© 2009 Justice Now! All rights reserved.
Office for Israeli Constitutional Law (Reg. Amuta: 58-035-937-0)
Post Office Box 367 Beni Yehuda, 12944 Israel
FAQs: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: The UN does not agree that Israel has a right to be in the West Bank. How can you say Israel does have that right which is in defiance of the United Nations?
A: Israel's borders under international law were determined more than twenty years prior to the establishment of the United Nations. The UN adopted the Mandate for Palestine in 1945. These borders remain the legal borders, and they include all of Judea and Samaria (the land the Jordanians called the West Bank in 1948) as well as all of Jerusalem.
Despite the many UN resolutions against Israel, no legal action has or can revoke Israel's legal title to the land.
Q: What exactly are Israel's legal borders under International law?
A: Israel's legal borders are based on land that was controlled by the Jewish people during the First and Second Temple. The language used at San Remo and in the border convention is "From Dan to Beersheba," the description used for the National borders many times throughout the Bible. By the time the borders were delineated in the December 1920 Franco-British Boundary Convention, the British and French managed to cut significant amounts of land from the borders, in violation of previous agreements of the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers who were the disposing agents of the land under international law.
However, the borders administered by the Mandate clearly set all of Judea and Samaria (the WEst Bank), Jerusalem, Gaza, and Trans-Jordan as part of the Jewish National Home of Palestine, with all the rights of close settlement.
Q: The UN has never recognized Israel's annexation of Jerusalem. Isn't this proof that Israel has no right to be on this Palestinian land?
The Mandate is clearly international law. It has never been challenged. Jerusalem is within the borders (and the heart) of the Mandate. Whether Israel annexes Jerusalem does not change the law. Legal title to Jerusalem belongs to Israel. Any UN resolutions subsequently passed does not change the border. That is not within the authority or jurisdiction of the United Nations.
Q: Your organization states that one of its goals is to stop the Obama administration from pressuring Israel to freeze settlement construction and give up land. Do you think the President of the United States will actually change his foreign policy because of the demands of an Israeli grass roots organization?
The US signed a treaty with Great Britain in 1924. The 1924 Anglo-American Treaty listed the rights of American citizens living in Palestine under the Mandate. Included in that treaty was the text of the Mandate, including the prohibition against ceding Jewish National land and stating the rights of Jewish settlement anywhere in Palestine.
Though the treaty itself expired with the Mandate midnight, May 15, 1948, the rights granted by the treaty are still in force. These rights are guaranteed through the treaty. The US Constitution (Article VI Clause 2) calls a treaty the "Supreme Law of the Land." The Constitution authorizes the courts to force the executive officers and legislators to abide by the country's treaties. The President cannot ignore a court ruling. If he would do so, he would be held in contempt of court. He could no longer serve as president.
The President does not have the authority to adopt a foreign policy that violates existing treaties.
Q: In 1947, the UN partitioned Palestine into two States. Israel accepted resolution 181. Shouldn't the UN defined borders be accepted as international law?
The Partition Plan (General Assembly Resolution 181) is a plan, not a law. It was a bilateral agreement. The Jews agreed, but the Arabs did not. Unilateral acceptance of a bilateral deal invalidates the deal. With the deal being invalid, the land would stay in the hands of whomever holds the title-the Jewish National Home.
The Zionists accepted the Partition Plan under duress. Hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors were in displaced persons camps in Europe, and Jewish leaders were desperate to bring them home without delay. Accepting the Partition seemed to be the only way to get the British with their illegal White Paper immigration restrictions out of the Holy Land. Once the duress was off, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion disavowed any obligation to the Partition Plan.
Q: How can you claim the entire Cis-Jordan (the land west of the Jordan River)belongs to Israel? The Palestine Mandate never designated the whole mandated territory, nor its whole Cis-Jordan part to become the Jewish homeland. Doing so would have contradicted its own reservations regarding the rights of the non-Jewish population, in making them subservient to the minority Jewish population.
A: Actually, the Mandate does grant to the Jewish National Home all of Cis-Jordan (the land west of the Jordan River) and Trans-Jordan (today the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). There is no mention whatsoever in the Mandate about establishing an Arab state in Palestine. The Mandate, however, does protect the civil and religious rights of non-Jews living in Palestine. Those rights are individual;not collective. In other words, it grants them the rights of any minority living in a democratic state, but not the right to have their own autonomous country. There are regions in the United States that have an Hispanic majority. This does not entitle the Hispanic community to have their own independent Hispanic state.
It was realized from the start that the Mandate for Palestine was different. In order to end the Mandate, Jews were to become the majority in Palestine. This was expected to take around a decade to achieve. The British as administrators of the Mandate, were obligated to assist with Jewish immigration. Unfortunately, the British did not carry out their obligation with due diligence, they violated their obligations by passing illegal laws limiting Jewish immigration, while ignoring illegal Arab immigration.
The Mandate system created three Arab states (Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria). The Mandate for Palestine was solely to establish the Jewish state of Palestine, which was renamed the State of Israel in 1948.
The Arab delegation at the 1919 Paris Conference, under the leadership of Emir Feisal I, fully supported the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, and said the Arabs had no claims for Palestine as part of the Arab Nation.
Q: The mandate does not grant the Jews a state-it only grants them a homeland, a place where they can immigrate and settle under the governance of the Mandatory Great Britain. How can you say the Mandate is for the express purpose of establishing a Jewish country in Palestine?
A: Actually, the Mandate does grant the Jews a state. The terminology "Jewish National Home" was borrowed from wording from a declaration at the first Zionist Congress. The French also tried to make the argument that "Jewish National Home" did not mean a country. They were afraid that a Bolshevik state would arise in the Middle East, and they wanted to control the Roman Catholic sites in Palestine. The British reminded the French that a state was indeed the intent of the Supreme Council of the Principle Allied Powers.
You use the description, "...under the governance of the Mandatory Great Britain." you are forgetting, the British were only authorized to govern Palestine for the purpose of fulfilling the obligations of the Mandate. The end goal of the Mandate was the reconstitution of an independent Jewish state called Palestine. Once the Jewish State was established, the British could not legally govern the Jewish National Home.
Furthermore, the Mandate for Palestine was part of the Mandate System. The only purpose of the Mandate system was to set up governments. The only beneficiary named in the Mandate is the Jewish National Home. There is no one else who could be the recipient of Palestine according to the Mandate. It cannot mean a Jewish cultural center. There is no reason to set an act of international law to establish a "cultural center." Indeed, if the intent was to set up a country club instead of a country, why would the Mandate list borders, rights of settlement, assistance for immigration and citizenship, and all the systems needed for governing?
Q: Didn't the United Nations, the successor organization of the League of Nations overturn the Mandate?
A: No. The United Nations never overturned the Mandate. You may hear propaganda that claims otherwise, but the Mandate itself was fulfilled and expired as of midnight, May 14/15, 1948. What allowed the Mandate to expire was the establishment of the Jewish State and the British receiving the UN's authority to turn over its authority in Palestine. The rights of the Mandate are still law. Though the Mandate itself ended, the UN never canceled nor has the authority to cancel the mandated rights.
Q: How do you explain why the alleged objectives of the Mandate are
still applicable, but the newer objectives of the UN are void?
A: The rights granted by the Mandate are international law and are permanent. They were granted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers. The British (who were members of the Principal Allied Powers) captured Palestine from the Turks. Until the 1919 Geneva Conventions, right of conquest was international law.
So, the Supreme Council agreed that they would not keep the lands captured from the Turkish and German empires for themselves, but rather set up rightful governments in these lands.
Neither the League of Nations nor the United Nations has the right to make countries or change the law. Even though the United Nations Security Council's resolutions are considered international law, the Security Council must base their resolutions on existing law. If the resolutions violate existing law, the resolutions cannot be legally binding.
Q: If Justice Now! brings legal action to force the United Nations to recognize existing international law, as you claim, can't the UN nullify the San Remo Resolution and the borders from the Mandate?
A: Two No's to this question: First, No, the UN Treaty Manual will not let them do this. Secondly, No, the doctrine of estoppel keeps the United Nations from doing this legally. That is not to say that they cannot do it politically, as they have done in the past. The Law is unique.... The UN could do anything (legally or not) and then the State of Israel could do nothing about this issue, and it would
Q: Israel signed the Road Map to Peace with the Palestinian Autority. How can you expect the world to respect Israel's treaty rights when Israel is not honoring the rights of the Palestinians via the Road Map?
A: The first question that needs to be asked is what is the Road Map to Peace? The Second question that needs to be asked, is what exactly is a treaty? This is a long complex question. Click here for the detailed
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