In an era in which the main battlefield against Israel is the campaign to delegitimize the very existence of the Jewish state it is important to challenge the false narratives that are being thrown into the public discourse and gradually being accepted, not by governments, but by a wider audience.
The narrative tells of a dispossessed Palestine whose rights have been usurped by colonial invaders who have conquered their land through the Zionist enterprise. They are, in is claimed, made to suffer by the imposition of a European Holocaust which has left them paying the price. Driven out of their land by Jewish interlopers the remnants have been occupied and oppressed by a brutal ‘Nazi’-like regime.
No country has a greater legitimacy, under international law, to exist than Israel. If Israel does not possess that legal right to sovereignty then no nation on earth can claim greater legitimacy than Israel. To fully understand this, one needs to understand the unfolding of modern history and the international resolutions that give Israel its full and exclusive right to sovereignty.
There are legal rulings that give clear status to disputed territories.
Central to the Israel-Palestinian issue is the matter of Jerusalem. Khaled Mashal, the Hamas representative in Damascus, said that “Jerusalem’s fate will be settled by holy war.” Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, said in Bethlehem in 2009 that East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and that this is a red line that no Arab may cross. President Obama has declared that East Jerusalem must become the capital of Palestine and Jewish settlements there are illegitimate. The Arab League has said that all the territory up to the 1967 border must go a new Palestinian state. The United Nations has stated that all the territory is not Arab but Palestinian territory. Iran says that all of Palestine must be liberated. Hizbollah’s Nasrallah has declared that Palestine is part of the Islamic nation and jihad is the only way to redeem it.
All these statements are false in legal terms.
To say that the West Bank is occupied is correct. It was occupied by the British as part of their obligation as a Mandated power. It is today occupied by Israel as part of the Jewish territory *legally bestowed upon it by international law*. To understand the legal implications that have been swept under the rug we need to go back in history and review the unfolding of events.
If you go back to the maps of Jerusalem from Roman times, when the might of Rome defeated the Jewish kingdom, you will see the outline of the Old City of Jerusalem not dissimilar to today’s contours. Examining maps and lithographs throughout the ages show a remarkably similar pattern. There was virtually no construction outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem for centuries. True Jerusalem is the Old City of Jerusalem.
For those that say that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (and this is an essential part of the Palestinian and Islamic narrative) not only defies Judeo-Christian history and heritage, it also defies concrete evidence to the contrary. One need not believe the findings of centuries of archeologists and historians to justify the claim of Jewish Jerusalem dating back to Roman times. Simply go to Rome and visit the triumphant Arch of Titus. There, carved into the stones, are scenes depicting the removal of the Jewish menorah, stolen from the Jewish Temple, being brought by Jewish slaves, defeated and exiled from their homeland, to Rome.
The Balfour Declaration was a pledge from the British Government to support the creation of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, given in 1917 at the time of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Those that say that the British did not have the right to give what was not theirs to give would be correct. The Balfour Declaration was not a legally binding document.
The Paris Peace Conference at the Quai d’Orsay changed this, and was the setting where all the claimants to territories held by the Ottomans could state their case before the principal Allied Powers. The Arabs were led by the Hashemite family, father and three sons. The Jewish claim was put by the Zionists led by Chaim Weitzman. Feisal met with Weitzman in Paris and they entered into an agreement. They agreed that the Jewish and Arab claims were national and not imperialist. The Arabs wanted a large contiguous Arab state. The division of land to be agreed was that the Jews would receive Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea and including what is today Jordan, and the Arabs would receive the Arab Peninsular and what is today Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. This, in effect, converted the Balfour Declaration into a binding legal document. It was no longer the whim of a British Government with no rights but now incorporated into international law by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers.
When the Mandatory administration passed into the hands of the State of Israel, the restriction of not allowing any ceding or leasing of any territory to any foreign power could be defined as including a Palestinian Authority that had no existence at the time of the enacting of this international law and, therefore, could be construed as being a new foreign power.
The second clause clearly gives legal rights for the Jews of Israel to establish settlements of all lands defined as Palestine, the national home of the Jewish people. It certainly contradicts all claims that Jewish settlement is illegal.
This, in itself, gives sufficient grounds to prove that Israel possesses exclusive sovereignty rights to the territory under international law, a law that has not been rescinded since. But there is more, much more, that strengthens Jewish legitimacy to all the territory that was known as Palestine.
The Jewish people have never renounced their rights to Jerusalem. They have never formally abandoned their rights to title and sovereignty. The Jewish people have the legal right to live and remain in every part of the territory which was part of the Mandated territory of Palestine, now Israel. They have the right to give up what is legally theirs, but they cannot be forced out. Any other claim to legal title is fraudulent and has no standing in international law that can replace the existing Jewish claim. Nations may refuse to accept Israel’s legitimate rights because of other political or vested interests but these defy Jewish justice and legitimacy. Neither is it possible to retroactively apply legal principles that remove prior standing in international law. The nations have reneged on the obligation they embraced at the 1922 League of Nations. Under the law of nations, under international law, Israel has a solid, valid, claim which ought to be honoured by the nations of the world today.
Barry Shaw: http://goo.gl/W713F1
David Phillips: http://goo.gl/oYoEGB