Palestine – Jews and Arabs, the Mandate and the Law

July 27, 2012 by David Singer
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The Levy Commission’s resurrection of the Mandate for Palestine as the legal title deed establishing Israel’s entitlement to claim sovereignty in the West Bank has come 48 years after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) first tried to bury it…writes David Singer.

A member of the Levy Commission – Alan Baker – stated this week that the three Commissioners were:


 “legal experts examining a legal situation and making legally oriented recommendations.”

Two short statements made by the PLO in 1964 and 1968 had attempted to negate the unanimous decision of the League of Nations in 1922 to grant the Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain to enable the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in any part of former Palestine.

Those statements also became the opening shots in an ongoing and concerted Arab campaign of misinformation and disinformation to denigrate and vilify  the Jewish People’s entitlement to its own state in its ancient and biblical homeland.  They provide potent evidence to explain why the conflict between Arabs and Jews still remains unresolved in 2012.

The first statement – in 1964 – appeared in Article 18 of the Palestinian National Covenant :


 “The Balfour  Declaration, the Mandate system  and all that have been based upon them are considered fraud”

 The second – in 1968 – followed the loss of the West Bank by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Article 18  was replaced by Article 20 in a revamped document – the Palestinian National Charter – to declare:


 “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based on them are deemed null and void.”

 The change – from  the “Mandate system” being “fraud” – to the “Mandate for Palestine” being “null and void” – was deliberate.


The “Mandate system “- in the form of the Mandates for Syria and Lebanon and Mesopotamia (Iraq)  – had delivered self-determination for the Arabs and the creation of three sovereign Arab states. To continue to declare the Mandate system a “fraud”  would undermine the sovereign integrity of those Arab states.

The Mandate for Palestine was solely targeted. It was no longer a “fraud” – it was “null and void”.

In one fell swoop the Arabs had dismissed as “null and void” not only the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine – but also the resolutions of the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, article 80 of the United Nations Charter in 1945 and Security Council resolution 242 in 1967.

Such double standards and hypocrisy seem to have escaped the international community or to have been deliberately overlooked by it.

The Arabs were perfectly entitled to ignore this body of international law if they wished  – but they should have been forced to pay a high price for doing so in the form of suspension from membership of the United Nations and its other organs – until they acknowledged and agreed to accept the rule of law in the conduct of international relations between member states of the UN.

Instead – the international community pandered to the whim of these serial law-deniers for a variety of  reasons – mainly oil, terrorism and geopolitical jockeying for influence in the Arab world.

Ignoring Israel’s legal rights under the Mandate at the United Nations has proved disastrous for the cause of peace in the Middle East – has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Arabs – and has wreaked untold suffering and trauma on millions of others.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 2004 decision on the legality of Israel‘s security barrier – gave an air of legal respectability to the irrelevance of the Mandate – referring to it only once in the following statement.

 “Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the First World War, a class A. Mandate for Palestine was entrusted to Great Britain by the League of Nations,pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Covenant, which provided that:

 “Certain communities, formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.’”

 That this statement was demonstrably wrong was made clear by the following statement in the Palestine Royal Commission Report of 1937 – following its exhaustive consideration of the Mandate for Palestine:

 “The Mandate is of a different type from the Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and the draft Mandate for ‘Iraq. These latter, which were called for convenience “ A ” Mandates, accorded with the fourth paragraph of Article 22. Thus the Syrian Mandate provided that the government should be based on an organic law which should take into account the rights,interests and wishes of all the inhabitants,and that measures should be enacted ”to facilitate the progressive development of Syria and the Lebanon as independent States“. The corresponding sentences of the draft Mandate for ‘Iraq’ were the same. In compliance with them National Legislatures were established in due course on an elective basis.

 Article I of the Palestine Mandate, on the other hand, vests “full powers of legislation and of administration“, within the limits of the Mandate, in the Mandatory.”

The Commission further asserted:

“Jews were admitted to be in Palestine by right. The little Jewish minority was to be helped to grow by immigration. To facilitate the establishment of the Jewish National Home was a binding international obligation on the Mandatory. “

It also made clear:

“The Mandate also imposed specific obligations towards the Arabs.Their civil and religious rights and their position as affected by immigration and land-settlement were not to be prejudiced.”

Notably absent in the Mandate was there any mention of the Arabs in Palestine having any political rights.

For the ICJ to summarily dismiss the Mandate and make the fundamental error it did in just one sentence – shows how successful the campaign begun by the Arabs 40 years earlier had become.

The ICJ decision has since been used as a whipping post at the United Nations to deny that Israel has any rights in international law to be and remain in the West Bank.

The Levy Committee has reversed that downward spiral and identified the Mandate for Palestine as the legal basis for any decisions taken by Israel aimed at resolving the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs.

Hopefully the nations of the world will now sit up and take notice.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


7 Responses to “Palestine – Jews and Arabs, the Mandate and the Law”
  1. Ben says:

    Hello Singer

    Palestinians does not mean Muslim arabs as the several palestinian declaration themselves have made clear – the indigenous Christian, Druze and Jewish palestinians are part of the Palestinian nation.

    • david says:


      As usual you sprout a lot of nonsense;

      The PLO Charter says this:

      “Article 5: The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father – whether inside Palestine or outside it – is also a Palestinian.

      Article 6: The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians”

      The words “beginning of the Zionist invasion” are undefined – but in my opinion the year would be 1880

      How many Jews do you know that live in Israel today that could be 132?

      When will you stop making a complete fool of yourself?

  2. Ben says:

    The Balfour declaration and the mandate were imposed upon the Palestinians by British force of arms with Zionist collaboration. The palestenians had no role in the declaration or the imposition of the mandate. If “legality” without justice is all that matters, very few actions of the Thrid reich are “illegal”. They were all supported by Nazi “laws.”

    • singer says:


      You state:

      “The Balfour declaration and the mandate were imposed upon the Palestinians by British force of arms with Zionist collaboration. The palestenians had no role in the declaration or the imposition of the mandate.

      Might I answer you as follows:

      1.Your use of the word “Palestinians” is devoid of any meaning.

      Arabs,Jews. non-Arab Christians and non-religious others also lived in Palestine.

      If by the term “Palestinians” you mean “the Arab residents of Palestine” they were included in the phrase “non-jewish communities” as used in the Mandate. Their civil and religious rights in Palestine were not to be prejudiced. No mention was made of them having any political rights – and the reason are made clear by me in 2 below.

      2.The Mandate (which endorsed the Balfour Declaration in its text) was the unanimous expression of all 51 members of the League of Nations. Were they all asleep at the wheel? Not one country objected or dissented at what you call ” British force of arms with Zionist collaboration”.

      Care to know why?

      Because the Mandate for Palestine was part of a package deal of Mandates – all created at the same time – to enable both Jewish and Arab self-determination to occur.

      The political rights of the Arabs (including the Palestinian Arabs) were to be found in the Mandates created for Arab self determination in Syria,Lebanon, and Mesopotamia.

      The Mandate for Palestine was the area set aside for Jewish self-determination It was one – hundredth the size of that set aside for Arab self-determination.

      Your attempt to equate what happened at the the League of Nations with Nazi laws – is both obscene and unjustifiable.

      If you claim I am wrong – then give me the facts to support your statements as I have done to rebut your statements.

    • dannykid says:


      You echo the Palestinian narrative of an historic, eternal Arab people of an Arab nation called “Palestine”.

      Consider these:

      * There is no “P” sound in Arabic, the word “Palestine” is not Arabic.

      * UNRWA, the UN refugee organization dealing with the Arab refugees of 1948, defines them as having lived in the Palestine Mandate from 1946 to 1948, just two years. If they had lived there since the time of the Canaanites as claimed, what was the sense of that definition? It was necessary to include the innumerable Arabs that had immigrated in the previous few decades from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq – from all over the Arab world – to benefit from the Jewish and British created economic prosperity lacking in their home countries, as it still is.

      * If you knew anything about Arab names, you would recognise many of the “Palestinian’s” names as being from those regions.

      There is so much more you can discover for yourself if you took the trouble to just query, let alone question, the “narrative”.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    David, your item is comprehensive and erudite, but the truths highlighted by the Levy Committee and which you set out for easy comprehension by laymen, were not unknown by Israeli politicians and lawyers. That they were suppress and ignored were pollitical decisions by dreamers who fooled themselves and their supporters into believing that ignoring laws and denying Israel’s rights would bring about the age of peace. The self-denial was also the work of cowards who grovelled to the international community and the internationalist traitors who identified with pro-Arabs and Jew haters in various foreign affairs establishments. Whether Israel asserts its rights in response to the Levy report or if the Diaspora responds to the facts as you laid, out are political matters, which seem remarkably inpervious to reason. Your article is valuable for debate, if our communal leaders allow it. We are desparately in need of grass-roots action.

    • singer says:


      You rightly say that Israel’s assertion of its legal rights are political matters for Israel’s Governments.

      Where, when and how those rights are exercised will depend on the Government of the day.

      There is plenty of grass roots action. The question is – is it properly focused or does it miss the wood for the trees?

      I am more than welcome to entertain any debate, criticism or comment on any aspect of this article through the columns of JWIRE.

      I would urge readers to voice their opinions – as you have.

      I will do my best to respond.

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