Palestine – Unearthing Past Remains Key To Resolving Future…writes David Singer

August 30, 2014 by David Singer
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The cease fire agreement ending hostilities in the Fifty Day War between Israel and Hamas marks yet another milestone attesting to the failure of Jews and Arabs to peacefully resolve their claims to sovereignty and self-determination in the territory once called “Palestine”.

Amazingly – the continuing inability of the parties – and the international community – to reach consensus on identifying when this long running conflict actually commenced – ensures it will continue to remain unresolved.

Emeritus Professor Richard Falk – formerly United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank –still claims in his latest article that the conflict started in 1947.

“Israel was born in 1948. Resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly [dated 29 November 1947 – Ed] is widely regarded as the most convincing legal basis for founding the State of Israel.”

Falk gave the following reasons for his viewpoint on 1 August 2012:

I regard the Balfour Declaration and the mandatory system as classic colonial moves that have lost whatever legitimacy that they possessed at the time of their utterance, and prefer to view the competing claims to land and rights on the basis either of the 1948 partition proposal or the 1967 boundaries, although if there was diplomatic parity, I would respect whatever accommodation the parties reached, but without such parity, it seems necessary to invoke the allocation of rights as per settled international law.”

Falk’s opinion mirrors article 20 of the Palestine Liberation Organization Charter:

The Balfour Declaration [1917], the Mandate for Palestine [1922], and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

Falk’s opinion is not shared by Matti Friedman – who in his latest article identifies the starting date as being much earlier than 1947:


The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party. It also includes the implicit assumption that if the Palestinian problem is somehow solved the conflict will be over, though no informed person today believes this to be true. This definition also allows the Israeli settlement project, which I believe is a serious moral and strategic error on Israel’s part, to be described not as what it is—one more destructive symptom of the conflict—but rather as its cause.”

Adopting Friedman’s viewpoint over Falk’s – one can confidently nominate the 1920 San Remo Conference as the legal basis for founding the State of Israel – when England, France, Italy, and Japan agreed to divide the areas of the 400 years old Ottoman Empire conquered by them in World War 1 into three mandates – Mesopotamia (now Iraq), Syria/Lebanon and Palestine.

This carve up was intended to see Arab self-determination eventually achieved in 99.99% of the conquered Ottoman territory and Jewish self-determination in the remaining 0.01%.

These proposals were unanimously endorsed by all 51 member States of the League of Nations in 1922.

But they proved to be temporary only in relation to Palestine – because three months later the provisions of Article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine enabled Great Britain to restrict the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home to within 23% of the tiny area of land originally set aside to achieve that objective at San Remo – with the remaining 77% of Mandatory Palestine eventually becoming an independent Palestinian Arab state in 1946 – that is today called Jordan.

The period 1920-1947 without doubt covers a host of critically important legal and historical signposts that cannot be forgotten or buried.

Whilst the two-state solution ultimately created between 1946-1948 as a result of the San Remo Conference is ignored – attempts to resolve sovereignty in today’s highly volatile West Bank and Gaza – are destined to certain failure and renewed conflict.

The two-state solution posited by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap creating a 22nd independent sovereign Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history has failed to materialize – despite twenty years of intensive political and diplomatic efforts by the international community.

The PLO (founded in 1964) and Hamas (founded in 1987) both seek to unravel the decisions made at San Remo in 1920.

They need to be replaced as Israel’s Arab negotiating partners by the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine – Jordan and Israel – and possibly Egypt – to determine and allocate sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza between their respective States.

Unearthing the past still remains the key to peacefully resolving the future.

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


11 Responses to “Palestine – Unearthing Past Remains Key To Resolving Future…writes David Singer”
  1. Peter Arnold says:

    Singer’s view is indeed legalistic. We are dealing, however, with an enemy which has no respect for law other than Shariah (as they interpret it).
    They also have no regard for democratic institutions, including international ‘democratic’ bodies like the UN, unless those bodies make decisions favourable to the Islamic world.
    To look for a legal solution, when no entity has the power to enforce those ‘laws’, is futile.

    • david singer says:


      In the case of Israel – which is the only member of the United Nations which is not recognized by all the other members of the United Nations – its legitimacy to exist as unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations and article 80 of the UN Charter becomes of paramount importance.

      Article 4(1) of the Charter expressly states:

      “1. Membership in the United Nations is open to a other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations”

      Ignoring article 80 of its own Charter has proved and will continue to prove the downward slide of the United Nations into ultimate political oblivion – whether there is any entity that has the power to legally enforce it or not.

      You can’t play a soccer match if only one side is following the rules. You can’t have a UN if so many members do not abide by the terms of the Charter.

      Once the members take their legal obligations as laid down in the Charter seriously – we might well see some movement in the Jewish-Arab conflict.

      • Gil Solomon says:


        You CAN have a UN where where so many members do not abide by the terms of the Charter. It has already been going on for years and is set to continue well into the future.

        There is no hope of members taking their “legal obligations” seriously as envisioned by the original charter, as the barbarian states have invested too much in hate and are already influencing others in their political direction.

        Peace will only come for Israel if it takes the gloves off at the next round with the sole aim being the unconditional surrender of the enemy.
        For this to happen the “Purity of Arms” doctrine needs to be shredded and thrown in the garbage where it belongs.
        Ludicrous advance warnings need to cease, no targets should be off limits and if people want to be human shields protecting a MILITARY target then they should expect to be treated as enemy combatants and suffer the lethal consequences.

        Only with total military victory over the enemy can peace ever have a chance. Talking legalities with this lot is an exercise in futility.

        • david singer says:

          Things may be changing with the advent of the Islamic State.

          Some event like that has the capacity to change the legal thinking of those who are suddenly threatened with loss of power, wealth, and ultimately beheading.

          Amazingly the Mandates system which spawned Syria, Iraq, Lebanon as well as Israel is seen in a different light.

          You know the old chestnuts – “two lawyers three opinions” “changed circumstances” “new facts” – can bring about an amazing change in previously held legal opinions.

          You can now add a new one – “keeping our heads on”.

  2. Cody Flecker says:

    In the United States, the present occupier in the White House will soon declare a general amnesty to the millions of illegals that he has allowed entry into the country. Many of these illegal immigrants will eventually settle in the American Southwest. California and Arizona will have to resettle these illegals.

    Over time, will these illegal migrants try to claim these two States among others as separate entities, not associated with the rest of the USA? Right now, California is allowing these illegals the ability to drive cars without proper identification, and to receive governmental(welfare) benefits without the usual requirements of residency.

    Is this not the case of the so called Palestinians who magically migrated to this area after fleeing other Arab and Muslim lands during the 20th Century? In 1900, we didn’t have so many so called Palestinians living in what is now Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The vast majority of these peoples migrated to this land and magically called themselves Palestinians; and that only after the surrounding Arab nations lost one war after another with tiny Israel.

    The so called Palestinians are in reality “sore losers” They keep on starting wars and keep on losing them, yet they want Israel to give them things for nothing. Are they any different than the Mexicans who have come to the USA illegally and demand resources from the Government, knowing full well that they are illegal?

    • david singer says:


      You raise a very important point.

      Arab migration to Palestine started when Jews started returning to Palestine to revitalise what had been a backwater of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years.

      The League of Nations fully understood that position when they spoke of the Moslem and Christian populations of Palestine as “the non-Jewish communities of Palestine”

      The “Palestinians” were not defined until 1968 in the PLO Covenant to mean:
      “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.”

      Jews and non-Arab Christians are excluded.

      Now people like Professor Richard Falk have the hide to call “the Palestinians” – the “indigenous population”.

      This is how far the international community has sunk into the quicksand.

      Until this hoax is exposed and rejected – the prospects for peace seem very slim indeed.

      The so-called acceptance of the “Arab narrative” beginning from 1947 at the expense of the “Jewish narrative” beginning from 1920 can be directly attributed to this grave injustice.

      Those who keep contributing to advance this false and discredited Arab narrative will have to accept responsibility for the next and subsequent rounds of fighting in the unresolved Jewish-Arab conflict that will surely follow as night follows day.

    • Gil Solomon says:


      Dreamers may differ, but there is only one solution to this conflict and that is a military one. It is just that Israel has never pursued this option with the ferocity necessary to bring about the unconditional surrender of the enemy. Conflicts to date have ended prematurely and inconclusively time and time again and that is the major problem.

      In the entire recorded history, there never was a nation called Palestine. It is a great shame that Israel from day one did not denounce the fictitious “Palestinian” narrative but on the contrary, through various acts culminating in the disastrous Oslo Accords, in fact created a people who never existed.

      If there was ever a Palestinian nation, they could easily have asked:
      Who were its rulers?
      What was its currency?
      Was it run by Sharia law?
      What were its borders?
      The list could go on and on.

      The facts are that Palestine was a geographic land mass administered finally by the British until the 1947 Partition Plan when only a tiny part of biblical ancient Israel was allocated back to its rightful owners, the Jewish people.

      Unfortunately, the so called “Palestinians” have managed to turn history on its head and the one nation to counter this fiction, Israel, did not utter barely a word against this re writing of history.

      Whatever one thinks about what is currently taking place in the Ukraine and Russia’s help to the pro Russian separatists, I do like Putin’s style when he told Obama, NATO and the West in general “Its best not to mess with us”. Just once I would like to see a united Israel talk like this to the Arab masses and put sheer terror up their spines, knowing that at the next round of hostilities the “Purity of Arms” doctrine will be shredded, there will be no further military lawyers to call off strikes at the last second, no more advance warnings to the enemy and no targets off limits.

      The West knows that to mess with Putin they are playing with fire and this is how Arab states should be made to feel vis a vis Israel.
      Don’t get me wrong, I could not care less about those Ukranian anti Semites but a different approach by Israel is long overdue.

      It is just wishful thinking on the part of vast numbers of Jews who think that endless dialogue, diplomacy and legal niceties can have a hope of convincing the Arab world to do a one hundred and eighty degree turnaround in their hostility to Israel. They have invested too much in hate to ever do that. The conflict with these people can only end militarily and its time for Israel to once and for all take the gloves off.

      This requires a united Israel and that is the problem.

      • david singer says:


        Israel was united for the duration of the 50 Day War and will remain so where their security is concerned.

        There is nothing like rockets landing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the cancellation of international carriers flying into Ben Gurion Airport and red code alerts sending people everywhere in Israel into safe rooms and shelters to make them understand the existential threats they now face.

        Your proposal to militarily consign Hamas to a political foot note in history is premature in my opinion – but it will surely come should there be a large number of Israeli lives lost in the future.

        America is threatening to wipe out the Islamic State following the beheading of two American reporters. It did the same in Iraq and Afghanistan – but at what cost to thousands of grieving American families – not to mention the depleted Treasury.

        What the tipping point will be for Israel is a decision for Israel’s Government to make – not you or me or anyone else.

        Israel is keeping its powder dry – and so should you.

  3. Harvey Bernard says:

    David Singer’s articles are without fail extremely well researched and informative. All that have been published in J-wire to date should be published in book form and made available worldwide. Would be a wonderful resource to all who discuss and in some cases teach the history of Israel and the Jewish people with particular reference to the current troubles.

    Thank you David, the information contained within your articles enables me to more than hold my own when involved in sometimes heated arguments (discussion!) re Israel.

    Very best regards and please keep the articles coming

  4. Gil Solomon says:


    Please have a look at the hate filled diatribe in the link below and tell us all how your legalistic mantra can overcome this in order to, as you say “PEACEFULLY resolve the future”.

    If it can’t be opened directly, then try copying and pasting to the browser.
    It is a short clip but well worth watching.

    • David Singer says:


      Did you note this Jew hating Imam in the video clip also said: “we will not accept a ceasefire”?

      His disgraceful rant comes from adopting 1947 as the starting date of the Jewish-Arab conflict – not 1920 – when 99.99% of the conquered Ottoman Empire was given to the Arabs and just 0.01% to the Jews.

      Until everyone is singing from the same hymn book no peaceful resolution will be possible.

      Our problem is – how do we get Obama, Kerry, indyk and the UN – and even this disgusting vile Imam to talk 1920 and not 1947?

      Once they do – the possibilities for a peaceful resolution of the Jewish- Arab conflict increase dramatically..

      If loss of face or egg on face prevents their about face – then the conflict is set to continue.

      If this all sounds too simple – it is – and it remains the key to ending the incitement to hatred and contempt of the Jews that your referred video clip so graphically exposes.

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