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Letter to Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell
October 30, 2009
The Honorable George Mitchell, Special Middle East Envoy
Embassy of the United States
Hayarkon Street 71
Tel Aviv 63903
Dear Mr. Mitchell:
Since taking office in January, the Obama Administration has placed great focus on achieving a just solution to the Arab-Israel conflict. Our organization, the Office for Israeli Constitutional Law and the people we represent, Jewish Americans in Israel, would like to express our appreciation for your sincere efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israel and all her neighbors and inhabitants.
At the same time, we would like to express our concern that in pursuing these objectives, the United States is violating its signed agreements and treaties, and thus the oath of office, when you, as a senator, and President Obama swore to uphold the Constitution.
The current U.S. policy is leading the State of Israel farther and farther from the Jewish National Home as set forth under international law. Furthermore, it appears that you are in violation of the Anglo-American Treaty of 1924.
The British Government made a promise to the Jewish People in 1917, known as the Balfour Declaration. Thereafter, the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers of World War I agreed to "entrust the Mandate for Palestine to "His Britannic Majesty (Great Britain), as Mandatory, under the Mandates System authorized in Article 22 of the Covenant of the "League of Nations. The Jewish People were the sole beneficial recipients of both the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine.
Thereafter, the United States of America ratified a treaty a with the British Government known as the Anglo-American Treaty of 1924, which included by reference the aforementioned Balfour Declaration and includes, verbatim, the full text of the Mandate for Palestine.
"Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on the 2nd of November 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…"
By doing so, the United States of America is legally bound to the principles contained in the "Balfour Declaration, and the "Mandate for Palestine."
Article 5 states: "The Mandatory 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."
Suggesting a two state solution within the Mandated borders of Palestine is "ceding land and is a violation of the Treaty.
Article 6 states, in part: "The Administration of Palestine … shall facilitate Jewish immigration … close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."
Suggesting that settlements or Jewish housing anywhere within Mandated Palestine is illegal or must be stopped is a violation of the treaty.
In law we call these "rights, and there is a fundamental principle in law that "where there is a legal right, there is also a legal remedy. (Sir William Blackstone).
Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution says, in part: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby..."
In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was the end of the American Revolutionary War, and the rights you enjoy as Americans today stand on this document. What keeps the English from canceling this treaty and giving the land to someone else is the principle of Estoppel. Once the rights are given, they simply can’t be taken back, and so it is with the Mandate for Palestine and the rights that the United States accepted, and committed itself to uphold, in this 1924 treaty, ratified by the Senate and proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5th, 1925.
Article 7 (page 426) of the instant treaty states: "Nothing contained in the present convention shall be affected by any modification which may be made in the terms of the Mandate, as recited above, unless such modification shall have been assented to by the United States."
Notwithstanding the fact that there were no provisions for "modification within the Mandate for Palestine, thereafter, Britain violated this provision repeatedly. Not only did they make changes when none were permitted, but they failed to ask for the approval of the United States when making unauthorized changes. All of this was repeatedly called to the attention of the State Department and the full listing of these failures has been documented in the deliberations of the House of Representatives, Seventy-Eighth Congress, Second Session on House Resolutions 418 & 419, as printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Wherein we read:
"We desire to point out to the members of the House and to call to the attention of the State Department that Americans have invested over 100-million dollars in Palestine, relying upon the treaty between Great Britain and our Government, and upon which treaty they had a right to rely. It is the duty of the American Government to protect these rights by proper protest and to see to it that the treaty is carried out in good faith.
It appears that in eighty years, the situation has not changed.
The previous duplicity of the Executive and/or the United States State Department in failing to move Great Britain to adhere to the Mandate, or the failure of the United States itself to honor the commitments it made, does not release the current United States Administration from its obligations to the Jewish National Home or the Jewish People.
It is not too late to do the right thing. The time has come to honor the signed agreements and the commitments made by the United States and other countries to the Jewish People. The record of deliberations in the Joint Sessions of Congress, along with President Coolidge’s Proclamation, leave no doubt that all the problems were well known, discussed, deliberated upon, and solutions found.
What has been sorely lacking in the United States is simply the political will to do the right thing. The situation is much like the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Bill, which has become a global joke, with Israel the only State without the embassy in its capital city. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation other than Biblical Israel.
The Supreme Allied Powers of World War I, in the shadow of President Wilson’s Fourteen Point Plan, did something entirely new: Rather than dividing the spoils of war between the victorious Allies, they created, from the ashes of the Central Powers, what are today, in the Middle East and North Africa, thirty-one Arab/Islamic/Muslim nation states, one Christian state (Lebanon), and one Jewish state (Palestine). Then, as the United States and the world looked on, Britain, in violation of Article 5, ripped away 78% of the Jewish National Home and called it Jordan. And now you want to make yet another Arab State from the 22% we have remaining? We say "No, and if necessary, the courts will confirm this and more.
How much longer will the poor Arab refugees be left in squalor before someone does the right thing and finds them new homes? How long must Jews be told they are unwanted or have no rights on the very lands they were promised and given rights to ninety years ago?
New plans, or new negotiations, are not necessary, because every problem has already been addressed and answered, discussed, and resolved, and is available, within the signed documents in our possession. We are here to assist you in understanding this treaty and the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine. We are available to answer your questions on every issue at any time that you need answers-by phone, fax, or e-mail.
The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law (Justice Now!) is an Israeli non-profit legal action organization. We are requesting that you move immediately to cease activities that are in violation of your treaty obligations under the Anglo-American Treaty of 1924 (Exhibit "A"). We are requesting your immediate assistance in moving forward with the provisions of the treaty using the primary documents and where support is needed, the records of the Joint Sessions of Congress, etc.
What we want-and what we deserve-is justice, nothing more, nothing less. We will also be sending this letter to President Barack Obama in the next couple weeks. If there is no progress on this issue within 30 days, we will file a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court.
Thank you for your kind attention to the content of this letter.
Michael T. Snidecor, Ph.D.
Michael T. Snidecor, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board
Exhibit A: The Anglo American Treaty of 1924
Exhibit B: Map of Mandate for Palestine
Exhibit C: Lodge-Fish Resolution (Joint Congressional Resolution 360)
Exhibit D: Deliberations of the House of Representatives, June 30, 1922 House Resolution 360 (Rept. NO. 1172)
Note: Jerusalem Attorney, Mr. Howard Grief has now completed his work: The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law (ISBN 978-965-7344-52-1)
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