On November 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly by a two-thirds vote (33 to 13 with Britain and nine others abstaining) passed Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish community of Palestine jubilantly accepted partition despite the small size and strategic vulnerability of the proposed state. Not only were Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip not included, but also Jerusalem, most of the Galilee in the North and parts of the Negev desert in the South were excluded. The Arab national movement in Palestine, as well as all the Arab states, angrily rejected partition. They demanded the entire country for themselves and threatened to resist partition by force. Had they accepted the U.N. proposal in 1947, the independent Palestinian Arab state, covering an area much larger than the West Bank and Gaza, would have been created along with Israel. Instead, they launched a war to destroy the nascent Jewish state.
UNSCOP reported to the Security Council on 16 February 1948:
- Organized efforts are being made by strong Arab elements inside and outside Palestine to prevent the implementation of the Assembly's plan of partition and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian territory ... This Commission now finds itself confronted with an attempt to defeat its purposes, and to nullify the resolution of the General Assembly.