We all have an INNER WARRIOR. When used positively, it's the part of us that focuses on our goals and values, i.e., on what is ETERNAL. In contrast, there is a part of us that is obsessed with transient, shallow and petty issues. Our inner warrior enables us to endure discomfort in order to fight for a goal.
In an op-ed in the Guardian on November 1, 2017, ahead of the 100thanniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas called on the UK to "atone" for the century of "suffering" that the document allegedly wrought on the "Palestinian people." Abbas reiterated the claims he has been making since 2016, to justify a surreal lawsuit he has threatened to bring against Britain for supporting the "creation of a homeland for one people [Jews], which, he asserted, "resulted in the dispossession and continuing persecution of another."
"Palestinians" were the Jews who lived, along with Muslims and Christians on land called Palestine, which was under British administration from 1917 to 1948.
All people born there during the time of the British Mandate had "Palestine" stamped on their passports. But the Arabs were offended when they were called Palestinians. They complained: "We are not Palestinians, we are Arabs. The Palestinians are the Jews".
"With the rise and spread of pan-Arab ideologies it was as Arabs, not as south Syrians, that the Palestinians began to assert themselves. For the rest of the period of the British Mandate, and for many years after that, their organizations described themselves as Arab and expressed their national identity in Arab rather than in Palestinian or even in Syrian terms."
When Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, five Arab armies joined up to try to kill the infant nation in its crib. After they were routed, some of the local Arabs who had fled the war wanted to return, but they were considered a fifth column and most were not allowed back. The Arabs who had loyally remained in Israel during the war, however, and their descendants, are still there and make up one-fifth of Israel's population today. They are known as Israeli Arabs; they have the same rights as Jews, except they are not legally required to serve in the army. They may volunteer if they wish to.
Israeli Arabs have their own political parties. They serve as members of Knesset and are employed in all professions. The moral is, or should be: Do not start a war unless you are prepared to lose it — as the Arabs in and around Israel have done repeatedly, in 1947-48, 1967 and 1973.
Incidentally, the land that was being held in trust for the Jews in the British Mandate for Palestine initially included all of what is now the Kingdom of Jordan, which was granted its independence in 1946 as the Kingdom of Transjordan.
Less than a week after the article in the Guardian, Omar Barghouti, the instigator of today's attempts to destroy Israel by suffocating it economically, echoed Abbas in a Newsweekpiece, calling the Balfour Declaration "a tragedy for the Palestinian people."
The same sentiment was expressed at the end of September in a lecturedelivered by Rashid Khalidi — the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University — at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies in New York City: that the Balfour Declaration "launched a century-long assault on the Palestinians aimed at implanting and fostering this national homeland, later the state of Israel, at their expense…"
Khalidi's claims, like those of Abbas and Barghouti, are false. Prior to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, there were no "Palestinians." As the prominent Lebanese-American historian and Mideast expert Philip Hitti stated in his testimony before the 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry: "There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not."
Authors Guy Millière and David Horowitz elaborate on this in their 2015 book, Comment le peuple palestinien fut inventé ("How the Palestinian People Were Invented"), illustrating that the purpose of the fabrication was "to transform a population into a weapon of mass destruction against Israel and the Jewish people, to demonize Israel, and to give totalitarianism and anti-Semitism renewed means of action."
The ploy for a while worked beyond expectations. The term "Palestinians" was used across the world — including in Israel — to define the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza; it is often employed also to describe Arabs with Israeli citizenship. The narrative that the Jews displaced them by establishing a state completely contradicts the facts.
What are these facts? When was the "Palestinian people" actually created? Simply using the Google Ngram Viewer provides the answer.
Ngram is a database that charts the frequency that a given phrase appears in books published between the years 1500 to 2008. When a user enters the word phrases "Palestinian people" and "Palestinian state" into the Ngram search bar, he discovers that they began appearing only in 1960.
In his November 2, 1917 letter to Walter Rothschild, the leader of Britain's Jewish community, Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour wrote:
"His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine [emphasis added], or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
Finally, apart from Ngram, there are the words of the PLO leader Zuheir Mohsen, who, in a March 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, stated:
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.
"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."
(Jean Patrick Grumberg is a journalist for the French-language news site Dreuz)
Christina Aguilera's Whitney Houston Tribute at the AMAs Will Give You Goosebumps
Whenever Christina Aguilera takes the stage, you know it's going to be good. On Sunday night, the singer paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston as she performed hits from The Bodyguard during the American Music Awards. Aside from honoring the music legend, she also showed off her powerhouse voice as she belted out the lyrics to "I Will Always Love You" and "I'm Every Woman" among other Houston classics. We still have chills. We have a feeling Houston would be proud of her performance.
This week's Parshah contains an account of Jacob's four marriages, all (according to Rashi) to daughters of Laban. Now this appears to contradict the traditional view that Jacob (together with Abraham and Isaac) kept all the commandments of the Torah despite the fact that G‑d had not yet given them to Israel—out of a combination of personal zealousness and a prophetic knowledge of what the law would be; for marriage to two sisters is later prohibited. Rashi seems to offer no explanation of the difficulty, and the Rebbe considers a number of possible solutions, eventually reconciling the apparent contradiction, and drawing out the moral implications of the story.
An important and well-known principle about Rashi's commentary on the Torah is that his policy is to answer all the difficulties which are apparent in construing a literal interpretation of the verses. And when he cannot find an answer on this level, he will note the difficulty and add, "I do not know" how to resolve it. When there is a difficulty which Rashi does not even point out, this is because the answer is obvious, even to a five-year-old (the age when a Jewish child begins to study the Torah).
It is therefore very strange that we find in this week's Parshah a puzzling fact, that has preoccupied many commentators, and which Rashi not only does not explain but of which he appears to take no notice at all.
We are told that Jacob married both Rachel and Leah, and later Bilhah and Zilpah, all daughters of Laban. Now since we have a tradition that the forefathers kept the entire Torah, even though it had not yet been given—how can it be that Jacob married four sisters, when we are told,1 "You shall not take a woman to her sister"—that is, one may not marry the sister of one's wife?
Perhaps we could say that Rashi does not comment on the problem because when the "five-year-old" learns this Parshah, he does not know that Jacob's act was forbidden (for the law does not appear until Vayikra (Leviticus), and the child has not yet reached that book). However, this will not do, for Rashi does not explain the difficulty even later on.
Alternatively, it is possible that Rashi felt that, amongst the many explanations of the point given in other commentaries, there was one sufficiently obvious enough that he was not bound to mention it. But this also will not explain his silence. First of all, there are many disagreements among these other commentators, so the explanation is not obvious; and second, they are not explanations of the literal meaning of the text—which is therefore still wanting.
Ramban offers the explanation that the forefathers kept the 613 commandments of the Torah only when they lived in Israel, whereas Jacob married the two (or four) sisters while he was in Haran. But Rashi could not consistently hold this view, for he says elsewhere of Jacob,2 "While I stayed with the wicked Laban (i.e., in Haran), I kept the 613 commandments."
Another explanation is that Jacob was in fact obeying a specific command of G‑d, in order to have the 12 sons who would later become the 12 tribes. But though it is clear that G‑d's explicit command would have overridden the prohibition involved, nonetheless we find no indication in the Torah that G‑d commanded Jacob to take Rachel, Bilhah or Zilpah in marriage. On the contrary, it is clear from the narrative that he married Rachel because he wanted her, from the very outset, to be his wife; and both Bilhah and Zilpah were given to Jacob as wives by their mistresses (they were the handmaids of Rachel and Leah). He did not take them in obedience to a command from G‑d.
The Argument from Leniency
There has been intensive speculation as to whether the forefathers, in undertaking to keep the Torah before it has been given, accepted only those rulings which were more stringent than the (then binding) Noahide Laws, or also accepted the rulings which were more lenient. If we follow the second view, and remember that all four sisters must have converted to Judaism before their marriages, and take into account the lenient ruling that "a convert is like a newborn child"3—then it would follow that the wives were no longer considered sisters, since their lineage was affected by their conversion.
However, even this answer is unsatisfactory at the level of literal interpretation.
Before the Giving of the Torah, there is no biblical evidence that Jews had any other law than the Noahide Code (other than the specifically mentioned obligations of circumcision, etc.). So the undertaking of the forefathers was entirely a self-imposed thing, and did not involve their children in any obligation. It follows that there was no general legal distinction, before the Giving of the Torah, between Jews as such and the other descendants of Noah. Hence, the whole idea of conversion did not arise. Nor can we support our point by saying that the voluntary undertaking of the 613 commandments was itself a kind of conversion. For this was a self-imposed stringency, and could not have included the lenient ruling that "a convert is like a newborn child."
Besides which, Rashi, in his commentary on the Torah, never mentions this law; and indeed a literal reading of the Torah inclines one to the contrary view, for G‑d says to Abraham,4 "You shall come to your fathers in peace." In other words, even after Abraham's conversion, Terach is still regarded as his father, to whom he will be joined in death.
Finally, the prohibition of marrying one's wife's sister is not simply because she belongs to the category of those forbidden for the closeness of their relation to the would-be husband, but for the additional psychological reason that it might put enmity and jealousy in place of the natural love between two sisters. So even if the law "a convert is like a newborn child" applied before the Giving of the Torah, it would not be relevant in the present instance, for there is still a natural love between two converted sisters, which would be endangered by their sharing a husband.
Individual and Collective Undertakings
The explanation is that the manner in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob kept the Torah was one of self-imposed stringency alone (and this is why it was so esteemed by G‑d: "Inasmuch as Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commands, ordinances and laws"5). If so, then clearly if something which they had been commanded conflicted with something they did only from their own zealousness, the former, having G‑d's authority, would overrule the latter.
This is—at the simple level—why Abraham did not circumcise himself until he was commanded to (when he was 99 years old); for the Noahide Code forbade shedding one's blood—even when it would not harm one. And though circumcision outweighed this prohibition, it could do so only when commanded by G‑d.
Now, besides the Seven Noahide Laws, there were other restraints that the descendants of Noah voluntarily undertook. As Rashi says,6 "the non-Jewish nations had restrained themselves from unchastity (i.e., even in relationships which had not been expressly forbidden to them) as a consequence of the flood (which was a punishment for this sin)." And this explains what Rashi says elsewhere,7 that the Torah mentions the death of Terach, Abraham's father, before Abraham left his father's house, even though in fact he left before his father died, "so that this matter should not become known to all, in case people should say that Abraham did not show a son's respect for his father." Even though respecting one's parents had not yet been commanded by G‑d, nonetheless, since the nations had of their own accord undertaken this duty, it had acquired something of the force of law—to the extent that Jacob was punished by G‑d for not respecting his parents,8 simply because of the status which this universal voluntary undertaking had acquired.
It follows that if there were a conflict between the self-imposed stringencies of the forefathers (as individuals) and the voluntary restraints of the descendants of Noah (en masse), the latter overruled the former.
And one of these restraints that had become universally adopted was that of taking care not to deceive others, as is evidenced by Jacob's accusation against Laban,9 "Why have you deceived me?" against which Laban takes pains to justify himself (showing that he agreed that deception was a sin).
Now we can at last see why Jacob married Rachel. For he had promised her that he would marry her, and even gave her signs to prove her identity on their wedding night. Not to marry her would have involved deception, and this had a force which overruled his (individual) undertaking not to marry his wife's sister (in accordance with what G‑d would later command).
The Concern Due to Others
One of the morals which this implies is that when a man wishes to take more on himself than G‑d has yet demanded of him, he must first completely satisfy himself that he is not doing so at the expense of others. And indeed, in the case of Abraham, we find that his preciousness in the eyes of G‑d was not primarily that he undertook to keep the whole Torah before it had been given, but rather, "I know him (which Rashi translates as "I hold him dear") because he will command his children and his household after him to keep to the way of the L‑rd, doing righteousness and justice."10
And the self-imposed task of personal refinement must not be at another's expense, either materially or spiritually. When a fellow Jew knows nothing of his religious heritage, and needs (as it were) spiritual charity, it is not open to another Jew who is in a position to help him to say, "Better that I should spend my time perfecting myself." For he must judge himself honestly and answer the question, "Who am I, that these extra refinements in myself are worth depriving another Jew of the very fundamentals of his faith?" And he will then see the truth which underlies Jacob's marriage to Rachel, that care for others overrides the concern for the self-perfection which goes beyond G‑d's law.11
FOOTNOTES 1. Leviticus 18:18. 2. Commentary to Genesis 32:5. 3. Talmud, Yevamot 22a, et al.; Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 269:10. 4. Genesis 15:15. 5. Genesis 26:5. 6. Commentary to Genesis 34:7. 7. Commentary to Genesis 11:32. 8. See Rashi to Genesis 37:34. 9. Genesis 29:25. 10. Genesis 18:19. 11. From Likkutei Sichot, vol. 5, pp. 141–8.
The Torah viewpoint is that the Almighty constantly creates the entire world and everything in it for each individual. This concept has the potential to give a person immense pleasure. Think about it for a moment. The Almighty -- Creator and Sustainer of the universe -- is constantly creating for you the sun, the moon, and all the other worldly phenomena. He is constantly bestowing upon you life, and every single second He supplies you with your needs
G-d gave us a gift on November 29, 1947. After 2000 years of suffering we were able to defend ourselves instead of being let to the slaughter like sheep. How Ironic that certain elements of religious Jews, claim that defending ourselves is against the Torah. Long live the state of Israel, and those that don't want to defend it should go someplace else!
Love Yehuda Lave
November 29, 1947: The Story of a Vote
Toldot Yisrael (http://www.toldotyisrael.org ) presents the story of the November 29th, 1947 UN vote for the Partition of Palestine. A vote that lasted a mere three minutes changed the course of Jewish History and brought 20 centuries of Jewish homelessness to an end. This movie is the second episode in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael and the History Channel. It is the centerpiece of an educational pilot program developed with The iCenter and made possible through the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation and others. Producer Eric Halivni (Weisberg) Director and Editor Tal Ella Production and Research Peleg Levy Cinematography Natasha Dudinski Joshua Faudem Peleg Levy Promo Films Narrator Troy De Lowe Editor Nahum Grinberg Original Score and Sound Editor Uri Kalian
The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive - Day of Decision
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Published on Mar 23, 2010 Name: Day of Decision Year: 1947 Duration: 00:14:07 Language: English Abstract: Documentary about the 1947 UN vote on the partition of Palestine. The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive - The 500 films, selected for the virtual cinema, reflect the vast scope of documentary material collected in the Spielberg Archive. The films range from 1911 to the present and include home movies, short films and full length features.
The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive - Israel Reborn
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Published on Mar 23, 2010 Name: Israel Reborn Year: 1948 Duration: 00:11:32 Language: English Abstract: As soon as the State of Israel is declared, the Arab nations wage war and Israel is forced to fight for its survival. The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive - The 500 films, selected for the virtual cinema, reflect the vast scope of documentary material collected in the Spielberg Archive. The films range from 1911 to the present and include home movies, short films and full length features.
United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine From Wikipedia
United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "Partition of Palestine" redirects here. For the partition of Palestine into Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, see 1949 Armistice Agreements. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) UNSCOP (3 September 1947; see green line) and UN Ad Hoc Committee (25 November 1947) partition plans. The UN Ad Hoc Committee proposal was voted on in the resolution. Date 29 November, 1947 Meeting no. 128 Code A/RES/181(II) (Document) Voting summary 33 voted for 13 voted against 10 abstained 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 resolutionWikisource has original text related to this article: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181
The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The Partition Plan, a four-part document attached to the resolution, provided for the termination of the Mandate, the progressive withdrawal of British armed forces and the delineation of boundaries between the two States and Jerusalem. Part I of the Plan stipulated that the Mandate would be terminated as soon as possible and the United Kingdom would withdraw no later than 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, Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism, or Zionism. The Plan also called for Economic Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.
In 1937, following a six-month-long Arab General Strike and armed insurrection which aimed to pursue national independence and secure the country from foreign control, the British established the Peel Commission. The Commission concluded that the Mandate had become unworkable, and recommended Partition into an Arab state linked to Transjordan; a small Jewish state; and a mandatory zone. To address problems arising from the presence of national minorities in each area, it suggested a land and population transfer involving the transfer of some 225,000 Arabs living in the envisaged Jewish state and 1,250 Jews living in a future Arab state, a measure deemed compulsory "in the last resort". To address any economic problems, the Plan proposed avoiding interfering with Jewish immigration, since any interference would be liable to produce an "economic crisis", most of Palestine's wealth coming from the Jewish community. To solve the predicted annual budget deficit of the Arab State and reduction in public services due to loss of tax from the Jewish state, it was proposed that the Jewish state pay an annual subsidy to the Arab state and take on half of the latter's deficit. The Palestinian Arab leadership rejected partition as unacceptable, given the inequality in the proposed population exchange and the transfer of one-third of Palestine, including most of its best agricultural land, to recent immigrants. The Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, persuaded the Zionist Congress to lend provisional approval to the Peel recommendations as a basis for further negotiations. In a letter to his son in October 1937, Ben-Gurion explained that partition would be a first step to "possession of the land as a whole". The same sentiment, that acceptance of partition was a temporary measure beyond which the Palestine would be "redeemed . . in its entirety," was recorded by Ben-Gurion on other occasions, such as at a meeting of the Jewish Agency executive in June 1938, as well as by Chaim Weizmann.
The British Woodhead Commission was set up to examine the practicality of partition. The Peel plan was rejected and two possible alternatives were considered. 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.
With World War II looming, British policies were influenced by a desire to win Arab world support and could ill afford to engage with another Arab uprising. 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", sought to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine and restricted Arab land sales to Jews. However, the League of Nations commission held that the White Paper was in conflict with the terms of the Mandate as put forth in the past. The outbreak of the Second World War suspended any further deliberations. 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 organization which opposed the British.
After World War II, in August 1945 President Truman asked for the admission of 100,000 Holocaust survivors into Palestine but the British maintained limits on Jewish immigration in line with the 1939 White Paper. The Jewish community rejected the restriction on immigration and organized an armed resistance. These actions 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 for the immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine, rescission of the white paper restrictions of land sale to Jews, that the country be neither Arab nor Jewish, and the extension of U.N. Trusteeship. U.S. endorsed the Commission findings concerning Jewish immigration and land purchase restrictions, while U.K. conditioned their implementation on U.S. assistance in case of another Arab revolt. In effect the British continued to carry out its White Paper policy. The recommendations triggered violent demonstrations in the Arab states, and calls for a Jihad and an annihilation of all European Jews in Palestine.
United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) Further information: UNSCOP Map showing Jewish-owned land as of 31 December 1944, including land owned in full, shared in undivided land and State Lands under concession. This constituted 6% of the total land area or 20% of cultivative land, of which more than half was held by the JNF and PICA
League of NationsA-class mandatory territories were to revert to sovereign states on their termination, and after WW2, this is what occurred with the exception of Palestine. In February 1947, Britain announced its intent to terminate the Mandate for Palestine, referring the matter of the future of Palestine to the United Nations. The hope was that a binational state would ensue, which meant an unpartitioned Palestine. Ernest Bevin's policy was premised on the idea that an Arab majority would carry the day, which met difficulties with Harry Truman who, sensitive to Zionist electoral pressures in the United States, pressed for a British-Zionist compromise. In May, the UN formed a Special Committee (UNSCOP) to prepare a report on recommendations for Palestine. The Jewish Agency pressed for Jewish representation and the exclusion of both Britain and Arab countries on the Committee, sought visits to camps where Holocaust survivors were interned in Europe as part of UNSCOP's brief, and in May won representation on the Political Committee. The Arab states, convinced statehood had been subverted, and that the transition of authority from the League of Nations to the UN was questionable in law, wished the issues to be brought before an International Court, and refused to collaborate with UNSCOP, which had extended an invitation for liaison also to the Arab Higher Committee. In August, after three months of conducting hearings and a general survey of the situation in Palestine, a majority report of the committee recommended that the region be partitioned into an Arab and a Jewish state, which should retain an economic union. An international regime was envisioned for Jerusalem.
The Arab delegations at the UN had sought to keep separate the issue of Palestine from the issue of Jewish refugees in Europe. During their visit, UNSCOP members were shocked by the extent of Lehi and Irgun violence, then at its apogee, and by the elaborate military presence attested by endemic barb-wire, searchlights, and armoured-car patrols. Committee members also witnessed the SS Exodus affair in Haifa and could hardly have remained unaffected by it. On concluding their mission, they dispatched a subcommittee to investigate Jewish refugee camps in Europe. The incident is mentioned in the report in relation to Jewish distrust and resentment concerning the British enforcement of the White Paper 1939.
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. Australia abstained. In CHAPTER VIII a number of members of the Committee expressed certain reservations and observations.
The report of the majority of the Committee (CHAPTER VI) envisaged the division of Palestine into three parts: an Arab State, a Jewish State and the City of Jerusalem, linked by extraterritorial crossroads. The proposed Arab State would include the central and part of western Galilee, with the town of Acre, the hill country of Samaria and Judea, an enclave at Jaffa, 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 proposed Jewish State would include the fertile Eastern Galilee, the Coastal Plain, stretching from Haifa to Rehovot and most of the Negev desert, including the southern outpost of Umm Rashrash (now Eilat). The Jerusalem Corpus Separatum included Bethlehem and the surrounding areas.
The primary objectives of the majority of the Committee were political division and economic unity between the two groups. 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).
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.
The committee voted for the plan, 25 to 13 (with 17 abstentions) on 25 November 1947 and the General Assembly was called back into a special session to vote on the proposal. Various sources noted that this was one vote short of the two-thirds majority required in the General Assembly.
Area assigned for a Jewish state; Area assigned for an Arab state; Planned Corpus separatum with the intention that Jerusalem would be neither Jewish nor Arab Armistice Demarcation Lines of 1949:
Israeli controlled territory from 1949; Arab controlled territory until 1967
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."
Arab states requested representation on the UN ad hoc subcommittees of October 1947, but were excluded from Subcommittee One, which had been delegated the specific task of studying and, if thought necessary, modifying the boundaries of the proposed partition.
The Sub-Committee 2, set up on 23 October 1947 to draw up a detailed plan based on proposals of Arab states presented its report within a few weeks.
Based on a reproduced British report, the Sub-Committee 2 criticised the UNSCOP report for using inaccurate population figures, especially concerning the Bedouin population. The British report, dated 1 November 1947, used the results of a new census in Beersheba in 1946 with additional use of aerial photographs, and an estimate of the population in other districts. It found that the size of the Bedouin population was greatly understated in former enumerations. In Beersheba, 3,389 Bedouin houses and 8,722 tents were counted. The total Bedouin population was estimated at approximately 127,000; only 22,000 of them normally resident in the Arab state under the UNSCOP majority plan. The British report stated:
"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."
In respect of the UNSCOP report, the Sub-Committee concluded 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 Sub-Committee 2 recommended to put the question of the Partition Plan before the International Court of Justice (Resolution No. I ). In respect of the Jewish refugees due to World War II, the Sub-Committee recommended to request the countries of which the refugees belonged to take them back as much as possible (Resolution No. II). The Sub-Committee proposed to establish a unitary state (Resolution No. III).
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 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. Various compromise proposals and variations on a single state, including federations and cantonal systems were debated (including those previously rejected in committee). 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
Zionists launched an intense White House lobby to have the UNSCOP plan endorsed, and the effects were not trivial. The Democratic Party, a large part of whose contributions came from Jews, informed Truman that failure to live up to promises to support the Jews in Palestine would constitute a danger to the party. The defection of Jewish votes in congressional elections in 1946 had contributed to electoral losses. Truman was, according to Roger Cohen, embittered by feelings of being a hostage to the lobby and its 'unwarranted interference', which he blamed for the contemporary impasse. When a formal American declaration in favour of partition was given on 11 October, a public relations authority declared to the Zionist Emergency Council in a closed meeting:'under no circumstances should any of us believe or think we had won because of the devotion of the American Government to our cause. We had won because of the sheer pressure of political logistics that was applied by the Jewish leadership in the United States'. State Department advice critical of the controversial UNSCOP recommendation to give the overwhelmingly Arab town of Jaffa, and the Negev, to the Jews was overturned by an urgent and secret late meeting organized for Chaim Weizman with Truman, which immediately countermanded the recommendation. The United States initially refrained from pressuring smaller states to vote either way, but Robert A. Lovett reported that America's U.N. delegation's case suffered impediments from high pressure by Jewish groups, and that indications existed that bribes and threats were being used, even of American sanctions against Liberia and Nicaragua. When the UNSCOP plan failed to achieve the necessary majority on 25 November, the lobby 'moved into high gear' and induced the President to overrule the State Department, and let wavering governments know that the U.S. strongly desired partition.
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. The US Senate was considering a large aid package at the time, including 60 million dollars to China. 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 UN, occasionally hinted that something might change in favour of the Yishuv. But another Indian delegate, Kavallam Pannikar, said that India would vote for the Arab side, because of their large Moslem minority, although they knew that the Jews had a case.
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.
Cuba (Vote: Against): The Cuban delegation stated they would vote against partition "in spite of pressure being brought to bear against us" because they could not be party to coercing the majority in Palestine.
Siam (Absent): The Siamese delegations credentials were cancelled after its vote against partition in committee on November 25.
According to Benny Morris, Wasif Kamal, an Arab Higher Committee official, tried to bribe a delegate to the United Nations, perhaps a Russian.
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 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 Pasha, said that "the lives of 1,000,000 Jews in Moslem countries would be jeopardized by the establishment of a Jewish state." At the 29th Meeting of the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine on 24 November 1947, Dr Heykal Pasha, the Egyptian delegate, said, "if the U.N decide to amputate a part of Palestine in order to establish a Jewish state, no force on earth could prevent blood from flowing there… Moreover… no force on earth can confine it to the borders of Palestine itself… Jewish blood will necessarily be shed elsewhere in the Arab world… to place in certain and serious danger a million Jews." Mahmud Bey Fawzi (Egypt) said: "… imposed partition was sure to result in bloodshed in Palestine and in the rest of the Arab world".
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.
If analysed by the modern composition of what later came to be known as the United Nations Regional Groups showed relatively aligned voting styles in the final vote. This, however, does not reflect the regional grouping at the time, as a major reshuffle of regional grouping occurred in 1966. 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 (primarily Middle Eastern countries) voted against partition, with the exception of the Philippines.
Regional Group Members in UNGA181 vote UNGA181 For UNGA181 Against UNGA181 Abstained African 4 2 1 1 Asia-Pacific 11 1 9 1 Eastern European 6 5 0 1 LatAm and Caribb. 20 13 1 6 Western Eur. & Others 15 12 2 1 Total UN members 56 33 13 10 Reactions Jews
Most Jews in Palestine and around the world reacted to the UN resolution with satisfaction, but some did not. Jews gathered in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to celebrate the U.N. resolution during the whole night after the vote. Great bonfires blazed at Jewish collective farms in the north. Many big cafes in Tel Aviv served free champagne. 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. The Irgun Tsvai Leumi, led by Menachem Begin, and the Lehi (also known as the Stern Group or Gang), the two Revisionist-affilitated underground organisations which had been fighting against both the British and Arabs, stated their opposition. 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."
Some Post-Zionist scholars endorse Simha Flapan's view that 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 Arab Palestinians to their own state. Rather, Flapan argued, acceptance was only a tactical move that aimed to thwart the creation of an Arab Palestinian state and, concomitantly, expand the territory that had been assigned by the UN to the Jewish state.Baruch Kimmerling has said that Zionists "officially accepted the partition plan, but invested all their efforts towards improving its terms and maximally expanding their boundaries while reducing the number of Arabs in them."
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%.
Ben-Gurion said "I know of no greater achievement by the Jewish people ... in its long history since it became a people."
Arab leaders and governments rejected the plan of partition in the resolution and indicated that they would reject any other plan of partition. The Arab states' delegations declared immediately after the vote for partition that they would not be bound by the decision, and walked out accompanied by the Indian and Pakistani delegates.
They argued that it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter which granted people the right to decide their own destiny. The Arab delegations to the UN issued a joint statement the day after that vote that stated: "the vote in regard to the Partition of Palestine has been given under great pressure and duress, and that this makes it doubly invalid"
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.
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.) Pasha told Alec Kirkbride: "We will sweep them [the Jews] into the sea". The Syrian president, Shukri al-Quwatli, told his people: "We shall eradicate Zionism".
The Egyptian King, Farouk told the American ambassador to Egypt, that in the long run the Arabs would soundly defeat the Jews and drive them out of Palestine.
While Azzam Pasha repeated his threats to forcefully thwart the partition, the first important Arab voice who supported the partition was the influential Egyptian daily "Al Mokattam": "We stand for partition because we believe that it is the best final solution for the problem of Palestine... rejection of partition... will lead to further complications and will give the Zionists another space of time to complete their plans of defense and attack... a delay of one more year which would not benefit the Arabs but would benefit the Jews, especially after the British evacuation."
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 Arab League said that some of the Jews would have to be expelled from a Palestinian Arab state.
Abdullah appointed Ibrahim Hashem Pasha as the Military Governor of the Arab areas occupied by troops of the Transjordan Army. He was a former Prime Minister of Transjordan who supported partition of Palestine as proposed by the Peel Commission and the United Nations.
Arabs in Palestine
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".
Zionists attributed Arab rejection of the plan to mere intransigence. Palestinian Arabs opposed the very idea of partition but reiterated that this partition plan was unfair: the majority of the land (56%) would go to a Jewish state, when Jews at that stage legally owned only 6-7% of it and remained a minority of the population (33% in 1946). 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 of them 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.
The Arabs promised to respect the rights of the Jewish minority.
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).
According to Musa Alami, the mufti would agree to partition if he were promised that he would rule the future Arab state".
The Arab Higher Committee responded to the partition resolution and declared a three-day general strike in Palestine to begin the following day. On 2 December a large Arab mob, armed with clubs and knives, attacked the Jerusalem New Commercial Center attacking Jewish passersby and shops. The Haganah intelligence identified two AHC officials, as leading the crowd.
On 4 December a band of 120–150 gunmen from Salame attacked the nearby kibbutz Efal. The settlers, together with Palmah reinforcements, beat them off.
When Bevin received the partition proposal, he promptly ordered for it not to be imposed on the Arabs. The plan was vigorously debated in the British parliament.
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 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 with Economic Union was not realized in the days following the 29 November 1947 resolution as envisaged by the General Assembly. It was followed by outbreaks of violence in Mandatory Palestine between Palestinian Jews and Arabs known as the 1947–48 Civil War. After Alan Cunningham, the High Commissioner of Palestine, left Jerusalem, on the morning of 14 May the British army left the city as well. The British left a power vacuum in Jerusalem and made no measures to establish the international regime in Jerusalem. At midnight on 14 May 1948, the British Mandate expired, and Britain disengaged its forces. Earlier in the evening, the Jewish People's Council had 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.
Resolution 181 as a legal basis for Palestinian statehood
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.
In 2011, Mahmoud Abbas stated that the 1947 Arab rejection of United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a mistake he hoped to rectify.