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Israel condemns UN pro-Palestinian event scheduled on same day as partition plan anniversary

Israeli ambassador accuses UN of “erasing Jewish history and distorting the truth”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan blasted an event organized by the UN celebrating the Palestinian “right of return” on the very day that marked the 74th anniversary of the partition of the British Palestine Mandate into one Arab state and one Jewish state. 

The Israeli ambassador accused the UN of anti-Jewish history revisionism and distortion of historical facts. 

“The UN is erasing Jewish history, and distorting the truth,” Erdan said on Monday standing in front of trucks with the message “Don’t erase Jewish history.” 

Erdan further accused the UN of embracing a false one-sided narrative that ignores the fundamental facts that the Jewish side accepted the partition plan while the Arab side rejected it and attacked the nascent Jewish state with the goal of wiping it out. 

“On Nov. 29, exactly 74 years ago, the UN recognized the Jewish people’s right to a state. The Jews and Israel accepted this partition plan and the Palestinians and the Arab countries rejected it and tried to destroy us,” Erdan said.

The Israeli ambassador reminded the world that the conflict produced not only Arab refugees but hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. 

“The Palestinians and the Arab countries not only attacked Israel, the Jewish state, they also persecuted, massacred, and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries,” Erdan said. 

Media frequently present the protracted conflict through the lens of controversial Jewish communities in the West Bank and the absence of a two-state solution. However, this narrative does not explain the underlying historical facts that eventually led to the current situation. 

On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of partitioning the British Palestine Mandate into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. The Jerusalem area, which included Bethlehem, was earmarked as an international zone due to its significant and sacred Christian, Jewish and Muslim sites. 

The Jewish population of what was then Palestine, led by David Ben-Gurion, accepted the partition plan despite the fact that Jerusalem and its Jewish majority was excluded from the nascent Jewish state. The Arabs living in Palestine and surrounding countries rejected the UN plan. Local Arab militias and eventually the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq launched a war in flagrant violation of international law with the purpose of wiping out the nascent State of Israel. 

Few military experts at the time believed that a Jewish state would survive the Arab onslaught on several fronts. While Israel eventually won the War of Independence, it came at a high cost. Some 6,000 Israelis, representing 1% of the Jewish state’s population, were killed in 1948. 

The 1948 war was undeniably painful for the local Arab population, but Israel's critics frequently ignore the fact that there would have been no war and no refugees if the Arab side had accepted the UN partition plan. Despite the international focus on Jewish communities in the West Bank, the conflict remains ultimately stuck in the 1947 rejection of a Jewish state within any borders with both PLO and Hamas opposing Israel’s existence as a Jewish nation-state. 

The partition plan is often inaccurately presented as the Western world imposing its will on the Middle East. However, the plan was also supported by the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Latin American countries and non-Western states including the Philippines, Liberia and South Africa – accounting for a full two-thirds majority of the UN member states. 

While much of the Palestinian leadership remains stuck in a resentful past, most of the world has moved on. Among the 13 states that opposed the partition plan in 1947, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Greece and India have established full diplomatic relations with Israel and India has even emerged as one of Israel’s closest allies.

Jordan and Egypt, both among the Arab states that attacked Israel in 1948, eventually made peace with Israel. And Saudi Arabia, which opposed the partition plan, is increasingly moving in the direction of diplomatic relations with Israel.

In addition, Muslim countries that did not exist in 1947 including Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Bahrain, established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020.

In the rapidly changing new Middle East, former foes have become allies of the Jewish state.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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