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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Rejection of the UN Partition Plan of November 29, 1947, Was a Prequel to the October 7 Massacre

Filed under: Israel, Operation Swords of Iron

Rejection of the UN Partition Plan of November 29, 1947, Was a Prequel to the October 7 Massacre
Tel Aviv crowds celebrated the UN’s vote for partition on November 29, 1947. (Government Press Office/Hans Pinn)

November 29 – on this day in 1947, the newly formed United Nations General Assembly voted to alter the provisions of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and divide Israel into two entities: a Jewish state and an Arab state. While the representatives of the Jews expressed their support for the plan, the representatives of the Arabs rejected the decision, refusing to accept the creation of a Jewish state within any boundaries. The events of the October 7 massacre, in which all the Palestinian terror organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and Fatah et al. participated, demonstrate that nothing has changed in 76 years.

The 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine was formulated pursuant to the Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and the 1920 San Remo Conference. In the Mandate for Palestine and similar mandates issued at the time, the international community divided the fallen Ottoman Empire into various countries. “Palestine,” like, Syria, and Jordan, was created as part of this process. At the time, “Palestine” referred not only to the geographical area of modern-day Israel (including the Gaza Strip, Judea, and Samaria) but also to the geographical area of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Winston Churchill, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, with King Abdullah I and T. E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”), in Jerusalem, 1921.
British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence “of Arabia,” and Emir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan walking in the gardens of the Government House, Jerusalem, during a secret conference on March 28, 1921, to discuss splitting the Mandate of Palestine and the formation of the Kingdom of Jordan west of the Jordan River. (Library of Congress)

To find a solution for both the Jewish and Arab national aspirations, the Mandate for Palestine allocated the entire region from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea to establish the Jewish state. The Mandate further provided that the Mandatory, Great Britain, would have the authority to separate “Trans-Jordan” – i.e., Palestine to the east of the Jordan River – from the rest of Palestine and thereby create the Arab state. In its essence, the Mandate for Palestine was the first international expression of the “two-state solution.”

While the League of Nations initially issued the Mandate for Palestine, its provisions were adopted by the UN under Article 80 of the UN Charter. The Mandate, as adopted by the UN Charter, had very concrete legal ramifications and could only have been changed with broad international consensus.

Thus, to fundamentally alter the Mandate, the UN proposed what is commonly known as the “UN Partition Plan.” While many members of the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the resolution, decisions of this nature only become binding under the newly proscribed provisions of the UN charter when approved by the UN Security Council. Since the Arab countries rejected the partition outright, no decision was ever made by the Security Council. In its essence, the UN Partition Plan was a betrayal of the “two-state solution,” replacing it with a “three-state solution” – Jordan, another Arab state, and the Jewish state.

Arab volunteers on the way to Palestine to fight against a Jewish state
Arab volunteers on the way to Palestine to fight against a Jewish state, 1947. (Abdulrazzaq Badran/Public Domain)

From November 1947 to May 1948, the Arab countries could have reconsidered their decision and given birth to a second Arab state in “Palestine.” They did not. Instead, they chose the path of war to annihilate Israel.

From 1948 to 1967, when the Gaza Strip was controlled by Egypt and Judea/Samaria controlled by Jordan, the Arab countries, together with the international community, could again have reconsidered their decision and established the second Arab state. They did not. Instead, they chose the path of war to annihilate Israel.

Since the international community accepted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the representative of the newly recognized “Palestinian people,” many more opportunities to create the second Arab state, now referred to as “Palestine,” have been rejected by the Palestinian leadership.

In the July 2000 Camp David discussions, then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat could have agreed to the creation of the Palestinian entity, but he refused, again choosing the path of violence. In 2008, the current PLO/Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, could have accepted the Israeli offer to create a Palestinian entity in a territorial area greater than the size of the Gaza Strip and Judea/Samaria. Still, he, too, refused, preferring to continue on the path of brainwashing generations of Palestinians to despise Israelis and reject Israel’s right to exist.

While the timing and acts of barbarism of the October 7, 2023, massacre were complete tactical surprises, it is impossible to argue that Israel and the international community were not given forewarning.

Thirty Years in the Making

The PA messaging to the Palestinians for the last 30 years has been very clear: Israel, in all and any borders, is an illegitimate state, borne on the heels of colonialism on stolen Palestinian land; Israelis/Jews are responsible for all the ills of the world and Islamic imperative mandates their destruction; Palestinians are destined to annihilate Israel through the use of terror and violence in the end of days when “trees and stones will call to Muslim believers saying a Jew is hiding behind me” to kill.

Hamas’ messaging to the Gazans is precisely the same as the PA’s messaging.

The only difference is that Israel and its security forces have a substantial presence in Judea and Samaria and can act broadly against terror threats. Since the 2005 Israel disengagement, however, the Gaza Strip has become a safe haven for terrorists.

If Israel seeks to survive and the international community seeks to avoid another October 7 massacre, the first thing they have to do is to pay heed to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and the other Palestinian leaders.

They are not talking about peace, nor are they talking about coexistence. They are not talking, except when addressing the gullible Western ears in English, about what President Biden refers to as the “two-state solution” – a Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel. What they are saying, in Arabic, to their own population has never changed: Israel has no right to exist, and we must do everything, including the genocide of Jews, to destroy it.

Continuing on the path of being willfully blind and willfully deaf to Palestinian incitement and denial of Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people will not bring about peace. It will, however, guarantee that the October 7 massacre will happen over and over again.