Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Video: San Remo And The Legality Of Israel's Borders And Of The Settlements

he 1920 San Remo resolution addresses the fundamental issue of Israel's right to the land.

The following is a video of the conference last year in San Remo marking the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference--where the world powers transferred exclusive legal rights to the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.

By way of explanation see “Mandate for Palestine” The Legal Aspects of Jewish Rights by Eli Hertz, where he writes:
The “Mandate for Palestine,” an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000-square-miles area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries, and became operational on September 29, 1923.5

The “Mandate for Palestine” was not a naive vision briefly embraced by the international community in blissful unawareness of Arab opposition to the very notion of Jewish historical rights in Palestine. The Mandate weathered the test of time: On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved and its assets and duties transferred to the United Nations, the international community, in essence, reaffirmed the validity of this international accord and reconfirmed that the terms for a Jewish National Home were the will of the international community, a “sacred trust” – despite the fact that by then it was patently clear that the Arabs opposed a Jewish National Home, no matter what the form.
Hertz explains the difference between the "Mandate for Palestine" and the British Mandate, which are two separate things--the authority of the latter being turned over to the UN, while the former was transferred to the UN, without its authority being terminated.

Furthermore, the Mandate for Palestine, as approved by the League of Nations, and still in force under the UN explicitly differentiated between then-Palestine for the reestablishment of the Jewish homeland, while Lebanon, Syria, Iraq--and later Trans-Jordan--were set aside for the Arabs under separate mandates:
The “Mandate for Palestine” 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.” At no point in the entire document is there any granting of political rights to non-Jewish entities (i.e., Arabs). Article 2 of the “Mandate for Palestine” explicitly states that the Mandatory should:

“... 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, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.”

Political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs were guaranteed by the League of Nations in four other mandates – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and later Trans-Jordan [today Jordan].

International law expert Professor Eugene V. Rostow, examining the claim for Arab Palestinian self-determination on the basis of law, concluded:

“… the mandate implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent ‘natural law’ claim to the area. Neither customary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own.”
Bottom line: any argument about the existence of legality of the State of Israel--as well as the legality of the Jewish settlements--that does not take into account and address the San Remo conference and the Mandate for Palestine cannot be considered a complete legal argument of international law.

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