Celebrations in Tel Aviv after the vote
Photo: GPO
History in the (re)making
Special Knesset session will reenact fateful United Nations vote that led to Israel's creation. The UN secretary general has been invited to preside over the session, which the event planners hope will include the participation of ambassadors from the 33 nations who voted in favor of the partition

Usually a scene of discord and strife – the Knesset soon plans to lend its halls to far more joyous fanfare.

Essentially the event that will kick-off the celebrations commemorating Israel's 60's birthday, the Knesset plans to reenact the historic United Nations partition vote that led to the creation of a Jewish state.


On November 29th, exactly six decades since the event, Israel's parliament will host the 1947 vote on the partition of western British Mandate Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. Most of the area under British governance had already been partitioned off as Transjordan decades earlier.

UN General Assembly vote - November 29th, 1947


Hopes are running high in Jerusalem that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will preside over the special session; an invitation has already been extended to him by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik during her meeting with Ban on Wednesday in New York City.


Organizers said the event will not include any references to Israel's often volatile relationship with the UN, and none of the speakers will bring up the oft-quoted derogatory label "Um Shmum" (in English: The UN – it means nothing) coined by Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.


"Our goal here is to thank the UN for this decision," said a senior official involved in the event.


The ambassadors of the 33 nations who voted in favor of the partition have already been invited to participate in the event. They will be seated among the Knesset ranks and have their national flag waving from their respective desks.


Thirteen countries voted against the partition in 1947, 10 abstained and one was absent.


Speeches are expected from President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Knesset Speaker

Itzik, Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud chairman and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.


Invitations will also be extended to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other world dignitaries.


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