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UN General Assembly
Resolution on the Future Government of Palestine (Partition Resolution)
(November 29, 1947)
The General Assembly,
Having met in special session at the request of the mandatory Power
to constitute and instruct a special committee to prepare for the consideration
of the question of the future government of Palestine at the second regular
Having constituted a Special Committee and instructed it to investigate
all questions and issues relevant to the problem of Palestine, and to prepare
proposals for the solution of the problem, and
Having received and examined the report of the Special Committee (document
A/364) including a number of unanimous recommendations and a plan of partition
with economic union approved by the majority of the Special Committee,
Considers that the present situation in Palestine is one which is likely
to impair the general welfare and friendly relations among nations;
Takes note of the declaration by the mandatory Power that it plans
to complete its evacuation of Palestine by 1 August 1948;
Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine,
and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation,
with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition
with Economic Union set out below;
Calls upon the inhabitants of Palestine to take such steps as may be necessary
on their part to put this plan into effect;
- (a) The Security Council take the necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation;
- (b) The Security Council consider, if circumstances during the transitional period require such consideration, whether the situation in Palestine constitutes a threat to the peace. If it decides that such a threat exists, and in order to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council should supplement the authorization of the General Assembly by taking measures, under Articles 39 and 41 of the Charter, to empower the United Nations Commission, as provided in this resolution, to exercise in Palestine the functions which are assigned to it by this resolution;
- (c) The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution;
- (d) The Trusteeship Council be informed of the responsibilities envisaged for it in this plan;
Appeals to all Governments and all peoples to refrain from taking any
action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations,
Authorizes the Secretary-General to reimburse travel and subsistence
expenses of the members of the commission referred to in Part I, Section B,
paragraph 1 below, on such basis and in such form as he may determine most appropriate
in the circumstances, and to provide the Commission with the necessary staff
to assist in carrying out the functions as-signed to the Commission by the General
Plan of Partition with Economic Union
Part I-Future Constitution and Government of Palestine
- A. TERMINATION OF MANDATE PARTITION AND INDEPENDENCE
- 1. The Mandate for Palestine shall terminate as soon as possible but
in any case not later than 1 August 1948.
- 2. The armed forces of the mandatory Power shall be progressively withdrawn
from Palestine, the withdrawal to be completed as soon as possible but
in any case not later than 1 August 1948.
The mandatory Power shall advise the Commission, as far in advance
as possible, of its intention to terminate the Mandate and to evacuate
The mandatory Power shall use its best endeavours to ensure that an
area situated in the territory of the Jewish State, including a seaport
and hinterland adequate to provide facilities for a substantial immigration,
shall be evacuated at the earliest possible date and in any event not
later than 1 February 1948.
- 3. Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International
Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in part III of this plan,
shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation
of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any
case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State,
the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be described in parts
II and III below.
- 4. The period between the adoption by the General Assembly of its recommendation
on the question of Palestine and the establishment of the independence
of the Arab and Jewish States shall be a transitional period.
- B. STEPS PREPARATORY TO INDEPENDENCE
- 1. A Commission shall be set up consisting of one representative of each of five Member States. The Members represented on the Commission shall be elected by the General Assembly on as broad a basis, geographically and otherwise, as possible.
- 2. The administration of Palestine shall, as the mandatory Power withdraws its armed forces, be progressively turned over to the Commission, which shall act in conformity with the recommendations of the General Assembly, under the guidance of the Security Council. The mandatory Power shall to the fullest possible extent co-ordinate its plans for withdrawal with the plans of the Commission to take over and administer areas which have been evacuated.
In the discharge of this administrative responsibility the Commission shall have authority to issue necessary regulations and take other measures as required.
The mandatory Power shall not take any action to prevent, obstruct or delay the implementation by the Commission of the measures recommended by the General Assembly.
- 3. On its arrival in Palestine the Commission shall proceed to carry out measures for the establishment of the frontiers of the Arab and Jewish
States and the City of Jerusalem in accordance with the general lines of the recommendations of the General Assembly on the partition of Palestine.
Nevertheless, the boundaries as described in part II of this plan are to be modified in such a way that village areas as a rule will not be divided by state boundaries unless pressing reasons make that necessary.
- 4. The Commission, after consultation with the democratic parties and other public organizations of the Arab and Jewish States, shall select and establish in each State as rapidly as possible a Provisional Council of Government. The activities of both the Arab and Jewish Provisional Councils of Government shall be carried out under the general direction of the Commission.
If by 1 April 1948 a Provisional Council of Government cannot be selected for either of the States, or, if selected, cannot carry out its functions, the Commission shall communicate that fact to the Security Council for such action with respect to that State as the Security Council may deem proper, and to the Secretary-General for communication to the Members of the United Nations.
- 5. Subject to the provisions of these recommendations, during the transitional period the Provisional Councils of Government, acting under the Commission, shall have full authority in the areas under their control, including authority over matters of immigration and land regulation.
- 6. The Provisional Council of Government of each State, acting under the
Commission, shall progressively receive from the Commission full responsibility for the administration of that State in the period between the termination of the Mandate and the establishment of the State's independence.
- 7. The Commission shall instruct the Provisional Councils of Government of both the Arab and Jewish States, after their formation, to proceed to the establishment of administrative organs of government, central and local.
- 8. The Provisional Council of Government of each State shall, within the shortest time possible, recruit an armed militia from the residents of that State, sufficient in number to maintain internal order and to prevent frontier clashes.
This armed militia in each State shall, for operational purposes, be under the command of Jewish or Arab officers resident in that State but general political and military control, including the choice of the militia's High Command, shall be exercised by the Commission.
- 9. The Provisional Council of Government of each State shall, not later than two months after the withdrawal of the armed forces of the mandatory Power, hold elections to the Constituent Assembly which shall be conducted on democratic lines.
The election regulations in each State shall be drawn up by the Provisional Council of Government and approved by the Commission.
Qualified voters for each State for this election shall be persons over
eighteen years of age who are: (a) Palestinian citizens residing
in that State and (b) Arabs and Jews residing in the State, although
not Palestinian citizens, who, before voting, have signed a notice of
intention to become citizens of such State.
Arabs and Jews residing in the City of Jerusalem who have signed a notice of intention to become citizens, the Arabs of the Arab State and the Jews of the Jewish State, shall be entitled to vote in the Arab and Jewish States respectively.
Women may vote and be elected to the Constituent Assemblies.
During the transitional period no Jew shall be permitted to establish residence in the area of the proposed Arab State, and no Arab shall be permitted to establish residence in the area of the proposed Jewish State, except by special leave of the Commission.
- 10. The Constituent Assembly of each State shall draft a democratic constitution
for its State and choose a provisional government to succeed the Provisional
Council of Government appointed by the Commission. The constitutions of
the States shall embody chapters 1 and 2 of the Declaration provided for
in section C below and include inter alia provisions for:
- (a) Establishing in each State a legislative body elected by
universal suffrage and by secret ballot on the basis of proportional
representation, and an executive body responsible to the legislature;
- (b) Settling all international disputes in which the State
may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international
peace and security, and justice, are not endangered;
- (c) Accepting the obligation of the State to refrain in its
international relations from the threat or use of force against the
territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in
any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations;
- (d) Guaranteeing to all persons equal and non-discriminatory
rights in civil, political, economic and religious matters and the enjoyment
of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion,
language, speech and publication, education, assembly and association;
- (e) Preserving freedom of transit and visit for all residents
and citizens of the other State in Palestine and the City of Jerusalem,
subject to considerations of national security, provided that each State
shall control residence within its borders.
- 11. The Commission shall appoint a preparatory economic commission of three members to make whatever arrangements are possible for economic cooperation, with a view to establishing, as soon as practicable, the Economic Union and the Joint Economic Board, as provided in section D below.
- 12. During the period between the adoption of the recommendations on the question of Palestine by the General Assembly and the termination of the Mandate, the mandatory Power in Palestine shall maintain full responsibility for administration in areas from which it has not withdrawn its armed forces. The Commission shall assist the mandatory Power in the carrying out of these functions. Similarly the mandatory Power shall cooperate with the Commission in the execution of its functions.
- 13. With a view to ensuring that there shall be continuity in the functioning of administrative services and that, on the withdrawal of the armed forces of the mandatory Power, the whole administration shall be in charge of the Provisional Councils and the Joint Economic Board, respectively, acting under the Commission, there shall be a progressive transfer, from the mandatory Power to the Commission, of responsibility for all the functions of government, including that of maintaining law and order in the areas from which the forces of the mandatory Power have been withdrawn.
- 14. The Commission shall be guided in its activities by the recommendations of the General Assembly and by such instructions as the Security Council may consider necessary to issue.
The measures taken by the Commission, within the recommendations of the General Assembly, shall become immediately effective unless the Commission has previously received contrary instructions from the Security Council.
The Commission shall render periodic monthly progress reports, or more frequently if desirable, to the Security Council.
- 15. The Commission shall make its final report to the next regular session of the General Assembly and to the Security Council simultaneously.
- C. DECLARATION
- A declaration shall be made to the United Nations by the provisional government
of each proposed State before independence. It shall contain inter alia
the following clauses:
The stipulations contained in the declaration are recognized
as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action
shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law,
regulation or official action prevail over them.
- Chapter l.-Holy Places, Religious Buildings and Sites
- 1. Existing rights in respect of Holy Places and religious buildings
or sites shall not be denied or impaired.
- 2. In so far as Holy Places are concerned, the liberty of access,
visit and transit shall be guaranteed, in conformity with existing rights,
to all residents and citizens of the other State and of the City of
Jerusalem, as well as to aliens, without distinction as to nationality,
subject to requirements of national security, public order and decorum.
Similarly, freedom of worship shall be guaranteed in conformity
with existing rights, subject to the maintenance of public order and
- 3. Holy Places and religious buildings or sites shall be preserved.
No act shall be permitted which may in any way impair their sacred character.
If at any time it appears to the Government that any particular Holy
Place, religious building or site is in need of urgent repair, the Government
may call upon the community or communities concerned to carry out such
repair. The Government may carry it out itself at the expense of the
community or communities concerned if no action is taken within a reasonable
- 4. No taxation shall be levied in respect of any Holy Place, religious
building or site which was exempt from taxation on the date of the creation
of the State.
No change in the incidence of such taxation shall be made which
would either discriminate between the owners or occupiers of Holy
Places, religious buildings or sites, or would place such owners or
occupiers in a position less favourable in relation to the general
incidence of taxation than existed at the time of the adoption of
the Assembly's recommendation.
- 5. The Governor of the City of Jerusalem shall have the right to
determine whether the provisions of the Constitution of the State
in relation to Holy Places, religious buildings and sites within the
borders of the State and the religious rights appertaining thereto,
are being properly applied and respected, and to make decisions on
the basis of existing rights in cases of disputes which may arise
between the different religious communities or the rites of a religious
community with respect to such places, buildings and sites. He shall
receive full cooperation and such privileges and immunities as are
necessary for the exercise of his functions in the State.
- Chapter 2. - Religious and Minority Rights
- 1. Freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship,
subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, shall be
ensured to all.
- 2. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants
on the ground of race, religion, language or sex.
- 3. All persons within the jurisdiction of the State shall be entitled
to equal protection of the laws.
- 4. The family law and personal status of the various minorities and
their religious interests, including endowments, shall be respected.
- 5. Except as may be required for the maintenance of public order and
good government, no measure shall be taken to obstruct or interfere
with the enterprise of religious or charitable bodies of all faiths
or to discriminate against any representative or member of these bodies
on the ground of his religion or nationality.
- 6. The State shall ensure adequate primary and secondary education
for the Arab and Jewish minority, respectively, in its own language
and its cultural traditions.
The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the
education of its own members in its own language, while conforming
to such educational requirements of a general nature as the State
may impose, shall not be denied or impaired. Foreign educational establishments
shall continue their activity on the basis of their existing rights.
- 7. No restriction shall be imposed on the free use by any citizen
of the State of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, in
religion, in the Press or in publications of any kind, or at public
- 8. No expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State (by
a Jew in the Arab State) shall be allowed except for public purposes.
In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme
Court shall be paid previous to dispossession.
- Chapter 3. - Citizenship, International Conventions and Financial Obligations
- 1. Citizenship. Palestinian citizens residing in Palestine
outside the City of Jerusalem, as well as Arabs and Jews who, not holding
Palestinian citizenship, reside in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem
shall, upon the recognition of independence, become citizens of the
State in which they are resident and enjoy full civil and political
rights. Persons over the age of eighteen years may opt, within one year
from the date of recognition of independence of the State in which they
reside, for citizenship of the other State, providing that no Arab residing
in the area of the proposed Arab State shall have the right to opt for
citizenship in the proposed Jewish State and no Jews residing in the
proposed Jewish State shall have the right to opt for citizenship in
the proposed Arab State. The exercise of this right of option will be
taken to include the wives and children under eighteen years of age
of persons so opting.
Arabs residing in the area of the proposed Jewish State and Jews
residing in the area of the proposed Arab State who have signed a
notice of intention to opt for citizenship of the other State shall
be eligible to vote in the elections to the Constituent Assembly of
that State, but not in the elections to the Constituent Assembly of
the State in which they reside.
- 2. International conventions.
- (a) The State shall be bound by all the international agreements
and conventions, both general and special, to which Palestine has
become a party. Subject to any right of denunciation provided for
therein, such agreements and conventions shall be respected by the
State throughout the period for which they were concluded.
- (b) Any dispute about the applicability and continued validity
of international conventions or treaties signed or adhered to by
the mandatory Power on behalf of Palestine shall be referred to
the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions
of the Statute of the Court.
- 3. Financial Obligations.
- (a) The State shall respect and fulfill all financial obligations
of whatever nature assumed on behalf of Palestine by the mandatory
Power during the exercise of the Mandate and recognized by the State.
This provision includes the right of public servants to pensions,
compensation or gratuities.
- (b) These obligations shall be fulfilled through participation
in the Joint
Economic Board in respect of those obligations applicable to Palestine
as a whole, and individually in respect of those applicable to,
and fairly apportionable between, the States.
- (c) A Court of Claims, affiliated with the Joint Economic Board,
and composed of one member appointed by the United Nations, one
representative of the United Kingdom and one representative of the
State concerned, should be established. Any dispute between the
United Kingdom and the States respecting claims not recognized by
the latter should be referred to that Court.
- (d) Commercial concessions granted in respect of any part of Palestine
prior to the adoption of the resolution by the General Assembly
shall continue to be valid according to their terms, unless modified
by agreement between the concession-holder and the State.
- D. ECONOMIC UNION AND TRANSIT (officially deleted)
Plan of Partition with Economic Union
Part II-Borders of the New State
Plan of Partition with Economic Union
RETURN: to the BEGINNING of this document.
SOURCE: "Israeli-Arab Reader". Edited by Walter Laqueur
& Barry Rubin. Published by Penguin Books, NYC (1976), p. 69-77.
(C) Israel Law Resource Center, February, 2007.