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United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, 1947 (UNSCOP)


Committee created in 1947 to deal with the future government of Palestine.

Following the end of World War II the Arab-Zionist conflict in Palestine was internationalized, and greater efforts were made to resolve it. After a few unsuccessful Anglo-American endeavors, in February 1947 the British handed over the Palestine problem to the United Nations.

In May 1947 the UN General Assembly created a Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) with eleven membersAustralia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, the Netherlands, Peru, Sweden (chair), Uruguay, and Yugoslavia. It was mandated to investigate all matters relevant to the Palestine problem and to submit a report, including proposals for a solution, to the General Assembly.

The committee visited Palestine and heard testimonies from Jewish representatives, and it witnessed the dramatic capture by the British of the ship Exodus, which carried 4,500 European Jewish refugees. The Palestinian Arab leadership refused to testify, but the committee nevertheless met in Lebanon with representatives of the Arab states. Members of the committee also met Jewish inmates of displaced persons camps in Europe.

The UNSCOP Report, submitted on 31 August 1947, unanimously supported the termination of the British mandate in Palestine. The representatives of Iran, India, and Yugoslavia supported a federal solution (known as the minority plan) that envisaged Arab and Jewish regions within a federal union with Jerusalem as its capital. The representatives of the other states (except Australia) favored a partition into two separate independent states (the majority plan) with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under an international regime.

On 29 November 1947 the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, based on the UNSCOP majority plan, by a 3313 vote, with 10 abstentions. The Jewish Agency accepted the resolution, and the Arab Higher Committee rejected it.

see also exodus (1947).


Garcia-Granados, Jorge. The Birth of Israel: The Drama As I Saw It. New York: Knopf, 1948.

Louis, William Roger, and Stookey, Robert W., eds. The End of the Palestine Mandate. Austin: University of Texas Press; London: IB Tauris, 1986.

Wilson, Evan. Decision on Palestine: How the U.S. Came to Recognize Israel. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1979.

f. t. liu
updated by joseph nevo

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