Nov 29, 1947: The Story of a Vote

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The Mandate for Palestine was initially approved by the League of Nations in 1922, enforced by Great Britain, and ended on 15 May 1948.

Originally United Nations Assembly Resolution 181 called for the Mandate to end no later than 1 August 1948, but the British Crown was willing to end the mandate in the springtime instead, using the August deadline as the absolute latest for having all personnel out of the Middle East.

After Britain ceded influence over Palestine, the authority was supposed to have been transferred to a United Nations commission which sought a four-part partition of “mandatory Palestine” which delineated borders for an independent Jewish state, an independent Arab state, and a special international regime for the City of Jerusalem  (including the surrounding areas of Abu Dis, Bethlehem, Ein Karim, Motsa, and Shu’fat), and proposed other policies pertaining to economics, education, and religious liberties.

The plan was supported by western nations and the Soviet Union, but did not have the support of Arab nations.

On May 14, however, impelled by a strong affinity for their ancient homeland and desire to establish a homeland for the survivors of the Holocaust, Israel declared her independence, and on May 15, Britain started withdrawing civilian and military forces. With the dissolution of the British Mandate, Israel was then invaded by Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan, igniting the 1948 War for Independence.

The implosion of regional civil war rendered it impossible for the United Nations to successfully implement this plan in the end.

Written by Erin Parfet


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