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Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

Benjamin Netanyahu UN General Assembly
Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly.
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The Partition Plan and the "Two State Solution"

April 3, 2009  |  Eli. E. Hertz

In 1947 the British put the future of western Palestine into the hands of the United Nations, the successor organization to the League of Nations which had established the Mandate for Palestine. A UN Commission recommended partitioning what was left of the original Mandate - western Palestine, into two new states, one Jewish and one Arab.

The UN Partition Plan - (Resolution 181), was a non-binding recommendation to partition Palestine - Eretz-Israel whose implementation hinged on acceptance by both parties - Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews. The resolution was adopted on November 29, 1947 in the General Assembly by a vote of 33 - 12, with 10 abstentions. Among the supporters were both the United States and the Soviet Union, and other nations including France and Australia. The Arab nations, including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia denounced the plan on the General Assembly floor and voted as a bloc against the vision of the two state solution promising to defy its implementation by force.

Aware of Arabs' past aggression, the resolution, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

"... determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution." [italics by author]

The ones who sought to alter by force the settlement envisioned in the two state solutions were the Arabs, who threatened bloodshed if the UN were to adopt the Resolution:

"The [British] Government of Palestine fear that strife in Palestine will be greatly intensified when the Mandate is terminated, and that the international status of the United Nations Commission will mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcends all other considerations.

"Thus, the Commission will be faced with the problem of how to avert certain bloodshed on a very much wider scale than prevails at present. ... The Arabs have made it quite clear and have told the Palestine government that they do not propose to co-operate or to assist the Commission, and that, far from it, they propose to attack and impede its work in every possible way. We have no reason to suppose that they do not mean what they say."1 [italics by author]

Arabs' intentions and deeds did not fare better after Resolution 181 was adopted:

"Taking into consideration that the Provisional Government of Israel has indicated its acceptance in principle of a prolongation of the truce in Palestine; that the States members of the Arab League have rejected successive appeals of the United Nations Mediator, and of the Security Council in its resolution 53 of July 7, 1948, for the prolongation of the truce in Palestine; and that there has consequently developed a renewal of hostilities in Palestine."2

The Partition Plan of 1947 was the last of a series of recommendations that had been drawn up over the years by the Mandatory and by international commissions, plans designed to reach a historic compromise between Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews in western Palestine. Every scheme since 1922 was rejected by the Arab side, including decidedly pro-Arab ones because these plans recognized Jews as a nation and gave Jewish citizens of Mandate Palestine political representation.

The Partition Plan was met not only by verbal rejection on the Arab side but also by concrete, bellicose steps to block its implementation and destroy the Jewish polity by force of arms, a goal the Arabs publicly declared even before the resolution was brought to a vote.

Arabs not only rejected the compromise and took action to prevent establishment of a Jewish state but also blocked establishment of an Arab state under the Partition Plan not just before the Israel War of Independence, but also after the war when they themselves controlled the West Bank (1948-1967), rendering the recommendation a 'still birth.'

The UN Palestine Commission's report dated February 16, 1948 (A/AC.21/9) to the Security Council noted that Arab-led hostilities were an effort

"To prevent the implementation of the [General] Assembly's plan of partition, and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory [Eretz-Israel]."

Attempts by Palestinian Arabs to 'roll back the clock' and resuscitate Resolution 181 - the 'original' two state solution - 'as if nothing had happened' are a baseless ploy designed to use the resolution as leverage to bring about a greater Israeli withdrawal from parts of western Palestine and to gain a broader base from which to continue to attack Israel with even less defendable borders. Both Palestinians and their Arab brethren in neighboring countries rendered the plan null and void by their own subsequent aggressive behavior.

Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just the kind of rogue state and a home to renegade organizations the world is grappling with today.

In light of the Arab Palestinians' history of violence, incitement against Jews, and its poor performance coping with limited freedom or autonomy - the equivalent of a 'half-way house' to test their readiness to join the family of nations is in order. Considering the support (rather than pressure to 'toe the line') that Palestinians enjoy in the international arena, Palestinian independence could very well turn into a genuine nightmare.


[1] United Nations Palestine Commission. First Monthly Progress Report to the Security Council. A/AC.21/7, January 29, 1948. See: (10923)
[2] See among others, Security Council Resolution S/RES/ 54 (1948) at: (10894)

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