UN Resolution of Nov. 29

The United Nations Resolution of Nov. 29, 1947 is a central event in the history of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. On this day, which is known in Israel by the name "Ha'kaf-tet be'November", the U.N. General Assembly adopted a plan for the partition of the Land of Israel (Palestine) into three political entities - a Jewish State, an Arab State and an international area comprising Jerusalem and its environs, and for an economic union of these entities.

The major historical significance of this Resolution was the endorsement by the community of nations of the age-old dream for the renewal of Jewish statehood in the Land of Israel. The Arabs rejected the plan, and while refusing to establish their State, launched ruthless armed attacks against the Jewish community, which following the declaration of independence on May 14, 1947 became a war of aggression by seven Arab States against the State of Israel. The provision for the internationalization of Jerusalem was also thwarted and the only part of the November Resolution to be implemented was the provision for the establishment of the Jewish State.

The U.N. began dealing with the problem of the Land of Israel in April 1947, following an appeal from Great Britain, the mandatory power governing the country. Historically, the principal objective of the Mandate, enshrined in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, was the establishment of a "National Home" for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.

However, over the years, Britain had failed to fulfill this objective because of Arab opposition, and blatantly violated the provisions of the Mandate. The Jewish community reacted by fighting the British rule and its policies through its underground movements. On the other hand, the confrontation between the Jews and the Arabs, regarding the political destiny of the country, hardened, with the Jews and the Zionist movement demanding the establishment of a Jewish State, even if only in part of the land, and the Arabs calling for the creation of a "unitary" State which they would rule. These circumstances led the British Government to turn to the United Nations, which decided to establish UNSCOP (U.N. Special Committee on Palestine) for preparing a solution to the problem.

A majority of seven out of the eleven nations' committee adopted the plan of partition, which became the basis of the November Resolution. The Jewish State was to comprise Eastern Galilee, the valleys of Jezreel and Beth Shean, the coastal plain from the Bay of Acre to Be'er Tuvia and the Negev. The Arab State was to comprise the rest of the land apart from the Jerusalem area. There was also a minority plan calling for the establishment of a federated State. The debate at the U.N. focused on the majority plan, since the Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs also rejected the minority plan, while fighting partition tooth and nail.

The Jewish Agency, with the help of Jewish communities all over the world, lobbied among the members of the U.N. for the adoption of the majority plan, and was supported in this by the United States. The Soviet attitude towards the Zionist aspirations had changed favorably and Moscow also supported the establishment of a Jewish State and thus took the same stand as the U.S. in spite of the Cold War. The majority plan was also supported by West and East European States, the majority of Latin American States and the "white" members of the Commonwealth. The Holocaust and its aftermath - the presence of hundreds of thousands of Jewish displaced persons in Europe, played a major part in the consolidation of this position. These States were also influenced by the existence of the "State in the making" in the Land of Israel, and had sympathized in the past with the Zionist aspirations.

The decisive vote on the majority plan, which had virtually become a ballot on the establishment of a Jewish State, was 33 States in favor, 12 against, 10 abstentions and one not present. The countries of Latin America played a particularly significant role in the achievement of this result.

This was a momentous victory for the Jewish people, which had not even one vote of its own against 12 Arab and Moslem States. Although the November Resolution was never implemented, it served as an important catalyst for the establishment of Israel and became a central element in forging its international status.

The Jewish community in the Land of Israel was ecstatic on Nov. 29, but the celebrations and the dancing in the streets (depicted on the stamp) didn't last long as Israel's bloody War of Independence started immediately, with widespread Arab attacks on Jewish targets (the 1st attack was on Nov. 30, killing 5 Jewish bus passengers).

The painting shown on the stamp, called "The night of the 29th of November" was painted by the Israeli artist Jakob Eizenscher (1896-1980). The painting is on display at the Knesset.

The stamp was issued in 1997. Designer: H. Kivkovich.