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Israel Under Fire – The Attempt to Deny the Foundational Legal, Historical, and National Rights of the Jewish People

 
Filed under: International Law
Publication: Israel Under Fire

Israel Under Fire – The Attempt to Deny the Foundational Legal, Historical, and National Rights of the Jewish People
Photographs of Arab weddings, which took place, according to captions, in “Samaria” and “Judea,” early 20th Century (L. Ben-David collection)

Executive Summary

False Arab claims attempt to nullify Jewish historical and legal rights to the Land of Israel. Such claims include Palestinian Arab indigeneity and Jewish “land theft.” This paper presents the foundational principles of Israel’s legal and historical rights. As a historical and legal fact, there is no such thing as “Palestinian land” inasmuch as a Palestinian state does not exist and never has. The claim of “illegal occupation” is empty inasmuch as a situation of “occupation” is a legitimate component of the laws of armed conflict. Annual nonbinding and nonauthoritative UN General Assembly resolutions repeating accusations of the illegality of Israel’s presence in the territories have no authoritative status that match the international treaty status of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which encapsulated the international recognition of the rights of the Jewish people to establish their national home in the area.

False claims also prevail regarding the status of the areas of Judea and Samaria, with the manufactured term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” appearing repeatedly. The issues of the permanent status of Judea and Samaria, as well as the status of the Gaza Strip, are negotiating issues between Israel and the Palestinian leadership pursuant to internationally acknowledged agreements. This negotiation is ongoing and has not been completed. Similarly, the term “colonization by the Jewish people” is a politicized phrase with negative connotations that is intended to mislead. A more accurate description of the aim of the Mandate instrument would have been the “reconstitution of the Jewish people” through the League of Nations’ decolonization of the land from the 400-year Ottoman rule.

Introduction

False Palestinian claims, repeated incessantly both in the United Nations and throughout the international community, attempt to nullify the historical and legal rights of Israel and the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

These claims are inherently flawed in all aspects and are basically devoid of any legal or historical authenticity.1

Such claims include, among others:

  • “The Palestinian Arabs are the original, indigenous people of Palestine.”
  • “The Jews stole our land and are illegal occupiers of Palestinian Arab land.”
  • “Jewish settlers illegally build on West Bank Arab land.”

The purpose of this paper is to show the inherently fatuous nature of the Palestinian claims and to present the true, basic, foundational principles and documentation underlying Israel’s full legal and historical rights.

In so doing, this paper poses three basic questions:

  1. whether the nations of the world in 1922 made promises to the Jewish people in the Mandate for Palestine, or not;

  2. whether the historical international promises to the Jewish people have been honored, or not; and

  3. whether the Jewish people could trust and rely on the nations of the world to keep their promises in any future agreement regarding Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel; or not.

As a historical and legal fact, there is no such thing as “Palestinian land” inasmuch as a Palestinian state does not exist and has never existed. As such, claims by Palestinians and various leading international personalities that Israel illegally occupies “Palestinian” land are false and flawed claims.

The claim of “illegal occupation” is an empty claim inasmuch as a situation of “occupation” is a legitimate and accepted customary and conventional component of the laws of armed conflict, governed by several international conventions, norms and customs.

International law and practice do not recognize such a thing as “illegal occupation.”

Annual nonbinding and nonauthoritative United Nations General Assembly resolutions repeating accusations of the illegality of Israel’s presence in the territories, recognizing the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), and declaring the founding of the State of Israel to be “unjust” cannot in any way be seen to constitute valid international law. Such General Assembly resolutions have no mandatory legal effect. They merely represent the political viewpoint of those states sponsoring and supporting such resolutions.

Any claim that the land “belongs” to the Palestinians or is “Palestinian land” ignores the widely acknowledged historical, legal, and political connection of the Jewish people to the area of the Land of Israel and the historical rights of the Jewish people as the indigenous people in the area.

As such, those resolutions have no authoritative status that could match the international treaty status of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which encapsulated the international recognition of the rights of the Jewish people to establish their national home in the area.

By the same token, subsequent UN General Assembly resolutions repeating the canard of “illegal Israeli occupation” have no legal authority whatsoever.

This flawed reasoning is equally applicable to the recent UN General Assembly resolution seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the issue of alleged “Israeli illegal occupation” of Judea and Samaria.

False and untrue claims are also prevalent in the international community regarding the status of the areas of Judea and Samaria, where the term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” repeatedly appears in statements and international resolutions.

In fact, the issues of the permanent status of the areas of Judea and Samaria on the west bank of the Jordan River, as well as the status of the Gaza Strip, are negotiating issues between Israel and the Palestinian leadership pursuant to internationally acknowledged agreements.32 This negotiation is ongoing and has not been completed.

Accordingly, political determinations, whether by international leaders and foreign ministers or in UN resolutions and declarations, that any part of the land is “Palestinian land,” both undermine the agreed process of negotiation and seek to illegally prejudge its outcome.

From the point of view of historical truth, the League of Nations Mandate, which is clearly the basic foundational international agreement establishing the rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, directly refutes the “stolen land” propaganda and the utterly false narrative claiming that Israel has no legal rights to the land.

Truthful and correct terminology is essential to dispel myths that attempt to gain control of the narrative.

Thus, the denomination “Judea and Samaria” correctly reproduces the terminology used before the Mandate and in the Mandate instrument, itself, which makes no mention of “the West Bank” or “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” This terminology is, in fact, used in the 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181 in detailing the territorial aspects of the UN Partition Plan, specifically mentioning “the hill country of Samaria and Judea.”3

Similarly, the term “colonization by the Jewish people” is a loaded, partisan, and politicized phrase with negative connotations that is intended to mislead the international community with fabricated claims. A more accurate description of the aim of the Mandate instrument would have been the “reconstitution of the Jewish people” through the process of the League of Nations’ decolonization of the land from the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Similarly, the spurious and misleading term “settlers” has been deliberately given a negative and politicized connotation within the international community. Israelis who legitimately reside in towns and villages in Judea and Samaria in accordance with the norms and principles of international humanitarian law are Israeli citizens.

The correct denomination of the Mandate document is “the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine” and not “the British Mandate for Palestine.” The Mandate for Palestine was created by the League of Nations, and Britain was merely the “Mandatory” or trustee of the “Mandate for Palestine.”

The Foundational Rights to the Land of Israel

The historical, political, and legal right of the Jewish people was originally acknowledged over 100 years ago in the 1917 Balfour Declaration issued by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour.4 It was reaffirmed utilizing the identical language of the Balfour Declaration by the League of Nations both in its San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, and on July 24, 1922, when the Balfour Declaration was encapsulated into an international agreement, unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, establishing the Mandate for Palestine.5

This indeed constitutes the original, foundational “land title deed” of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

This foundational right of the Jewish people was subsequently reaffirmed and incorporated into Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which states: …“nothing in this Charter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

The UN Charter preserves intact all the rights granted to the Jewish people under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the Mandate’s expiry on May 14–15, 1948, with the withdrawal of the British from Palestine and Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

As observed by Canadian attorney Howard Grief:

Under this provision of international law (the Charter is an international treaty), the rights of the Jewish people to Palestine and the Land of Israel were not to be altered in any way unless there had been an intervening trusteeship agreement between the states or parties concerned, which would have converted the Mandate into a trusteeship or trust territory. 6

Article 80 acknowledged the continuing validity of those rights of states or peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties as established prior to the formation of the United Nations.

The Mandate for Palestine: A Brief History

The Mandate for Palestine represents the international community’s recognition of the need for the “decolonization” of Palestine from its 400-year rule by the Ottoman Empire and the reconstitution of the Jewish people, its original, indigenous, native inhabitants, in the Land of Israel.

Decolonization was the purpose of the three “Class A” League of Nations Mandates in the Middle East covering the former Turkish Empire’s colonial territories (Syria/Lebanon, Mesopotamia, and Palestine) and the 11 other Mandates worldwide covering colonial territories of the former German and Austrian Empires.

The title of the 13-page “Mandate for Palestine” is somewhat unclear and misleading. An examination of this treaty reveals it to be very supportive of the Zionist cause, mentioning “Jew,” “Jewish,” and “Zionist” some 14 times in its 13 pages. In fact, it would perhaps have been more apt and no doubt more appreciated had it been named “the International Agreement for the Reestablishment of the Sovereign Jewish Nation in the Land of Israel.” However, post–World War I era terminology and perhaps mere political correctness evidently dictated the League of Nations terminology relating to “Mandates” and “Mandatories.”

The Mandate for Palestine indeed recognizes the ownership by the Jewish people of the Land of Israel. It recognizes no other people. It refutes the flawed, misleading, and false allegations and accusations of the Jewish people illegally stealing and occupying “Palestinian land.”

The following three key documents represent the evolution of the Mandate for Palestine and recognition of the Jewish people as the sole owners of the Land of Israel:

  1. The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, a statement of policy whereby Britain became the first nation in the world to recognize Jewish ownership rights in the Land of Israel.7

  2. The San Remo Conference Resolution of April 25, 1920, which adopted the Balfour Declaration as a resolution for the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine and recognized the legal entity of Palestine for the first time in more than 1,800 years.8

  3. The Mandate for Palestine of July 24, 1922, which recognized and incorporated into international law the sole national and political rights of the Jewish people to Palestine.9

The Mandate for Palestine is an instrument of international law unanimously adopted by the 51-member League of Nations (the Nations of the World) after its confirmation on July 24, 1922. It recognizes and grants a national homeland in Palestine only to the Jewish people, the only indigenous people of that land.

The Mandate incorporates word-for-word and codifies the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and recognizes “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

The Mandate for Palestine is one of three Class A Mandates adopted by the League of Nations. The importance of Class A Mandates is that this category was reserved only for former Turkish territories considered to be sufficiently advanced that their “provisional independence” was already recognized. However, they were still subject to Allied administrative control until they were fully “able to stand alone.”10

In other words, a provisionally independent Jewish state was envisioned in the language of the Mandate under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which created a total of 14 Mandates. The other two Class A Mandates are Syria/Lebanon and Mesopotamia (Iraq.)

The Mandate for Palestine is a remarkable and profoundly Zionist document. As noted, the words “Jew,” “Jewish,” and “Zionist” appear 14 times in its 13 pages. It recognizes the national and political rights only of the Jewish people—and of no other people—and constitutes the legally binding codification into international law of the policy set out in the Balfour Declaration as resolved by the San Remo Conference into inalienable Jewish national and political rights in Palestine.

It constituted binding international law until the British ended the Mandate and withdrew from Palestine at midnight on May 14, 1948. The British ended their role as Mandatory (or Trustee) due to “frustration of purpose.”

The Mandate for Palestine expired with the Declaration of Independence by the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. However, the national “acquired legal rights” of the Jewish people in Palestine and the obligation of the nations of the world to “reconstitute” the Jewish national home in Palestine remain valid to this day under Article 80 of the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties signed in 1989.

Under the international legal doctrine of uti possidetis juris (which means that a new state’s borders are the same as before, as determined at the very moment of independence), Israel’s borders were and are identical borders to the previous borders of Mandatory Palestine.

The United Nations accepted Israel as a member state on May 11, 1949, completing the legal steps to Jewish statehood in Palestine west of the Jordan River that began with the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Resolution, and the Mandate for Palestine.

At the time of the Mandate, the League of Nations consisted of 51 countries, including the major countries—except for the United States, which never joined the League. However, the United States adopted the identical wording of the Mandate for Palestine in a separate treaty with Great Britain in 1924. This treaty was unanimously ratified by the US Congress in 1925 and became U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 6.

The number of League of Nations members peaked at 58 countries in 1934.

After World War II and the league’s dissolution on April 19, 1946, the league was superseded by the United Nations. The UN Charter in Article 80, the so-called “Palestine article,” extended the application of the Mandate for Palestine by stating that “nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties” (emphasis added).

In other words, the Mandate for Palestine remains valid.

The Mandate originally gave the Jewish people all the land west and east of the Jordan River. However, the eastern Jewish land of Palestine was detached two months later to create Transjordan (the Kingdom of Jordan) in 1922. This, in fact, can be considered the original “two-state solution”—in 1922!

The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration materialized during World War I, following lobbying by the Zionist Organization. It was promulgated to garner Jewish support in the United States and Russia for the war effort, as well as to reward the Zionist Organization’s Chaim Weizmann for developing a form of acetone, a synthetic explosive.

On November 2, 1917, Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary under Prime Minister David Lloyd George, on behalf of the British cabinet, issued a statement of policy known as “the Balfour Declaration.” The declaration states that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

This was the first time that any government had recognized and maintained a policy of Jewish national rights to Palestine.

The Covenant of the League of Nations

The League of Nations was established in January 1920. The league’s covenant is the first part of the Treaty of Versailles signed in June 1919. It introduced the new concept of a “Mandate” or Trust to help former colonies and possessions achieve “self-determination” until they were ready for independence.

Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (the Mandates article) states:

Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.

The San Remo Conference Resolution

In April 1920, four of the Principal Allied Powers—Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, with the United States as an observer—met in San Remo, Italy, to deal with the former Turkish possessions of Palestine, Syria/Lebanon, and Mesopotamia (Iraq).

The Allied Powers at the San Remo Conference had heard presentations by both Jews and Arabs regarding their rights in Palestine. For the first time in over 1,800 years since Roman times, Palestine became a national legal entity, ending the longest colonization known in history by the Romans, Byzantines, Sassanid Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, and Turks.

The San Remo Conference:

  1. Approved the final framework of a peace treaty with Turkey (later signed at Sèvres in August 1920 and replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923), abolished the Ottoman Empire, and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa.

  2. Created the three Class A Mandates for: (i) Palestine, (ii) Syria/Lebanon, and (iii) Mesopotamia (Iraq.)

  3. Incorporated the full text of the Balfour Declaration into their resolution regarding the proposed Mandate for Palestine, which included the entire area of Palestine, the territory that became the modern states of Israel and Jordan.

The Palestine Mandate

On July 24, 1922, the League of Nations Council or Executive Body approved the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, thereby recognizing the Jewish people as the future owners of Palestine.

This document consists of two parts:

  1. The Mandate for Palestine; and

  2. A note by the secretary-general of the League of Nations relating to its application to the territory then known as Trans-Jordan under the provisions of Article 25, incorporating and approving Britain’s Memorandum.

The Mandate’s preambular provisions, far from being a mere series of declarations legally incorporated into Article 2 of the Mandate, cite five important stipulations:

  1. Whereas the Principal Allied Powers [Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, which adopted the San Remo Resolution] have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 [the Mandates article] of the Covenant of The League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers [Britain, as will be seen below] the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them [later there were adjustments to the border with Lebanon, the headwaters of the Jordan River, the Golan Heights, a slice of land in the Sinai, and the loss of Eastern Palestine across the Jordan River];

  2. Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory [Britain] should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917 [the Balfour Declaration], by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine [all of Palestine?—yes, under the international legal principle of uti possidetis juris] of a national home [a State or just a “home?”—a State: this was the entire purpose of the Mandate System especially for the three “Class A” Mandates], it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine [note that there is no mention of recognition of national or political rights of these other communities];

  3. Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine [both the Jews and the Arabs presented their cases at the San Remo Conference; the Principal Allied Powers accepted the Jews’ case] and to the grounds

    for reconstituting their national home in that country [note the use of the important word “reconstituting,” not “creating”; after being dispossessed for many centuries, the Jewish people were restored as the sole surviving, indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel deserving of self-determination and a reconstituted state; the Mandate for Palestine was actually sui generis (or one of a kind) compared with the Mandates for Syria/Lebanon and Iraq in that its national beneficiaries were the 14 million Jews worldwide rather than the local inhabitants];

  4. Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory [Trustee] for Palestine [the Jews at the time, based on the Balfour Declaration and other pro-Zionist government sentiment in Britain and the conquest of Palestine by British general Allenby, favored Britain to be the Mandatory, there being no other choice];

  5. Whereas His Britannic Majesty has accepted the mandate in respect of Palestine and undertaken to exercise it on behalf of the League of Nations [note that this was the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, not the British Mandate for Palestine as it is commonly misnamed; Britain was to be the administrator or the midwife to the birth of the Jewish state—not its new colonial master or the promoter of an Arab state in Palestine in its place, which unfortunately occurred]….

The Operative Terms of the Mandate

Six articles relate specifically to the Jewish people’s legal claim to ownership of the Land of Israel under the Mandate:

Article 2. The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions [“Jewish national home” in the context of the covenant’s Article 22 discussing “provisionally independent” states ultimately means a Jewish state; “the development of self-governing institutions” is necessary for this goal]…. (emphasis added)

Article 4. An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine.… (emphasis added)

There is no mention of a comparable Arab organization.

The Zionist organization…shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the

co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home [the Zionist Organization is specifically mentioned as is the prospect of this organization securing the cooperation of all Jews worldwide for the establishment of the Jewish National Home; this includes later Jewish immigration to Palestine (see Article 6)]. (emphasis added)

Article 5. The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power [the permanent inalienability of the Land of Israel in favor of the Jewish people is underscored by this article].

Article 6. “The Administration of Palestine…shall facilitate Jewish

immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State land and waste lands not required for public purposes” [Britain as Mandatory is to “facilitate” Jewish immigration and not to restrict it as ultimately occurred; Britain is to “encourage” Jewish close settlement of the land including state and waste lands owned by the previous Turkish government; no such right is given to the Arabs]. (emphasis added)

Article 7. “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting

a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine” [nationality and citizenship are attributes of nationhood; Britain is to facilitate Jewish citizenship; there is no mention of Arab citizenship]. (emphasis added)

Article 11. The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate…any public works, services and utilities, and to develop any of the natural resources of the country.… (emphasis added)

It is clear from the provisions of the Mandate that the states that were members of the League of Nations, constituting the then international community, made explicit legal promises to the Jewish people establishing the Mandate for the purpose of guiding the “provisionally independent” area of Palestine into full statehood.

Accordingly, any claim that the Mandate for Palestine does not recognize Jewish national rights to the Land of Israel has no basis in fact or law.

By the same token, all the other 13 Class A and Class B Mandates became states and there exists no question as to the validity of their existence and borders.

The Detachment of Eastern Palestine to Transjordan

Some 78 percent of the Mandate for Palestine was the territory of Eastern Palestine initially included in the Mandate for Palestine on July 24, 1922.

However, at the time of the Mandate a deal had already developed whereby Britain had decided to give Eastern Palestine to the Hashemite Emir Abdullah bin al-Hussein as a reward for his and his family’s rebelling against the Turks in World War I.

It was for purposes of legally positioning itself against the French that Britain first included Eastern Palestine in the Mandate with an option to detach it. Two months later, on September 13, 1922, Eastern Palestine was detached as the Mandate of Trans-Jordan with Abdullah as king.

Note by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations regarding Transjordan

The second document composing the July 24, 1922, Mandate for Palestine, the “Note by the Secretary-General,” relates to the Mandate’s application to the territory then known as Trans-Jordan under the provisions of Article 25 of the Mandate. It states:

In the territories lying between Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations to postpone or withhold applications of such provisions of this Mandate…. (emphasis added)

The British clearly envisioned severing Eastern Palestine from Western Palestine for their own political reasons.

Britain submitted a Memorandum to the secretary-general, incorporated in the Note, inviting the League of Nations Council to pass a resolution that the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine “are not applicable to the territory known as Trans-Jordan….”

Trans-Jordan is described as “all territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba on the Gulf of that name up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk; thence up the center of that river to the Syrian Frontier.”

The Memorandum further states: “His Majesty’s Government accepts full responsibility as Mandatory for Trans-Jordan.…”

The Note was approved by the Council of the League of Nations on the same day as the Mandate for Palestine: July 24, 1922. It went into effect two months later on September 23, 1922.

“Two-State Solution”

Despite the fact that the Zionist Organization had presented to the San Remo Conference a map including land about 10 miles east of the Jordan River, up to the tracks of the Hejaz Railway, in which part of the biblical 12 Tribes of Israel (Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh) had dwelled, as well as land on the Golan Heights, in Lebanon south of the Litani River, and in a part of the Sinai, the outcome of the Mandate instrument was that Eastern Palestine or Transjordan was separated from the Mandate for Palestine.

Nowhere in the Mandate for Palestine were Jews excluded from Jerusalem, Judea, or Samaria nor were Arabs given any land in Western Palestine located west of the Jordan River. But Jews were not allowed to settle in or become citizens of

Transjordan, which ultimately became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Similarly, despite the fact that the states that were members of the League of Nations had recognized in the Mandate that the Jewish people had the best claim to the land located on both sides of the Jordan River, they decided to reward and appease the Arabs by transferring 78 percent of the land promised to the Jews in Eastern Palestine to Emir Abdullah bin al-Hussein, who later became King Abdullah.

Thus, the Mandate for Palestine gave original, biblical Jewish land located east of the Jordan River to the Arabs, in what could indeed be described as the original “two-state solution,” while returning to the Jewish people the land west of the Jordan River including all of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria for their national home.

The Jordan River thus became the clear boundary between Israel and Jordan.

In light of the fact that the nations of the world seek today to once again divide Jewish land in a second “two-state solution,” it is perhaps necessary, before advocating and considering other solutions, to acknowledge and give appropriate weight to the context of the original “two-state solution” for Palestine as incorporated in the Mandate for Palestine.

This is necessary especially in light of the legitimate historical claims of the Jewish people to the land in its entirety. Advocating a new “two-state solution” that would further divide the Land of Israel could be interpreted as being tantamount to ignoring and rejecting Jewish historical rights on the part of those advocating it, and a tacit waiver by Israel of its deep-rooted historical rights, for which Jews have yearned and struggled over the centuries.

Interim Conclusion

From biblical times Palestine was always Jewish land. The name “Jew” comes from “Judea.” After the failure of the Jewish Revolt led by Bar Kochba in 136 CE, the Roman emperor Hadrian de-Judaized the name of the Land of Israel, calling it “Syria-Palestina” as an insulting reminder of the long-defunct Philistines, originally a seafaring people who were the archenemies of the Jews and who disappeared from history more than 700 years earlier in 604 BCE.

As stated above, any concept of peace must be based on truth. There can be no peace based on falsehoods. Solutions cannot be built on lies and misconceptions.

As is evident from the factual history of the Palestine Mandate, the Jewish people and the State of Israel have consistently been denied their rights as promised in the international documentation.

This is presently being compounded by the utterly false narrative set out above, currently being circulated by the Palestinian leadership and accepted by the international community. It is to be hoped that the realization of Israel’s historical and legal rights will be duly respected and honored.

Accordingly, and in answer to the basic questions posed above as to whether the international community made promises to the Jewish people in the Mandate for Palestine, the answer is clearly in the affirmative.

As to the question whether these promises were kept by the British as Mandatory and by the international community, which still falsely claims and considers that Israel is an illegal occupier, the answer is clearly negative.

To the question whether Jews have tragically suffered as a result of the failure of the international community to honor its promises, the answer is in the affirmative.

Regarding the question whether the Jewish people could trust the promises of the international community in any future solution to the Israel–Palestine Issue, the answer would be resoundingly negative in light of the fact that the prior promises and commitments have not been honored.

In light of the tragic history of the Jewish people, a history of oppression,

ill-treatment and discrimination, accompanied by ongoing hatred, antisemitism, and attempted genocide, the Jews have a moral right to know that international promises and assurances to reconstitute their ancient national home are indeed genuine.

In this context, the international community is obliged to preserve Jewish dignity and honor and to stand by its commitment to recognizing the Jewish legal, historical, and national rights encapsulated in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

The Status of the Land of Israel in Islamic Sharia Law

The role of Islam may be considered the “elephant in the room” in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and its importance is ignored by Western commentators and analysts.

In fact, the Palestinians have displayed complete intransigence in negotiating with Israel about any final resolution of the Israel–Palestine issue. They rejected every peace initiative, including the two negotiations held in the United States by Ehud Barak of Israel with Yasser Arafat in July 2000 and by Ehud Olmert with Mahmoud Abbas in November 2007.

The Palestinian side made no counteroffers to the generous and flexible terms for peace offered by the Israeli leaders in both cases. The reasoning for this is rooted in Islamic sharia law.

The Koran, sura 2, verse 191, states: “Drive them out from where they drove you out.” This divine commandment from Allah has been consistently interpreted by Muslim scholars for 1,400 years to mean that once land is conquered or otherwise obtained by Muslims, it must remain Muslim land forever. Not a single inch of it can be retained by or returned to the infidels. This is the injunction of Allah in the Koran.

Since Caliph Umar’s Muslim army conquered Palestine in 636 CE, the area was under continuous Muslim control up until the institution of the Mandate for Palestine in 1923—with the exception of the 188-year Crusader Period from 1099 to 1187 CE.

As observed by Bar-Ilan University professor Mordechai Kedar, Islamic conquest of land is a “one-way ticket.” Land can enter Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam), but it can never exit. For Muslims, according to the Koran, the Land of Israel has been and continues to be Muslim land from 636 CE until the present.

When Yasser Arafat returned from the Camp David negotiations with Ehud Barak, he was asked by an Arab journalist in Arabic why he walked away from the talks. He replied, “Because the Israelis would not give us 100 percent!” Arafat knew that if he had agreed to give up claims to any part of Palestine by recognizing the State of Israel, his life would have been in danger for contravening Koran sura 2, verse 191.

The Palestinian adviser on Islam who is also the supreme sharia judge of the Palestinian Authority has stated that the entire land of Palestine is a Waqf (an inalienable religious endowment under Islamic law). Therefore, it is prohibited for Muslims to sell, bestow ownership, or facilitate the occupation of even a millimeter of Palestine by non-Muslims.11

The Hamas Covenant, Article 11 (1988), adopts the same position: “The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the Land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.”12

This is the basis for the Palestinian claim to all the land “from the river to the sea.”

Thus, any further partition of the land would likely only lead to further demands for additional partitions later until the Palestinians, pursuant to the requirement of the Koran, have 100 percent.

In light of this Islamic viewpoint, the question arises as to why was Israel able to make peace with both Egypt and Jordan.

Both countries took the position that their responsibility was to regain every inch of Muslim land they had previously controlled within their respective borders. They succeeded in this endeavor inasmuch as that was the price of peace that Israel was willing to pay. Egypt, Jordan, and the other Arab League members decided it was up to the Palestinians to secure the land on which Israel exists.

Under the internationally recognized Mandate for Palestine, which constitutes a legitimate instrument of international law, it is very clear that the Land of Israel is given to the Jewish people. However, under Islamic sharia law, the reverse is the case inasmuch as the land is Muslim land forever.

As to the question of whether there could be any way to reconcile these two positions, the answer is regrettably negative. Islamic jurists will never accept that an instrument of international law could supersede immutable sharia law given by Allah in the Koran.

Thus, in all likelihood, Israel and the Palestinian Muslims will continue to be in a perpetual deadlock on this issue.

In view of such a dismal prognostication, Professor Kedar has advised that Israel must always maintain “invincible” military capabilities. If so, the Palestinian Muslims, who will never give up their position that they own all the land “from the river to the sea,” may decide that the timing is not right for today’s generation (and hopefully for future generations) to fulfill this Islamic commandment.

However, the Hamas terror organization evidently decided that the time was ripe to realize their ultimate designs, in the most brutal and tragic manner.

The Israel–Hamas War

At 6:30 a.m. on October 7, 2023, more than 3,000 Gaza-based Hamas jihadist terrorists launched a war, which they called the Al-Aqsa Flood, against Israel. Attacking 22 Jewish civilian communities and a number of Israeli army outposts in southern Israel, they killed more than 1,200 people and captured more than 240 hostages. They maimed, burned, beheaded, tortured, raped, and terrorized Israeli civilians and soldiers.

In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and sent its military forces into Gaza.

From the first days of this conflict, and totally ignoring the utter brutality, cruelty, and fanaticism of the Hamas terrorists, calls went out from campuses in North America and Europe and from the streets of major capital cities throughout the world condemning Israel‘s actions in response to the October 7 massacre, while crying, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!”

This statement is a call for the complete destruction of the State of Israel and its citizens.

The actions by the Hamas terrorists against Israel and its civilian population, as well as this outrageous international campaign on campuses and in the streets, orchestrated by Hamas and supported by Iran, clearly reflect the enhanced Islamist propaganda calling for eliminating the Jews (as well as the Christians and all other non-Muslims) from the State of Israel (and the world) in accordance with the ultimate dream of jihad.

One may well ask: Where is the outrage from the non-Islamic world emphasizing Israel’s right to exist in the borders set out in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and the international legal doctrine of uti possidetis juris?

Similarly, one may ask: Where is the international community’s understanding that under Islamic sharia law the Land of Israel has no legal standing because it constitutes land conquered by Caliph Umar’s armies in 676 CE, which, under Koran sura 2, verse 191, became Islamic sovereign land forever?

It is high time that the international community take urgent and assertive action to make very clear to those elements in the Muslim world that international law trumps sharia law and, as shown above, supports the legality of the State of Israel in its boundaries set in 1922 including Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).

If, whether through fear of the Muslims or through political correctness, the international community continues to prevaricate and to sit by passively, rather than to actively and assertively restrain the Muslim dreams of global jihad, then it is highly likely that the severe violence and cruelty exhibited by Hamas against Israel will be copied and multiplied, and extended to Europe, the Americas, and beyond.

* * *

Notes

  1. This includes recent statements by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken criticizing Israel’s settlements; see https://il.usembassy.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-at-a-press-availability/ and https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/31/blinken-criticises-settlements-but-stresses-support-for-israel.↩︎

  2. https://www.gov.il/en/Departments/General/israel-plo-interim-agreements-since-1993.↩︎

  3. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/res181.asp↩︎

  4. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/balfour.asp↩︎

  5. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp.↩︎

  6. Howard Grief, https://www.algemeiner.com/2011/09/22/article-80-and-the-un-recognition-of-a-%E2%80%9Cpalestinian-state%E 2%80%9D/ , September 22, 2011.↩︎

  7. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/text-of-the-balfour-declaration.↩︎

  8. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-san-remo-conference.↩︎

  9. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp.↩︎

  10. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/829707?ln=en&v=pdf↩︎

  11. al-Hayat al-Jadida (official Palestinian Authority daily), October 22, 2014, translation by Palestinian Media Watch.↩︎

  12. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.↩︎