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General Assembly

16 February 1948



Statement of 6 February 1948 Communicated to the
Secretary-General by Mr. Isa Nakhleh, Representative
of the Arab Higher Committee

The following communication has been addressed to the Secretary-General by Mr. Isa Nakhleh, Representative of the Arab Higher Committee.

The Delegation of the
Arab Higher Committee for Palestine

4512 Empire State Building
New York 1, New York
Subject: Palestine Your Excellency:

With reference to Your Excellency’s telegram dated the 9th of January inviting the Arab Higher Committee to appoint a representative “to be available to the Palestine Commission for such authoritative information and other assistance as the commission may require,” and with reference to my telegram dated the 18th of January in which I communicated to Your Excellency the decision of the Arab Higher Committee, I have the honor to submit the following reasons for such decision:

1. The Arab Higher Committee maintains that the partition recommendation does not represent the sentiments of the United Nations. We cannot forget that the resolution of partition in the Ad Hoc Committee secured 25 votes only. When the matter was referred to the General Assembly on the 26th of November, there were 17 nations opposing partition. Had voting taken place on that date the partition proposal would not have obtained the required two-third majority. The Arab Higher Committee cannot forget the maneuvers made by the President of the Assembly and some delegates supporting partition in order to postpone taking votes on that day when they realized that their proposal might be defeated.

2. The pressure put by the United States Delegation and Government on certain nations, whether at Lake Success or in these nations’ capitals, is nothing short of political blackmail. The following represent only a few instances:

3. This undue pressure was not limited to the aforementioned delegations, but to every other delegation and its Government abroad. The following quotations from speeches of delegates prove this point: 4. Such flagrant interference and pressure were not exercised by the United States Government only, but also by United States Senators. The Arab Higher Committee Delegation saw several telegrams out of many hundreds by United States Senators addressed to Delegates of different nations threatening, persuading and putting improper pressure on these Delegates to sway them in favour of partition.

5. The President of the General Assembly, Mr. Oswaldo Aranha, who being president should have been very impartial, was contrary to the traditions of presidency, influencing the Latin-American countries to vote against the Arabs. A report of a speech by him appeared in the P.M. of New York in its issue of October 9th as follows:

Mr. Aranha was faced with this report in the press but he made no public denial.

6. It is an elementary rule of law and justice that any decision, agreement or act made or done under pressure, undue influence or duress, is null and void. The aforementioned facts prove how the partition recommendations were extorted from member states of the United Nations. The Arabs therefore consider them null and void and of no legal or moral force.

7. The Arab Higher Committee Delegation maintains that the recommendation of partition is also contrary to the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter. The Arab Delegations have fully dealt with this point in their addresses in the Ad Hoc Committee and in the Assembly. Their arguments were unanswerable, but power politics ignored all the logic, reason and justice of their arguments and Delegations were being led by undue pressure and influence to make recommendations repugnant to the Charter.

8. The United Nations has no jurisdiction to order or recommend the partition of Palestine. There is nothing in the Charter to warrant such authority, consequently the recommendation of partition is ultra vires and therefore null and void.

9. The Arab Delegations submitted proposals in the Ad Hoc Committee in order to refer the whole legal issue raised for a ruling by the International Court of Justice. The said proposals were never put to vote by the president in the Assembly. The United Nations is an International body entrusted with the task of enforcing peace and justice in international affairs. How would there be any confidence in such a body if it bluntly and unreasonably refuses to refer such a dispute to the International Court of Justice?

10. The Arab Higher Committee Delegation wishes to reaffirm here that the Arabs of Palestine cannot recognize the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate of Palestine or any situation arising or derived therefrom. They consider that imposing international alien immigrants on their country by force is nothing but an act of aggression and invasion, whether made by Jews themselves, through Great Britain, or by the United Nations. The Arab Higher Committee Delegation therefore expects that the duty of the United Nations is to remove the said aggression and stop that invasion. The creation of any Jewish state in an Arab territory is more than invasion or aggression, it is something with no precedent in history. It is en act of wiping out the existence of an Arab country, violating its integrity, subjecting its land and people to foreign Jewish domination. “

11. In its statement to the Ad Hoc Committee on the 29th of September, our Delegation left no doubt on the Arab reactions: “The Arabs of Palestine are, therefore, solidly determined to oppose, with all the means at their disposal, any scheme that provides for the dissection, segregation or partition of their tiny Country, or that gives to a minority, on the ground of creed, special and preferential rights or status. They will oppose such schemes, with the same zeal and with the same sacrifice that any other people would do under the same circumstances. We are alive to the fact that if they so desire, big powers could crush, by brute force, such opposition. But this realisation will not deter us from drenching the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood in the lawful defense of all and every inch of it.” These solemn words were dismissed by the Zionists and the powers supporting them as idle threats. The events in Palestine since the end of November are only the beginning of this tragedy. Already over 1000 persons have been killed and over 2000 injured.

12. The Zionists and their friends are building a smoke screen of propaganda to convince the world that if the partition plan is not implemented by force the prestige of the United Nations is at stake. Secret maneuvers are being carried out to lead the Security Council to send an international force to Palestine to crush Arab resistance. Our Delegation solemnly declares that it is the unflinching determination of every Arab in Palestine to defend his country against any power or group of powers or any force going to Palestine to partition the country. The Arabs are in duty and honour bound to defend their country to the last man. The presumed mission of an international force which is to be sent to Palestine can only be to wipe out the Arabs, blow up their dwellings and uproot them from their land.

History will then record that the United Nations, which was meant to be an instrument of peace and justice, is being used as an instrument of war and aggression.

13. In conclusion, the Arab Higher Committee Delegation wishes to stress the following:

I beg to remain, etc.
/s/ Isa Nakhleh
Representative of the
Arab Higher Committee

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