November 29, 2004
Today is the anniversary of the UN vote on resolution 181, which approved the partition of the western part Palestine into a predominately Jewish state and a predominately Arab state. (It is vital to recall that the UN partition plan referred to western Palestine, to underscore that in 1921 the eastern part was ripped off the Jewish National Home by the British Government and handed over to the then Emir Abdullah.)
The partition plan was approved by 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions.
The 33 countries that cast the “Yes” vote were: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela. (Among other countries, the list includes the US, the three British Dominions, all the European countries except for Greece and the UK, but including all the Soviet-block countries.)
The 13 countries that chose the Hall of Shame and voted “No” were: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen. (Ten of these are Moslem countries; Greece has the special distinction of being the only European country to have joined the Hall of Shame.)
The ten countries that abstained are: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
On November 30, 1947, the day following the vote, the Palestinian Arabs murdered six Jews in a bus making its way to Jerusalem, and proceeded to murder another Jew in the Tel-Aviv - Jaffa area. This was a prelude to a war that claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948. This toll is the per capita equivalent of today's Canada losing 300,000 lives, or the US losing 3,000,000.
The object of the war, launched by the Arabs in the former Palestine and the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon (with help from other Arab countries), was to "throw the Jews into the sea". As the partition map indicates, however, rather than annihilate the Jewish population, the Arabs ended up with less territory than they would have gained by peaceful means.
In addition to the bloodshed in nascent Israel, immediately after the UN vote, Arabs attacks their Jewish neighbours in a number of Arab countries, the murders in Syria's Aleppo being the best known.
Bruised and bleeding, Israel prevailed nonetheless. May our sister-democracy thrive and flourish.
UN Resolution 181: Full Text
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