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Indicates U.S.S.R. May Recognize State of Israel; Hits U.S. Policies

May 16, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko tonight insisted that the U.S.S.R. is ready to recognize the Jewish State of Israel. Gromyko referred to it for the first time as “the independent state of Israel.” in an address delivered before a General Assembly stunned by the news from Washington that the U.S. had granted de facto recognition to Israel.The Soviet delegate strongly attacked previous U.S. attempts to impose trusteeship as Palestine, American efforts to undermine the Assembly’s partition decision are, he said, chiefly responsible for the existing warfare between Jews and Arabs. Today’s sudden switch in Washington proved that the American policy is “completely devoid of principle,” Gromyko said. He declared that the Soviet Union has consistently reported partition and therefore had “no reason to blush today.”

President Truman’s announcement overshadowed all other events at the United nations today. The General Assembly failed to adopt a U.S. proposal for creating virtual trusteeship in Jerusalem. The vote was 20 to 15, with 19 nations abstains, falling short of the required two-thirds majority. (Another U.S. proposal for a ##iater for all of Palestine was still under discussion at the time the Bulletin went to press.)

declaration of Jewish statehood came at a solemn moment. From many capitals came reports of Arab armies poised on Palestine’s borders and preparing to strike with full force at the infant state immediately following the expiration of the mandate. The Jewish community was ordered by the Provisional Jewish Government to be ready for an ##-out invasion by regular Arab armies, (In Damascus the Arab League announced that state of war exists between the Arab countries and the Jews of Palestine.)


The first major defeat for the Jews in the Arab-Jewish fighting since the U.N. partition resolution was announced came hours before the proclamation of the Jewish state. Kfar Etzion, five miles south of Jerusalem, an Orthodox Laborite settlemen, has suffered numerous attacks in the past, was captured by heavily-armed units of the Arab Legion after several days of intensive fighting. Jewish sources reported that Jews in the colony have been killed and wounded, while Haganah conceded that the settlement and five adjoining colonies had been cut off.

News of Kfar Etzion and of continued bitter fighting in the Bab el Wad gorge overlooking the vital Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, where late reports said the Jews still had the upper hand, did not lessen the festive mood of the citizens of the state of Israel. Formal ceremonies were generally postponed until after the Sabbath and until the reports of the Arabs’ invasion would prove either true or false. However, spontaneous rejoicing broke out in all parts of the country as men and women and children greeted each other with shouts of “Mazel Tov” and cried with unashamed joy at the news of the state’s proclamation.Sir Alan G. Cunningham, the last British High Commissioner, boarded a British war vessel outside Haifa several hours before the mandate officially terminated. He was expected to sail from Palestinian territorial waters within hours after the mandate’s end. Just before leaving Government House in Jerusalem, he personally hauled down the Union Jack. A lone piper played out the mandate from the balcony of Government House.

One of the first acts of the new Jewish Government was to revoke the British White Paper of 1940 limiting immigration to Palestine and restricting land purchases by Jews. Late this evening, Haganah broadcast an appeal to the Jewish community to prepare for the Possibility of air raids. As of tonight, a partial blackout in Israel’s principal cities was imposed by Haganah, which also ordered the digging of trenches in rural settlements and the erection of shelters.

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