Despite Years of Land Losses, Israel Celebrates at 70

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Dateline Jerusalem — Most people think of May 14, 1948, the day the modern State of Israel was established. 

Although Israel will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of its declaration of independence next year, most people do not realize that six months earlier, Nov. 29, 1947, 70 years ago this week, the United Nations voted on U.N. Resolution 181.

It called for the partition of the British Mandate for Palestine into both Jewish and Arab states. 


The partition vote laid the groundwork for the creation of the modern State of Israel. It established the right of Jewish people to an independent state in their ancestral homeland. The partition vote passed 33-13 with 10 abstentions.  

But even before U.N. Resolution 181, the establishment of the modern State of Israel was in the works. The British had been given a mandate for Palestine in the Treaty of Serves in 1920 after conquering the Ottomans during World War I. 

Days later, the San Remo Conference of the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers declared it would put into effect the British Balfour Declaration of 1917.

This supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people.” 

At the San Remo Conference, four mandates were created:

  • French Mandate for Lebanon,
  • French Mandate for Syria,
  • British Mandate for Mesopotamia which created Iraq, and
  • British Mandate for Palestine. 

In 1921, Winston Churchill partitioned the Mandate for Palestine by giving 72 percent of it to Arab Hashemites (Transjordan). 

Not exactly an equal division of the land for the Jews to get only 28 percent.


Peel Commission Trims Further

In 1922, the Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the League of Nations mandate, thereby transforming it into a binding obligation under international law. 

It recognized the historical bond of the Jewish people to their ancestral land which was “not a created right but a pre-existing right.” 

But the 1937 Peel Commission wanted to partition the Mandate for Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, totally ignoring or forgetting that most of the land had been given to Arab Transjordan already. 

That meant that the 28 percent originally promised to the Jews would be further reduced. 

Yet it was the Arabs who rioted.  Obviously although the Jews lived in 28 percent of the Mandate, the Arabs wanted it to be without any Jews at all.  

Because of Arab rioting, after World War II, the British brought the issue to the newly formed U.N.  


Quintessential One-Way Street

Thus U.N. Resolution 181 created the partition of the Mandate for Palestine for the establishment of two states. The U.N. Charter specified that the U.N. would not change the rights already established under international law and incorporated by the League of Nations. 

In three decisions, the International Court of Justice indicated in 1950, 1955 and 1966, that the dissolution of the League of Nations did not affect the previous rights given by it. 

Israel accepted U.N. Resolution 181. But because only Israel accepted the resolution, the State of Israel was created. No Arab state was formed. 

Israel declared that it was “the natural right of Jewish people to be the masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.” 

Never again would there be a Holocaust because Israel would be a sovereign and free nation and would defend itself. 

As Vice-President Pence said at a celebration for Resolution 181 at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., site of the original resolution vote, “Now to be clear: Israel needed no resolution to exist. Israel’s right to exist is self-evident and timeless.”  

Although the Jews waited to return to their nation after over 2,000 years of exile, they always held their belief in G-d’s promise to gather the Jews and bring them back to the land of their forefathers. 

The Arabs, on the other hand, refused to accept the 1947 U.N. partition.

Arabs tried to invade Israel in 1948, waged two major wars against Israel in 1967 and 1973, and called for the destruction of Israel and its people. 

Yet the State of Israel, with the help of G-d, celebrates its 70th anniversary of independence despite all the Arab attempts to annihilate it.

L’hitraot.  Shachar

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