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Remembering Resolution 181 calling for the partition of Palestine

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UN partition plan for Palestine issued by the General Assembly in Resolution 181


29 November 1947

What happened?

The British, who had been awarded the mandate over Palestine in 1922, had all but admitted defeat by 1947. The contradictory goals of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, promising the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," and for the overwhelming majority of indigenous population ensuring that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine," had become unstainable.

A combination of communal violence and horrific acts of terrorism carried out by Zionist settlers from Europe against the British made their presence in Palestine untenable. Several Zionist terror groups declared war on Britain. They launched a number of attacks against the British – the most notable of which was the King David Hotel bombing in 1946 where the British administrative headquarters were housed; 91 people were killed in the attack.

A year later in early 1947, the British government announced its decision to hand over the disaster it had created in Palestine to the UN and end its mandate. On 29 November 1947, against the will of the Palestinian people, the UN General Assembly in New York voted for the partition of Palestine, adopting Resolution 181. It recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.

Despite strong protestations, the General Assembly refused a resolution to submit the Palestine question to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to determine whether the UN had any jurisdiction........

© Middle East Monitor

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