Chapter 3 of the
Report of Sub-Committee 2
to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian question
of the UN General Assembly 1947

(in the printed document)
Introduction 270
Chapter I: Legal issues connected with the Palestine problem 272
Chapter II: Relief of Jewish refugees and displaced persons 283
Chapter III: Proposals for the constitution and future government of Palestine 288
Chapter IV: Conclusions 299
Appendix I: Estimated population of Palestine as at 31 December 1946 304
Appendix II: Estimated population of proposed Jewish State as at 31 December 1946 305
Appendix III: Note dated 1 November 1947 on the Bedouin population of Palestine presented by the representative of the United Kingdom 305
Appendix IV: Map of Palestine showing distribution of population by sub-districts 307
Appendix V: Map of Palestine showing land ownership 307
Appendix VI: Extracts from village statistics as at 1 April 1945 307
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Proposals for the constitution and future government of Palestine

54. The Sub-Committee was requested to draw up a detailed plan for the future government of Palestine in accordance with the basic principles expressed in the proposals submitted to the General Assembly by the delegations of Saudi Arabia (A/317) and Iraq (A/328), and the draft resolution submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegation of Syria (A/AC. 14/22). The Sub-Committee, however, considers that it would also be necessary to review some aspects to the plan recommended by the majority of the Special Committee and to take into consideration some of the salient points brought out in the general debate in the Ad Hoc Committee relating to the basic principles applicable to the constitution and future government of Palestine.

<289> Analysis of the proposal of Saudi Arabia and Iraq and of the Syrian draft resolution

55. The proposals submitted by the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Iraq to the General Assembly on 9 and 16 July 1947 respectively are couched in identical terms and read as follows:

"Termination of the Mandate over Palestine and recognition of its independence as one State.”

The proposal of Saudi Arabia and Iraq raise three distinct issues:

(a) The termination of the Mandate;

(b) The recognition of the independence of Palestine, and

(c) The preservation of Palestine as one State.

The Sub-Committee considered all three issues and its conclusions thereon are set forth below.

In the first place, in chapter I of this report, concerning the legal issues connected with the Mandate, it is pointed out that the Mandate was invalid ab initio, that on the dissolution of the League of Nations the Mandate lost its legal basis, that, with the declaration of the British Government of its intention to withdraw, the de facto basis of the British administration in Palestine is also on the point of disappearing, and that the only action now outstanding is the manner of the transfer of power to the government of the people of Palestine. The last matter will be considered in a later part of the Sub-Committee's report together with the Sub-Committee's proposals regarding the constitution and future government of Palestine. All that need be said at this stage is that even on the assumption that the Mandate continues to have some legal basis or validity, it has been agreed by all concerned, including the Mandatory Power, that the Mandate should be terminated as early as possible.

Secondly, there is also general agreement as to the recognition of the independence of Palestine. The Sub-Committee would recommend further that for the reasons adduced in chapter I of this report, the recognition of the independence of Palestine should not be qualified or retarded by the imposition of any conditions.

Thirdly, the Sub-Committee is in entire agreement with the proposal of Saudi Arabia and Iraq that Palestine should continue as a single, undivided State. This is in accord with the wishes and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the people of Palestine, the objectives of the Covenant and the provisions of the Mandate, and is essential for the orderly political evolution of the country and maintenance of its economic life and prosperity.

56. The draft resolution submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegation of Syria was also considered by the Sub-Committee. It is unnecessary, however, to examine it in detail here, as on the one hand some of its aspects are dealt with in chapter I of this report, and on the other hand its remaining aspects are taken into account in the formulation by the Sub-Committee of its own recommendations regarding the future constitution and government of Palestine.

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Examination of the partition plan recommended by the majority of the Special Committee

57. Before indicating the basic principles underlying the constitution of a unitary State in Palestine and formulating proposals regarding the future government, the Sub-Committee considers it necessary to examine critically the recommendations of the majority of the Special Committee for the partition of Palestine and the establishment of an Arab and a Jewish State and of a special administration for the City of Jerusalem.

<290> During the general debate in the Ad Hoc Committee, conflicting views were expressed regarding the plan of the majority of the Special Committee. Its legal implications are pointed out in chapter I of this report, and it has been mentioned that the Mandate, as well as the Covenant, definitely contemplated the retention of Palestine as a single unit under one government. It has been stressed that the United Nations has no authority under the Charter to partition Palestine or in any way to impair its integrity against the wishes of the majority of its people. It might also be pointed out that the proposal for the partition of Palestine is contrary to the repeated assurances given to the Arabs during the last thirty years by the Mandatory Power. As late as May 1939 the British Government stated in paragraph 4 of its White Paper on Palestine that:

"His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the regard Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will."
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Political objections to partition

58. The political objections to the partition of Palestine are no less important than the legal and constitutional objections referred to in the preceding paragraph. Palestine has been administered during the last thirty years as one political, administrative and economic unit. All the measures taken by the Mandatory Power for the government and administration of the country and for the provision of essential services have proceeded on the basis of that unity. The partition of the country would, in the opinion of the Sub-Committee, render the establishment of an efficient administrative machinery in either of the two States impossible.

59. The partition scheme proposed by the majority of the Special Committee must also be rejected on grounds of security, since it divides each of the two States into three separate parts connected by points of intersection, and makes it impossible for either State to defend its frontiers or to develop a workable defence plan.

60. This question must also be considered from the wider angle of the peace and security of the Middle East as a whole. Palestine is the centre of communications of the Arab world and it has common frontiers with four Arab States. There is no doubt that the forcible creation of a Jewish State in the heart of the Arab world would introduce a new, highly disturbing threat to peace and security in the Middle East. The proposed Jewish State, if it were set up at all, would come into being against the unyielding opposition, not only of its own considerable Arab population and of the proposed Arab State of Palestine, but also of the inhabitants of the surrounding Arab countries.

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Objections to partition on grounds of distribution of population

61. The next important consideration relating to the partition scheme is the distribution of the population in Palestine as a whole and in the two proposed States. According to the report of the Special Committee, the total population of Palestine on 31 December 1946 was 1,845,559, consisting of 1,237,332 Arabs and 608,225 Jews (see chapter II, paragraph 19). These figures are not based on census returns, as no census was held in 1946. The last census took place in 1931. The population figures quoted by the Special Committee are in fact based on estimates made by the Palestine administration, and do not necessarily represent the exact position with regard to the Arab and Jewish population of Palestine.

<291> 62. A more serious omission relates to the total exclusion from these figures of Arab Bedouin. According to the footnote to paragraph 12 of chapter II of the Special Committee's report, the estimated number of Bedouin in Palestine is 90,000 and, under the majority the plan, most of these would be included in the proposed Jewish State (see chapter VI, part II, section 5). That estimate of the Bedouin population is, however, inaccurate and it will be seen from the note submitted to the Sub-Committee by the representative of the United Kingdom on 1 November 1947 (see appendix III to this report) that, on the basis of the latest investigation carried out in the Beersheba sub-district by the Palestine administration, the Bedouin population of Palestine is now estimated at approximately 127,000.

63. In formulating its proposals, the majority of the Special Committee left out the Bedouin population on the assumption that the Bedouin were nomads and should not be counted among the settled population. This assumption is unwarranted. It is generally true to say that the Bedouin of Palestine are settled on the land, some of them living in houses and others in tents. The bulk of them live in the northern and north-western parts of the Beersheba sub-district, where they are responsible for the cultivation of the greater part of the 2 million dunums of cereal land. Aerial photographs of this area taken recently by the Royal Air Force show the existence of 3,389 houses and 8,722 tents (see appendix III, paragraph 4). A certain proportion of the Bedouin tribes, consisting mostly of shepherds, do move with their flocks to adjacent districts in order to obtain better grazing for their sheep, but this practice is not different from that of shepherds in other parts of the world, and does not justify their exclusion from the settled population of Palestine. These Bedouin have lived in Palestine for centuries and have as much right to be taken into account as any of the other original inhabitants of the country. While they still maintain some of their special customs and usages, they are settled on the land and derive their livelihood from agriculture and grazing. This view is confirmed by the concluding paragraph of the note presented to the Sub-Committee by the representative of the United Kingdom, which reads as follows:

“It should be noted that the term ‘Beersheba Bedouin’ has a meaning more definite than one would expect in the case of a nomad population. These tribes, wherever they are found in Palestine, will always describe themselves as Beersheba tribes. Their attachment to the area arises from their land rights there and their historic association with it.”
Table C3-1: Total of population per division
  Jews Arabs
and others
Jewish State 498,000 407,000 905,000
Arab State 10,000 725,000 735,000
City of Jerusalem 100,000 105,000 205,000

64. According to the plan of the majority of the Special Committee, the distribution of the settled population in the proposed Jewish and Arab States and in the City of Jerusalem would be approximately as follows (see chapter VI, part II, section 5 of the report):

Table C3-2: Percentage of total population per district
Sub-district Percentage of total population
and others
Safad 87 13
Acre 96 4
Tiberias 67 33
Beisan 70 30
Nazareth 84 16
Haifa 53 47
Jenin 100
Nablus 100
Tulkarm 83 17
Ramallah 100
Jerusalem 62 38
Hebron 99 less than 1
Jaffa 29 71
Ramle 78 22
Gaza 98 2
Beersheba 99 less than 1

These estimates must, however, be corrected in the light of the information furnished in the note submitted to the Sub-Committee by the representative of the United Kingdom regarding the Bedouin population. According to paragraph 5 of that note, 22,000 Bedouin "may be taken as normally resident in the areas allocated to the Arab State under the plan proposed by the majority of the Special Committee”, and the balance of 105,000 as resident in the proposed Jewish State.

It will thus be seen that the proposed Jewish State will contain a total population of 1,008,800, consisting of 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews. In other words, at the outset, the Arabs will have a majority in the proposed Jewish State.

65. It is even more instructive to consider the relative proportion of Arabs and Jews in the three regions com-<292>prising the area of the proposed Jewish State. In its southern section — the Beersheba area — there are 1,020 Jews as against an Arab population of 103,820. In order words, the Jewish population is less than 1 per cent of the total. It is surprising that the majority of an international committee such as the Special Committee should have recommended the transfer of a completely Arab territory and population to the control of the Jews, who form less than 1 per cent of the population, against the wishes and interests of the Arabs, who form 99 per cent of the population. Similarly in the northern section of the proposed Jewish State — eastern Galilee — the Arab population is three times as great as the Jewish population (86,200 as against 28,750). Only in the central section of the proposed Jewish State — the plains of Sharon and Esdraelon — have the Jews a majority, the respective population figures being 469,250 Jews and 306,760 Arabs (these figures do not include Bedouins, as separate estimates are not available for this area). Even in this region, the majority is more apparent than real because almost half the Jewish population is located in the Jewish towns of Tel Aviv and Petah Tiqva. (For further details, see appendix 1 to this report.)

66. It is also interesting to examine the distribution of Arab and Jewish populations in the proposed Jewish State according to the administrative sub-divisions shown in appendix 2. Ten sub-districts, in whole or in part, are incorporated in the proposed Jewish State. In nine of these sub-districts, the Arabs have a clear majority over the Jews. Only in one sub-district, namely, Jaffa, have the Jews a majority over the Arabs. This is due to the heavy concentration of Jews in the urban area of Tel Aviv.

This is further reinforced by statistics furnished to the Sub-Committee by the United Kingdom representative, showing the percentage of Arabs and Jews in the population of the various sub-districts of Palestine. The statistics are reproduced below:

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Distribution of land

67. Closely connected with the distribution of population is the factor of land ownership in the proposed Jewish State. The bulk of the land in the Arab State, as well as in the proposed Jewish State, is owned and possessed by Arabs. This is clear from the following statistics furnished to the Sub-Committee by the United Kingdom representative, showing the respective percentages of Arab and Jewish ownership of land in the various subdistricts of Palestine.

Table C3-3: Land ownership per subdistrict
Sub-district Percentage of ownership
and others
Safad 68 18
Acre 87 3
Tiberias 51 38
Beisan 44 34
Nazareth 52 28
Haifa 42 35
Jenin 84 less than 1
Nablus 76 less than 1
<293> Tulkarm 78 17
Ramallah 99 less than 1
Jerusalem 84 2
Hebron 96 less than 1
Jaffa 47 39
Ramle 77 14
Gaza 75 4
Beersheba 14 less than 1
Table C3-4: Land ownership by crops grown
Category of crops Ownership by in dunums
Arabs Jews
Citrus 135,368 139,728
Bananas 1.843 1,079
Plantations 1,052,222 94,167
Taxable cereals
(categories 9-13)
5,653,346 869,109
Taxable cereals
(categories 14-15)
823,046 67,839

Note: The balance represents waste lands and lands under public ownership, consisting mainly of grazing lands attached to villages.

It will be seen that there is not a single sub-district in which the percentage of Jewish land ownership exceeds 39 per cent, and that in nine of the sixteen sub-districts the percentage of Jewish ownership is less than 5 per cent.

68. The village statistics for 1945 prepared by the Palestine administration and showing the position as at 1 April 1945 furnish interesting data regarding land ownership in Palestine (see appendix VI to this report). The total Arab land ownership is given in dunums (4 dunums equal approximately 1 acre), as being 12,574,774, as against a total Jewish ownership of 1,491,699. This statement also gives details of the land ownership of Arabs and Jews according to the various categories. The following figures are of particular interest:

69. The above statistics of population and of land ownership prove conclusively that the Arabs constitute a majority of the population of the proposed Jewish State, and own the bulk of the land.

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Expedients for reducing or disguising the injustice of partition

70. It might be suggested that the injustice to the Arabs might be reduced and the proposal for partition rendered less open to objection by excluding from the Jewish State the predominantly Arab populated areas: or that such injustice might be disguised by increasing the Jewish population of that State by means of fresh immigration.

With regard to the latter expedient, it has already been explained that Palestine has taken more than its due share of immigrants and that it cannot take In any more without serious detriment to the interests and position of the existing population. In any case, it would be unfair to the Arabs of Palestine if, in an area in which they have a clear majority and in which they own the major portion of the land, they were to be artificially reduced to a minority and subjected to the rule of the Jews by means of the introduction of a large number of fresh immigrants. Such a proposal would be utterly undemocratic and would amount to a complete denial of the rights of the Arab majority. The United Nations cannot, without doing violence to the principles of the Charter, and without serious damage to its prestige, be a party to such manipulation and juggling with the fate of a whole people. This artificial “processing" must be condemned as arbitrary and unjust.

Map land ownership distribution
Appendix 5: Map of ownership per districts

71. The other expedient suggested, namely, the revision of the boundaries of the proposed Jewish State so as to exclude predominantly Arab populated areas, is entirely impracticable. As has been explained, in nine of the ten sub-districts, or parts thereof, proposed for inclusion in <294>the Jewish State, the Arabs have a clear majority, and it is only in the tenth sub-district, which includes the town of Tel Aviv, that the Jews have a majority.

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Inextricable intermingling of population

72. There is an additional difficulty, arising from the fact that throughout Palestine the Arab and Jewish population is inextricably interwoven. There are no territorial frontiers between Arabs and Jews. The bulk of the Jewish population in Palestine is located in towns and only a small proportion, about one-fifth, is settled in rural areas. Apart from Tel Aviv, which is a totally Jewish town, in practically all the other towns such as Haifa, Tiberias and Safad. the Jewish population is completely intermixed with the Arab population and it would be impossible to draw boundaries separating them from each other. The unity of the country and of its population cannot be broken up by any scheme of partition without entailing grave and disastrous consequences. Partition, in the case of Palestine, would amount not to the setting up of two self-contained entities, but to the dismemberment and mutilation of a living body.

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Partition no solution for minority problem

73. It has been argued that the establishment of a Jewish State would solve the problem of the Jewish minority now existing in Palestine. In the whole of Palestine, the Jews are less than 31 per cent of the total population, whereas in the proposed Jewish State the Arab population will, at the outset, be in excess of the Jewish population. The proposal of the majority of the Special Committee would therefore solve the problem of the Jewish minority only by creating in its place the graver problem of the proportionately larger Arab population in the Jewish State. If minority status is an evil, it would not be fair to cure one evil by the creation of another, and a greater evil.

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Result of detailed study of partition scheme by the Mandatory

74. The intermingling of the population in Palestine is such that it would be impossible to devise a partition scheme which would overcome the objections mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. This is fully confirmed by the detailed inquiries carried out on the spot by the Woodhead Commission in 1938. The Commission was charged with the duty of making concrete recommendations for the implementation of the proposal of the Royal Commission of 1937 for the partition of Palestine. The Woodhead Commission, after detailed investigation, arrived at the conclusion that no partition scheme could be evolved which did not leave a very substantial Arab minority in the territory to be allotted to any possible Jewish State. The British Government upheld the findings of the Commission, and the proposal for partition was abandoned as impracticable. There is nothing in the report of the Special Committee to invalidate this conclusion, and the proposal of the majority of the Special Committee is more impracticable and unjust to the Arabs than any of the various partition schemes considered by the Woodhead Commission.

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Minority status of Jews does not justify partition

75. The existence of a Jewish minority docs not invalidate the establishment of a unitary State in Palestine. There have been, and there still are, minorities in many countries. Some minorities existed originally as part of the indigenous population, while other minorities were created by immigration. The United Nations cannot subscribe to the principle that a racial or religious minority, whether arising from natural development or created as a result of immigration, can insist upon the breaking up of a homeland or shatter the political, geographical and economic unity of a country without the consent and against the wishes of the majority. The acceptance of such a principle would constitute a dangerous precedent which might be adopted by dissident elements in many <295>States and thus become a source both of internal conflict and international disorder.

76. The Jews who have migrated into Palestine have done so with the knowledge that they were going to live in one country, where they would intermingle with the existing population. At no time were they led to believe by the Mandatory or by the Arabs that a part of Palestine would be set aside for their exclusive occupation. On the contrary, all Jewish immigration was made on the basis of the Mandate which provided in very clear terms for its termination and replacement by a single government of Palestine The most that the Jewish minority in Palestine can ask for is to be safeguarded against discrimination and unfair treatment. The Arabs of Palestine have repeatedly expressed their willingness to co-operate in devising a practicable scheme for the safeguarding of the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities, and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. Any other demand by the Jewish minority would be undemocratic and untenable.

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Main reason underlying partition proposal

77. It would appear from the plan of the majority of the Special Committee that the main reason for recommending partition and the creation of a Jewish State was to facilitate Jewish immigration into Palestine. Paragraph 8 of chapter VI, part I, of the Special Committee's report reads as follows:

Jewish immigration is the central issue in Palestine today and is the one factor, above all others, that rules out the necessary co-operation between the Arab and Jewish communities in a single State. The creation of a Jewish State under a partition scheme is the only hope of removing this issue from the arena of conflict.

No argument could be more fallacious. It is quite true that the Arabs are firmly opposed to further Jewish immigration into Palestine, but there is nothing to show that the opposition would diminish with the establishment of a Jewish State. On the contrary, the removal of the restrictions on immigration hitherto imposed by the Mandatory Power in the interest of the indigenous population and the economic and political welfare of the country would tend to intensify such opposition. It is a matter for regret that the Special Committee, instead of finding ways and means to ensure greater co-operation between Arabs and Jews in a single State, should have evolved a scheme which would, in fact, destroy whatever prospects still exist of friendly co-operation between the two communities and lead to most tragic consequences.

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Economic objections to partition: indivisibility of Palestinian economy

78. It has been shown that partition is neither legally justifiable nor politically defendable or expedient. Consideration of the economic aspects of the scheme of partition shows that it is even less worthy of acceptance. There are two vital points involved in the. economic aspect of partition that establish its basic impossibility.

As has been observed, Palestine has hitherto been administered as one political and administrative unit. Economic factors also make it one indissoluble unit. The economy of all parts of Palestine is interdependent. Roads, railways and communications and public services have been provided on the basis of a unitary Palestine. Large funds have been spent on the development of the port of Haifa to serve the commercial needs of the whole of Palestine. An example of the common and indivisible services is the fact that the source of the water supply of the City of Jerusalem is located in the proposed Jewish State and the water will have to pass through the Arab State before it reaches the City. Similarly, the electric supply of almost all the main towns of the proposed Arab State will have to be obtained from electric installations situated within the proposed Jewish State.

<296> 79. The Special Committee fully realized the interdependence of the economy of Palestine and observed that under the Mandate there had been internal freedom of trade, a common transport system and a single currency. Its report lays great stress on the economic unity of the country and its unanimous recommendation IX reads:

"In appraising the various proposals for the solution of the Palestine question, it shall be accepted as a cardinal principle that the preservation of the economic unity of Palestine as a whole is indispensable to the life and development of the country and its peoples.”

The plan of the majority of the Special Committee accordingly recommends establishment of an economic union and its operation through a joint economic board. The majority failed, however, to realize that it is impossible to combine economic union with political division. Economic unity implies consent and cannot be imposed: in fact, it necessitates a treaty and involves a joint administration. In view of the unwavering opposition of the Arabs, that arrangement would be impossible.

The emphasis laid by the Special Committee on the economic unity and interdependence of all sections of the population in Palestine leads inevitably to the conclusion that economic unity must necessarily be preserved. This can be achieved only by maintaining political unity.

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Viability of the proposed States

80. The next economic consideration which equally rules out partition is the essential requisite of viability. The proposed Jewish State is to be allotted the best parts of the country and might therefore be viable. The Arab State, however, would be so lacking in resources as to be definitely not viable. The facts set forth below establish these contentions:

(a) It is recognized that citriculture is the most important industry in Palestine and that citrus constitutes the main item of export. According to chapter II, paragraph 28 of the Special Committee's report, "citrus is the main export crop; before the trade was interrupted during the war, it accounted for 80 per cent of the total value of exports”. Again, paragraph 27 of chapter II contains the following statement: "Palestine is still mainly an agricultural country since about 65 per cent of the population gain a living directly from agriculture. Nevertheless, the country is not self-sufficient in food and is especially deficient in cereal production, about 50 per cent of its cereals being supplied by imports." In paragraph 29 of chapter

II it is stated that citrus production “is approximately equally shared between Jewish and Arab cultivators”. Paragraph 53 of chapter II contains the following statement : "During the war, the virtual cessation of citrus exports had a great effect on the structure of exports. This, however, was a purely temporary phenomenon, and it is evident that citrus exports will again become a dominant element in total exports.”

In part I, paragraph 13 of the plan of partition, set forth in chapter VI of the Special Committee’s report, it is stated that "the Jews will have the more economically developed part of the country, embracing practically the whole of the citrus producing area, which includes a large number of Arab producers”.

It is thus an undisputed fact that the basic industry in Palestine, which largely pays for imports of food, especially wheat, meat and cattle fodder (see chapter II, paragraph 54 of the Special Committee’s report), and of which the Arabs own approximately 50 per cent, would be almost entirely included in the proposed Jewish State.

(b) In addition to the citrus industry, the proposed Jewish State is allotted under the partition plan the best agricultural lands in Palestine, while the Arab State is left certain mountainous regions, largely uncultivable <297>(see column 7 of appendix VI to this report). The maritime plain running from Gaza to Acre, the plain of Esdraelon and the valley of Jezreel, which together comprise the best agricultural areas, are all included within the proposed Jewish State. To quote again from the Special Committee's report (see chapter II. paragraph 3): "Apart from these inland plains in the north and portions of the desert area in the south, the interior of the country is very mountainous, with the hills of Judea and Samaria in the centre and the hills of Galilee in the north."

Thus in addition to citrus, the plan of the majority of the Special Committee would endow the Jewish State with the most substantial agricultural resources of the country.

(c) Under the partition plan, the two ports of Palestine, Haifa and Jaffa, which are both predominantly Arab, are included in the Jewish State. The Haifa port was developed with public funds at considerable cost. The partition plan includes it. with all its possibilities of future development, within the Jewish State, despite the fact that the port serves as the terminal of the Iraq oil pipe line and is the point of entry of international trade into Palestine, Transjordan and other parts of the Arab world.

81. Attention may now be drawn to some other aspects of the future economy of the proposed Arab State as disclosed in the plan of the majority of the Special Committee.

In the first place, in chapter VI. part I, paragraph 12, it is observed "that, at any rate during the early years of its existence, a partitioned Arab State in Palestine would have some difficulty in raising sufficient revenue to keep up its present standards of public services".

Secondly, the Arab State would, in effect, have to subsist on international charity. Thus paragraph 14 of part j of chapter VI reads:

"As the Arab State will not be in a position to undertake considerable development expenditure, sympathetic consideration should be given to its claim for assistance from international institutions in the way of loans for expansion of education, public health and other vital social services of a non-self-supporting nature."

82. The majority of the Special Committee recognized that viability is an essential prerequisite to any scheme of partition, but made no attempt to consider it or study it. This important matter was apparently left to the Secretariat, and the note prepared by the Secretariat was incorporated in the report.UN4 This note shows that the Arab State can be made viable only on the basis of a subsidy from the Jewish State.

To sum up, it is certain that the proposed Arab State cannot be viable. It would have no cultivable lands of any importance. Such cultivable lands as it would have would not supply a small fraction of the cereal requirements of its population. It would have no other economic resources, no raw materials, no industries, no trade, and would have to subsist on subsidies or loans.

83. It would thus appear that the partition proposal is legally objectionable, politically unjust, and economically disastrous; in short, it is utterly unworkable. The Sub-Committee is therefore compelled to reject partition as a solution of the Palestine problem, and considers that the constitution and future government of Palestine must be based on the fundamental principle of a unitary State.

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Principles underlying the constitution of a unitary State in Palestine

84. The Sub-Committee examined the proposals of the Arab States regarding the future constitution of Pales-<298>tine made to the British Government in 1946 and early in 1947, and took into account the statements made during the general debate in the Ad Hoc Committee. The basic idea underlying those proposals, and which is in accord with the principles of the United Nations Charter, is that the future constitution and government of Palestine must be based on the free consent of the people of that country and must be shaped along democratic lines. In other words, the constitution of Palestine should be framed by a representative body, namely, an elected constituent assembly. The basis and conditions of franchise, the qualifications of electors and numerous other complex questions connected with the setting up and working of the constituent assembly would have to be decided before the constituent assembly could be convened

85. While the task of framing a constitution must naturally be left to the constituent assembly, the Sub-Committee feels that it should indicate in general terms the main principles on which the future constitution should be based. These are summarized below.

(a) Palestine shall be a unitary and sovereign State.

(b) It shall have a democratic constitution, with an elected legislature and an executive responsible to the legislature.

(c) The constitution shall provide guarantees for the sanctity of the Holy Places covering inviolability, maintenance, freedom of access and freedom of worship in accordance with the status quo.

(d) The constitution shall guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, and freedom of religious belief and practice in accordance with the status quo (including the maintenance of separate religious courts to deal with matters of personal status).

(e) The constitution shall guarantee the right of religious bodies or other societies and individuals to maintain, in addition to educational establishments administered by public authority, educational institutions of their own, subject to normal government supervision and inspection.

(f) The constitution shall recognize the right of Jews to employ Hebrew as a second official language in areas in which they are in a majority.

(g) The law of naturalization and citizenship shall provide, among other conditions, that the applicant should be a legal resident of Palestine for a continuous period to be determined by the constituent assembly.

(h) ) The constitution shall ensure adequate representation in the legislature for all important sections of the citizenry in proportion to their numerical strength.

(i) The constitution shall also provide for adequate reflection in the executive and the administration of the distribution of representation in the legislature.

(j) The constitution shall authorize the legislature to invest local authorities with wide discretion in matters connected with education, health and other social services.

(k) the constitution shall provide for the setting up of a supreme court, the jurisdiction of which shall include, inter alia, the power to pronounce upon the constitutional validity of all legislation, and it shall be open to any aggrieved party to have recourse to that tribunal.

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<299> Establishment of a provisional government and mode of transfer of power

86. The next matter that calls for consideration is the setting up of a provisional government and the manner of transfer of power from the Mandatory to the provisional government. The Sub-Committee recommends that a provisional government shall be set up without further delay and that it shall he representative of all important sections of the citizenry in Palestine in proportion to their numerical strength. The representation of Arabs and Jews in the provisional government shall be without prejudice to their representation in the future government of Palestine.

87. The legislative, executive and administrative powers and functions of the present administration of Palestine shall be vested in the provisional government as soon as the latter is constituted, and thereupon the Mandatory Power shall begin the withdrawal of its forces and services from Palestine. The plan of withdrawal shall be settled by the Mandatory Power in consultation with the provisional government, and the withdrawal shall be completed within one year. This would ensure an orderly transfer of power, and would at the same time enable the provisional government to organize its police and security forces and to build up a sound administrative system on national lines.

88. The provisional government shall as soon as practicable enact an electoral law for the setting up of the constituent assembly, and take steps to complete without delay an electoral register on the basis of that law. The electoral law shall provide for the adequate representation in the constituent assembly of all the important sections of the citizenry in accordance with their numerical strength. This shall be without prejudice to their representation in the future legislature.

89. As soon as the electoral register is completed, elections shall be held for the constituent assembly. The constituent assembly shall then be convened and shall proceed to draw up the constitution of the independent unitary State of Palestine in the light of the basic provisions outlined in the preceding paragraphs. The constituent assembly shall also act as a legislature until the first elections under the new constitution have been held, and during the interval the provisional government shall be responsible to the constituent assembly.

90. It is essential to add that until the independent State of Palestine legislates otherwise, immigration into Palestine shall be suspended, and the existing land transfer restrictions shall remain in force.

91. The Sub-Committee is persuaded that a constitution evolved on the lines mentioned above is the only practicable solution of a difficult and complex problem, consistent with the principles of justice and democracy and in accord with the best interests of all communities in Palestine.

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Footnote numbers from the original text are prefixed with "UN", those from the editor at by "Ed"

UN4  See Official Records of the second session of the General Assembly, Supplement No. 11, Volume 1, pages 55 and 56. For the convenience of our readers we reproduce this note here in full:


PREPARED BY THE SECRETARIAT (of Subcommittee 1, which proposed the partition plan)

On certain assumptions it may be possible in a given case to calculate roughly the order of magnitude of the loss or gain of revenue which an area might experience as a result of partition. Similar estimates might be made of expenditures necessary to maintain existing standards of social services and other normal budget expenditures, and a comparison of the two sets of figures would throw some light on the ability of the State in question to maintain these standards without large budget deficits. It should, of course, be made quite clear that this would not be in any sense a measure of an actual budgetary position, but merely a general indication of the probability of the viability or non-viability of the area under consideration.

In the case of the plan for the partition of Palestine recommended in this report, as well as in the case of all previous partition plans which have been suggested, it is the viability of the Arab State that is in doubt. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the proposed Arab State from this point of view as carefully as conditions permit. Until the proposed boundaries are precisely defined, however, it would not be possible to assemble accurate information regarding the area. Therefore, in order to get a preliminary idea of the viability, as we have defined it, of the proposed Arab State a calculation was made in respect of the areas which it had been proposed should become Arab provinces in the provincial autonomy plan elaborated by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1946. Fairly complete statistics were available in regard to this particular plan of partition. As it happens, though the partition proposed by the members of this Committee differs in some very important respects from the provincial autonomy plan of the British Government, the area of the proposed Arab State is not very different in the two cases and, in regard to actual resources, the differences are not very marked. The most important difference is in respect of the town of Jaffa, which in the British plan is part of the Arab State and in the present plan is part of the Jewish State. The estimated total population of the Arab States in the two cases is as follows:

British provincial autonomy plan 830,000
Committee's proposed plan 730,000

The difference is mainly accounted for by the town of Jaffa, which has about 70,000 Arabs. Apart from the town of Jaffa, there are no important differences in economic resources of the Arab areas in the two plans.

The calculation has been made as follows. The budget estimates of the Palestine Administration for the year 1947-1948 both as regards revenue and expenditure have been taken as the sole basis of the calculation. Assuming the boundaries of the British scheme mentioned above, the expenditures have been partitioned between the State on a population basis. Some expenditure has been reserved to a central body, on the assumption that a customs union would be set up and that certain obligations for public debt and pensions would be met as charges on surplus revenue. Apart from this and a few small items, all the expenditure of the present Administration has been hypothetically divided among the States. This procedure is open to the objection that, in fact, in a partitioned State the items of expenditure might be different. This is true, but it must be remembered that it cannot be known how such States would develop their policy, and our present assumption is that the same standard of public services is maintained. Actually there would be some increase in overhead expenditure in providing the same services in a partitioned Palestine, since partitioning would involve some duplication of administration. The difference on this account might not be very great, however.

No expenditure has been allocated to defence since the costs of external defence are at present borne by the British Government, and since expenditure for internal security, which is £P[Palestinian Pounds] 7,000,000 in the present estimates, has been added to the expenditures of the States in the present calculation.

The estimates of revenue for the year 1947-1948 have, with the exception of customs revenue and net income from the Currency Board, Posts and Telegraph, etc., been attributed to the two States on a territorial basis. In respect of land tax, animal tax, and about 75 per cent of income tax, it is possible, on the basis of figures supplied by the Palestine Government, to make this division fairly accurately. In other cases, it has been necessary to use an arbitrary assumption that the revenue would be in proportion to the population.

The summary results of this calculation are as follows:

Budgets of the divided States.
Figures in Palestinian Pounds
Jewish State
Revenue (apart from customs) 4,878,000
Expenditure 8,418,000
Deficit 3,540,000
Arab State
Revenue (apart from customs) 1,560,000
Expenditure 9,324,000
Deficit 7,764,000
City of Jerusalem
Revenue (apart from customs) 1,098,000
Expenditure 3,004,000
Deficit 1,906,000
Combined deficit 13,210,000
Net revenue of customs and other joint services 11,996,000

The net revenue of joint services is available for distribution between the two States and the City of Jerusalem but falls short of the combined deficits by just over one and one-quarter million pounds. This, however, is not important in the present discussion since it is merely the consequence of basing the calculations on the actual estimates of the present Palestine Administration. It should be noted that in the present administration budget there are expenditures of £P. 7,000,000 on police and security and about £P. 2,000,000 on subsidies designed to keep the cost of living down. Police expenditure should certainly be substantially reduced in the event of a settlement of the Palestine problem, and it is also possible that some saving could be made in regard to food subsidies since the necessity for them would be less in an Arab State which would contain a large number of self-sufficient cultivators and relatively few industrial wageearners. In this case the expenditure attributed to the Arab State on this basis might be capable of reduction by as much as £P. 3,000,000. Reductions on police expenditure should, of course, also be possible for the other two areas. On the side of revenue, it is possible that income tax yields could be increased in the area of the pro­posed Arab State.

It is in the light of these considerations that the members of the Committee, in proposing their partition scheme with economic union, have made their particular recommendations for the distribution of the customs revenue. By this means the members of the Committee supporting the partition plan believe that the viability of the Arab State could be reasonably assured.

The Committee is satisfied that, in the sense defined, the proposed Jewish State and the City of Jerusalem would be viable.

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