The Australian who helped create Israel

The Australian who helped create Israel

H.V Evatt was a key player in the UN. Photo: United Nations

The creation of Israel depended heavily on the actions of Herbert ‘Doc’ Evatt — an enigmatic Australian who served as President of the United Nations General Assembly at the time of Israel’s admission to the UN. 

Evatt, a former Labor Leader and Attorney-General, would play an instrumental role in the implementation of the nation, after rising to prominence as an architect of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

H.V. Evatt was a key player who guided the Palestine Partition Plan through the UN, and in so doing, transformed the history of the modern Middle East.

Evatt was a cagey individual who kept no diary, corresponded little, had a tendency to appropriate official papers and engineered friends and associates into positions of power.

Evatt became President of the UN General Assembly in 1948, when the organisation was still in its infancy and most governments were reluctant to deal with ongoing problems of the Middle East.

An investigative committee of representatives from eleven nations was dispatched to deal with questions of the region, and a UN commission reported back in favour of partition of Palestine.

At the time, Evatt was also appointed Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question and moved competing proposals from the Middle East into a second separate sub-committee.

This allowed a detailed partition plan to be prepared unobstructed by Arab states and their supporters, and caused controversy at the time.

Evatt’s committee would end up recommending partition to the General Assembly, but only after the narrowest of defeats for an Arab proposal to refer the issue to the International Court of Justice.

Evatt insisted on partition before the end of the 1947 General Assembly session, and on the last day of its session — November 29, 1947 — the Assembly approved partition by a vote of 33 to 13.

Shortly after, Israel would emerge in May 1948, and Evatt opposed tenaciously Britain’s efforts to prevent the entire British Commonwealth from recognising her.

In the end, Britain had to bow to the verdict of Israel’s survival on the battlefield and in March 1949, in the last week of Evatt’s presidency of the Assembly, Israel was admitted to the UN.

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Since Evatt’s influence helped launch the multipurpose organisation, the United Nations has grown with unprecedented scope and membership, and has experienced a rapid rise to become the premier body on world affairs.

Over the decades, Australia has been actively involved in ‘peace operations’ for over 70 years, providing military and police personnel to 62 United Nations, and other multilateral peace and security operations.

Australia has also served four terms on the Security Council, in 1946-47, 56-57, 73-74 and 85-86.

The General Assembly elected Australia to serve on the Human Rights Council, responsible for the ‘promotion of all human rights across the world’, from 2018-2020.

According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs, since 1945, Australian foreign policy has been informed by the underlying principles and purposes of the United Nations.

The UN is regarded by the government as the world’s pre-eminent conflict resolution body, as an essential forum for world cooperation, and as the mechanism for responding to transnational challenges to human and international security.

Australia contributes financially to the United Nations through timely payment of its “assessed share” of the regular budget, currently 1.51 per cent of the total, and through payments to the budgets of the various UN agencies.

During the mid-20th century, as a new era of globalism emerged, and the UN began incrementally bypassing national sovereignty to enact a number of trade deals and international pacts.

Today, this group is set to direct Australians down an irreversible path over the next decade.

In September 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These objectives are expected to guide the actions of the international community under 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 individual targets over a 15 year period.

The plan has been adopted by world leaders in at an historic UN Summit, and takes the principles laid out in Agenda 21 to an entirely new level.

Over the next fifteen years, with these new goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change across the world, while “ensuring that no one is left behind”.

Countries are expected to take ownership and establish a national framework for achieving the 17 Goals, including with a commitment between the UN, governments, private sector and civil society to work together in a more coordinated and integrated way.

Learn more about UN Agenda 2030 by clicking the image below:

Doc Evatt and the Partition Plan | AIJAC

Evatt, Herbert Vere (Bert) (1894–1965) | Australian Dictionary of Biography

UN Partition Plan | BBC

Creation of Israel, 1948 | US History Office

Australia’s engagement with the United Nations |

UN Agenda 2030 | United Nations

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