Jewish Agency Accepts Partition Plan

October 2, 1947

David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency since 1935, formally accepts the partition plan proposed by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). The committee, created May 15, 1947, in response to a request by the British government, releases its report recommending the division of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states a month earlier. “Political developments have swept us on to a momentous parting of the ways, from mandate to independence,” Ben-Gurion tells the assembly of the Yishuv, the Jewish area of settlement, in a speech accepting the partition plan. He says the three priorities of Palestine’s Jews are defense, a Jewish state and a resolution with the Arabs, in that order. The U.N. General Assembly approves the partition plan Nov. 29, 1947. By 1946, the partition of Palestine becomes the avowed policy of the Jewish Agency. As head of the Jewish Agency, David Ben-Gurion makes it clear in his testimony to the UNSCOP Committee that an independent Jewish state is the only political outcome acceptable to the Zionists. Ben-Gurion’s testimony is a brilliant expose of the Zionist cause and its recent history. The Zionist map that is presented to the UNSCOP committee is essentially the map that is proposed in 1937 to the British Peel Commission that proposed partition in that same year. However it adds, the Galilee, the Negev, and West Jerusalem. The mountain ridge of Judea and Samaria (what later becomes most of the West Bank) remains outside the boundaries of the Jewish State. The day after Resolution 181 is passed, Arabs attack Jewish property in Palestine while riots brake out against Jewish communities in Damascus, Aleppo, Cairo, Beirut, and Aden, where in some cases synagogues are destroyed. A Holy War is declared by the leaders of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. The first phase of Israel’s independence war beings.