November 29 is a noteworthy date for all those interested in Israel and the Middle East.
Sixty-eight years ago, following the recommendation of a decisive majority of the 11-member United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, the UN General Assembly met to consider Resolution 181. The measure called for the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states in the land west of the Jordan River, which for decades had been governed by Great Britain under a mandate, first, from the League of Nations, then the UN.
The final vote was 33 countries in favor, 13 against, and ten abstentions.
To this day, it remains important to recall how each UN member state at the time voted.
Those in support were: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussian SSR, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukrainian SSR, Union of South Africa, United States, USSR, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
In opposition were: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.
Abstaining were: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.
Among the proposal’s supporters, the eloquent words of Ambassador Enrique Rodriguez Fabregat of Uruguay stand out to this day: “Both peoples [Jews and Arabs] are fully ripe for independence. We are not here to give lessons in organization to two peoples in their infancy, two peoples whose destinies are just beginning. The Jewish effort in Palestine is, in many respects, exemplary, and this is confirmed in both the reports of the Special Committee on Palestine. And the ability of the Arabs to shape their own destiny by their work, their initiative and their courage is shown not only by their present achievements but by their glorious past. Those of us who are voting for partition are not voting against either of these two peoples, against either of these two sectors of social reality in Palestine. We are voting for both of them, for their progress, their civic development, their advancement within the community of nations, so that they may not only never come into conflict, but may combine in a multitude of productive undertakings, thus ensuring that economic unity for which the plan under discussion definitely provides.”
He laudably chose to strike a note of optimism, believing that both Jews and Arabs could fulfill their respective national aspirations through this two-state resolution. And he earnestly hoped that the end result would not be conflict, but mutually beneficial cooperation.
Alas, his vision was not quite fulfilled.
The Arab nations categorically rejected the resolution, denied any Jewish link to the land that was, in fact, associated with the Jewish people for millennia, and declared they would not be bound by its terms. They chose to go to war, with the goal of seizing all the land and preventing a Jewish state from coming into being. Despite vastly larger populations and territories, they did not succeed in their quest.
There are at least five important takeaways from this dramatic chapter in history.
First, actions have consequences. The Arab world opted for confrontation, not compromise. They gambled and lost. They paid a price, as have all defeated aggressors in history. They could not have it both ways – losing a war they began, then claiming victimhood.
Second, as the Uruguayan envoy stated, another path was possible. There could have been two states living side by side – one Jewish, the other Palestinian (though the UN language at the time referred to an Arab, not a Palestinian, state) – in peaceful coexistence for the past 68 years. The Jews, joined by a clear majority in the international community, sought precisely that outcome, but the Arab world rejected it out of hand. It turned into a clash in this instance between Arab maximalism and Jewish pragmatism. The latter won out.
Third, the UN recognized the validity of a Jewish state. In November 1947, no one knew what the name of the state would be – it was only announced on May 14, 1948, the actual date of Israeli independence – but what was clear to all was that it would be a Jewish state, and rightly so. The Jewish people fully merited a sovereign home in their ancient land and had every right to chart their own destiny, the UN General Assembly affirmed. Insofar as there is some debate today about the “legitimacy” of a Jewish state, that question was, in fact, addressed 68 years ago by the UN General Assembly.
Fourth, much is still made of the Arab refugee population from the 1947-48 period, which resulted from a number of factors in a tumultuous era. For 65 years, there has been a special UN body, UNRWA, to deal with the issue, but not, it must be noted, for purposes of resettlement, as with all other refugee groups in the world, but rather to keep alive the issue from generation to generation as a festering wound and permanent grievance against Israel. At the same time, some Arabs chose to stay in Israel after its creation in 1948. Today, their share of the total population is approximately 20 percent, and they enjoy equal rights and protection under the law.
Meanwhile, less well-known, there was a second refugee group from the very same years – roughly an equal number of Jews from Arab countries who were forced from their homes, expelled from the ancestral lands where many had lived long before the Arab invasion and conquest in the seventh century, and too often victims of deadly pogroms.
Why has so little been heard about the 750,000-850,000 Jewish refugees? Among other reasons, because they were offered a haven in Israel (and other countries) and opted to start anew, rather than follow the Palestinian example of remaining in camps as wards of the international community, while nurturing dreams of revenge against the detested Jewish state.
And fifth, the Israel that emerged from this defining period was only a part of the land under discussion in the 1947 UN debate. The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were entirely in the hands of Jordan, while the Gaza Strip was controlled by Egypt.
During the ensuing years, Egypt and Jordan had uncontested power to create a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, precisely what the Palestinian leaders today claim they seek. But, alas, no such state emerged. To the contrary, Jordan annexed its territory, a step recognized by only two other nations in the world. Meanwhile, Egypt imposed harsh military rule on Gaza.
In other words, the history of the past 68 years could have been very different, but the all-or-nothing approach of Arab leaders at the time was a calamity for the Palestinian people, the larger Middle East, and the course of modern history.
November 29th, the United Nations will mark an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” Established in 1977, the day claims to facilitate “the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine.”
It is essential to understand the history of this day in order to understand its true purpose. The day is an outgrowth of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), established 40 years ago in November 1975, as part of the suite of General Assembly resolutions meant to demonize Israel and Jews.
The most infamous part of this effort, Resolution 3379, declared “Zionism a form of racism.” While resolution 3379 was eventually repealed in 1991, its sentiments live on through the very existence of the Committee and its activities. There is no other nation or people in the world that has a UN division dedicated to its “inalienable rights” — not the oppressed people of Tibet, the Kurds, the endangered Yazidi people in Iraq, or the Coptic minority in Egypt.
Under the guise of obtaining justice for the Palestinians, the Committee fuels the virulent anti-Israel political warfare campaign that continues to gain momentum within the corridors of the UN and contribute to the malignant rise of antisemitism worldwide. In other words, in order to promote the “inalienable rights” of Palestinians, the UN tramples on the rights of Israelis and Jews, acting in a way that shows that rights are no longer universal.
There is also ironic meaning to the date chosen to mark international solidarity with the Palestinian people. November 29 is the historic date upon which the UN adopted the Partition Plan in 1947, which paved the way for a Jewish state, and should have resulted in a parallel Arab state. Instead, the Arab population in Mandate Palestine rejected partition and, together with the neighboring Arab countries, went to war to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state.
If anything, November 29 should serve as a reminder that Palestinians had the “right to national independence” in their grasp, and that a two-state “partition” could have provided a way forward. Instead, the International Day of Solidarity embraces a supposed Palestinian “inalienable right to return to their homes and property,” endorsing a concept that contradicts the essence of the 1947 UN vote and which would geographically, politically, and otherwise mean the elimination of the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.
There is no other UN subsidiary committee or UN day of solidarity specifically designated to advance the political cause of one people over another. This committee is yet more proof such double standards against Israel persist and are sanctioned by an official UN event in New York.
The Day is also a catalyst for highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to amplify their support for anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) movement and other hostile campaigns. Many of these NGOs, which receive extensive funding from European governments, also regularly exploit UN forums and judicial processes to accuse Israel of “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and other alleged violations of international law.
For example, in 2013, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which prides itself on seeking to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community over support for Israel, marked the occasion by escalating efforts to boycott Israeli company SodaStream. Similarly, Palestinian NGO Al Mezan co-signed a letter accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” while calling on “UN member states to vote in favor of any resolution that would recognize Palestinian statehood.” Al Mezan is funded, directly and indirectly, by Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, the European Union, Norway, Germany, the UN Development Programme, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
In 2012, a dozens of NGOs including Al Mezan, Al-Haq, Badil, Defence for Children International-Palestine — all of which are heavily funded by European donors — participated in a World Social Forum entitled “Free Palestine” held in Brazil. The four-day forum, which overlapped with November 29, included panels on “the right to return,” “international law and human rights,” “popular resistance,” and “the case of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” Tellingly, the conference did not center on obtaining Palestinian statehood, but rather lamented the “narrowing of the Palestinian struggle to the West Bank only.”
While November 29 recalls the implications of UN resolutions from 40 and 70 years ago, we should also bear in mind another momentous event from the Fall of 1945. On October 24, the UN was founded at Lake Success, New York, to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.”
As the UN and NGOs prepare to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians by demonizing Israel and denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, they and their donors should consider the extent to which they contribute to the exploitation of sacred and universal principles.
Source: The Algemeiner
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And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land. – Ezekiel 34:13 (KJV).
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. – Luke 21:24 (KJV).
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. – Zechariah 12:3 (KJV).
With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you—the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants -They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. -Psalm 83 (KJV).