Historic UN Vote of November 29 Reenacted in Rishon LeTzion

The historic UN vote of November 29, 1947, partitioning the Land of Israel into two states, was dramatically reenacted in Rishon LeTzion Thursday.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

The historic United Nations vote of November 29, 1947, which partitioned the Land of Israel into two states, Jewish and Arab, was dramatically reenacted in the city of Rishon LeTzion on Thursday.

Ambassadors of the 33 countries that voted in favor of the 1947 partition were
Ambassadors of the 33 countries that voted in favor of the 1947 partition were invited to the unique event.
invited to the unique event, as were family members of the ambassadors to the UN from those nations. Among the guests was the grandson of the UN General Assembly chairman who presided over the session, Dr. Oswaldo Aranha of Brazil.

The event took place in Rishon LeTzion's new Leaders of the Nation Park, which was officially opened today in conjunction with the November 29 commemoration.

President Shimon Peres met separately on Thursday with the families of the Latin American ambassadors who recommended the creation of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel 60 years ago. Peres credited the ambassadors with Israel's creation, saying, "The People of Israel thanks you and your families for your massive contribution on the path to the creation of the state of Israel. If it were not for your support in the UN and the preparations your parents made behind the curtains, we would have been left with nothing, with no state."

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved, 33 to 13, Resolution 181, a partition plan that would have created two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, in what was then the British-controlled Palestine Mandate. According to the resolution, Jerusalem was to be a separate, international city, under UN jurisdiction. The November 29 decision was also a rare instance of the Soviet Union and the United States voting on the same side of a major foreign policy issue, which allowed their satellite nations to vote in favor of partition as well.

The Aftermath
Time magazine of December 8 1947, reports that a rabbi who attended the historic UN vote  recited from a psalm of praise, "This is the day the Lord hath made, let us be glad and rejoice therein!"

As Jews danced in the streets of what was to become the State of Israel, Arab delegates to the UN left the plenum in a huff. They said that their nations rejected the plan and that they were prepared to wage war to prevent partition. According to the 1947 Time magazine article, "All Arab delegations announced that they would boycott the partition plan, have nothing more to do with UN discussions of Palestine."

The failure of the British government and the United Nations to implement UN Resolution 181, and an Arab onslaught to strangle the new Jewish entity, led to Israel's War of Independence. As a result of the war, the borders of the new Jewish State were significantly expanded beyond the UN partition lines. Most of the lands that were to have become an Arab state under the terms of the partition, along with Jerusalem, were conquered and incorporated by Jordan and Egypt.

Neither of those two states offered to create a Palestinian state in the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza at any time during their 19-year occupations.

'On This Date, the World Received a Gift'
In 1977, the UN General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B). The day is generally marked as a day of mourning in UN circles. This year, ambassadors from Iran, Syria and Lebanon spoke before the General Assembly as part of the day's events.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman also addressed the international body.
Hamas demanded that the UN rescind its November 29, 1947 partition.
Gillerman insisted that despite Arab states' mourning, the day should be one of celebration. "On this date, the world received a gift: a state which contributes to humanity more than all the countries in the UN that mourn on this day."

Gillerman called on the UN to move forward and to replace "the spirit that currently blows through the halls, that brings hatred and eternalized the past" with "the spirit of Annapolis." Arabs could have had a state called "Palestine" 60 years ago, he pointed out. He told the delegates to "look what Israel has accomplished... and where those who tried to destroy us and who continue to try to destroy us are today," and called on them to build "a coalition in favor of peace and against violence and extremism."

'No Room for Jews'
For its part, the terrorist Hamas organization demanded Thursday that the United Nations rescind its November 29, 1947 partition of British Mandatory Palestine. "Palestine is Arab Islamic land, from the river to the sea, including Jerusalem," the group said. "There is no room in it for the Jews."

Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) recently suggested using the UN partition plan to determine contemporary Israeli borders.