On 29 November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan to partition Palestine by creating two new states, one for Jews and one for Arabs. Jerusalem was to become an international city. The two states were to be approximately the same in size, although the final arrangement left Israel with only 13% of the originally promised land. The two would share currency, roads and government services, living in peaceful coexistence.
The motion required a two-thirds majority in order to pass and historians report that an incredible atmosphere of anticipation enveloped the UN delegates on that blustery November afternoon. People the world over listened by live radio broadcast as the vote was read. Each “yes” vote increased the level of excitement and Zionist delegate David Horowitz wrote, “…a feeling that grips a man but once in his lifetime came over us. High above us we seemed to hear the beating of the wings of history.”
The final tally revealed 33 countries in favor, 13 against with 10 abstentions. The United Nations had come through for Israel. Among the positive votes, there were certainly some surprises such as France and the Soviet Union, both of whom were expected to abstain. The only surprise among the negative votes was that there were so few.
When the final results were announced, representatives from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt stormed out of the hall and the Arab High Command informed the assembly that the Arabs of Palestine “will never submit or yield to any power going to Palestine to enforce partition. The only way to establish partition is first to wipe them [the Jews] out—man, woman and child.” On November 30, the world awoke to new violence in Palestine and eventually, Israel would be forced to go to war with five of her Arab neighbors in order to gain the independence already granted her by the nations of the world.
The hope had been that this new arrangement would not just be good for the Jews and Arabs living in then Palestine, but would bring badly needed stability and prosperity to the entire region. This of course would have been much easier had Israel enjoyed a few friends in the neighborhood, and such was not the case.
Despite the hostility constantly directed at her, Israel has continued to cling to that initial dream of peaceful coexistence. As war after war was foisted upon her, the tiny state has repeatedly reached out for friendship. From the 1949 Armistice Agreement which ended the War for Independence to the unilateral withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in 1957; the land for peace formula of 1967 to the peace treaty with Egypt in 1969; the Oslo Accords in 1993, the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2006, and disengagement from Gaza and parts of Judea–Samaria in 2005, Israel has repeatedly shown its willingness to make painful concessions in order to achieve peace. Unfortunately, only two of the 22 states of the Middle East have signed peace agreements with Israel, and neither is what can legitimately be called a “friend.”
On May 15, 1948, one day after declaring statehood, Israel applied for membership at the United Nations. The application was denied, as was the second application in December of that same year. Only after a third application was Israel granted membership in the very body that brought the State into existence.
From that time forward, Israel has worked not just to build friendships, but to legitimately be a friend to the international community. Sharing technology and military advances, scientific discoveries and medical miracles, she has significantly improved the quality of life for people all over the globe. Often the first to arrive, Israel has provided invaluable emergency assistance to many nations who have experienced disaster, and her vast experience in dealing with terror has been leveraged by governments the world over.
From 1948 to 1960, Israel was able to establish diplomatic relations with almost all countries of Western Europe, North and South America, and much of Africa. However, in the ensuing years, many countries have succumbed to Arab pressure and suspended those diplomatic ties. Today, over 30 United Nations member countries do not even recognize Israel as a state.
How ironic that the international body that was pivotal in the establishment of the Jewish state has become the very forum for Israel’s delegitimization. It is this organization that equates Zionism with racism, condemns Israel for its response to terrorism, participates in gatherings that promote base anti-Semitism, such as the Durban Conference of 2011, repeatedly attempts to establish moral equivalency between the murder of innocent people through acts of terror and Israel’s efforts to protect her citizens while minimizing casualties on the other side, and condemning Israel while blatantly ignoring human rights violations perpetrated in the Arab world.
Yet, Israel continues to grow, thrive, and prosper. The Bible is clear that the nations will eventually be judged based on their relationship with God’s chosen Land. How unfortunate that precious few of them recognize this incredible lesson from history and Bible prophecy: they need Israel’s friendship much more than Israel needs theirs.
Source: By Cheryl Hauer, International Development Director
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