Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The 90th Anniversary Of The Palestine Mandate And The Rights It Grants To Jews In The Land

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Palestine Mandate, Eli E. Hertz, President of MythsAndFacts.org writes that the Mandate for Palestine Still Matters 90 Years Later.

As opposed to the Balfour Declaration, where British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour expressed Great Britain’s view with favor for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," The Mandate for Palestine is a legally binding agreement granting Jews the right to settle anywhere in that land--from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a agreement that is binding in accordance with international law.

Even today.
Hertz writes:
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.”
Read the whole thing.

The Palestinian Mandate draws a distinction between political rights pertaining to Jewish self-determination as an emerging polity on the one hand and the guarantees of equal personal freedoms to non-Jewish residents, as individuals and within select communities, on the other. The Arabs are never mentioned as a "people" in the Mandate for Palestine, nor are there any political rights to the Arabs living there mentioned.

Why should there be? After all, Arabs themselves did not define themselves as a distinct Palestinian people. More importantly, the League of Nations guaranteed political rights to self-determination for Arabs in four other mandates:
  • Lebanon and Syria [The French Mandate]
  • Iraq
  • TransJordan [The British Mandate]
The same League of Nations Mandate that guaranteed Arab self-determination where none existed in creating independent states in what was once the Ottoman Empire, gave the same equal rights to the Jews.

Two key Articles in the Mandate:
  • 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.”
Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate makes it clear that Jewish settlements are not only permissible but actually encouraged. According to the Mandate, Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the West Bank) are perfectly legal.

With the dissolution of the League of Nations and the founding of the United Nations, the Mandate was subsequently protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter. Article 80 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 itself has consistently recognized the fact that the legal authority of the Mandate continues under the United Nations.

It is worth noting the consistent disinterest that the Arabs have shown in creating their own Palestinian state:
  • The Arabs did not create a Palestinian state in 1947 when the UN recommended to partition Palestine, and establish "an Arab and a Jewish state"

  • The Arab countries did not recognize or establish a Palestinian state during the two decades before the Six-Day War while the West Bank was under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control.
The Palestinian Arabs did not make any effort towards autonomy, independence, or self-determination during that time.

Thus the use of the misleading phrase “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is inaccurate--and encourages Palestinian Arabs who use terrorism to attack Israel.

It is past time to recognize the legality of the Palestine Mandate and the rights granted Jews under international law.

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