligned voting styles in the final vote. All Western nations voted for the resolution, with the exception of the United Kingdom (the Mandate holder), Greece and Turkey. The Soviet bloc also voted for partition, with the exception of Yugoslavia, which was to be expelled from Cominform the following year. The majority of Latin American nations following Brazilian leadership, voted for partition, with a sizeable minority abstaining. Asian countries voted against partition, with the exception of the Philippines.
|Regional Group||Members in UNGA181 vote||UNGA181 For||UNGA181 Against||UNGA181 Abstained|
|LatAm and Caribb.||20||13||1||6|
|Western Eur. & Others||15||12||2||1|
|Total UN members||56||33||13||10|
Most Jews in Palestine and around the world reacted to the UN resolution with satisfaction, but some did not. The Jewish Agency accepted the resolution despite its dissatisfaction with such matters as Jewish emigration from Europe and the territorial limits set upon the proposed Jewish State. Mainstream Zionist leaders emphasized the "heavy responsibility" of building a modern Jewish State, and committed to working towards a peaceful coexistence with the region's other inhabitants: Jewish units in the United States hailed the action by the United Nations. Most welcomed the Palestine Plan but some felt it did not settle the problem.
Some Revisionist Zionists rejected the partition plan as a renunciation of legitimately Jewish national territory. Menachem Begin's Irgun Tsvai Leumi and the Lehi (The Stern Group, also known by their opponents as the Stern Gang), which had been fighting the British, rejected the plan. Begin warned that the partition would not bring peace because the Arabs would also attack the small state and that "in the war ahead we'll have to stand on our own, it will be a war on our existence and future". He also stated that “the bisection of our homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized.” Begin was sure that the creation of a Jewish state would make territorial expansion possible, “after the shedding of much blood."
According to Simha Flapan, it is a myth that Zionists accepted the partition as a compromise by which the Jewish community abandoned ambitions for the whole of Palestine and recognized the rights of the Palestinians to their own state. Rather, Flapan says that his research suggests that the acceptance was only a tactical move aimed at thwarting the creation of the Palestinian state and increasing the territory assigned by the UN to the Jewish state.
Addressing the Central Committee of the Histadrut (the Eretz Israel Workers Party) days after the UN vote to partition Palestine, Ben-Gurion expressed his apprehension stating:
"…the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. Such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority... There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%".
With a few exceptions, the Arab leaders and governments rejected the plan of partition in the resolution and indicated that they would reject any other plan of partition.
A few weeks after UNSCOP released its report, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, was quoted by an Egyptian newspaper as predicting that Palestine would be overrun by Muslim volunteers. This statement from October 1947 has often been incorrectly reported as having been made much later on 15 May 1948.
On 16 February 1948, UN Palestine Commission to the security council reported that: "Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein." The Arabs were against the establishment of an international regime in Jerusalem too.
Zionists tend to attribute Palestinian rejection of the plan to a mere intransigence but Arabs have always reiterated that it was rejected because it was unfair[dubious ]: it gave the majority of the land (56%) to the Jews, who at that stage legally owned only 7% of it and remained a minority of the population. There were also disproportionate allocations under the plan and the area under Jewish control contained 45% of the Palestinian population. The proposed Arab state was only given 45% of the land, much of which was unfit for agriculture. Jaffa, though geographically separated, was to be part of the Arab state. However, most of the proposed Jewish state was the Negev desert. The plan allocated to the Jewish State most of the Negev desert that was sparsely populated and unsuitable for agriculture but also a "vital land bridge protecting British interests from the Suez Canal to Iraq"
Few Palestinian Arabs joined the Arab Liberation Army because they suspected that the other Arab States did not plan on an independent Palestinian state. According to Ian Bickerton, for that reason many Palestinians favored partition and indicated a willingness to live alongside a Jewish state. He also mentions that the Nashashibi family backed King Abdullah and union with Transjordan. Abdullah appointed Ibrahim Hashem Pasha as the Governor of the Arab areas occupied by troops of the Arab League. He was a former Prime Minister of Transjordan who supported partition of Palestine as proposed by the Peel Commission and the United Nations. Fakhri Nashashibi and Ragheb Bey Nashashibi were leaders of the movement that opposed the Mufti during the mandate period. Both men accepted partition. Bey was the mayor of Jerusalem. He resigned from the Arab Higher Committee because he accepted the United Nations partition proposal. Fu’ad Nasar, the Secretary of Arab Workers Congress, also accepted partition.
The Arabs promised to respect the rights of the Jewish minority. On 20 May 1948, Azzam told reporters "We are fighting for an Arab Palestine. Whatever the outcome the Arabs will stick to their offer of equal citizenship for Jews in Arab Palestine and let them be as Jewish as they like. In areas where they predominate they will have complete autonomy."
The AHC demanded that in a Palestinian Arab state, the majority of the Jews should not be citizens (those who had not lived in Palestine before the British Mandate). The Arab League said that some of the Jews would have to be expelled from a Palestinian Arab state.
A few weeks after UNSCOP released its report, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, was quoted by an Egyptian newspaper as saying "Personally I hope the Jews do not force us into this war because it will be a war of elimination and it will be a dangerous massacre which history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the wars of the Crusades." This statement from October 1947 has often been incorrectly reported as having been made much later on 15 May 1948.
Azzam Pasha told Alec Kirkbride: "We will sweep them [the Jews] into the sea" . Shukri al-Quwatli [ the Syrian president] told his people:"We shall eradicate Zionism". Haj Amin al-Husseini said in March 1948 to an interviewer in a Jaffa daily "Al Sarih" that the Arabs did not intend merely to prevent partition but "would continue fighting until the Zionists were Annihilated". 
In a British cabinet meeting at 4 December 1947, it was decided that the Mandate would end at midnight 14 May 1948, the complete withdrawal by 1 August 1948, and in a sop to the Arab, Britain would not enforce the UN partition plan. On 11 December 1947 Britain announced the Mandate would end at midnight 14 May 1948 and its sole task would be to complete withdrawal by 1 August 1948. During the period in which the British withdrawal was completed, Britain refused to share the administration of Palestine with a proposed UN transition regime, to allow the UN Palestine Commission to establish a presence in Palestine earlier than a fortnight before the end of the Mandate, to allow the creation of official Jewish and Arab militias or to assist in smoothly handing over territory or authority to any successor.
United States government
The United States declined to recognize the All-Palestine government in Gaza by explaining that it had accepted the UN Mediator's proposal. The Mediator had recommended that Palestine, as defined in the original Mandate including Transjordan, might form a union. Bernadotte's diary said the Mufti had lost credibility on account of his unrealistic predictions regarding the defeat of the Jewish militias. Bernadotte noted "It would seem as though in existing circumstances most of the Palestinian Arabs would be quite content to be incorporated in Transjordan."
The partition plan was never fully implemented. On May 14, 1948, the day on which the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved a proclamation, declaring "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel". The 1948 Arab–Israeli War began with the invasion of, or intervention in, Palestine by the Arab States on 15 May 1948.
The Resolution as a legal basis for Palestinian statehood
In 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organization published the Palestinian Declaration of Independence relying on Resolution 181, arguing that the resolution continues to provide international legitimacy for the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and national independence. A number of scholars have written in support of this view.
A General Assembly request for an advisory opinion, Resolution ES-10/14 (2004), specifically cited resolution 181(II) as a "relevant resolution", and asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) what are the legal consequences of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Judge Abdul Koroma explained the majority opinion: "The Court has also held that the right of self-determination as an established and recognized right under international law applies to the territory and to the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the exercise of such right entitles the Palestinian people to a State of their own as originally envisaged in resolution 181 (II) and subsequently confirmed." In response, Prof. Paul De Waart said that the Court put the legality of the 1922 League of Nations Palestine Mandate and the 1947 UN Plan of Partition beyond doubt once and for all.
- 1949 Armistice Agreements
- Balfour Declaration of 1917
- Churchill White Paper, 1922
- Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel
- Faisal-Weizmann Agreement
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Lausanne Conference, 1949
- Minority Treaties
- Proposals for a Palestinian state
- Sykes-Picot Agreement
- Two-state solution
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- Hansard, 11 Dec 1947
- Servant of God: a personal narrative, Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, 1983
- Before & after: U.S. foreign policy and the 11 September crisis By Phyllis Bennis
- Lenczowski, George (1990). American Presidents and the Middle East. Duke University Press. p. 157. ISBN 0-8223-0972-6., p. 28, cite, Harry S. Truman, Memoirs 2, p. 158.
- Heptulla, Najma (1991). Indo-West Asian relations: the Nehru era. Allied Publishers. p. 158. ISBN 81-7023-340-2.
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 56. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister, who headed the delegation, occasionally threw out hints that something might change. But Shertok was brought down to earth by historian Kavalam Panikkar, another member of the Indian delegation: “It is idle for you to try to convince us that the Jews have a case. . . . We know it. . . . But the point is simply this: For us to vote for the Jews means to vote against the Moslems. This is a conflict in which Islam is involved. . . . We have 13 million [sic] Moslems in our midst. . . . Therefore, we cannot do it."
- Quigley, John B. (1990). Palestine and Israel: a challenge to justice. Duke University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-8223-1023-6.
- Ahron Bregman; Jihan El-Tahri (1998). The fifty years war: Israel and the Arabs. Penguin Books. p. 25. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 61. Retrieved 13 July 2013. ""The Arabs had failed to understand the tremendous impact of the Holocaust on the international community—and, in any event, appear to have used the selfsame methods, but with poor results. Wasif Kamal, an AHC official, for example, offered one delegate—perhaps the Russian—a “huge, huge sum of money to vote for the Arabs” (the Russian declined, saying, “You want me to hang myself?”). But the Arabs’ main tactic, amounting to blackmail, was the promise or threat of war should the assembly endorse partition. As early as mid-August 1947, Fawzi al-Qawuqji—soon to be named the head of the Arab League’s volunteer army in Palestine, the Arab Liberation Army (ALA)—threatened that, should the vote go the wrong way, “we will have to initiate total war. We will murder, wreck and ruin everything standing in our way, be it English, American or Jewish.” It would be a “holy war,” the Arabs suggested, which might even evolve into “World War III.” Cables to this effect poured in from Damascus, Beirut, Amman, and Baghdad during the Ad Hoc Committee deliberations, becoming “more lurid,” according to Zionist officials, as the General Assembly vote drew near. The Arab states generally made no bones about their intention to support the Palestinians with “men, money and arms,” and sometimes hinted at an eventual invasion by their armies. They also threatened the Western Powers, their traditional allies, with an oil embargo and/or abandonment and realignment with the Soviet Bloc”"
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. pp. 50, 66. Retrieved 24 July 2013. "p. 50,"The Arab reaction was just as predictable: “The blood will flow like rivers in the Middle East,” promised Jamal Husseini.; at 1947 "Haj Amin al-Husseini went one better: he denounced also the minority report, which, in his view, legitimized the Jewish foothold in Palestine, a “partition in disguise,” as he put it." ; p.66, at 1946 "The AHC ... insisted that the proportion of Jews to Arabs in the unitary state should stand at one to six, meaning that only Jews who lived in Palestine before the British Mandate be eligible for citizenship"
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 67. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "p. 67, "The League’s Political Committee met in Sofar, Lebanon, on 16–19 September, and urged the Palestine Arabs to fight partition, which it called “aggression,” “without mercy"'; p. 70, '"On 24 November the head of the Egyptian delegation to the General Assembly, Muhammad Hussein Heykal, said that “the lives of 1,000,000 Jews in Moslem countries would be jeopardized by the establishment of a Jewish state.""
- U.N General Assembly ,A/PV.126,28 November 1947,discussion on the Palestinian question, retrieved 2013-10-15
- History of the Middle East by Saul S Friedman
- The Question of Palestine: Brochure DPI/2517/Rev.1: Chapter 2, The Plan of Partiton and end of the British Mandate
- "PALESTINE JEWRY JOYOUS AT NEWS; Ben-Gurion Voices Attitude of Grateful Responsibility – Jerusalem Arabs Silent". New York Times. 30 November 1947. p. 58. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "VOTE ON PALESTINE CHEERED BY CROWD". New York Times. 30 November 1947. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "JEWISH UNITS HERE HAIL ACTION BY U.N.". New York Times. 30 November 1947. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "Weizmann message.". The Palestine post. 30 May 1948. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- Begin, Menachem, The Revolt 1978, p. 412.
- Begin, Menachem, In The Underground: Writings and Documents 1977,vol 4,p. 70.
- 'Aviezer Golan and Shlomo Nakdimon, Begin, Hebrew, Jerusalem, 1978", p.172, cited in Shima Flapan, The Birth of Israel, Pantheon Books, New York, 1988' p.32
- The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, by Simha Flapan, Pantheon, 1988, ISBN 0-679-72098-7, pages 8-9
- 'Jamal K Kanj, Children of Catastrophe, UK 2010'
- Akhbar el-Yom, 11 October 2011, p9. The literal English translation is somewhat ambiguous, but the overall meaning is that the coming Arab defeat of the Jews will be remembered in the same way as the past Arab defeats of the Mongols and Crusaders are remembered.
- Tom Segev (21 October 2011). "The makings of history / The blind misleading the blind". Haaretz.
- UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION First Special Report to the Security Council
- Wolffe, John (2005). Religion in History: Conflict, Conversion and Coexistence (Paperback). Manchester University Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-7190-7107-2.
- UNTIED NATIONS, SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PALESTINE A/364 3 September 1947
- Anita Shapira, Yigal Allon, Native Son: A Biography, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p.239.
- Itzhak Galnoor, The Partition of Palestine: Decision Crossroads in the Zionist Movement, State University of New York Press, 1994, p.195.
- Bickerton, Ian J., Klausner, Carla L. (2001) A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 4th edition, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-090303-5, page 88.
- Bickerton & Klausner (2001), page 103
- Tom Segev. "Arabs and Jews under the British Mandate".
- Palestine Post, 21 May 1948, p. 3.
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 45. Retrieved 24 July 2013. ""On 23 July, at Sofar, the Arab representatives completed their testimony before UNSCOP. Faranjieh, speaking for the Arab League, said that Jews “illegally” in Palestine would be expelled and that the future of many of those “legally” in the country but without Palestine citizenship would need to be resolved “by the future Arab government ”"
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 187. Retrieved 13 July 2013. " p. 187 ." Azzam told Kirkbride:...we will sweep them[the Jews] into the sea" . Al Quwwatli [ the Syrian president] told his people:"…we shall eradicate Zionism" ; p. 409 "Al Husseini…In March 1948 he told an interviewer in a Jaffa daily Al Sarih that the Arabs did not intend merely to prevent partition but "would continue fighting until the Zionist were Annihilated""
- Morris 2008, p. 73
- Louis 2006, p. 419
- William Roger Louis (2006). Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonization. I.B.Tauris. p. 420. ISBN 978-1-84511-347-6. Retrieved 16 August 2013. "To Bevin, ‘partition’ symbolized a bankruptcy of policy, ... an admission of failure…. In Palestine he pursued the goal of the bi-national state with such tenacity…With a divided Palestine, Arab nationalism would continue to fester and would bring about the end of Britain’s paramount position in the Middle East. In sum, Bevin’s motivation must be found in areas of military power and economic resources, as well as in the idealism of the Commonwealth. Bevin believed that the answer to the problem of Jewish refugees and displaced persons should be sought in Europe rather than in Palestine, .... He found himself caught between a Jewish nationalism ... and the anti-Zionism of the Arabs, without whose good will the British Empire in the Middle East would be doomed. The British could not support a Jewish state without alienating the Arabs. Nor could the British impose a settlement acceptable to the Arab countries without antagonizing the United States. The Middle East, in Bevin’s view, was second in importance only to Europe; but in order for Britain to remain the dominant regional power, both Arab cooperation and the support of the United States were vital. "
- ["1948 A History of the First Arab-Israeli War",2008, Benny Morris, p. 74]
- Roza El-Eini (2006). "Mandated landscape: British imperial rule in Palestine, 1929–1948". History (Routledge). p. 367. ISBN 978-0-7146-5426-3. "They accordingly announced on 11 December 1947, that the Mandate would end on 15 May 1948, from which date the sole task ... would be to ... withdrawal by 1 August 1948."
- Arthur Koestler (March 2007). Promise and Fulfilment – Palestine 1917–1949. READ BOOKS. pp. 163–168. ISBN 978-1-4067-4723-2. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 73. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "Bevin regarded the UNSCOP majority report of 1 September 1947 as unjust and immoral. He promptly decided that Britain would not attempt to im- pose it on the Arabs; indeed, he expected them to resist its implementation.…. The British cabinet ...: in the meeting on 4 December 1947 ... It decided, in a sop to the Arabs, to refrain from aiding the enforcement of the UN resolution, meaning the partition of Palestine. And in an important secret corollary, ... it agreed that Britain would do all in its power to delay until early May the arrival in Palestine of the UN (Implementation) Commission. The Foreign Office immediately informed the commission “that it would be intolerable for the Commission to begin to exercise its authority while the [Mandate] Palestine Government was still administratively responsible for Palestine.” ... This ... nullified any possibility of an orderly implementation of the partition resolution. "
- See memo from Acting Secretary Lovett to Certain Diplomatic Offices, Foreign relations of the United States, 1949. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Volume VI, pages 1447–48
- See Folke Bernadotte, "To Jerusalem", Hodder and Stoughton, 1951, pages 112–13
- Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel: 14 May 1948
- Cablegram from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to the Secretary-General of the United Nations 15 May 1948: Retrieved 4 May 2012
- See "Request for the admission of the State of Palestine to Unesco as a Member State", UNESCO, 12 May 1989 
- See The Palestine Declaration To The International Criminal Court: The Statehood Issue  and Silverburg, Sanford R. (2002), "Palestine and International Law: Essays on Politics and Economics", Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, ISBN 0-7864-1191-0, pages 37–54
- See Chapter 5 "Israel (1948–1949) and Palestine (1998–1999): Two Studies in the Creation of States", in Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, and Stefan Talmon, eds., The Reality of International Law: Essays in Honour of Ian Brownlie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999)
- Sourcebook on public international law, by Tim Hillier, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 1-85941-050-2, page 217; and Prof. Vera Gowlland-Debbas, “Collective Responses to the Unilateral Declarations of Independence of Southern Rhodesia and Palestine, An Application of the Legitimizing Function of the United Nations”, The British Yearbook of International Law, l990, pp.l35-l53
- See paragraph 5, Separate opinion of Judge Koroma
- See De Waart, Paul J.I.M., "International Court of Justice Firmly Walled in the Law of Power in the Israeli–Palestinian Peace Process", Leiden Journal of International Law, 18 (2005), pp. 467–487
- Benny Morris (1 October 2008). 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-14524-3. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- William Roger Louis (2006). Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonization. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-347-6. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- Bregman, Ahron (2002). Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947. London: Routledge.
- Arieh L. Avneri (1984). The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs, 1878–1948. Transaction Publishers.
- Fischbach, Michael R. (2003). Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Columbia University Press.
- Gelber, Yoav (1997). Jewish-Transjordanian Relations: Alliance of Bars Sinister. London: Routledge.
- Khalaf, Issa (1991). Politics in Palestine: Arab Factionalism and Social Disintegration,. University at Albany, SUNY.
- Louis, Wm. Roger (1986). The British Empire in the Middle East,: Arab Nationalism, the United States, and Postwar Imperialism. Oxford University Press.
- "Palestine". Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition, 15 May 2006.
- Sicker, Martin (1999). Reshaping Palestine: From Muhammad Ali to the British Mandate, 1831–1922. Praeger/Greenwood.
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