The Relevance of Resolution 181
The General Assembly resolution had three primary elements that retain their relevance till today:
• Resolution 181 constituted recognition by the international community that the Jewish people deserve their own state, a Jewish state, in their historical homeland.
• The resolution called for the establishment of two states for two peoples - Jewish and Arab - between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, each fulfilling the national aspirations of its respective populations. That formula remains Israel's position with regards to peace negotiations. However, the Arabs of the British mandate territory refused to accept a state because it meant compromising. Today the Palestinians continue to refuse to compromise to achieve a state. Then as now, a Palestinian state will not be established without the willingness to compromise and negotiate.
• The refusal by the Arab population of the mandate territory to accept resolution 181 demonstrated that they were not interested in establishing their own state if it meant allowing the existence of a Jewish state. This opposition to acknowledging the right of a Jewish state to exist in the Middle East lies at the core of the conflict. Even today, the Palestinian leadership rejects calls to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, a refusal that will prevent any resolution to the conflict.
If the Palestinians had chosen the path of compromise in 1947, the suffering on both sides could have been prevented. It is not too late to return to direct negotiations, which can bring about a better future for the two peoples.