Balfour Declaration and Mandate for Palestine still keys to peace

October 30, 2019 by David Singer
Read on for article

The Balfour Declaration (“Declaration) issued on 2 November 1917 and the Mandate for Palestine (“Mandate”) issued on 24 July 1922 still remain the keys to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict.

The Declaration’s call to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine was historic:

November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely,

 Arthur James Balfour

Whilst not binding in international law – that was to be reversed when the Declaration was included in the Mandate’s preamble and unanimously adopted by the League of Nations:

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country;

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;

 Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine;  

The Principal Allied Powers were The British Empire, France, Italy and Japan.

The boundaries of Palestine fixed by them encompassed what is today called Israel, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Jordan (then called Transjordan).

Under article 25 of the Mandate – the Mandatory was entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of the Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions.

On 23 September 1922, the League of Nations Secretary-General communicated for the information of the Members of the League, a memorandum relating to Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate presented by the British Government to the Council of the League on September 16th, 1922 (“Memorandum”) and approved by the Council.

The Memorandum excluded Transjordan (78% of the territory of Palestine) as a future potential area in Palestine for reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The United Nations continuing failure to faithfully implement these League of Nations decisions remains the biggest stumbling block to ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.

The two-state solution contemplated by the League of Nations in 1922 – Israel and Jordan within such final borders as they agree – remains the only viable two-state solution in 2019.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a foundation member of the International Analysts Network

 Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

Comments

7 Responses to “Balfour Declaration and Mandate for Palestine still keys to peace”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    The British Mandate would have made a nice country with Jews, Muslims and Christians living together in multicultural harmony – it worked under the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. The current cluster of smaller countries all rely on the USA and Russia for arms at great cost to all taxpayers involved.

    • DAVID SINGER says:

      Adrian

      That was not the purpose of the Mandate – which was to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities living there.

      The area was rundown and derelict when the Jews began returning in numbers in the 1880’s. Multicultural harmony was non-existent.

      Mark Twain described what he saw in 1867:
      “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)

  2. J says:

    The article says:

    “The two-state solution contemplated by the League of Nations in 1922 – Israel and Jordan…”

    Obviously this is very different than the currently so called “two-state solution”.

    The plan that is popular at the UN now actually contemplates an additional state, Palestine, and therefore it should be called the “three state solution”.

    I support the two state solution as approved in 1922, not the currently fashionable misnomer of a plan .

  3. Gary Luke says:

    At the beginning of the Mandate the territory known as Palestine didn’t spread east as far as the current eastern border of Jordan. At that time the eastern border was a vague line about 20 miles east of the Hedjaz Railway that ran from Damascus through Amman and Ma’an. Later, the Arab League under British command pushed the eastern border into Saudi Arabian territory and north east to form a corridor for oil transport from Iraq to Haifa. Transjordan in 1922 was about 35% or 40% of Palestine, ot 78%.

    • David Singer says:

      Gary

      I don’t agree with your claim that at beginning of the Mandate the eastern border was a vague line about 20 miles east of the Hedjaz Railway.

      Article 25 of the Mandate specifically declared:
      “In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions, and to make such provision for the administration of the territories as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided that no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.”

      Article 25 made it clear that the eastern boundary of Palestine had not been finally determined when unanimously approving its terms.

      So did the British Memorandum under Article 25 that was approved by Council of the League of Nations on 16 September 1922 and presented to the League of Nations on 23 September 1922.by the Secretary General.

  4. Paul Winter says:

    Clear as mud!

    If the Declaration and Mandate are taken as the creation of a Jewish state not including Jordan, then the conditions are met.

    If the documents are taken as the creation of a Jewish and an Arab state in the remainder of the mandate, then that is creative reading.

    But Israel is a state, recognised by the UN, so any debate about dividing its territory is simply the Arab dream of taking Israel over via the salami slice method.

    The two state soltion is dead, DEAD! The Arabs who were supposed to build a state in parts of Israel killed it through their determination to destroy the nation state of the Jewish people.

    Time to wake up.

    • David Singer says:

      Paul

      The two-state solution within the territory of the Mandate for Palestine is Jordan – created in 1946 – and Israel – created in 1948.

      Do you agree? If not, please explain why.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published


    Rules on posting comments