November 29, 1947 By Miko Peled

United Nations resolution 181, accepted on November 29, 1947, not only gave the Zionist movement the permission, but opened the door for Zionists to execute the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and create an apartheid state with exclusive rights for Jewish people, or as some call it, The State of Israel. It should come as no surprise then, that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began as early as December of 1947, less than one month after the resolution was accepted.  According to Ilan Pappe, these early attacks on Palestinians neighborhoods and villages brought about the exodus of some 75,000 Palestinians. [1] In other words, a resolution whose intent was to bring calm to Palestine brought about a catastrophe.

As though to bring about a practical, moral and equitable solution to the question of Palestine, the United Nations General Assembly accepted Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947. This resolution called for the partition of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. It is arguably the biggest diplomatic success of the Zionist movement, and it enabled future successes without which the Zionist occupation of Palestine could not have survived. This resolution is the crowning achievement of the Zionist diplomatic corps, and of the man who headed it, Moshe Sharet, who later became the first foreign minister of Israel.

A myth that is still being perpetuated by the Zionists in this regard is that the Zionist movement accepted this just and equitable resolution, while the Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians made a historical mistake by rejecting it. But as Dr. Walid Khalidi states: “The native people of Palestine,” like the native people of every other country in the colonized world, “refused to divide the land with a settler community.” Feeling that this was both illegal and immoral the Palestinians saw no justification in giving away parts of their country to European colonizers.

Palestine under the British Mandate was divided into sixteen districts. In the partition plan, nine of them were allotted to the Jewish State, although only one of the nine districts had a Jewish majority. Furthermore, the entire Jewish population in Palestine at the time was one third of the Palestinian population and Jewish land ownership did not exceed 7 percent of the land. Still the Partition Resolution gave the Jewish community in Palestine, a community made of mostly new comers who came to colonize, over fifty percent of the land.

As we know, the actual partition boundaries never materialized. By 1949 the Zionist militias which then became the Israeli army, ignored the stated boundaries and occupied almost all of Palestine with the exception of two areas they chose to leave out, two areas that were determined by Israel, namely the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Some twenty years later, in 1967, the Israeli army occupied those as well and by doing so completed the conquest of Palestine, or as they call it, The Land of Israel.

The Zionist movement toiled relentlessly to achieve this international recognition through the United Nations. Resolution 181 gave a rubber stamp to everything the Zionists wanted and to everything they did following that resolution. Again quoting Ilan Pappe, “Resolution 181’s most immoral aspect is that included no mechanism to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” “UN members who voted in favor of the Partition Resolution contributed directly to the crime that was about to take place.” [2]

It is ironic that Moshe Sharet, who was the point man in getting the resolution to pass, later referred [3] to the country being “emptied” of the Arabs as “very surprising.” “In the history of Eretz Israel” he says in a cabinet meeting, “this is even more surprising than the establishment of the State of Israel.” Surprising indeed. It’s as though the Zionists had nothing to do with it. “They started it by attacking us and so they had it coming and all of their homes and property are now ours,” Sharet stated and “What’s more” he added, “what is clear is that they will not return.” He said all this in a meeting of the Israeli cabinet on June 6, 1948. Then, discussing the Palestinian population of Yaffa, which Sharet describes in that same meeting as “an evil curse” and a “fifth column,” he says, “having eradicated it, we will never allow it to return.”

Sharet further reported that the Arabs were “removed” all the way from Tel-Aviv to the Western neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In the northern part of the country, from the city of Akka until Ras-Elnakura near todays border with Lebanon, “in terms of the population, the Arab villages no longer exist.” In a later meeting on the 9th of June, 1948, Sharet reports that already two hundred villages were “emptied” of their residents, the cities of Tabariya, Haifa, Akka, Yaffa, Safad, and all of Jerusalem that is outside the walled city are in our hands, Jenin has been emptied of people,” and he adds, “the situation is in our favor.”

Then during a meeting of the cabinet on 16 of June, 1948 David Ben-Gurion exclaimed: “The resolution of November 29 (1947) is dead. Our military force will determine the political outcome.”

We can see that certain patterns that exist today regarding resolution of the issue of Palestine, were already set in the days when UNSCOP, or the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine, were deliberating the partition plan. For example, the Zionist diplomatic corps dominated the discussions of the commission and created a reality in which, much like today, the solution was determined without any serious consideration of the Palestinian point of view, not to mention Palestinian interests. Furthermore, like Ben-Gurion stated in June 1948, what determines the political outcomes in Palestine is the Israeli military, and the Palestinian resistance to the invasion of their land is characterized, as it was then, as aggression and terrorism, while the Zionist offensive is characterized as justified self defense.

As an International Solidarity Day is planned in cities all around the world on this November 29, we must not forget the cause for the violence in Palestine. We must not forget what brought about the destruction of Palestine, and we must demand that the Zionist regime be removed, the refugees allowed to return. Sixty-eight years after that fateful UN resolution it is time to remedy the situation by freeing Palestine and allowing an inclusive democracy to be established instead of the State of Israel.

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References:

[1] The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe, (2006) page 40
[2] The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe, (2006) page 35.
[3] All the cabinet meeting quotes, from: “Speaking Out” Israeli Foreign Minister’s Speeches, May-December 1948 (2013) Edited by Yaakov and Rina Sharett pp. 136-144.