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July 24, 2012 2:05 pm

The Mandate For Palestine Still Matters, 90 Years Later

avatar by Eli Hertz

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The front page of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan memorandum. Photo: wiki commons.

Israelis and friends of the Jewish State alike are accustomed to the never-ending scorn the United Nations heaps on the Middle East’s only free democracy, never mind its desire for peace with all of its Arab neighbors. It may seem unfathomable that the very same institution was ultimately responsible for the creation of Israel nearly 65 years ago.

Today marks the 90th anniversary that the League of Nations, the forerunner of the UN, that published the legally binding document the “Mandate for Palestine.” The Mandate’s roots can be traced to the founding of modern Zionism in August 1897 and the Balfour Declaration of November 1917.

After witnessing the spread of anti-Semitism around the world, Theodor Herzl felt compelled to create a political movement with the goal of establishing a Jewish National Home in historic Palestine, and assembled the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. During World War I, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour simply expressed Great Britain’s view with favor for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

In contrast, the Mandate is the multilateral binding agreement which laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in the geographical area called Palestine, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law.

The Mandate was not a naive vision briefly embraced by the international community. The entire League of Nations – 51 countries – unanimously declared on that July 24th, 1922: “Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

Washington went a step further: In September of that year, President Warren Harding signed the Lodge-Fish Joint Resolution, which had passed both Houses of Congress without dissent, which read, “Favors the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people.”

The Mandate clearly differentiates between political rights referring to Jewish self-determination as an emerging polity—and civil and religious rights, referring to guarantees of equal personal freedoms to non-Jewish residents as individuals and within select communities. Not once are Arabs as a people mentioned in the Mandate for Palestine. Nowhere in the document is there any granting of political rights to Arabs.

Article 5 of the Mandate clearly states that “The Mandatory [Great Britain] 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 territory of Palestine was exclusively assigned for the Jewish National Home.

Article 6 states that “the Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, 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 lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

Accordingly, this article makes clear that Jewish settlements are not only permissible, but actually encouraged. Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the West Bank) are perfectly legal. The use of the phrase “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is a disingenuous term that misleads the international community, while encouraging Palestinian Arabs, with the right to use all measures to attack Israel, including the use of terrorism.

The Mandate was subsequently protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter that recognizes the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments including those adopted by the League of Nations. The International Court of Justice has consistently recognized that the Mandate survived the demise of the League of Nations.

Legal arguments aside, it is worth noting that the Arabs never established a Palestinian state when the UN in 1947 recommended to partition Palestine, and to establish “an Arab and a Jewish state” – not a Palestinian state, it should be noted. Nor did the Arab countries recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when the West Bank was under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control. Nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for autonomy, independence, or self-determination during those years.

Political right to self-determination as a polity for Arabs, were guaranteed by the League of Nations, in four other mandates: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Trans-Jordan.

Any attempt to negate the Jewish people’s rights to Palestine, and to deny them access and control in the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations, is in serious conflict with the Mandate’s legal framework, set up on this date 90 years ago.

Until the United Nations remembers and accepts these obligations, a genuine peace between an Israeli government and its Arab neighbors is likely to remain elusive.

This article originally appeared on Breitbart.com.

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  • Rajae El-Temawi

    Though the statements you wrote are accurate you are not telling the whole story. Should those people who lived in the area between the Sea and the River hve to live with the outcome of governments and poltiical powers houses that they had no control over. The village people and those who knew but had no say were never asked and never wanted to be taken over by European Jews. They were first controlled by the Turks, then the British and now the European Jews. All of them by force. Decision were made by a select few and now the average person, whether you want to call them Palestinian, Israeli Arabs, Turks, Arabs or whatever label we might give them. They lived there and have lived there for a very long time, at least back until the Ottamon Empire conquered it over a five hundred years ago. Isnt that enough time to say that these people have a right to stay in their own autonomus state? All that matters is that there are 5 mil ar so people who call themselves one group and want autonmy and given our legal and moral values of this time they deserve it. I know it is more complicated then this but to say that since the British had the right to give this land to another group of people just because they won it in a war, is not right morally. 5 mil people screaming help should be heard.

  • kevobx

    The definition of the word mandate, means Pope? Man puts the dates on his history, but the white red blooded nation sold off their birthrights. Age is the true blessing, it explains why people lie about their own age, they are all ashamed of themselves. The second amendment was written for the Angelo Saxon during slavery times! Thou, is the white man in the Bible who loves art, his images! God is he, and Satan is him. Eternal life and eternal fire awaits. It’s the white man vs the twelves tribes of Israel, this is the make up of the entire world (Isaiah 49:5) Black, makes all the different shades of man. Incest is the state of Israel, see Lot’s daughters! Slavery is taking away ones heritage, and replacing it with culture. Who wrote all of the American laws? Did the Fore fathers lie? (Acts 7:51) So that makes God a liar?

  • Marcelo

    This is an excellent summary of Israel’s legal and historical rights in all of Palestine. Should be mandatory reading for all who wish to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s a shame that many Jews are oblivious to these facts.

  • Fredric M. London

    If only someone would reprint this article in a mainstream newspaper and/or magazine.