It’s no accident that the Palestinian Authority is bringing its “case” to the United Nations on November 29 – a day that has for 65 years been identified with the State of Israel.
“It’s very typical of the PA to choose the day that Israel was recognized as a state by the UN as the date for their state’s recognition,” said one historian. “The PA has tried to co-opt so many Jewish and Israeli symbols in the past, and the co-opting of November 29 fits right in with that,” said Moshe Siebel, a history afficianado.
The 29th of November is perhaps the only date on the secular calendar to be adopted into the Hebrew calendar, feted as “Kaf-Tet b’November..” Streets in many cities in Israel bear the name, and in the past it has been celebrated as a semi-holiday by Israelis as the day that the United Nations officially partitioned Palestine in 1947, and declared that a portion of the soon-to-be-defunct British Mandate for Palestine be reserved for a Jewish state.
Now, in 2012, the PA is set to get UN General Assembly recognition for a state on land it already controls, but cannot have an army on at present. In a vote later Thursday, the UN is expected to recognize ‘Palestine’ as a non-voting, non-member observer state.
UN Resolution 181 was the first official recognition of the national rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel in the modern age, going farther than the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which recognized Mandatory Palestine as a “national home” for the Jewish people.
Although the Partition Plan caused much dispute among Zionists, as it reserved only a small part of western Mandatory Palestine as the future Jewish state and did not include Jerusalem, which was to be internationalized, the Jewish community and its institutions embraced it. Thousands of people in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Petach Tikvah, and other centers of Jewish settlement celebrated in the streets.
The Arab countries categorically rejected the Partition Plan, and vowed to crush the incipient Jewish state – a vow they tried to follow through on barely seven months later, in May 1948, after David Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel. Armies from seven Arab countries immediately opened a war of annihilation against the Jewish community, but were miraculously beaten back, with the new State capturing important land areas that, had the Arabs agreed to the Partition Plan, would have been a part of an Arab state.
For Jews around the world, November 29, 1947, was a very emotional day – in a sense, the rebirth of the Jewish people after the horrors of the Holocaust.
Mandatory Palestine was already the home of hundreds of thousands of refugees who had managed to escape Europe, and hundreds of thousands more, still living in Europe and in refugee camps in Cyprus, were poised to immigrate to Israel as soon as Britain’s Mandate had expired.
Cynically, says Siebel, the PA chose the same date in an attempt to once again co-opt Jewish history for its own purposes. “The historical injustice in this statehood bid is just unbelievable”, he continued.
“If it weren’t actually happening you just wouldn’t be able to accept as reality,” he said. “The Jews were decimated in the Holocaust, with millions killed by the Nazis and their allies, and no one in the free world extended a hand. Meanwhile, the PA is plied with billions of dollars in assistance, and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is feted as a hero in world capitals.
“Israel itself supplies the PA with millions of dollars a year and provides PA Arabs with electricity, water, jobs, and encourages the world to assist Abbas, while the Arab reaction to the Partition Plan and the establishment of Israel was to throw the Jews out of Arab countries and seize their property and money.
“And the Jews never organized a terror campaign against Arabs during the Mandate period, unlike the Arabs, who then as well as now use terror as a tool to uproot the Jews from their rightful place here,” Siebel adds.
“It’s similar to the PA’s declaration of the Temple Mount as a holy place in Islam that must be defended with life and limb from the ‘evil Zionists,’ even though the Temple Mount is never mentioned in the Koran,” Siebel said. “Neither is Jerusalem mentioned in their texts, and never in history did the Arabs give the city the status of a capital. But all of the sudden, because we are here, Jerusalem has become the ‘eternal capital of the Palestinian people.’
“The UN statehood bid is just another attempt by the Arabs to push us out of our land – and our history, for that matter – and the countries that support this are once again showing their anti-Semitism and hypocrisy.”