Friday, May 01, 2009

The Mandate for Palestine

From a pamphlet by Eli E. Hertz, published in 2008 by Myths and Facts, Inc [my own emphasis added - SL]:

1920 - Original territory assigned to the Jewish National Home

1922 - Final territory assigned to the Jewish National Home

[Follow these links for the full 54-page pamphlet: pdf version or html version]

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.

...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.

Many seem to confuse the “Mandate for Palestine” [The Trust], with the British Mandate [The Trustee]. The “Mandate for Palestine” is a League of Nations document that laid down the Jewish legal rights in Palestine. The British Mandate, on the other hand, was entrusted by the League of Nations with the responsibility to administrate the area delineated by the “Mandate for Palestine.”

Great Britain [i.e., the Mandatory or Trustee] did turn over its responsibility to the United Nations as of May 14, 1948. However, the legal force of the League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine” [i.e., The Trust] was not terminated with the end of the British Mandate. Rather, the Trust was transferred over to the United Nations....

... Despite not being a member of the League, the U.S. Government claimed on November 20, 1920 that the participation of the United States in WWI entitled it to be consulted as to the terms of the Mandate. The British Government agreed, and the outcome was an agreement calling to safeguard the American interests in Palestine. It concluded with a convention between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, signed on December 3, 1924. It is imperative to note that the convention incorporated the complete text of the “Mandate for Palestine...”

...The “Mandate for Palestine” is Valid to This Day
The Mandate survived the demise of the League of Nations. Article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognizes the “Mandate for Palestine” of the League of Nations.

This Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle anywhere in Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, a right unaltered in international law and valid to this day. Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), Gaza and the whole of Jerusalem are legal.

The International Court of Justice reaffirmed the meaning and validity of Article 80 in three separate cases...July 11, 1950...June 21, 1971...[and] July 9, 2004...

In other words, neither the ICJ nor the UN General Assembly can arbitrarily change the status of Jewish settlement as set forth in the “Mandate for Palestine,” an international accord that has never been amended.

All of western Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including the West Bank and Gaza, remains open to Jewish settlement under international law.

Professor Eugene Rostow concurred with the ICJ’s opinion as to the “sacredness” of trusts such as the “Mandate for Palestine”:
“‘A trust’—as in Article 80 of the UN Charter—does not end because the trustee dies ... the Jewish right of settlement in the whole of western Palestine—the area west of the Jordan—survived the British withdrawal in 1948. ... They are parts of the mandate territory, now legally occupied by Israel with the consent of the Security Council.”

The British Mandate left intact the Jewish right to settle in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Explains Professor Rostow:
“This right is protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which provides that unless a trusteeship agreement is agreed upon (which was not done for the Palestine Mandate), nothing in the chapter shall be construed in and of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties."

“The Mandates of the League of Nations have a special status in international law. They are considered to be trusts, indeed ‘sacred trusts.’"

“Under international law, neither Jordan nor the Palestinian Arab ‘people’ of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have a substantial claim to the sovereign possession of the occupied territories.”


...Article 2.
The Mandatory shall 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...

...Article 4.
An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine...

...Article 5.
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.

Article 6.
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...close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes...

Appendix F—Israel’s Government Position
Yehuda Z. Blum, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations.
At the Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner of the Zionist Organization of America. (Washington D.C., 11 June 1979)

“A corollary of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to its Land is the right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael, including Judea and Samaria which are an integral part of Eretz Yisrael. Jews are not foreigners anywhere in the Land of Israel. Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria just because he is a Jew, is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the ‘Judenrein’ policies of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay.

“The right of Jews to settle in the Land of Israel was also recognised in the League of Nations ‘Mandate for Palestine’ which stressed ‘the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and … the grounds for reconstituting’ - I repeat, reconstituting ‘their national home in that country.’

“The Mandatory Power was also entrusted with the duty to encourage ‘close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.’”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Turkey and Syria hold first joint military exercise ...with US approval

[My emphasis added to these two key excerpts - SL]

From DEBKAfile, April 29, 2009:

Turkey's army chief Gen. Ilker Basburg brushed off the Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak's comment that the [the first] joint Turkish-Syrian military exercise was "disturbing." ...[He] said it was only a border exercise, small-scale and "none of anybody's business."

...the Turkish general made a point of mentioning his "extensive talks with the visiting US Chief of General Staff" and their four-hour long "exchange of views on a range of issues." ...[indicating]that the Turkish-Syrian exercise had received Washington's nod....

Basburg also boasted about his meeting with US President Obama"s national security advisor Jones during President Obama's visit to Turkey early April.

From a DEBKAfile Special Report , April 26, 2009:

[A] joint Turkish-Syrian tank and armored infantry exercise backed by air power [began] across the Turkish-Syrian border Monday, April 27, and lasts three days.

DEBKAfile's military sources stress that it is the first joint military maneuver any NATO member, including Turkey, has ever carried out with Syria. It appears to have received a nod from the Obama administration and another first: Never before has an important NATO power staged a joint exercise with any Arab army.

Ankara's decision to launch the drill on the day Israeli commemorates its war dead - in league with Iran's leading ally - is a measure of how far Turkey's longstanding strategic pact with the Jewish state has fallen by the wayside of recent changes.

...Ankara made its announcement while US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was on a short visit to Beirut.

It comes only four days after another first US step: ...the Obama administration had just approved a large Turkish arms sale to the Lebanese army assigning Turkish military instructors to train Lebanese army units (half of whose personnel are Shiites sympathetic to Hizballah.)

...Neither of the Obama administration's actions took into account Israel's vital security interests; nor was Jerusalem consulted about the strategic changes on its borders - or even informed.

...According to the statement from Ankara, the joint exercise "aims to boost friendship, cooperation and trust between Turkish and Syrian land forces and to increase the capability of border troops to train and work together."...

International Hariri tribunal self-destructs

From DEBKAfile, April 29, 2009:

... by setting the key witnesses, four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals, free, the pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen Wednesday, April 29, effectively scrapped the international tribunal's mission to pursue the murderers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

The four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals, now under "under strict security for their own safety," were held in custody for four years on suspicion of complicity in the 2005 Hariri murder in close alignment with Syrian military intelligence, which then ruled Beirut, and with figures close to Syrian president Bashar Assad.

Their release "for lack of sufficient evidence", according to Fransen, rewarded Assad for the extraordinary efforts he made to quash the international legal proceedings for fear of compromising his close circle in one of the most outrageous political crimes in recent Middle East history.

The four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals are Jamil Sayyed, Ali Hajj, Raymond Azar and Mustafa Hamdan who respectively headed the General Security Department, the Internal Security Forces, Military Intelligence and the Presidential Guards Brigade.

The tribunal was also briefed to prosecute a series of high-profile political assassinations in Lebanon after the Hariri murder, for which Damascus was also blamed.

Our counter-terror sources note that the chance of ever bringing any of these assassins to justice has just been reduced to zero by the international judge's action. He has cut the main sources of evidence leading to the culprits in Damascus.

A major barrier to Bashar Assad's international rehabilitation has been removed.

TV Ads to run 600 times in Washington focus on creating security and peace

From a PRESS RELEASE: April 29, 2009, by The Israel Project:

Washington, D.C. – As Israel celebrates its 61st birthday, The Israel Project is airing a TV ad campaign which focuses on the need to teach peace on both sides and to peacefully stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Three ads will air May 2-5 in the D.C. metropolitan area. By the end of the week they will have been broadcast more than 600 times on CNN, CNN’s Headline News, FOX NEWS and MSNBC.

“Today we celebrate Israeli Independence Day and it is a time to focus not only on the tremendous achievements but also on the ongoing threats to Israel’s existence and what can be done to move towards a better future,” commented Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder & President of The Israel Project. “I believe there is no question that teaching peace and tolerance to children as Israel does as an official part of their curriculums is paramount. I only hope that Palestinian leaders will adopt this model and stop teaching hate so that together we can work towards a common more peaceful future.”

The teacher ad features three high school teachers from the Ami Asaf School in Bet Berl. Yael Barkol is the Principal; Zehava Kaufman teaches Psychology and Sociology; and Barbara Ory teaches English.

All three teachers believe that education should promote peace and understanding. According to Barkol, “I think teachers should promote peace in some ways. One way is with the children. The other way, I think, is between Palestinian and Israeli teachers, because we are responsible. We are the leaders of the class. What they hear from us influences them. So I think that one part of the job is talking to the children, bringing values and morality.”

The second ad, features Nonie Darwish talking about her upbringing as a child in Gaza. Nonie brings attention to the deceptions and hatred in which she was steeped as a child and that continue as part of her culture to this day. "I learned to hate Israelis and Jews at an early age," she says. One popular song children in her school sang proclaimed, 'Arabs are our friends and Jews our dogs.' "I learned that hate, vengeance and retaliation are important values to protect Islam and Arab honor," Nonie says. "The severe indoctrination is devastating on children. Those who end up as terrorists are simply the ones who took their education and upbringing seriously and did as they were told."

TIP’s ad campaign is also designed to encourage the world community to work for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and to increase awareness that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology is in defiance of the international community, which has imposed sanctions on the regime and even offered incentives to persuade Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program. Iranian officials have said they plan to share their nuclear technology with others.


Yael: My job as a teacher is to make a difference.

Zehava: We’re going to have to come to a realization — that we’re all human beings and that we do have the right to live side by side.

Barbara: I still have that bit of hope inside of me, I hope, especially for my children, that there’s going to be peace...

Zehava: I think that our students are much more open than we are. — I think they’re quite confident that there will be a peace — a peaceful solution one day.

Nonie Darwish:


Nonie: They turn perfectly healthy children into hateful robots.

Narrator: Nonie's father led Arabs to attack Israel, a model for today's terrorist groups. As a child in school she was taught to hate, now she speaks out.

Nonie: The Arab people are beautiful people, but their culture is being destroyed from within, by hate. We learned about hate, vengeance, retaliation, jihad.

Nonie: Peace has to be taught as a value.

Nuclear Iran:

Imagine Washington, D.C. under missile attack from nearby Baltimore.

Since 2005, Israel has been targeted by 8,000 rocket and missile attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran has helped fund, train and arm these terrorist groups.

A nuclear Iran is a threat to peace, emboldens extremists …and could give nuclear materials to terrorists with the ability to strike -- anywhere.

The world’s leaders can peacefully prevent a nuclear Iran. The time to act is now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Why Did Durban Review Fail to Review A Single Abuser?"

From a Statement at the United Nations Durban Review Conference by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, Geneva, April 23, 2009:

Thank you, Mr. President.

The stated objective of this Durban Review Conference is to review countries’ progress on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, in order to help millions of victims worldwide.

Today, after the conference outcome text has been adopted, we ask: Did the conference live up to its promise? Did it help millions of victims worldwide?

To answer that question, we need to listen to the victims. We did exactly that on Sunday, across the street from here, when more than 500 human rights victims, scholars and activists assembled at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.

UN Watch was proud to be among the 40 human rights groups from around the world that organized this momentous event.

We heard from victims, who know about racial and ethnic discrimination.

From Ester Mujawayo of Rwanda, whose mother, father and husband were murdered in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, and yet who lives on — not only to remember the dead, but to treat the survivors.

From Gibreil Hamid of Darfur, who told us, in tears, about 50 of his relatives murdered in the racist genocide that continues there.

From Kristyiana Valcheva, one of the five Bulgarian nurses, and from Ashraf El –Hajoj, the Palestinian doctor — all of whom were framed, convicted and tortured in Libya, discriminated for being foreigners.

We also heard from victims of discrimination on grounds cited in Section 2 of the DDPA, based on sex, religion, political or other opinion.

We heard victim testimony from Soe Aung, a dissident from Burma. From Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President of Stop Child Executions, about children on death row in Iran. From Ahmad Batebi from Iran, the student demonstrator who was tortured for 9 years in Iran, a case made known to the world after the picture holding his friend’s bloodied t-shirton the front cover of The Economist .

From Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the former political prisoner from Egypt. From José Castillo, the former political prisoner from Cuba. From Marlon Zakeyo, who fights political repression in Zimbabwe. From Pavel Marozau, human rights defender from Belarus.

KENYAN CONFERENCE PRESIDENT AMOS WAKO: Islamic Republic of Iran—what’s the point of order?

IRAN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. We should kindly advise the speaker to confine his observation to the theme of item number 9 and reframe from making references to names of countries—member state countries. Otherwise, according to your ruling, he should be stopped from continuation of his speech.

CONFERENCE PRESIDENT WAKO: May I ask the speaker to please take into consideration the observations of the Islamic Republic of Iran and stick to subject under discussion, namely the issues arising from the objectives of the review conference.

[UN Watch resumes testimony]

Now, here in my hands I hold the outcome of this conference. To the distinguished delegates in this hall, I ask:

Why does it ignore all of the situations represented by these victims?

In a conference that promised to review country performance on racism, why did the conference in fact fail to review a single country that perpetrates racism, discrimination and intolerance? Why did the conference fail to review a single abuser?

Why is it silent on women facing systematic discrimination in Saudi Arabia? Why is it silent on gays persecuted and even executed in Iran? On ethnic repression in Tibet?

Why is this conference -- which promised to help Africans -- silent on black Africans now being raped and slaughtered by racist Sudan?

Mr. President,

I ask: If this a "Review" conference, can someone please tell me who has been reviewed?

CONFERENCE PRESIDENT WAKO: There is a point of order again from Iran—the Islamic Republic of Iran.

IRAN: Yes, thank you Mr. Chair. I don’t think that I will need to repeat my proposal. I would ask you to kindly pronounce the speaker out of order and stop him from continuation of his statement. I thank you.

CONFERENCE PRESIDENT WAKO: I think I do call the speaker to order and I would like to introduce the appropriate language. You only have minutes left, so stick to the points—the objectives of this review conference.

[UN Watch resumes testimony]

I shall conclude merely with one question: Has this conference really helped millions of victims worldwide? If so, who are they?

Thank you, Mr. President.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hamas UK Lobby

From GORIA, April 22, 2009, by Jonathan Spyer* [my emphasis added - SL]:

A meeting was meant to take place on Wednesday, April 22nd, in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, adjoining the House of Commons in London. The planned meeting was titled "Talk with Hamas" and was meant to feature a video link to Damascus. Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, was supposed to address members of Parliament and journalists via the link, but he failed, due to a technical glitch.

This planned meeting was the latest event in an ongoing and organized campaign to break the Western boycott of Hamas and transform policy toward the organization. Much energy is being expended in the UK. But London is only a way station, with the real prize being the transformation of the US stance.

This campaign is part of a larger effort to change the way that the West sees Islamist movements - and by doing so to bring many of the arguments made by such movements into the mainstream.

Who is behind this effort? The invitation to MPs to the Mashaal meeting came from the office of Independent MP Clare Short.

However, it was issued in the name of John, Lord Alderdice. This name immediately offers a pointer. Alderdice, a veteran Northern Irish politician, is head of the board of advisers of an organization called Conflicts Forum.

Conflicts Forum is jointly led by Alistair Crooke and Mark Perry. Crooke is a former British intelligence officer, while the US-based Perry is described by the organizations website as a 'military, intelligence and foreign affairs analyst'. It describes its aim as opening "a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world."

What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.

The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."

It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."

The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.

The various PR devices suggested include "Use influential individuals - key Muslim personalities... use the Internet, DVD, interviews, podcasts... Link with mass organizations in Western countries - social movements, trade unions - to challenge hegemonic discourse. Approach editors of established journals... with a view to the possibility of them doing a special issue on Islamist thinking or on particular issues."

Undoubtedly, the attempted video link between Hamas HQ in Damascus and the Grimond Room in Portcullis House was meant to be a worthy contribution to this extensive effort to "re-brand" Hamas and Hizbullah.

The UK, and the EU as a whole, remain committed to the Quartet conditions which Hamas must meet to become a partner for dialogue. Hamas (or at least its "military wing") remains on the EU list of proscribed terror organizations.

A cursory observation of the backers of Conflicts Forum, however, reveals a curious paradox. In January 2007, the group proudly announced that it had been awarded a grant of €500,000 by the EU, to develop "more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict." More specifically, the project entails the "engagement" of "faith-based movements."

So the EU, while currently opposing "engagement" with Hamas, also appears to be offering financial support to a body engaged in lobbying for the organization.

How important are the efforts of Conflicts Forum and its associated groups? Are initiatives such as Wednesday's planned meeting likely to have a tangible effect on policy?

Britain has, of course, already announced that it intends to hold talks with Hizbullah. On Hamas, however, no immediate significant shift in British government policy looks likely.

The Hamas Lobby is busy and active. It encompasses former senior diplomats such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, as well as the Conflicts Forum nexus.

Foreign Secretary Miliband has praised the Egyptian role in managing dialogue with Hamas in the following terms: "Others speak to Hamas. That's the right thing to do, and I think we should let the Egyptians take this forward."

A knowledgeable source noted that many in the Foreign Office consider that engagement with the group is a "matter of time."

Still, for as long as the US remains firmly committed to insisting that Hamas first abide by the three Quartet conditions (committing to nonviolence, recognizing Israel and accepting previous agreements and obligations), the UK is unlikely to openly break ranks. Differences might well surface if a Palestinian unity government were to be formed. But this too currently looks highly improbable.

Ultimately, the main obstacle to the success of Lord Alderdice, Clare Short and their friends in Conflicts Forum may well be the nature of their client. Hamas leaders have an unfortunate tendency to be candid regarding their movement's goals. This makes presenting the "positive aspects of Islamist ideology" something of a challenge.

Hamas "Foreign Minister" Mahmoud Zahar, for example, speaking last week, stated bluntly that "[Hamas] will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form."

A few months ago, the same speaker asserted that "they [Jews] have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people."

Spinning statements of that kind into moderation would pose a challenge to the smoothest of PR operators. But as the planned Portcullis House meeting showed, Hamas possesses an experienced, well-oiled, well-funded (largely by the European taxpayer) lobby in the heart of London, in which it may take justifiable pride.

* Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya

Yom Hazikaron

From THE JERUSALEM POST, 27 April, 2009:

...On Monday night, Israel paused to mourn its fallen soldiers, as the nation marked Remembrance Day and honored the memory of those who lost their lives in defense of the state.

...The official state ceremony marking the start of Israel's Memorial Day began immediately after the siren at Jerusalem's Western Wall Plaza, in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and bereaved families.

"They say the pain dissolves as times moves on, as years pass. And I know it isn't so: Pain just becomes sharper as the days and years go by," Peres said at the start of the ceremony. "You see a soldier in IDF uniform in the street and your eyes well up.

..."For 61 years we have been burying our children and the end is still not on our horizon," Peres said. "Again and again the boys are called to protect their fathers and mothers; again and again the commanders lead their troops and fall in battle, because the best of our men always go down first."

Although the country has faced its share of threats, Peres predicted even more to come, and insisted that Israel wanted peace but was ready for war. "This year, too, the threat to our existence persists, and yet, we do not run away from the battlefield. We do not want war, but if it is forced upon us, I suggest to our enemies and friends as one, to be on the right side, our side, the side that has always won and will always win," he said.

"The fallen have left behind them a strong and assured country," Peres concluded.

...A two-minute memorial siren will also sound at 11 a.m. Tuesday, followed by official ceremonies at 43 military cemeteries.

The Defense Ministry said that since 1860, when the first Jewish settlers began establishing Jewish neighborhoods outside the Jerusalem city walls, 22,570 men and women have been killed in defense of the Land of Israel.

In the past year, 133 soldiers and security personnel died, a figure that includes non-combat deaths.

...Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged the country to maintain the unity it feels during Remembrance Day every day of the year.

"The unity that we feel during this day is natural and clear," Netanyahu said at a ceremony at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. "But I must say especially on this day of unity, that this [must continue] every day of the year.

"It is this unity which helps us through times of despair and difficulties, and it is this which will also help us tomorrow to face great challenges," he continued. "Our existence as a people and a nation depends on this unity."...

Etgar Lefkovitz and Yaakov Katz contributed to this story.