State Of Palestine and Islamic State Highlight International Double Standards

July 3, 2015 by David Singer
Read on for article

UNESCO, the United Nations and just this week – the Vatican – have recognised that the “State of Palestine” exists…writes David Singer.

This is despite the fact that it lacks all four basic requirements laid down in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933:

“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Reverend Federico Lombardi – the Vatican spokesman – confirmed the Holy See’s stance:

“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists”

The Vatican is justifiably concerned to protect Christian communities in the Middle East against further ongoing death, dispersion and destruction of their churches as has occurred to Christian communities in Syria and Iraq during the last twelve months.

Easing the concerns of Christians in the West Bank would have certainly played a part in the Vatican’s decision.

Bethlehem’s Christian population has been reduced from 60% in the 1990’s – prior to coming under Palestinian Authority control in 1995 – to 15% Christian by 2013 – whilst 1,000 Christians are reported to be leaving every year.

However Christian population growth in Israel last year stood at 1.3%.

Risking a rift in its relations with Israel displays poor judgement by the Vatican given these realities.

Those 107 member States voting for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 did so in direct contravention of Article II (2) of the UNESCO Constitution which provides:

“… states not members of the United Nations Organization may be admitted to membership of the Organization ….”

Voting to admit into UNESCO an entity that is not a lawful state is beyond understanding.

The UN General Assembly compounded UNESCO’s amazing decision when 138 UN member States voted to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” on 29 November 2012.

The rule of law was thrown out the window with these UNESCO and UN decisions.

The international response to Islamic State has been markedly different since its declaration on 29 June 2014.

In just one year Islamic State has pillaged, plundered, beheaded and murdered its way through Syria and Iraq – now governing the population and controlling state assets in an area larger than Great Britain. Pledges of allegiance have come from many terrorist groups including Boko Haram and Sinai Province.

Islamic State meets all four Montevideo Convention criteria.

Yet British Prime Minister David Cameron urges Islamic State’s existence not be recognised by simply not using its self-declared name – reportedly telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

“I wish the BBC would stop calling it ‘Islamic State’ because it is not an Islamic State. What it is, is an appalling barbarous regime … it is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has an even whackier view:

 “This is a terrorist group and not a state. I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats’.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly used the term “death cult” 346 times since last September.

The Pope, too, seems reluctant to use the term “Islamic State”.

President Obama uses the acronym “ISIL” to deny it is Islamic or a State.

“Palestine” – not a State – is recognised as a State. “Islamic State” – a State – is not recognised as a State.

No wonder the world is in such a state of turmoil and confusion.


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


8 Responses to “State Of Palestine and Islamic State Highlight International Double Standards”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Contrary to the perception of many people, Israel has to this very day no eastern international border- only an armistice line that is subject to negotiated variation.

    • David Singer says:


      Israel does have an eastern international border which is demarcated in the following clauses in Article 3 in the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty

      “1. The international boundary between Jordan and Israel is delimited with reference to the boundary definition under the Mandate as is shown in Annex I (a), on the mapping materials attached thereto and coordinates specified therein.
      2. The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a), is the permanent, secure and recognized international boundary between Jordan and Israel, without prejudice to the status of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967.”

      • Leon Poddebsky says:

        My apologies.
        I should have written that Israel has no international border with Judea and Samaria, and that is because those regions do not constitute a state or part of a state.

  2. SamT says:

    Mr Singer, could you help me out by showing where are Israeli :defined” borders?

    • David Singer says:


      Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan have been demarcated as set out in the peace treaties made by Israel with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

      The Montevideo Convention and customary international law do not require States to have recognised borders with adjoining States or other entities – only “defined territory” – that is territory over which effective control is exercised by the claimant State.

      Hope that answers your query.

      • ben eleijah says:

        Israel is not a member of the Montevideo convention, it is a purely American convention.

        • david singer says:


          Sorry but you are wrong.

          The Montevideo Convention is a restatement of customary international law – codifying existing legal principles. The Convention does not apply merely to its signatories -but to all subjects of international law as a whole.

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

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.