Truman’s secret Note to Ben-Gurion

On May 28, 1949, President Truman of the USA wrote a strongly worded but secret Note to David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, protesting the rigid Israeli attitude at the Lausanne Conference, which was then in progress under the auspices of the UN Conciliation Commission. The conference was attempting to bring about a peace agreement following the 1948-49 war between Israel and the Arab states. Continue reading

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The hidden documents that reveal the true borders of Israel and Palestine

The following article was published on on 23 October 2014. (I have not yet added the links.)

I once believed that Israel has never defined its borders. It was one of those things that “everyone knows”. I was corrected by the blogger talknic. Mondoweiss is privileged to have talknic as a frequent commenter, and many readers here will be familiar with the document to which he pointed me: the letter written by Eliahu Epstein, the representative of the Jewish Agency in Washington, to President Truman and to the State Department, on May 14, 1948.

Epstein’s letter to Truman

In the letter, the Provisional Government of Israel formally requested the United States to recognize the new State of Israel which was about to be declared in Tel Aviv, effective one minute after midnight (6 p.m Washington time) when the British Mandate over Palestine ended. It begins (my emphasis):

My dear Mr. President, I have the honor to notify you that the State of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947.

(The full text is given in the link above, and also appears below.) The resolution referred to, UNGA Resolution 181, recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Zionist leadership had publicly accepted the Partition Plan, and this letter defines the borders of Israel to be those specified in the Plan (see map).

Partition Plan Map

As soon as I read the words “proclaimed… within the frontiers…” I knew that I had been fooled by Zionist propaganda. Reflecting further, I realized that the idea of a state without defined borders is actually completely nonsensical.

Suppose there were no defined border between Canada and the USA. People would not know in which country they were living; what was their citizenship; whose laws they needed to obey; what currency they could use. It would be chaos. The Montevideo Convention lists the following requirements for the existence of a state: a permanent population; a defined territory; government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. If Israel had really been declared as a state without borders, it would not have been a state at all.

To understand how the Zionist leadership came to make this border definition, and why later they tried, very successfully, to convince the world that it never happened, we need to consider events in both Tel Aviv and Washington as the end of the Mandate approached.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Israel was reluctant to define its borders. According to an article on the Israel Government website, the Provisional Government of Israel met in Tel Aviv from May 12 to May 14 to consider the draft declaration of independence. It was led by David Ben-Gurion as Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

There were heated discussions about the borders. Some said stick to the Partition Plan borders, while Ben-Gurion argued strongly that they should say nothingabout the borders, because it was his intention to capture territoryoutside the Partition Plan borders and include it in the state. His view was accepted by a vote of five to four in favor, with the four other members being absent. This vote is the origin of the story that “Israel has never defined its borders”. Ben-Gurion went home on the evening of May 13 and completely rewrote the draft declaration of independence, removing all references to the Partition Plan.

His motive is clear. He wanted to create the sort of chaotic situation I outlined in my Canada-USA illustration. If there was no defined border between Israel and the rest of Palestine, then all of Palestine could be considered open territory, available for conquest.

On May 14, the Ben-Gurion’s rewritten draft was considered by the National Council, the embryonic parliament of the new state, and was approved unanimously on the second vote: so we know that changes were made. The article does not say what they were, suggesting they were minor in nature. But if we look at the text of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israelwe see that the references to the Partition Plan have been restored. Indeed, the Partition Plan is placed at the heart of the Declaration:


Being based on the Partition Plan, the Declaration implicitly defines the borders to be those specified in the Plan, but does not say so explicitly. Since the declaration of a new state is a once-only event, whereas borders can be changed later, the absence of a border definition in the Declaration itself is not significant. It was Epstein’s letter that formally defined Israel’s borders.

Epstein’s telegram to Shertok

Later that day, May 14, after Truman had responded to Epstein’s letter by recognizing Israel, Epstein sent a telegram to Moshe Shertok (later Sharett), Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government of Israel. It tells the dramatic story of how, pledged to secrecy and against a deadline, he came to write the letter to Truman:

 1. United States Government has just recognized State in following language:


2. Informal conversations with White House representatives have made clear that recognition de facto rather than de jure because announced government provisional in nature.

3. The surrounding circumstances are as follows. Clark Clifford, White House spokesman, phoned Washington friends advising that the State Department, at noon, May 14, will agree immediate recognition in event request therefor received. After careful consultation here with Ben Cohen and Ginsberg, following letter drafted and sent to the President and Secretary of State:

My dear Mr. President: I have the honor to notify you that the State of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that the Provisional Government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law.

The Act of Independence will become effective one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948 Washington time.

With full knowledge of the deep bond of sympathy which has existed and has strengthened over the past thirty years between the Government of the United States and the Jewish people of Palestine, I have been authorized by the Provisional Government of the new State to tender this message and to express the hope that your government will recognize and will welcome Israel into the community of nations.

Very respectfully yours,
/s/ Eliahu Epstein
Agent, Provisional Government of Israel.

4. Wider consultation and prior notifications were precluded by pledge of secrecy demanded by Clifford.

5. Earlier during the day Loy Henderson phoned to ascertain boundaries of new State. Advised that boundaries in accordance with U.N Resolution.

6. Circumstances required that I take title for this act and assume responsibility for sending letter.

Clark Clifford was a strong supporter of the Zionist cause and encouraged Truman to recognize the State of Israel as soon as it was declared. In his memoirs he says that he helped Epstein compose the request for recognition, and that it was he who told Epstein “it was particularly important to claim nothing beyond the boundaries outlined in the UN Resolution”.

Loy Henderson was in the State Department, and had been opposing Truman’s recognition. Now that it was going ahead, he also wanted to make sure that Israel was defining its borders. Epstein gave a more detailed account of the phone call to Max Lowenthal, another Truman adviser. Henderson had askedwhether the Jewish State wanted any territory other than was granted in the UN resolution. Epstein replied “No, and any territory taken until peace was achieved would be returned to the Arab state”.

It is clear that Israel would not have been recognized by the US if it had not declared on the Partition Plan borders.

The telegram suggests that Epstein was not able to communicate with the Zionist leadership in Tel Aviv before submitting his letter to Truman. Fortunately, both had made similar decisions: in Tel Aviv to base the Declaration on the Partition Plan; in Washington to define borders according to the Plan.

Israel and Palestine

There was no doubt in the 1948-49 period about the location of Israel’s borders. The text of Epstein’s letter, together with Truman’s response recognizing Israel, was released to the world press in Washington on May 15, 1948. Talknic’s website and my own list several occasions on which Israel publicly acknowledged the existence of these borders. All the states recognizing Israel knew the extent of the territory it was claiming.

The words of the Declaration are intended to suggest that the creation of Israel was authorized by the United Nations. This is not correct. The UN does not have authority under its Charter to create or divide states. The Partition Plan was a recommendation only. The Plan envisaged a process, starting at the end of the Mandate, which would lead to the establishment of two states in a series of parallel stages. Because the Plan was rejected by the Arab side, it could not be implemented.

Israel was created as a sovereign state by the decision of the Zionist leadership to preempt the process envisaged in the Plan, and to declare the State of Israel immediately on termination of the Mandate. The borders specified at that time are its sovereign borders: the borders within which Israel claimed and exercised sovereign authority and on which it was recognized by other states.

It is sometimes asked whether the creation of Israel was legal. The answer is that it was neither legal nor illegal, because there is no system of law governing the creation of states. Israel exists as a sovereign state because it satisfied the requirements of the Montevideo Convention, and was recognized as such by other states.

Israel’s Declaration partitioned the land into two territories: the State of Israel, and the remainder of Palestine outside the sovereign borders of Israel, corresponding to the area of the Arab state in the Partition Plan. Palestine was in a sorry state, with much of its population having become refugees, and it had no government because the Mandate had ended, and there was nothing to replace it. It became a non-self-governing territory.

The Jewish National Home policy of the British Mandate had made it impossible for the Palestinians to exercise their right of self-determination in Mandatory Palestine, as confirmed by the report of the UN Special Committee on Palestine (II.176). But, because Israel’s border definition limited the sovereign extent of the State of Israel to that specified for the Jewish state in the Partition Plan, it also defined the borders of the non-self-governing territory of Palestine, creating the possibility that the Palestinians could exercise that right, the right to their own state, in the territory allocated to the Arab state in the Partition Plan.

Borders can be changed, but a state can only acquire territory from a neighbor by legal annexation, that is, by agreement, and with a referendum of the population. Obtaining territory by war violates fundamental principles of the UN Charter. Nevertheless, this is what Israel did.

Israel expands: the 1948-49 war

Israel was founded in the midst of civil war between Jews and Arabs. At 00:01 on May 15, 1948, when the Declaration became effective, Jewish militias were already fighting outside Israel’s sovereign borders, in the territory of Palestine. That same night, forces of the Arab states entered Palestine, and the civil war became a war between Israel and the Arab States.

Knowing the location of Israel’s borders gives a better understanding of the nature of this war. Most of the fighting was in Palestine, outside the borders of Israel, and no Jordanian forces entered Israel. The Arab League told the UN that they were entering Palestine to protect Arabs from Zionist attack: Israel told the UN that its forces were operating in Palestine, outside its borders, in order to protect Jews from Arab attack. The UN did not identify either side as an aggressor.

Having achieved recognition by declaring the partition lines as its border, a few days later, on May 20, the Provisional Government decidedthat “Israel would not respect the partition lines”. On June 3 Ben-Gurion said, in a report to the Provisional Government:

the entire expanse of the State of Israel allocated to us under the terms of the UN resolution is in our hands, and we have conquered several important districts outside those boundaries… we will remain constantly on the offensive, which will not be confined to the borders of the Jewish State

He thus confirmed both the existence of the borders, and his intention to capture territory outside them. As the war progressed Israel continued to gain territory, until the fighting stopped with the Armistices of 1949.

In the captured territory between the partition lines and the armistice lines (see map above), Israel applied Israeli law, rather than a military occupation under the laws of war, making the territory in effect (de facto) part of Israel. The armistice lines (collectively the Green Line) therefore became the de facto border of Israel. Needless to say, this was not a legal annexation, as the armistice agreements themselves make clear: “the Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary”. Since Israel has no intention of returning this territory, it is rightly called stolen land.

Israel’s sovereign territory amounts to some 55% of Mandatory Palestine, the stolen land another 23%, with the remaining 22% comprising the West Bank and Gaza. The stolen land includes the cities of Acre, Ashkelon, Jaffa, Nazareth, Ramle, Beersheba, Lydda, and West Jerusalem, all except the last having being allocated to the Arab state in the Partition Plan as they were major Arab population centers.

Under Chapter XI of the UN Charter a “sacred trust” is automatically created when a state (in this case Israel) administers a non-self-governing territory (parts of Palestine). Under this trust the responsibility of Israel in the stolen land was to recognize that “the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount” and to help them “develop self-government and free political institutions”. In other words, to help the Palestinian people achieve their right of self-determination in their own land.

Israel seriously violated this sacred trust. Making the territory part of Israel preventsits people from developing free political institutions and self-government. The refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return, the destruction of their villages, and their replacement by immigrant Jews, puts the interests of the Palestinian people below those of Jewish immigrants into Palestinian territory.

Chapter XI of the Charter also applies in the West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Israel in 1967. As the administration there is military, it must also obey the Geneva Conventions. Israel has violated those as well.

Palestine’s right to territorial compensation

Nothing has changed the status of the border between Israel and Palestine since 1949, as there has been no peace treaty between the two sides. The partition line is still the declared and recognized sovereign border of Israel. The Green Line is still the de facto border of Israel. And please, everyone, stop calling it the pre-1967 border: it is not a recognized border, and it did not move an inch in 1967. Nor is the territory inside the de facto border ‘Israel proper’. The stolen land is improperly regarded as part of Israel since it was obtained by war in violation of the UN Charter.

Palestine has said that, in the interests of peace, Israel can keep the land stolen in 1948-49. This is a wise decision. The stolen land is fully integrated with the rest of Israel, and this situation is irreversible. It is also a very generous offer. In fact too generous, because Palestine has not even asked for territorial compensation for the loss of much of its heartlands. This is a mistake. Israel has a population of around 8 million. The Palestinian population, including the West Bank, Gaza, and stateless refugees with a right to return, is around 9 million. A peace agreement that left only 22% of Palestine under Palestinian Arab sovereignty could not possibly be considered a viable or just solution which would lead to a lasting peace.

The failure to ask for compensation arises because the Palestinian leadership believes that Israel has never defined its borders. They believe it because it is one of those things that “everyone knows”, and also because their legal adviser has told them that Israel does not have “determinate borders”. Consequently, they do not understand the legal distinction between Israel’s sovereign territory and the stolen land. The same adviser also told them that UN Security Council Resolution 242 “set forth” the boundaries of the Palestinian State. This is another nonsensical fiction. Resolution 242 says nothing about the position of any borders, nor could it, because the UN has no authority to tell a state where its borders are; that is for states to agree between themselves.

I believe that Palestine can make a strong case that, in terms of justice, international law, and viability, it deserves and needs a transfer of territory from Israeli sovereignty in the southern Negev (that is, south of Beersheba, the city itself being within the stolen land). This would achieve three things: provide territorial contiguity between the West Bank and Gaza; provide space for the returning refugees; and enable the Bedouin, if they so wish, to transfer from Israeli sovereignty to Palestinian sovereignty.

This is not a new idea. The Negev was allocated to the Jewish state in the Partition Plan as an area capable of absorbing large numbers of Jewish immigrants, having at the time only a small population of mostly Bedouin. The UN Mediator was the first to suggest, (see his September 1948 Progress Report [One.III.6]), that some of the Negev be transferred to the proposed Arab state, at that time as compensation for the loss of western Galilee. The Arabs, at the failed attempt at a peace conference in Lausanne in 1949 said that they would need the Negev to accommodate the returning refugees, since Israel was not willing to accept them. (See this report of the Conciliation Commission [IV.15]). During the conference President Truman wrote a secret Note to Ben-Gurion deploring Israel’s refusal to provide territorial compensation for areas it had acquired outside the Partition Plan borders.

The expulsion of 750,000 non-Jewish Palestinians and Israel’s de facto enlargement in the 1948-49 war meant that the original reason for allocating the Negev to Israel had become obsolete. Although Israel has been actively developing the Negev for Jewish occupation since 2005, population density is still low. It should be possible to produce a suitable division of territory. To keep contiguous both Israeli and Palestinian territory, there could be a neutral crossing point between the two states, similar to those in the Partition Plan (see them in the attached map, to the south-west of Nazareth and of Ramle).

Negotiation of new borders needs to be handled with respect to the wishes of residents. It would not be legal to transfer people from one sovereignty to another unless the majority of them agreed, and the border lines should be drawn so as to minimize the number of people who consider themselves adversely affected. For example, as far as possible Jewish settlements in the Negev should be kept within Israel. Everyone whose sovereignty is changed should be given dual citizenship.

The one-state solution

All this discussion of borders and territories would immediately become irrelevant if there were a one-state solution. I expect this will happen eventually, my own view being that the solution with the greatest chance of success would be a union of the two nations to form a single state, along the lines of the England-Scotland model. But at the moment, the two states already exist, and the only way that they can successfully become one is by a voluntary merger, federation or union. It cannot be voluntary unless the two nations negotiate on an equal basis. So, a one-state solution can only proceed by way of an intermediate two-state solution. The territorial question must be sorted out.

Israel’s deceptions

Israel’s declaration of sovereign borders on May 14, 1948 was a deception practiced upon President Truman and the rest of the world, designed to elicit recognition of Israel. Israel never had an intention to stick to those borders. Since those days, Israel and its Zionist supporters have practiced another deception: that the border definition never happened.

How did such a nonsensical and easily disproved idea become something that “everyone knows”? And “everyone” includes some surprising people: the historian Avi Shlaim, Professor at Oxford University, said in an interview that “the Armistice Lines are the only internationally recognized borders that Israel ever had”; Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois is the adviser to the PLO, already mentioned, who said that “Israel does not have determinate borders”; Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli journalist, politician and peace activist, has said that “from its first day, the State of Israel has refused to fix its borders”; Jeremy R. Hammond, editor of Foreign Policy Journal, in his book The Rejection of Palestinian Self Determination (Chapter IV) says, of the creation of Israel, “significantly, no borders for the newly proclaimed state were specified”; John B. Judis, political historian, in his recent book Genesis about Truman, Zionism, and the creation of Israel, discusses the events of May 14, 1948 in Washington (page 317), mentioning that Clifford worked with Epstein on the letter asking for recognition, but shows no knowledge of its content and gives no reference to the text.

Provision of misleading information, such as the article about Israel’s Declaration of Independence discussed above, is one Zionist propaganda technique, but the main one is simple silence and suppression of information.

I may be exaggerating somewhat by describing Epstein’s letter to Truman as “hidden”, since it has been in the public domain since May 15, 1948, but for a document of such historic significance it has a very low profile on the internet. As far as I can determine there is not a single Israel Government or Zionist website which mentions this letter when talking about the foundation of the State of Israel and Truman’s recognition. The full text appears on only three well-known websites: as an unsearchable facsimile of the original in the Truman library; the Avalon project at Yale Law School; and in the Jewish Virtual Library, where it is indexed only as a “Letter from Provisional Government to USA” and nowhere are its contents or significance discussed. Otherwise it appears mostly on blogs, news archives and discussions.

Active suppression also takes place. I have sometimes entered a polite and relevant comment, quoting the first sentence of the letter, into the website Times of Israel, to find that it has quickly been moderated out.

My second document, Epstein’s telegram to Shertok, is both a fascinating piece of history and of great importance since it confirms that the US would not have recognized Israel if it had not defined its borders according to the UN partition lines. This one has really been well hidden. A link to it, as an unsearchable facsimile, first appeared in 2012 in a story on the website of the Israel State Archivist (Document No.3). Until now, the only other links to it on the internet have been from my own writings, and the only plain text copy of the document on the internet has been on my website.

Summary of conclusions

The Zionist leadership did not want to define the borders of Israel when they declared independence from the rest of Palestine on May 14, 1948, but were forced to specify borders according to the UN Partition Plan in order to achieve recognition by the USA. The territory captured by Israel outside these borders in the 1948-49 war and incorporated de facto into Israel was obtained by war in violation of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter. Since1949 Israel has attempted, very successfully, to convince the world that this border definition never happened in order to hide the fact that the captured territory is outside Israel’s declared and recognized sovereign borders and is therefore rightfully part of the territory of Palestine, within which the Palestinian people have the right of self-determination. Although the Palestinian leadership has accepted that Israel can keep this territory in a peace agreement, there is a very strong case for compensation for its loss in the form of a transfer of Israeli territory in the southern Negev to Palestinian sovereignty.

Requests to readers

Did Ben-Gurion really turn up on the morning of May 14, 1948 with a new version of the Declaration that did not mention the Partition Plan? Or was it actually he who realized overnight that the idea of creating a state with undefined borders was not going to work? The various drafts of the Declaration are said to be on display in Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. Is there an Israeli reader who could go along, take a look and let us know?

How did the Zionists manage to persuade “everyone” that “Israel has never defined its borders”? It would take a major project in social psychology to answer that question fully, but it would be interesting to hear the views and experiences of readers. I will respond to all comments.

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Max Lowenthal: Diary Extract 15 May, 1948

Max Lowenthal was a Washington lawyer and advisor to President Truman. This extract from his diary was obtained from the Max Lowenthal Papers, University Archives, University of Minnesota (Box 8, Folder 62). Continue reading

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Resolution of the 1921 World Zionist Congress

The Churchill White Paper of 1922 described how Britain was going to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine. This policy was implemented in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The White Paper and the Mandate make clear that Palestine would still be the national home of the existing Arab population. Churchill also quoted a resolution of the World Zionist Congress supporting this concept, mentioning a “common home” for Arabs and Jews and the “undisturbed national development of each of its peoples”. In other words, a ‘bi-national state’.

Until now, the full text of the resolution and accompanying notes has not been available on the internet. This is undoubtedly because it is an embarrassment to the modern Zionist propagandists who want us to believe that Palestine west of the river Jordan was given to the Zionists for a Jewish State, leaving Transjordon for the Arabs. Accordingly, it has been suppressed.

All that the Jewish Virtual Library has to say on the resolution is that Zionists expressed a wish “to live in relations of harmony and mutual respect with the Arab people”. The Wikipedia page “History of Zionism” says only that an “Arab-Jewish Entente was agreed”.

The following text is copied from the publication “Documents on Palestine Volume I, 1900-1947”, edited by Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi, and published by PASSIA in 2007.


We do thereby reaffirm our desire to attain a durable understanding which shall enable the Arab and Jewish peoples to live together in Palestine on terms of mutual respect and co-operate in making the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which will assure to each of these peoples an undisturbed national development.

In the spirit of this resolution the following notes have been drafted:

Taking note of the Balfour Declaration of November 2nd, 1917, and of its subsequent reaffirmation by His Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Principle Allied Powers: Deploring the misconceptions which still exists as to the manner in which the Balfour Declaration is to be construed: 

1. The promise of a national home in Palestine made to the Jewish people by His Brittanic Majesty’s Government (and concurred in by the Princicple Allied Powers) is to be interpreted as a promise to secure the international recognition, under the guarantee of the League of Nations, of the right of the Jews to constitute themselves in Palestine as a national unit.

2. (a) The Jews on the one hand and the Arabs on the other are to be regarded as living side side on a footing of perfect equality in all matters, including the official use and recognition of their respective languages.
    (b) In areas in which there is a mixed population, the rights of th minority are to be fully guaranteed, including the right of representation on the local administrative bodies.
    (c) The existence in Palestine of the Jewish National Home is not to be a bar to the recognition of Palestine, when the time is ripe, as a self-governing commonwealth.

3. The Zionist leaders and the Jews of Palestine will support the demand for the development of self-governing institutions on a representative basis, it being clearly understood that the terms of this agreement will remain binding and inviolable, as will also the provisions of the Mandate, so long as the Mandate is in force.

4. The Zionist leaders and the Jews of Palestine will support the demand that non-Palestinian officials, with the exception of the High Commissioner, the Civil, Financial and Legal Secretaries, and the heads of the Principal Departments, shall be gradually replaced by Palestinians, due regard being had, in the case of District officials, to the Arab or Jewish character, as the case may be, of the population concerned.

5. Jewish immigration is to be limited by the capacity of Palestine, from time to time, to absorb it, but not otherwise. It is declared that there is not nor has there ever been any intention to disturb the existing Arab population or any part of it. The right of the Arab inhabitants and their descendants to the secure enjoyment of their homes and prosperity is unequivocally recognised and guaranteed.

6. (a) It is agreed that the Law of Nationality should recognize as citizens of Palestine all persons who being presently resident in the country at a date to be subsequently fixed, do not decline such citizenship, provided that no person owing allegiance to another state shall become a citizen until he has renounced such allegiance.
(b) It is further agreed that facilities should be provided for the acquisition of citizenship by persons who take up their permanent residence in Palestine, the qualifying period to be settled by common agreement with the Mandatory Power.

7. The Zionist Leaders and the Jews of Palestine will give all the moral and material support in their power to the various Arab States which have been constituted or are in the process of constitution and will, in general, co-operate whole-heartedly with the Arab people in its efforts to realise its national aspirations. The Arabs, on their side, will loyally work with the Jews in all matters appertaining to the establishment of the Jewish National Home.

It is the intent of both parties to lay the foundations of a generally Arab-Jewish understanding to the advantage of the Jewish people and to the Arab world as a whole and in the interest of the fruitful development of the Near and Middle East.

8. The Zionist Leaders categorically re-affirm their repeated assurances that they do not contemplate and have never contemplated the smallest interference with the religious rights and customs of the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, for which they undertake to show the most rigorous and scrupulous regard. In particular, do they recognise the Moslem and Christian Holy Places as inviolable and formally repudiate the injurious and wholly unfounded suggestion that it is desired, directly or indirectly to trespass upon them.
The Arabs, on their part, undertake to show an equal regard for the Holy Places and the religious rights and customs of the Jews.

9. All the various Jewish Organisations, which have in view the economic reconstruction of Palestine on an extensive scale, will welcome the co-operation of the Arab inhabitants and undertake to afford them a full opportunity of participating in such economic endeavours as they may initiate.


By chance, I came across a different wording of the Resolution in the book Encylopedia of the Palestinians, by Philip Mattar, at page 553. The book was published by Infobase Publishing in 2005, and is available for limited viewing in Google Books:

“The Twelfth Zionist Congress meeting in Carlsbad in September 1921 passed a resolution declaring: ‘The two great Semitic peoples united of yore by the bonds of creative civilisation will not fail in the hour of their national regeneration to comprehend the need of combining their vital interests in a common endeavour’. The resolution further called upon the executive ‘to redouble its efforts to secure an honourable entente with the Arab people on the basis of this Declaration and in strict accordance with the Balfour Declaration,’ and ended by ’emphatically’ declaring ‘that the progress of Jewish colonisation will not affect the rights and needs of the working Arab nation’.”


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The following explanation of the term ‘Jihad’ is taken from the website of the blogger ‘Penjihad’.

“Jihad” springs from the Arabic “Jhd” which means “struggle”; “Jihad”  means the act of struggle, “Mujahid” (Plural, Mujahideen) is someone who is doing “Jihad”.

At the core (the highest level), it is the duty of every Muslim to struggle against the basic negative predispositions we all have as humans…greed, envy, jealousy, rage, deceit, theft, murder etc.

At the next level, it is the duty of every Muslim to fight against the ills that beset Mankind…hunger, disease, homelessness, illiteracy, injustice, lack of water, pollution etc.,

At the least important level, Muslims are required to fight those who attack us AFTER we have exhausted all other efforts towards peaceful resolution. Even then, if peace is at hand, even at mid-battle, one has to stop and accept terms that are just and preserve the dignity of all parties.

I would imagine these are things that every person needs to subscribe to, not just Muslims.

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UN Security Council, 15 May 1948: Documents

The UN Security Council met on May 15, 1948 and had before it the following documents:

1. Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel;

2. Cablegram from the Arab League announcing a military  intervention in Palestine;

3. Communication from Israel protesting Jordanian aggression;

4. Communication from Jordan protesting Zionist atrocities;

5. Communication from Israel protesting Egyptian aggression;

6. Communication from Egypt protesting Zionist atrocities.

The representative of the Jewish Agency (for Israel) demanded an enforceable Chapter VII resolution condemning Arab aggression.

The representative of the Arab Higher Committee (for the Palestinians), supported by Syria and Egypt, questioned the right of the Jewish Agency to term as aggression the entry of Arab forces which had been invited by the Arab Higher Committee to maintain law and order. With the termination of the Mandate, he asserted, Palestine had become an independent nation and the Jews constituted a rebellious minority.

The Security Council did not assign blame to either side. After several days of discussions it passed Resolution 49, calling for a cease-fire.

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The Borders of Israel and Palestine

This is a preliminary working draft for a book with the same title. My understanding of the topic is improving all the time. For a better and more detailed understanding of some of the issues hers, please see my articles on

Continue reading

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Initial statements of parties concerned

This is an extract from the Year Book of the United Nations, 1947-48. It describes the meeting of the UN General Assembly Adhoc Committeee on Palestine in September-October 1948. Continue reading

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General debate on the future government of Palestine

This is an extract from the Year Book of the United Nations, 1947-48. It describes the General Debate on April 20, 1948 during the special session of the General Assembly called to discuss the future government of Palestine. Continue reading

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Intervention of the Arab States in Palestine

This is an extract from the Year Book of the United Nations, 1947-48. It describes the Meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 15 May 1948 which discussed the situation in Palestine after the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, and the military intervention of the Arab states that commenced on that day. Continue reading

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