Israel on Monday protested the United Nations marking the 74th anniversary of the historic vote on the partition plan, which called for a Jewish state alongside an Arab one in the British Mandate of Palestine, by holding a Palestinian solidarity event.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the decision to hold an event in the General Assembly aimed at strengthening the Palestinian “right of return” on this day “outrageous.”
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to recognize the establishment of a Jewish state in parts of the Mandate. Jews jubilantly accepted the plan, while the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states rejected it and launched what would become Israel’s War of Independence.
“On November 29th, 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,” said Erdan.
“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,” he add, accusing the international community of ignoring those events and only focusing on the Palestinians.
“Instead, the UN has the audacity to hold a solidarity event for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the Palestinians’ own decision to choose violence. And on the day that the Palestinians chose violence, the UN also dares to advance… the outrageous, the false ‘demand of return,’ a demand that would lead to the total obliteration of the Jewish state,” he said.
A “right of return” is one of the key core issues of dispute in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians claim that five million people — tens of thousands of original refugees from what is today’s Israel, and their millions of descendants — have a right to return to their ancestral lands.
Israel rejects the demand, saying that it represents a bid by the Palestinians to destroy Israel by weight of numbers. Israel’s population is almost nine million, some three-quarters of whom are Jewish. An influx of millions would mean Israel could no longer be a Jewish-majority state.
To highlight the issues, Israel’s mission to the UN launched a campaign on Monday together with the World Jewish Congress that will see trucks driving around New York with the message “Don’t erase Jewish history.”
Erdan particularly wants to highlight the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were expelled from Arab lands after the establishment of the State of Israel and their properties confiscated.
“By advancing and amplifying on the one side the false and dangerous narrative of the Palestinians and by silencing… the true… tragic stories of the Jewish refugees who were expelled from the Arab countries and from Iran, the UN is erasing Jewish history and distorting the truth and we will never allow this to happen,” Erdan said.