United Nations, Shrinking From a Defense of Israel, To Which It Gave Birth, Is Due To Mark Its ‘Solidarity’ With the Palestinian Arabs

The now annual event, critics say, is riddled with ‘betrayal’ and ‘hypocrisy.’

Moshe Marlin Levin,  National Library of Israel via Wikimedia Commons
Celebrations at Jerusalem on November 30, 1947 after the acceptance of the UN partition plan. Moshe Marlin Levin, National Library of Israel via Wikimedia Commons

Look no further than the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to see where the United Nations is staking its interests amid Hamas’s war against the Jewish state. The UN will celebrate those who rejected the most momentous decision of the UN itself.  

The world body will hold a special meeting at its headquarters at New York City and its other venues worldwide on Wednesday to commemorate the Palestinian people — who, with their allies in the General Assembly, voted to reject the partition the UN approved 76 years ago on that day.

The observance marks the partition of the British mandate into two states, one Jewish, one Arab. The vote by a two-thirds majority came in the General Assembly sitting at Lake Success, New York, on November 29, 1947. The Jewish side accepted the establishment of two states, joining the 33 states in the Assembly that voted in favor of the resolution.

All Arab states — Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen — voted against partition and, instead, launched their war of annihilation. So what will happen on Wednesday is, as Hillel Neuer of Human Rights Watch puts it to the Sun, the UN “betraying its own history.” 

Some of the thousands of Jews celebrate in Tel Aviv as they listen to the broadcast on the United Nations announcement for the plan for partition with the Jewish state on November 30, 1947 in the new Jewish state. Some people wave the Jewish National flag. The United Nations resolution passed by the General Assembly would have partitioned the territory of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with greater Jerusalem area, including Bethlehem, coming under international control. (
The flag of the new Jewish state is waved at Tel Aviv on November 30, 1947 as residents listen to a broadcast of the United Nations announcement for the plan for partition. AP/Jim Pringle

“There’s something terribly cynical,” Mr. Neuer adds, “that the UN marks this as a day of injustice for the Palestinian Arabs, when this is the day that they could have been and should have been celebrating 76 years of being an independent state.”

The meeting, which has been held annually since 1977, will begin with remarks from the UN’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. The Sun asked Mr. Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, for details on his speech and how the nature of the observance will be affected by the Israel-Hamas war. The secretary-general “is not participating in any public events,” he responded, adding that, “as you know, the day is mandated by the General Assembly.”

Among the speakers listed on the provisional program for the day is a representative of the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Coly Seck, whose legislative committee was established by the General Assembly in 1975 to promote the self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Representatives of majority-Muslim countries and multi-national groups, including Sami Mohammad Al-Sulaiman from the League of Arab States and Nassima Baghli from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, are also speaking. Closing remarks will come from a representative of the Palestinian Arabs, Ibrahim Khraishi. “The Secretary General will address them,” says the president of an international crisis management firm, Eve Epstein, “and that gives them legitimacy.”

Yet legitimacy is what the Jewish state has fought for since its founding. “The vote revealed that not much more than the required two-thirds favored partition,” reported a 1947 editorial in The New York Sun published a few days after the General Assembly voted for the partition into Jewish and Arab states in Resolution 181.

“Whether the Arab world leaders who angrily stalked from the Assembly chamber when the vote was announced can persuade their people that they have a grievance which only open warfare can settle,” the Sun wrote, “is something that only time can tell.” 

“Open warfare” did ensue. Seven months later, the Palestinian Arabs attacked Israel,  joined by the Arab states of Egypt, Syria Jordan, and Iraq. “The history is important,” says Mr. Neuer. “It reminds us of an essential fact that is often overlooked by some and distorted deliberately by others.”

Mr. Neuer points to the fact that many other peoples over the past century have had their land partitioned, yet, out of a deep desire for statehood, they compromised. “Palestinian nationalism,” meanwhile, “is defined by eliminating any form of Jewish sovereignty in the holy land,” he says. “Anything less than eliminating Israel is a failure for them. That’s the tragedy.”

On Monday, Mr. Dujarric failed to commend Israel while applauding Qatar, Egypt, and America for facilitating the release of Israeli and foreign hostages held by Hamas. “The dialogue that led to the agreement must continue,” Mr. Dujarric said in a statement, “resulting in a full humanitarian ceasefire, for the benefit of the people of Gaza, Israel, and the wider region.”

Mr. Guterres told reporters at the UN Monday that the initial four day Israel-Hamas truce, which had been extended by two days, is not long enough to meet the aid needs at Gaza. Yet, critics say a full ceasefire would effectively render Israel defenseless against Hamas’s plans for renewed aggression against the Jewish state. 

Last month, Mr. Guterres described Hamas’s attacks on October 7 as “appalling” but said that they occurred in response to “56 years of suffocating occupation” experienced by the Palestinian Arabs.

These comments “constitute a justification for terrorism and murder,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement calling on Mr. Guterres to resign immediately. “It’s sad that a person with such views is the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust.”

“The Secretary General and other senior UN officials have spoken with a uniform message designed to contextualize the Hamas massacre, thus echoing the Palestinian narrative,” says Ms. Epstein, who previously worked in media relations for two-term United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “The UN traffics in hypocrisy.”

The offices of Mr. Seck, Mr. Al-Sulaiman, and Ms. Baghli did not immediately respond to the Sun’s requests for comment.


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