Resolution 181: The Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947

(The information contained herein comes from the website on the Partition of Palestine.)

On the 23rd day of September 1947, the General Assembly assigned the question of partitioning of Palestine to its Ad Hoc Committee. Another sub-committee was to study the proposal of establishing a unitary State in Palestine in which the Democratic Constitution would guarantee the human rights and fundamental freedom of all its citizens without distinction as to race, language or religion. The two reports were submitted and after prolonged discussions, there was great pressure form the United States and the Soviet Delegation to adopt the Resolution to Partition Palestine.

It was on 25 November 1947 that the world became acquainted for the first time with the final draft of the partition resolution: Resolution 181. The General Assembly refused a resolution to submit the Palestine question to the International Court of Justice to determine whether the UN had any jurisdiction to recommend the partition of Palestine or any other country.

For a draft resolution to become an official one, UN procedures required a two-third majority of its ad hoc committee. As two votes were lacking for such a majority, the draft was handed to the General Assembly. Both Zionist and Arab delegations were now in a race against time. Other delegates who had originally favoured the partition proposals, but now seemed to be wavering, were pressured and guided by the White House and the US Secretary of State to ensure that a favourable outcome is secured. Concerted and remarkable lobbying by the Zionist lobby ensured that at the last moment that those 8 wavering and doubtful votes, were swung into the partition lobby. The strength of the Jewish/Zionist lobby in Washington had been a revelation.

Zionist politicians did not waste time to recruit and lobby wavering delegates. Intensive efforts were made by the Zionist leadership around the world to gain crucial votes: the French altered their position from abstention to supporting the resolution; Liberia, as a result of economic promises, offered support; the direct lobbying of President Truman and pro-Zionist senators and congressmen secured the votes of 12 out of 20 Latin American countries.

On Saturday morning, 29 November 1947, and against the will of the Palestinian people, the General Assembly in New York voted for the partition of Palestine and accepted Resolution 181. It was supported by 33 votes with 13 opposed and 10 abstentions including Britain, whose prime minister Clement Attlee saw to it that Britain’s Commonwealth partners voted for it.


Palestine was thus divided into 3 parts: a Jewish part, a Palestinian part and an internationally administered zone to include the city of Jerusalem as a Corpus Separatum to be administered by the United Nations. After 10 years, a referendum would be held to seek the views of the city’s residents. Today, that Referendum is dead history. It has been replaced by continued Zionist expulsions of the indigenous Palestinian people of Jerusalem.

Corpus Separatum_1947

The Arab League rejected the plan to partition Palestine by any outside power and declared its intention to wage war against the implementation of this resolution. The stage was thus set for the Zionists to make their dream a reality. They brought out the map they showed to UNSCOP in May 1947 and decided it was time to act. But they faced the problem of having 1 million Palestinians in the part of Palestine allocated to them in the Partition plan. But, since the 1880’s, the Zionists had been preparing for such an eventuality.

Palestine was not divided. It was destroyed.

Once adopted, the execution of Resolution 181 was referred to the Security Council. The Arabs rejected it outright while the Jews celebrated its adoption. The Palestinians rebelled as the Zionist underground forces attacked Palestinian villages and towns in order to secure more than their portion of Palestine allocated to them by the Partition Plan. The United States admitted around March 1948 that the partitioning of Palestine could not be carried out in a peaceful manner and proposed that Palestine be placed under a temporary UN Trusteeship. This plan and calls for a ceasefire fell on deaf ears. The Jewish forces exerted all military efforts to achieve maximum land gains as the British prepared to end their Mandate in Palestine. By April 1948, they had achieved a military superiority and set in motion all political machinery to declare their Jewish State. Herzl’s prediction to establish a Jewish State in Palestine within 50 years was missed by only 1 year.

On the afternoon of May 14, 1948 the Jewish State of Israel was proclaimed just as the Sabbath began at sunset that day. At 5:16 EST, U.S. President Harry Truman authorised the recognition of Israel (note how, in this document pesented to him by his advisors, Truman crossed out the word JEWISH STATE and replaced it with the name ISRAEL, thus implying that it should not be exclusively Jewish).

The British mandate ended the next day on 15th May 1948 at noon.

In this process, most of Palestine’s indigenous population were expelled and, together with their descendents, became numbers in an UNRWA register. Today, they total about 5.5 million people living in miserable refugee camps in Lebanon (12 camps), Syria (10 camps + 3 unofficial sites), Jordan (10 camps) West Bank (19 camps) and Gaza (8 camps). These Palestinian refugees hold the record of being the longest suffering and largest refugee population in the world. Yet, even within these camps, they remain dignified and determined that, through the application of international law, their right to return to their homes will be upheld.