Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 - 8 of Tishri, 5784

70th anniversary of ‘Partition Plan’ marked in New York

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NEW YORK —Several Jewish organisations hosted in New York an event marking the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly Resolution 181, aslo dubbed the Partition Plan, which called for the creation of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state.

The 70th anniversary celebration took place at the Queens museum in New York which in 1947 was the headquarters of the newly created United Nations.

It was held in the presence of more than 600 government officials, diplomats, ambassadors, and students, and organized in partnership with Keren Hayesod and members of the the pro-Israel community including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the JCRC, American Zionist Movement, Bnai Brith International, America Israel Friendship League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, IAC, CAMERA, the European Coalition for Israel, The Israel Project, ZOA, World Zionist Organization and the Bnai Zion Foundation.

US Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed the event, said: “”I bring the congratulations and support of a champion of Israel, President Donald Trump.”

‘’The United Nations did not create the Jewish state, they simply reaffirmed the natural and irrevocable rights of the Jewish people to their own state in their historical homeland,” he said/.

“Israel did not need a resolution to call for its existence, because its right to exist is self-evident and timeless,” Pence said.

He added: “The president sent me with a simple message: Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel”. Pence said 70 years ago: “The United Nations declared to the world an ancient truth. That the Jewish people have a national, irrevocable right to an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland”. He also said that “the days of Israel-bashing at the UN are over”.

Pence also said that US President Donald Trump was “actively considering” moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Addressing the gathering, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder emphasized the need for the United Nations to treat Israel as equally as any other state, and stressed his optimistic resolve for the viability of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Israel has never denied the right of the Palestinian Arabs to their sovereignty. Yet here we are today, still dreaming that two people – Jews and Arabs – will live together in peace. I believe that at this moment in time, and against all odds, a two-state solution is actually quite possible,” Lauder said.

Referencing the Arab refusal to accept the 1947 partition plan and his vision for a secure State of Israel beside a sovereign Palestinian state, Lauder said: “In 1947, the Jewish people accepted the division of their ancestral land in order to live side by side with their Arab neighbors…. They understood the realities of living in a new era, and they accepted that they could not have it all. But the Arab people did not. They did not accept the partition in 1947, and 70 years later, too many still do not accept it.”

“Our presence here today as the only non-Jewish organization in the hosting committee is important in that it shows that support for the State of Israel extends beyond the Jewish world,” said Tomas Sandell of the European Coalition for Israel.

“UN General Assembly Resolution 181 is a historical achievement that we can be truly proud of.” Whilst the Jewish people did not receive all that had been promised to them by the international community in 1920 it re-affirmed the right to self-determination of the Jewish people in their historical homeland.

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 sought to provide a solution to what was perceived as a conflict of two peoples with conflicting rights and claims in Palestine / the Land of Israel and established the principle of two states for two peoples that is still relevant today.

The decision by UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) to recommend partition resulted from a variety of reasons: the impressive institutions and organisational infrastructure established by Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine; Its leaders’ willingness to cooperate with UNSCOP and accept the principle of partition – in contrast to the Arab Higher Committee who boycotted UNSCOP and rejected both its majority and minority recommendations; and the pressing need to find a solution to the hundreds of thousands of Jewish displaced persons in Europe who had survived the Holocaust.

The rejection of the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 by Arab states and the subsequent war in 1948 eroded the relevancy of the proposed borders of the Partition Plan. However, even 70 years on, the principle of partition remains the accepted paradigm in the international community for resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence bases the legitimacy of Jewish statehood on both the Jewish people’s historic rights in Palestine / the Land of Israel as well as the partition plan approved by the international community. The proclamation announces that Israel was declared “by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly”.

This paper details background to the recommendation of partition and the partition plan’s acceptance by the international community on 29 November 1947 as well as the consequences of the vote. It also describes the history of the principle of partition as well as alternatives that were suggested at the time.


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