Palestine as a unitary republic with equal rights for all

Analysis and proposals by the democratic minority in the UN General Assembly of 1947
against the colonial partition plan voted on November 29, 1947

November 29, 1947 -- it is well known that on this date the UN General Assembly of then only 57 states (today nearly 200) voted by a majority a plan to partition the then British colony Palestine. Less well known is that there was a democratic minority which presented a different course. It showed that such a decision over the head of and against the will of the concerned people is illegal and even against the charter of the UNO, that proposed "Arab state" would not be viable, that even the proposed "Jewish state" would have an Arab majority. It presented three draft resolutions to the General Assembly, the first callin for the International Court to consider the legality of the UN as an outside force to decide such grave matters as dividing Palestine against the majority will of its population, the second that the problem of the Jewish "displaced persons" in the post-war Europe should be solved by the countries responsible for that refugee crisis and the richer states, and not on the back of the small country Palestine which had nothing to do with it. The third draft resolution proposing some core points of a democratic constitution of a unitary republic Palestine. In the Appendix, Sub-Committee 2 provides serveral statistical tables showing the real situation of Palestine.

We have added two supplements. In the 1st supplement you will find a chronology of how the UN got involved in the Palestine question, of the UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee on Palestine), and of the ad hoc Commitee formed by the UN General Assembly in September 1947, with the voting record and several quotes from remarkable statements. The 2nd supplement contains documents highlighting the political framework of the 1st World War, how the Jews were exploited for the war in Europe, and the Arabs for the conquest of the "Land Route to India". This includes a longer quote from Maxime Rodinson on the Balfour Declaration and the chapters of the 1937 Peel Commissions report on the Balfour Declaration and the McMahon Pledge. The originally planned articles drawing the balance sheet of the partition resolution after seven decades and how the Zionist colonisation adventure created an unvolvable dilemma for the British colonial rule, how they finally lost the "Middle East" to the USA in the 2nd World War and its aftermath, which led the British to hand their unsolvable dilemma over to the United Nations are being postponed to a later day. It is planned to make the whole available for download both as PDF and as eBook (EPUB).

February 2015 editor Lüko Willms

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

This text is taken from

"United Nations - Official Records of the Second Session of the General Assembly
Summary Records of Meetings - 25 September - 25 November 1947
Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question
Pages 270-307, Annex 25: Report of Sub-Committee 2
to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian question
Lake Success, New York 1948.

The UN document identification of this text is A/AC. 14/32, dated 11 November 1947. The Original text in English was used for this Web document. There is also a French translation in that book. The maps (Appendix 4 and 5) and the tables of Appendix 6 are not included in that printed book. The page numbers refer this source.

An imaged version of the original typoscript, which can be found here as a huge PDF file of 6.7 Megabytes, was referred to to clarify possible typos in the printed version, although this was also not so easy because the copy is very bad, some pages seem to be taken from a carbon copy of the original. The map of the population distribution and the tables of Appendix 6 are taken from this PDF copy. The original colored version of the map showing land ownership was found on UNISPAL and is used in this publication.

The tables have been partially grouped and arranged inline with the text flowing around them, same for the maps. The map of the territorial partition as proposed by the UN GA majority was not included in the original document, it has been added by the editor, taken from UNISPAL. The huge table of Appendix 6 has been broken up into seven individual tables for readability.

(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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Composition and terms of reference of Sub-Committee 2

1. Sub-Committee 2 was set up on 23 October 1947 following the decision taken at the 19th meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question to establish two sub-committees. By virtue of the authority conferred on him by the Ad Hoc Committee at its 20th meeting, the Chairman nominated the following countries as members of Sub-Committee 2: Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

The terms of reference of the Sub-Committee were set out in document A/AC. 14/28 as follows:

“To draw up a detailed plan for the future government of Palestine in accordance with the basic principles expressed in the proposal submitted to the General Assembly by the delegations of Saudi Arabia (A/317) and Iraq <271>(A/328)UN1 and the draft resolution submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegation of Syria (A/AC. 14/ 22); and

“To incorporate this plan in the form of recommendations.”

The Sub-Committee was also authorized to take up and consider any of the other proposals before the Ad Hoc Committee which were considered relevant.

2. The Sub-Committee held its first meeting on 23 October 1947 and elected the representative of Colombia, Mr. Gonzalez Fernandez, as Chairman, and the representative of Pakistan Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, as Rapporteur. It was explained by the Chairman that the representative of the United Kingdom would sit on the Sub-Committee as an observer and that his advice would be available to the Sub-Committee as and when required.

3. On a preliminary review of the task assigned to it, the Sub-Committee felt that it was somewhat unfortunate that both Sub-Committee 1 and Sub-Committee 2 were so constituted as to include in each of them representatives of only one school of thought, and that there was insufficient representation of neutral countries. It was accordingly proposed that the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee should be requested that, irrespective of what might be done with regard to Sub-Committee 1, Sub-Committee 2 should be reconstituted so that two of the Arab States represented on the Sub-Committee (which were prepared to withdraw) might be replaced by neutrals or countries which had not definitely committed themselves to any particular solution of the Palestine question. That request was laid before the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee but, for reasons which he explained to the Sub-Committee, he could not see his way to accepting the Sub-Committee’s recommendation. In those circumstances, the representative of Colombia resigned on 28 October and Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan, representative of Pakistan, was elected Chairman in his place.

Plan of work

4. The Sub-Committee decided at the very outset to concentrate on three broad issues:

(a) The legal questions connected with or arising from the Palestine problem, in particular the three draft resolutions bearing on the subject which had been submitted to the Ad Hoc Committee by the delegations of Iraq (A/AC. 14/21), Egypt (A/AC. 14/24). and Syria (A/ AC. 14/25);

(b) The problem of Jewish refugees and displaced persons and its connexion with the Palestinian question;

(c) The termination of the Mandate for Palestine and constitutional proposals for the establishment of a unitary and independent State on the basis of the proposal submitted by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Working groups were established to deal with each of those main issues and were constituted as follows:

(a) Legal problems: Pakistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia;

(b) Refugee problem: Afghanistan, Colombia and Lebanon;

(c) Constitutional proposals: Egypt, Iraq and Yemen.

The reports of the working groups were considered by the Sub-Committee and, as finally adopted, constitute chapters I, II and III respectively of this report. The conclusions of the Sub-Committee are embodied in three draft resolutions recommended for submission to the General Assembly, and are contained in chapter IV.

<272> 5. The Sub-Committee wishes to record its gratitude to Mr. Beeley, the United Kingdom representative, for his assistance and advice, and to Mr. Vigier, Secretary of the Sub-Committee, and his colleagues, for supplying the Sub-Committee with some of the documentary material utilized for the preparation of the report, and for their readiness to lend the Sub-Committee their assistance.

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

UN1 The text of the proposal is identical with that of item 3 of the Ad Hoc Committee’s agenda. i.e. "Termination of the Mandate over Palestine and the Recognition of its Independence as One State": item proposed by Saudi Arabia (A/317) and Iraq (A/328). [added by editor]"