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The Arab Reaction

(November 29, 1947)

Immediately after the adoption of Resolution 181 (II), Arab delegates declared their opposition to partition and their determination to fight it by force if necessary. Below are several of their declarations:

H. R. H. Amir Faisal al Saud (Saudi Arabia)

We came to the General Assembly filled with hope that both the large and small nations would direct their efforts towards the elevation of moral standards. We came here filled with hope that all nations would unanimously respect and uphold human rights and justice, and that this Organisation would be an instrument for establishing international peace and security. At the same time, we had hoped that it would afford a sound basis for mutual understanding among all peoples. But alas! Today's resolution has dissipated our hopes.

We have pledged ourselves before God and history to fulfil the Charter in good faith, thereby respecting human rights and repelling aggression. However, today's resolution has destroyed the Charter and all the covenants preceding it.

We have felt, like many others, the pressure exerted on various representatives of this Organisation by some of the big Powers in order that the vote should be in favour of partition. For these reasons, the Government of Saudi Arabia registers, on this historic occasion, the fact that it does not consider itself bound by the resolution adopted today by the General Assembly. Furthermore, it reserves to itself the full right to act freely in whatever way it deems fit, in accordance with the principles of right and justice. My Government holds responsible those parties that hampered all means of co-operation and understanding.

Mr. Jarnali (Iraq)

In San Francisco we had high hopes for the world. Today, those hopes are shattered. We always thought that, after all, humanity was a bulwark of peace and a bulwark of justice. Today, that faith is destroyed. We did our best during the last few weeks to expound the spirit and the letter of the Charter and apply it to Palestine. The fact that we failed to win your support is not the result of a lack of good will on the part of the members of this Assembly. It was not due to a lack of understanding and appreciation on the part of most of you. On the contrary, we understand very well that it was great pressure and great influence that worked itself through UNSCOP, through the Ad Hoc Committee and through the General Assembly to direct the matter in a course which led to this conclusion.

We believe that the decision which we have now taken is a very serious one. It is one that undermines peace, justice and democracy. In the name of my Government, I wish to state that it feels that this decision is anti-democratic, illegal, impractical and contrary to the Charter. It contradicts the spirit and letter of the Charter. Therefore, in the name of my Government, I wish to put on record that Iraq does not recognise the validity of this decision, will reserve freedom of action towards its implementation, and holds those who were influential in passing it against the free conscience of mankind responsible for the consequences.

Amir Arslan (Syria)

Even before the Assembly took this decision, I think that most of the delegations had suspected a dictatorial attitude. It is useless to speak about it at length, but as it is customary to allow those condemned to death to speak freely to their executioners, we shall address ourselves to ours.

Gentlemen, the Charter is dead. But it did not die a natural death; it was murdered, and you all know who is guilty.

My country will never recognise such a decision. It will never agree to be responsible for it. Let the consequences be on the heads of others, not on ours.

H. R. H. Prince Seif El Islam Abdullah (Yemen)

The Yemen delegation has stated previously that the partition plan is contrary to justice and to the Charter of the United Nations. Therefore, the Government of Yemen does not consider itself bound by such a decision for it is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Charter. The Government of Yemen will reserve its freedom of action towards the implementation of this decision.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs