Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

David Singer On The Palestine Mandate As Israel's Entitlement To Claim West Bank Sovereignty

Here's Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer's latest article via the antipodean J-Wire service.  It's entitled "Palestine – Jews and Arabs, the Mandate and the Law".

Writes David Singer:

'The Levy Commission’s resurrection of the Mandate for Palestine as the legal title deed establishing Israel’s entitlement to claim sovereignty in the West Bank has come 48 years after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) first tried to bury it.

A member of the Levy Commission – Alan Baker – stated this week that the three Commissioners were:
"legal experts examining a legal situation and making legally oriented recommendations".
Two short statements made by the PLO in 1964 and 1968 had attempted to negate the unanimous decision of the League of Nations in 1922 to grant the Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain to enable the Jewish People to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in any part of former Palestine.

Those statements also became the opening shots in an ongoing and concerted Arab campaign of misinformation and disinformation to denigrate and vilify  the Jewish People’s entitlement to its own state in its ancient and biblical homeland.  They provide potent evidence to explain why the conflict between Arabs and Jews still remains unresolved in 2012.

The first statement – in 1964 – appeared in Article 18 of the Palestinian National Covenant:
"The Balfour  Declaration, the Mandate system  and all that have been based upon them are considered fraud"
The second – in 1968 – followed the loss of the West Bank by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Article 18  was replaced by Article 20 in a revamped document – the Palestinian National Charter – to declare:
"The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based on them are deemed null and void."
The change – from  the "Mandate system" being "fraud" – to the "Mandate for Palestine" being "null and void" – was deliberate.

The "Mandate system" – in the form of the Mandates for Syria and Lebanon and Mesopotamia (Iraq)  – had delivered self-determination for the Arabs and the creation of three sovereign Arab states. To continue to declare the Mandate system a "fraud"  would undermine the sovereign integrity of those Arab states.

The Mandate for Palestine was solely targeted. It was no longer a "fraud" – it was "null and void".

In one fell swoop the Arabs had dismissed as "null and void" not only the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine – but also the resolutions of the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, article 80 of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and Security Council resolution 242 in 1967.
[Emphasis added]

Such double standards and hypocrisy seem to have escaped the international community or to have been deliberately overlooked by it. [Emphasis added]

The Arabs were perfectly entitled to ignore this body of international law if they wished  – but they should have been forced to pay a high price for doing so in the form of suspension from membership of the United Nations and its other organs – until they acknowledged and agreed to accept the rule of law in the conduct of international relations between member states of the UN.

Instead, the international community pandered to the whim of these serial law-deniers for a variety of  reasons – mainly oil, terrorism and geopolitical jockeying for influence in the Arab world.

Ignoring Israel’s legal rights under the Mandate at the United Nations has proved disastrous for the cause of peace in the Middle East, has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Arabs, and has wreaked untold suffering and trauma on millions of others.
[Emphasis added]

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its 2004 decision on the legality of Israel‘s security barrier, gave an air of legal respectability to the irrelevance of the Mandate – referring to it only once in the following statement.
"Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the First World War, a class A. Mandate for Palestine was entrusted to Great Britain by the League of Nations,pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Covenant, which provided that:
 '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.'"
That this statement was demonstrably wrong was made clear by the following statement in the Palestine Royal Commission Report of 1937 – following its exhaustive consideration of the Mandate for Palestine: 
"The Mandate is of a different type from the Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and the draft Mandate for ‘Iraq. These latter, which were called for convenience “A” Mandates, accorded with the fourth paragraph of Article 22. Thus the Syrian Mandate provided that the government should be based on an organic law which should take into account the rights,interests and wishes of all the inhabitants,and that measures should be enacted "to facilitate the progressive development of Syria and the Lebanon as independent States".
 The corresponding sentences of the draft Mandate for ‘Iraq’ were the same. In compliance with them National Legislatures were established in due course on an elective basis.
Article I of the Palestine Mandate, on the other hand, vests "full powers of legislation and of administration", within the limits of the Mandate, in the Mandatory.'
The Commission further asserted:
"Jews were admitted to be in Palestine by right. The little Jewish minority was to be helped to grow by immigration. To facilitate the establishment of the Jewish National Home was a binding international obligation on the Mandatory."
It also made clear:
"The Mandate also imposed specific obligations towards the Arabs.Their civil and religious rights and their position as affected by immigration and land-settlement were not to be prejudiced."
Notably absent in the Mandate was any mention of the Arabs in Palestine having any political rights. For the ICJ to summarily dismiss the Mandate and make the fundamental error it did in just one sentence shows how successful the campaign begun by the Arabs 40 years earlier had become.The ICJ decision has since been used as a whipping post at the United Nations to deny that Israel has any rights in international law to be and remain in the West Bank.

The Levy Committee has reversed that downward spiral and identified the Mandate for Palestine as the legal basis for any decisions taken by Israel aimed at resolving the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs.

Hopefully the nations of the world will now sit up and take notice.'

Crossposted from here


  1. Mr. Singer leaves out a few steps in his conclusion of Jewish Sovereignty.
    I agree with his conclusion but first one has to take the following path to get there and not just equate the right to settle as the right of sovereignty. Without these steps the Jewish People could not settle on public but only on private land that they must purchase.
    1. The Palestine Mandate was a trust agreement created to carry out the policy of the Balfour Declaration. That document doesn't fully explain the purpose of the settlors of the trust. The settlors, the Allied Principal War Powers had won the territory in a defensive war and persuaded the Ottoman Empire to relinquish its rights in the territory. in the Treaty of Sevres, confirmed in the Treaty of Lausanne. The Allies had the right to annex all of Palestine. They wanted, however, to solve a persistent world problem they thought they could solve by recognizing 99% of the territory won from the Ottomans as subject to self-determination by its current Arab inhabitants. But because the Arabs had many states and the Jews had none, this had led to oppression of the Jews over the centuries. However they did not want to totally abandon the concept of self-determination of a "people". So they decided to place the collective political rights in trust, to vest when the Jewish people had attained a population majority and the capability of exercising sovereignty.
    2. This intention is not expressly stated in the Palestine Mandate. Why do you claim this was the purpose of the trust? Because evidence of the intention of the settlors is the lodestar to interpretation of a trust if it is judicially admissible. The evidence consists mainly of a Memorandum of the British Foreign Office of December 19, 1917 published in the month following the publication of the Balfour Declaration written by Toynbee and Namier that talks of this intention so that the Jewish government would not be antidemocratic. The Jewish people also wanted a democratic government and recognized that delay of self-government until the existence of a Jewish population majority would permit it to command obedience of the existing Arab population and protect the state against foreign aggressors. While the Jewish People would own a beneficial interest in the collective political rights the non-Jewish communities would have saved for them the individual political right to vote and other civil rights. Another part of the evidence consists of a proposal by an American academic group set up at the request of President Wilson called "the Inquiry" dated January 21, 1919 which also called for the Jewish People's right to set up a government and administer it was to wait until Palestine was "a Jewish state in fact".
    3. Is that enough to confer statehood on the Jewish People? No. They had to be recognized by other states but tacit recognition is sufficient. The intention to recognize a territory as a state in the future is sufficient for tacit recognition. A statement of this intention was included in the American Proposal - the British and likely all of the other 50 members of the League of Nations confirmed the proposal in 1922.
    Conclusion: The Jewish people not only have the right to settle in all of Palestine west of the Jordan, but also had sovereignty over it following June 1967. They had successfully defended a part of the trust res in 1948 and liberated the remainder in June, 1967

    1. Salubrius

      I read your comment with great interest.

      Your conclusion that the Jewish people have the right to settle in all of Palestine west of the Jordan under the Mandate is qualified by this statement by Winston Churchill in the 1922 White Paper:

      "Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become "as Jewish as England is English." His Majesty's Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.'"

      Further the Jews may have had sovereignty over Judea and Samaria after 1967 but the 1993 Oslo Accords changed that status by dividing it up into Areas "A" "B" and "C".

      What you and I commonly agree is that Israel has valid territorial claims in Judea and Samaria going back to 1920 that far outweigh the claims of the PLO which was only founded in 1964 and has refused to negotiate away one meter of its claim.

      That is not negotiating. That is committing political suicide