Did Israel accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan?

  • Israel did accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which was a document attached to General Assembly resolution 181 (II), dealing with the ending of the British Mandate and the proposed boundaries between an Arab and a Jewish state and Jerusalem.
  • The Partition Plan included the creation of one Arab state and one Jewish state, and the division of Palestine into eight parts. Three were for the Arab state, three for the Jewish state, the town of Jaffa was to form an Arab enclave within Jewish territory; and Jerusalem was to be administered by an International body.
  • The Jewish National Council reluctantly accepted Plan even though it set unsatisfactory territorial limits on the Jewish State.  
  • The Palestinian Arabs and the other Arab states immediately rejected the Plan. They did not recognise the existence of the state of Israel and opposed a scheme that provided for the dissection of Palestine. Therefore the UN General Assembly resolution 181 (II) was not carried out and never became legally binding.
  • On 14 May 1948, the UK ended its Mandate over Palestine and withdrew its forces. On the same day the Jewish National Agency proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel on the territory allotted to it by the Partition Plan.
  • The Arab States invaded the newly formed Israel, and fighting continued for the next 10 months. In 1949 Israel signed Armistice Agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan and Syria. However, the borders in the agreements were not intended as permanent. For example Article 2 of the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Transjordan states, ‘no provision in this agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement on the Palestine question’.
  • In 1949 Israel retained the area that the UN Resolution 181 had recommended for the proposed Jewish state as well as almost 60% of the area of Arab state proposed by the Partition Plan. Transjordan took control of the remainder of the West Bank, which it annexed, and the Egyptian military took control of the Gaza Strip.
  • In 1967, the surrounding Arab states again launched a war aimed at destroying Israel. Israel defeated its Arab enemies and gained possession of territory including the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza. These gains were not illegal, because there were no legally binding borders established between Israel and an Arab Palestinian state.

The 1947 Partition Plan

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