Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Israel's Right to Exist

UN vote in 1947
One of my friends both on and off Facebook has been posting his usual anti-Israel canards.  His latest, however, really goes too far.  He claims that Israel doesn’t really exist and that it’s a myth that the country was created by the United Nations.

That’s rubbish.

Israel was created by a vote of the United Nations in November 1947.  The reports fill the archives of both media and the United Nations.  The New York Times may make an occasional mistake, but it doesn’t report mythology as truth.

Here is a sample report:

The General Assembly voted, 33-13, in favor of partition, with 10 members, including Britain, abstaining. The six Arab nations in the General Assembly staged a walkout in protest.  The New York Times reported: “The walkout of the Arab delegates was taken as a clear indication that the Palestinian Arabs would have nothing to do with the Assembly’s decision. The British have emphasized repeatedly that British troops could not be used to impose a settlement not acceptable to both Jews and Arabs, and the partition plan does not provide outside military force to keep order. Instead, it provides for the establishment of armed militia by the two nascent states to keep internal order.”

This is how the Arab world saw the partitioning of Palestine.

The United Nations recommended dividing Palestine between Arabs and Jews. The plan was published in November 1947. The Arabs immediately rejected partition, because they believed that Palestine was theirs by right. The Plan also appeared to favor the Jews. Although the population of Palestine was about 60 percent Arab, the Jews received more than half of the land and the more fertile areas as well. The Arabs were allotted areas that were mostly desert.

As the British withdrew, the Palestinians fought to gain control of every town. On the other side, Israeli terrorist gangs, the Stern and the Irgun, forced Arabs to leave their homes and flee for their lives. Those who stayed, or tried to fight, were killed, men, women and children. This was a major factor in the bitter hatred that developed between Jews and Arabs.

Nevertheless, the United Nations plan was approved, and preparations began for the new state of Israel.

For their part, the Israelis announced that Israel would be a secular state; that meant that religion would have no influence, and that all people living within its borders would have the full rights of citizenship. In other words, although Israel was being created as a homeland for Jews, Arabs would qualify as citizens and be able to vote and stand for the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. This did not satisfy many Arabs. They did not want to live in Israel. They wanted a state of their own.

On 14 May 1948 the Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, announced the creation of the state of Israel. There was great rejoicing in Tel Aviv, but the Arab governments in the surrounding countries objected to the new state and tried to destroy it. On 15 May 1948 the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt attacked Israel.

There’s no question that Israel was created as a direct result of the United Nations vote.  Certainly, the Arab countries understood what the vote meant as did every other nation.  Supporters and opponents fought bitterly to woo ambassadors to their side, offering bribes and presents.  The Israeli side won.

My friend is correct that General Assembly resolutions are not enforceable.  In this case, the partition resolution (181) was never acted on by the Security Council.  That doesn’t make the Resolution invalid.  Its decision still stands.  A resolution is binding whether or not the Security Council votes.  Resolutions are often ignored.  This one was acted on.
The Resolution divided the ancient land into three units: 
1)      A Jewish state covering 56.47 percent of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem) with a population of 498,000 Jews and 325,000 Arabs;
2)      An Arab state covering 43.53% of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem), with 807,000 Arab inhabitants and 10,000 Jewish inhabitants;
3)      An international trusteeship regime in Jerusalem, where the population was 100,000 Jews and 105,000 Arabs.
The partition plan also included these points:
4)      A guarantee of the rights of minorities and religious rights, including free access to and the preservation of Holy Places;
5)      A constitution of an economic union between the two states: custom union, joint monetary system, joint administration of main services, equal access to water and energy resources.
The British Mandate allowing England to control Palestine ended May 14, 1948.  As a result, that day, Israel declared its existence.  

 The published statement reads:
Accordingly, we, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, do hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.

Zionist leaders had already established a shadow government, which promptly took control.  

The residents of southern Syria, as Palestine was usually called, were actually supposed to choose which portion of the divided land they wished to join, but, of course, that was only wistful thinking.  After all, Zionists made no secret that they didn’t want a large Arab population, and neighboring Arab countries promised swift destruction of the new country.

Without any doubt, some of the tactics on both sides involved terrorism and brutality.

Holocaust victims
That’s deplorable, but the Jewish efforts are at least understandable.  The United Nation’s vote was a direct result of the Holocaust, the murderous efforts by the Nazis to rid Europe of Jews.  Around 6 million of them died.  It’s wholly understandable that Jews would take desperate measures to create a homeland where they would be safe from such vile anti-Semitism, which had been the European norm for close to 1500 years.

No other ethnic group has ever suffered such prolonged mistreatment.

On a personal basis, I would prefer that all ethnic groups gain independence.  That would include the Berbers, the Kurds, the Armenians, the Tamil and many others who have been persecuted.  They have certainly have tried, just as the Jews did.

Maybe, someday, a United Nations resolution will allow these ignored ethnic communities to declare their own legal and unimpeachable creation of a new homeland.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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