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The Partition Plan, November 29, 1947: Nothing Has Changed

Part II

“Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. The sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness.” Thomas Paine, “The Rights of Man,” part 2, 1791

Examining the Arab response to the Partition Plan of November 29, 1947 allows us to understand why the Arabs have never accepted the existence of the state of Israel. Why is this important to know? Many of our political leaders and their advisers continue to promote policies to resolve the Palestinian Arab/Israeli conflict that have no basis in reality.

As already noted, when The Palestine Royal Commission (known as the Peel Commission headed by Lord Peel), recommended partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states in July 1937, the Arabs immediately repudiated the British plan. “When speaking of the Palestinian problem there are no moderates or radicals,” declared a Jaffa-based Arab newspaper. “We have rejected the partition plan and will fight any idea or attempt to propose partition, as partition is a national disaster. No Arab who appreciates the national ‘stake’ will consent to negotiate partition.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni Muslim Palestinian Arab movement, echoed this repudiation in a letter to the British ambassador in Cairo, explained Abd al-Fattah El-Awaisi, a professor of International Relations, in which they claimed that partition would deprive the Arabs of all of their rights. “No single Arab will ever consider, let alone accept it.” They did not regard the Jews “a party to the problem, they are mere thugs and usurpers who came under the shadow of spears and trickery to a land which does not belong to them…”

Before the U.N. voted in support of a Jewish state, notes historian Jeffrey Herf, an American working as a research analyst for the Central Intelligence Group, a successor to the OSS and forerunner to the CIA in Beirut, reported about the Muslim Brotherhood activities in Palestine and the danger the group posed for the future:

“The significance of this new development is two-fold, for this is the first direct evidence of an organized Islamic movement and therefore it constitutes a threat to permanent peace, since no harmony can exist where political differences are based on sectarian differences. Already Maronites are pleading for protection against this absorption, and young progressive Arab nationalists here deplore the rapid growth of the Muslim Brotherhood because they realize the need for Arab unity and want to abolish sectarian bonds; so there is a strong possibility of a Holy War (Jihad)…”

  1. M. Graves, who headed the committee that administered Jerusalem on behalf of the Mandate government, said that Arabs who sought accommodation with the Jews were viewed as traitors. Samy Taha, the Haifa leader of the Palestine Workers’ Society, gave a speech in which he said, “Whether the Jews in Palestine are going to be many or few we shall have to collaborate with them and we had better make up our minds to that from now on.” A few days later, he was murdered in the streets of Haifa.

The New York Times reported on February 6, 1947 that Jamal el-Husseini, head of the Arab delegation meeting in London to protest partition, charged that Zionist actions in Palestine resembled Fascist methods rather than democratic ones. “The Zionist plan is based on the Nazi line. It is based on a preferred treatment for a chosen race in utter disregard of other people’s opinions and is aimed at accomplishing the race objective without regard to the rights of others, meaning the Arabs.”

On February 6, 1948 Jamal el-Husseini wrote to UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie that “The Arabs of Palestine…will never submit or yield to any Power going to Palestine to enforce partition. The only way to establish partition is first to wipe them out—man, woman and child,” which is precisely what the Arabs had planned for the Jews.

After David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, the military forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon and a group from Saudi Arabia launched a united attack to destroy Israel. Six thousand people, one percent of Israel’s Jewish population, were killed in the war for Israel’s independence.

Throughout these years, the Arabs have not stopped trying to eliminate Israel. “It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace,” asserted Kifah Radaydeh, Fatah regional official. “Peace is a means, the goal is Palestine. I do not negotiate in order to achieve peace. I negotiate for Palestine, in order to achieve a state.” When Fatah, the Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine, the PLO’s most important faction, says Palestine, they mean all of Israel.

A Final Note: If nothing else, the Arabs have been consistent in their hatred. On December 3, 2017, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement continues to applaud and elevate terrorists to the status of role models by posting a photo of bomb maker Shadia Abu Ghazaleh as a teenager on its Facebook page on the anniversary of her death on November 28, 1968.

A school had been named after Abu Ghazaleh to glorify her as a hero. Nan Jacques Zilberdik, an analyst at PMW, concludes that Fatah deliberately chose a photo of Abu Ghazaleh as a teenager to make young Palestinian Arabs “identify with the terrorist and aspire to emulate her.”

By Alex Grobman, PhD

 Alex Grobman, a Hebrew University-trained historian, has written extensively in books and articles on the Palestinian Arab conflict. He is a member of the Council of Scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), and a member of the Advisory Board of The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He has trained students how to respond to Arab propaganda on American campuses. One student, who worked with him for three years, became president of Harvard Students for Israel.


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