Israelis look back at partition plan


Israelis marked 60 years since the United Nations approved the creation of a Jewish state.

Israeli newspapers and broadcasters carried extensive commentary Thursday marking the 60th anniversary of the passing of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of British Mandate Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

The State of Israel would only declare its independence half a year later and fight a war of survival, but Resolution 181 was pivotal in Zionist history as an international stamp of approval for the resurrection of the Jewish homeland. Its rejection by the Arabs effectively blocked the creation of a Palestinian state and set in motion decades of violence.

Yet Israeli President Shimon Peres said recent peace efforts with the Palestinians could spell a belated acceptance by the Arab world of Israel.

“Today there is a majority in favor of partition and we have dropped the demand for an undivided Greater Israel,” Peres told Army Radio, referring to rightist calls to settle the Gaza Strip and West Bank rather than cede them to the Palestinians. “The great majority understands today that we have no choice but to balance the demographic picture by means of geographical partition.”

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