…It’s actually quite simple. If it isn’t the “acknowledged” Sovereign Territory of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt or Israel,
it’s a territory of Palestine…
ShortLink http://wp.me/pDB7k-ki ( Revision 27th Dec 2009 – additional material )
Since childhood I was told that five Arab States invaded Israel immediately after Israel Declared Independence. That was good enough for me. How dare they. Then someone posed the question: “Which Sovereign Israeli territories were attacked and which UNSC resolution condemned the alleged Arab League invasion of Israel?”
What? That’s a ridiculous question. Of course they did. Israel was fighting for it’s life. We’ll have none of this nonsense. So in order to substantiate my beliefs, I began looking through UNSC resolutions for something condemning the Arab League Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine. In those days, it was books and the public library. A tedious business. Today the information is at our fingertips.
Here I’ve used the United Nations, Yale Law repository OnLine at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/scres049.asp, the Truman Library, Jstor, the Jewish Virtual Library and the Israeli Government website, Hansard. There is only primary source information, no citations from the likes of Ilan Pappé, Benni Morris. In fact I’ve never read anything they’ve written.
Rather than find what I was looking for, a UNSC condemnation of the Arab League Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine or confirmation that the Arab League had attacked Sovereign Israeli territory, I began to notice the UNSC resolutions seemed rather at odds with what I’d been told. The more I looked the more apparent it became that something was amiss in the rhetoric I’d been led to believe. Even the Arab League Declaration contradicted what I’d been told.
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There was the story that Israel had no defined borders. Yet the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (entered into force on December 26, 1934), which required ” b ) a defined territory;” All those signatories would have required the same lest they breached the convention by recognizing a state without a defined territory.
The first item listed at the Yale Law repository, after Israel’s Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel , is the letter from the Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel to the President of the United States, May 15th 1948, informing him of the Declaration and on which the US based it’s recognition of Israel as an Independent Sovereign State.
In particular, it says “..the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. “
Russia 17 May 1948 Letter from Mr. Molotov stated: “Confirming receipt of your telegram of May 16, in which you inform the Government of the USSR of the proclamation, on the basis of the resolution of the United Nations Assembly of November 29,1!>47, of the creation in Palestine of the independent State of Israel and make re-quest for the recognition of the State of Israel and its provisional government by the USSR. I inform yon in this letter that the Govern-ment of the USSR has decided to recognize officially the Stale of Israel and its Provisional Government.”
Australia 28 January 1949 “… on the basis of the resolution of the United Nations Assembly of November 29, 1947…”
New Zealand 29 January 1949 “It is the understanding of the New Zealand Government that the settlement of boundaries and other outstanding questions will be effected in accordance with the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 11 December 1948.”
All quite at odds with the notion that Israel had never defined it’s boundaries with Palestine in 1948 and the notion that UNGA resolution was irrelevant because the Arabs had rejected it. The first of the fallacies had fallen.
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Next step was recognition. Was Israel given de jure recognition or de facto recognition? Here I went through a maze only to discover the British record shows recognition of Sovereignty (state) is different from the recognition of Government (the authority in power).
Hansard 27 April 1950 His Majesty’s Government have also decided to accord de jure recognition to the State of Israel, subject to explanations on two points corresponding to those described above in regard to the case of Jordan. These points are as follows. First, that His Majesty’s Government are unable to recognise the sovereignty of Israel over that part of Jerusalem which she occupies, though, pending a final determination of the status of the area, they recognise that Israel exercises de facto authority in it. Secondly, that His Majesty’s Government cannot regard the present boundaries between Israel, and Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Lebanon as constituting the definitive frontiers of Israel, as these boundaries were laid down in the Armistice Agreements concluded severally between Israel and each of these States, and are subject to any modifications which may be agreed upon under the terms of those Agreements, or of any final settlements which may replace them.
In announcing these two acts of recognition, His Majesty’s Government wish to reaffirm their conviction that the problem of Palestine is capable of solution by peaceful means, given good will and understanding on the part of all the parties concerned. It is their earnest hope that the steps they have now taken will help to create stability in the areas concerned, and will, therefore, make a contribution towards the peace of the Middle East as a whole. “
The British recognized Israel’s sovereignty over territories is bound by it’s Declaration of Sovereignty, not ‘facts on the ground’. Sovereignty is in law, of the state. The state in law is de jure, regardless of whether the Government in authority is provisional, de facto, or elected, de jure.
The Provisional Government was given de facto recognition by the USA. The Elected Government was subsequently given de jure recognition.
The USSR gave de jure recognition of the authority of the Provisional Government. Israel’s provisional Government was de facto, with authority to elect a Government to the state, which would, in law become de jure when a Government was elected. The USSR gave de jure recognition to this provisional authority.
Israel was a Sovereignty, (the State) recognized de jure, the provisional Government recognized de facto, the elected Government eventually recognized de jure and the British made it clear that Israel did not have Sovereignty over the territories it had captured by war by 1949. They were “occupied”.
Furthermore rather than Jordan’s control over the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) being illegal as I’d been led to believe, A) Jordan and Israel signed an Armistice Agreement, whereby Israel AGREED to Jordanian occupation. B) There is no UNSC resolution condemning 1) Jordan’s occupation, as a regional power, protecting the territories of Palestine OR 2) It’s temporary annexation as a trustee was requested by the Palestinians and was demanded by the Arab League, in accordance with the UN Charter covering regional powers and the notion of being a trustee. The Arab League was in accordance with legal procedure.
The refutation of the first fallacy confirmed and three more shredded, in one fell swoop. My interest was well kindled and ablaze by now, fueled in part by a hard to reconcile, indoctrinated partisan dis-belief and in part by an equally non-partisan and unbridled inquisitiveness.
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If the Arab League had launched a war of aggression on Israel’s newly Declared Sovereign Boundaries, there would be the customary UNSC resolution condemning it. Right? See UNSC Resolution 660 on the invasion of Kuwait for an example.
The first UNSC resolution after the 14th May 1948, UNSC Resolution 49; May 22, 1948, asks all parties for a ceasefire. In UNSC resolution after resolution none bears a condemnation of the Arab States Declaration. What was going on? Was it a war of aggression or not? Were the Arab League actions legitimate? Legal?
What makes a war ‘legal’? Bouvier’s Law Dictionary tells us 6. To legalize a war it must be declared by that branch of the government entrusted by the constitution with this power. The Governments of the Arab League States did so. Informing the UNSC on 15th May 1948 . This of course does not tell us if it was a war of aggression. For that, we must look to a UNSC resolution, because all wars of aggression, even if declared, are illegal and customarily condemned by the UNSC.
The first thing that struck me, was all the UNSC resolutions on the War of Independence, say “in Palestine”. Surely the UNSC knew that as of the 15th May 1948 Israel, as an Independent Sovereign State, was no longer a part of the of Palestine. They’d also be aware that the boundaries of what remained of the Palestine after Israel declared, were defined by default by Israel’s declared boundaries and those of the neighbouring Arab states. Did the UN simply forget it was Israel who was invaded? Or is Israel the Sovereign state, in the non-state entity of Palestine?
The fact is, the UNSC was aware, as was the Israeli Government, who confirmed with the UNSC the extent of Israeli Sovereignty on May 22nd 1948 and on June 15th 1949
Link to this section http://wp.me/pDB7k-ki#armistice-agreements
So what actual sovereign Israeli territories were attacked? The armistice agreements should tell us.
The first article in the Egypt/Israel General Armistice Agreement also says ‘in Palestine’. Article 1 – “With a view to promoting the return to permanent peace in Palestine“
Withdrawal is first mentioned where it tells us Egyptian forces are required to withdraw from Al Faluja (Al Fallujah), which was NOT a part of the Declared Israeli Sovereign territories. (load the Google Earth overlay, then type ‘ Al Faluja Israel ‘ into the search box) It was, according to the Israeli Government, outside of Israel, occupied.
The agreement goes on in Article V to say:
1. The line described in Article VI of this Agreement shall be designated as the Armistice Demarcation Line and is delineated in pursuance of the purpose and intent of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948.
2. The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question.
3. The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Line is to delineate the line beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move except as provided in Article III of this Agreement.
4. Rules and regulations of the armed forces of the Parties, which prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement with application to the Armistice Demarcation Line defined in Article VI.
The Lebanon/Israel General Armistice Agreement Tells a similar story. “in Palestine”. Same “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary”. Same “…prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement..” It also tells us in Article V – 1. The Armistice Demarcation Line shall follow the international boundary between the Lebanon and Palestine.
It does NOT say ‘shall follow the international boundary between Lebanon and Israel’!!!
The Jordan/Israeli General Armistice Agreement Similar again “in Palestine”. Same “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary”. Same “…prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement..”
Being an agreement, Israel agrees to Jordan occupying the West Bank! Another piece of information at odds with the rhetoric claiming Jordan’s occupation was illegal AND showing it was by AGREEMENT that Israelis, Jewish or non-Jewish, not enter the area.
It also says in Article VI – 6. “Wherever villages may be affected by the establishment of the Armistice Demarcation Line provided for in paragraph 2 of this article, the inhabitants of such villages shall be entitled to maintain, and shall be protected in, their full rights of residence, property and freedom. In the event any of the inhabitants should decide to leave their villages, they shall be entitled to take with them their livestock and other movable property, and to receive without delay full compensation for the land which they have left. It shall be prohibited for Israeli forces to enter or to be stationed in such villages, in which locally recruited Arab police shall be organized and stationed for internal security purposes.”
Israel AGREED that if people left voluntarily, they should be compensated.
Syrian/Israeli General Armistice Agreement Same, “in Palestine”. Same “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary”. Same “…prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement..” It also adds, in Article V: “1. It is emphasized that the following arrangements for the Armistice Demarcation Line between the Israeli and Syrian armed forces and for the Demilitarized Zone are not to be interpreted as having any relation whatsoever to ultimate territorial arrangements affecting the two Parties to this Agreement.”
The two parties being Syria and Israel. Not Israel and Palestine. It also tells us the Armistice line is between ‘forces’, not ‘countries’.
Further to Article V: “5. (a) Where the Armistice Demarcation Line does not correspond to the international boundary between Syria and Palestine, the area between the Armistice Demarcation Line and the boundary, pending final territorial settlement between the Parties, shall be established as a Demilitarized Zone from which the armed forces of both Parties shall be totally excluded, and in which no activities by military or para-military forces shall be permitted.”
As with Lebanon, it is telling us that in places, Syria borders Palestine. At the time of the armistice, Israel was a Sovereign Country, no longer a part of what was left of Palestine.
In all the UNSC resolutions and all the Armistice Agreements, nowhere is there anything about any Sovereign Israeli territory being attacked. No where are any Sovereign territories of Israel required to be withdrawn from. They all tell us Israeli forces were “in Palestine”. None mention the Palestine as being a part of the ‘final territorial settlement’. The UNSC Resolutions are between existing sovereign ‘states’.
You won’t find UNSC condemnation on the Arab League invasion of Palestine, simply because there is none. The Arab League States were UN Members and High Contracting Regional Powers and the British Mandate over Palestine had ended. Under the UN Charter Article 52 it was their right and as representatives of Palestine at the time, their duty to protect it from the aggression the Sovereign state of Israel had inherited from Plan Dalet, from the moment Israel declared. What had been a civil war, became a war waged by a state on Palestine.
So where did the armistice agreements leave the territories of Palestine that Israel controlled? Were they Israel’s to do as it wished? Were they automatically Israeli? Or occupied? What was their status?
Based on the Israeli Government’s statements of the 22nd May 1948 and 15th June 1949, the Laws of War tell us they were occupied. The British considered them occupied. Although Israel didn’t ratify the Geneva Conventions until July 1951, after it became a UN Member State May 11, 1949. At the time of the armistice agreements, Israel was not obliged to the Geneva Conventions. It was however through it’s Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel obliged to the UN Charter and subsequent notification, obliged to discharge “.. the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law”
International Law tells us that in order for a Sovereignty to acquire territories, it must legally annex them under an agreement or treaty. Now If I could just find the annexation document………… Perhaps there was something in regard to their status in the correspondence to the Conciliation Commission, prior to Israel’s acceptance into the UN.
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A letter of the 31 August 1949, addressed to the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission by Mr. Reuven Shiloah, Head of the Delegation of Israel.
“3. With regard to the territorial adjustments of which the Commission treats in Chapter II of it’s memorandum, the Delegation of Israel considers that in addition to the territory indicated on the working document annexed to the Protocol of May 12, all other areas falling within the control and jurisdiction of Israel under the terms of the armistice agreements concluded by Israel with Egypt, the Lebanon, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom and Syria should be formally recognized as Israeli territory. The adjustment of the frontiers so created will be subject to negotiation and agreement between Israel and the Arab Government in each case concerned”
There we have Israel’s intention is to acquire all of Palestine and an admission that at that point in time the territories of Palestine were not yet actual Israeli territory. There goes the argument that Israel has never wanted all of Palestine and the twaddle that they were Israel’s because it won the war.
The reply dated 3 September 1949 addressed to Mr. Reuven Shiloah, Head of the Delegation of Israel, by the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission, Emphatically dismisses the notion. referring Israel back to the armistice agreements. “2. The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question”
Now If I could just find the annexation document…………
What began as a search for something to substantiate my long held and firmly entrenched beliefs, had only shown their deep flaws.
All the UNSC resolutions tell us peace is sought “in Palestine“. They also tell us that the “question of Palestine” needs to be resolved. Not peace ‘in Israel’. Not the ‘Israel/Palestine question’. Not peace ‘in Israel and Palestine’. Why?
The ‘Israel question’ was resolved on the 14th May 1948, when the Jewish People’s Council Declared a Sovereign Jewish State within the frontiers of UNGA res 181 and Israel was recognized as such by the International Community of states. There is no question over it’s Sovereignty, it’s boundaries or it’s existence as a state.
The wars have been in Palestine, not Israel. The “territories occupied” have been in Palestine, not Israel.
The harder I look, the more the fallacies fall.
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The Arab Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine, contradicts the notion that the Arab League was bent on a genocidal attack, threatening to drive all Jews into the sea. To be sure they were against Israel’s existence, based on legal grounds, but their Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine says: “The Governments of the Arab States emphasise, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, and [whereby] the holy places will be preserved and the right of access thereto guaranteed.
Democracy!! Equal rights!! How dare they! Nowhere did the Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine threaten Israel or threaten to actually institute the legal basis of their argument. It merely stated the legal case as a basis for protecting their ward as regional powers per the UN Charter. Israel was no longer a part of Palestine on the 15th May 1949. The Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine was given to the UNSC, making the war a legally declared defensive war. Which is why there is no UNSC resolution condemning it.
Meanwhile Israel continues to this day to take more and more territory. Ignore more and more UNSC resolutions. The “Palestine question” is when will they stop and what can be done about it!