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Palestine and Statehood: An historical overview
Published Tuesday 23/08/2011 (updated) 01/09/2011 12:18
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Until 1923, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. In December 1917, British troops entered Jerusalem and ended 400 years of Ottoman rule. In 1922, the League of Nations issued the Mandate of Palestine which authorized the United Kingdom to become the Mandatory Power in Palestine.

The Mandate Document, however, included several paradoxical stipulations contrary to the Mandate System as set forth in Article 22 of the League's Charter.

Major stipulations

The Mandate Document included several paragraphs, which were considered by many historians and international lawyers as flagrant breaches of the word and spirit of the Mandate system. The system was intended to protect the territories occupied by the British and French from the axis enemy (Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire), and to develop these territories to independence and freedom for their populations.

The MD, contrary to that system, stipulated that the UK must develop the territory of Palestine in cooperation with the Jewish Agency in order to achieve a national home for the Jewish people, ignoring the real interests of the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs or Palestine.

In 1922 Palestine was still considered as a part of the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, which became Turkey after that date. It wasn't until Turkey signed the Lausanne Treaty in 1932 that Turkey relinquished her claim to sovereignty on Palestine. Thus, the MD was in clear breach of the rules of international law.

The Legal Status of Palestine

The UK's rule over Palestine contained flaws and several breaches. The Mandatory Power (UK) was considered, by many international lawyers, as a colonial power, which should have supervised the Mandate Territory and developed it as an honest trustee, which it failed to do.

In regards to sovereignty over Palestine during the years of the Mandate, many international experts consider that sovereignty was inherent to the people of that territory and was temporarily in the hands of the League of Nations. Palestine was considered as an embryo of a state.

It had its constitutions in 1922, its nationality law in 1925 and several other laws and by-laws covering almost all aspects of life and social and economic activities.

The Mandatory Power exerted all its efforts to help the Zionist Organizations, represented by the Jewish Agency, the Jewish Keren Ha' Kayemet, the Jewish Keren Ha'yesud and the Zionist Haganah [the armed organization of the Jewish agency], to bring an influx of Jewish immigrants into the Mandated Territory, to develop their own independent economy, arms and to construct armed settlements, in all Palestine.

All of this was claimed to be in conformity with the MD of Palestine, which was the legal fig-leaf in concealing the real goals of both the imperial power and Zionist Organizations.

During the whole of British rule, Palestinians revolted and demonstrated, but the British forces dealt with these revolutionary acts in utmost cruelty, putting them down and killing thousands of Palestinian Arabs and deporting or imprisoning tens of thousands.

In 1947, the UK government, unable to control the strong Zionist terrorist organizations, decided to refer the whole issue to the United Nations General Assembly which issued in November 26, 1947 a resolution dividing Palestine into two states: A Jewish state consisting of 54 percent of the territory of Palestine, an Arab state consisting of 44 percent of that territory, and the Jerusalem Area, as a Corpus Separatum, consisting of 2 percent of Palestine.

Furthermore, the Resolution decided to have an Economic Union between the two states and stipulated that the Jerusalem Area, which included Bethlehem, should be a separate area under the control of the UN.

The Zionist leadership pretended to accept the resolution, relying on the fact that it would be refused by the reactionary Arab leadership.

After the UN Resolution, clashes broke out among the two communities. The armed Zionist organizations, well prepared and organized, as well as heavily armed, defeated the poorly armed Palestinians and the weak unorganized Arab armies.

They occupied and annexed 70 percent of Jerusalem and 50 percent of the territory allocated to the Arab State, and on May 15, 1948, declared the State of Israel on 78 percent of historical Palestine territory, leaving the Palestinians without a state and in limbo.

All these events happened in collusion among the colonial British government, the Jewish Agency and some Arab regimes, ruled and/or controlled by the British.

Aftermath of the 1948 War

As mentioned above, there was an enlarged Jewish state [Israel], but the remaining territories of Palestine were either annexed to Jordan [The West Bank], or put under Egyptian rule [The Gaza Strip].

So, the Palestinian people, who constituted 67 percent of the population of Palestine in 1947 and owned 93 percent of its land, were betrayed and left in a state of destitution.

Sixty-two percent of them were driven out of their home under gunpoint and in several massacres committed by armed Zionist organizations.

At present, there are 10.5 million Palestinians, including around 5 millions refugees, scattered in several Middle Eastern countries and other Diaspora states.

As for Palestinian Statehood: The UN General Assembly by great majority has recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self determination and statehood in more than 40 resolutions.

Most famous of these resolutions were the two issued in October, 1974: 3236 and 3237. The latter recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and stipulated that it would be granted the status of Observer in all UN organs and affiliated organizations and its sponsored conferences.

In December 15, 1988, a month after the declaration of the State of Palestine by the PLO conference in Algiers, the UN General Assembly decided in its resolution of December 15, 1988 to recognize the PLO declaration of the State of Palestine and to substitute the use of PLO for the name of Palestine in all its organs and conferences.

UN membership

After the Oslo accords in 1993 and the failure of peace negotiations which lasted for 18 years, the PLO intends to bring to the UN General Assembly once again, through the UN Resolution number 377 of 1950, the issue of recognition of the State of Palestine on the basis of the June, 1967 borders.

Such resolutions, if issued by the UN General Assembly, could have some legal, political and media ramifications, but, nevertheless, it will not have any practical impact on the Israeli Government and some of its allies.

The State of Palestine will still lack a major element of a sovereign state: That is the "effective control" over territory and population. This can only be achieved when the Israeli occupation is compelled to withdraw from Palestine. This fact may push many members of the International Community to support Palestine to end the occupation.

However, there will be a slim chance for the admission of the state of Palestine into the United Nations if the US, or any other permanent members of the UN Security Council uses the Veto in this regards. In this situation, the General Assembly cannot vote for the Admission of Palestine, as the International court of Justice ruled in its Advisory Opinion of March 3, 1950, in its interpretation of the provisions of Article 4 of the UN Charter.

The best procedure to be conducted in this regard is one of the following:

a) To apply to the General Assembly of the UN asking them to denounce the continuing Israeli occupation and to declare the strict and unchangeable will of members of the United Nations to end the occupation of all Palestinian lands occupied in 1967 and their confirmation of the right of the Palestinian People to self-determination and statehood in a "full fledged independent state on all occupied Palestinian Territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem" living in peace side by side with Israel.

b) To ask the UN General Assembly to demand from the ICJ an Advisory Opinion on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood on the occupied territories.

A resolution of the UN General Assembly, if taken by great majority of more than 75 percent of the members and an Advisory Opinion from the ICJ could have a great impact on most states and members of the international community. They would also carry an important moral pressure on both states and international civil society.

The Palestinians, Arab States, Arab public opinion and civil society and other friends and supporters of the Palestinian people, should play a very active role in organizing and administrating all possible measures to properly invest and harness the said Resolution and/or Advisory Opinion.

One can give an example of the fruits of such good investment by referring to what the prominent Israeli leading newspaper Ha'aretz wrote in June 2011.

It referred to what several Israeli jurists and international law experts were aware of: "Palestine adhering to the Rome Statute of 1998 (the ICC Statute), thus becoming a member of the ICC capable of invoking its jurisdiction in cases of Israel committing war-crimes of other similar crimes".

Such membership is possible if many states and/or members of the ICC Statute are finally convinced that Palestine is a state which is worth becoming a member of the said convention. In this regard, it must be highlighted that the ICC Statute does not provide for states to become members of the ICC but that they should be members of the UNO. It only demands in all its Articles that Member States should be "States".

If support for Palestine is very high, it constitutes great pressure on several states and may be a turning point in their attitude towards Palestinian Statehood.

Abdullah Abu Eid is a professor of international law and human rights at Birzeit University
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1 ) ronen / israel
23/08/2011 12:05
of course negotiations continue to fail when arabs are deliberatly distorting everything. the demonstrations of the arabs pre 47 as you put it were in fact dozens of massacres. we all hear about some irgun or stern gang but what about the thousands that you have killed? what about fedayin? you want to lie, lie. but dont expect to get anything from us. and our friends too dont buy what you are selling anymore. with the help of immigration, westerners have come to see what you really are.

2 ) The Two / Words
23/08/2011 15:17
"Palestine" & "Statehood"
DO NOT GO TOGETHER !!

NOT IN THE PAST,
NOT NOW, and
NEVER IN THE FUTURE either,
UNLESS "Palestinians" do what for them is simply impossible:
- forget about an East Jerusalem capital,
- forget about 1967 borders, and
- forget about refugee return !!!!


3 ) Historical / Fantasies
23/08/2011 18:05

Name calling and fantasies will NOT harm Zionists, and if Arabs were capable of seeing the reality, they would realize that "Zionists are neo-Palestinians", being both:
- born on the Land, and
- having ancient ancestral claims to it !!!!

Just like Arabs, Zionists were "Palestinians" under the British Mandate,
but now they prefer their more ancestral name, "Israeli",
just like the Arabs prefer their new name, "Palestinian" !!!


4 ) Zach / USA
23/08/2011 18:43
I definitely agree with everything you said! Its like if the Palestinians and Israelis are at a restaurant trying to decide how to split up the pizza while the Israelis are eating the pizza. They continue to build settlements in Palestinian territory which is considered by virtually every nation and the U.N. as a breach in international protocol. Then they ask themselves why are the Palestinians upset? The Israeli's have an apartheid over Palestine. They control all land, sea, and air borders

5 ) orianna / usa
23/08/2011 19:00
I was interested to read this selective view of the history. Where is the mention of the fact that the colonial powers, Britain and France, created many of the borders that exist between Arab countries today? Where is the mention that the state of Transjordan, todays Jordan, was created out of Palestine to give the Hashemites a place to rule? Where is the history of the actions of the Arabs themselves during this time period? Time to stop being a victim. Take responsibility.

6 ) Moe / Palestine
23/08/2011 20:40
Its time for the Israeli's to be responsible for their actions. Every time there is a peace agreement they back out or come with some excuse while in the meantime they continue building settlements. The ball is in their court. Also, there needs to be an end to all of the propaganda in the media. Its too one sided to Israel. People need to see the other side of things for a change.

7 ) @ Zach (4) / Good Analogy,
23/08/2011 21:04
except you're wrong about one thing.

"Palestinians are NOT trying to decide how to split up the pizza".
- They won't negotiate !!

Instead, they demand ALL the "disputed" lands,
which belonged to neither, and refuse to recognize
that the rest will belong to the Jewish state !!

I understand "why are the Palestinians upset",
just NOT the foolishness of refusing to negotiate,
while "the Pizza" is continually being eaten.
- Even a child knows to "grab", or negotiate, a piece quick !!

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/08/2011 21:34
To roner #1 'of course negotiations continue to fail when arabs are deliberatly distorting everything. the demonstrations of the arabs pre 47 as you put it were in fact dozens of massacres. we all hear about some irgun or stern gang but what about the thousands that you have killed? ' Somewhat ironically, you refer to 'distortion' -- and then claim 'thousands' killed. In fact, the Jews in 1946-47 gave considerably better than they got.

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/08/2011 21:37
To #3 Historical 'Just like Arabs, Zionists were "Palestinians" under the British Mandate, but now they prefer their more ancestral name, "Israeli"...' Also ironically, the early Zionists realized the Palestinians were actually the one group most clearly descended from the Biblical Israelites. They even contemplated co-opting them -- until they realized they weren't interested in becoming Jews or participating in the Zionist pseudo-historical fantasy.

10 ) Miss Costello / uk
23/08/2011 21:55
'Abdullah Abu Eid is a professor of international law and human rights at Birzeit University'

#5 So what exactly are your qualifications?

11 ) Mel / USA
23/08/2011 21:56
#1 Ronen "our friends too dont buy"? What friends? The US govt? The American people stand with Palestine,not Zionism.Wake up Ro! We don't buy what Israelis "sell" anymore.Immigration? You can't fill those ugly Jewish colonies because Israeli Jews are leaving Israel,back to US and Europe that's why Israeli cenus #'s are going down. It's the Israeli Zionists the West has "come to see".Because we older ones saw it in WW2,in Germany and then South Africa.You need to go back to school dude?

12 ) Ellen Rosser / US
24/08/2011 06:39
I think it is unfortunate that the Palestinians are merely planning to get another non-binding General Assembly resolution instead of following procedures and applying for membership in the U.N. through the Security Council. If the US were to veto that membership, then the Palestinians could go to the International Court of Justice and get a ruling, which would state, presumably, as it did in l948 when six nations were rejected, that the only criterion for membership is Article 4 of the Cha

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
24/08/2011 10:10
To The Two #2 '- forget about 1967 borders, and...' Of course, if the Palestinians GOT the 1967 borders, that would mean they would have a whole fifth of their own country. One wonders...just how much of Palestine are you prepared to let the Palestinians have? After all, I'm sure that once they are properly walled in, they'll be confined to 5% or so. When Israel is a memory, it'll be obvious this attitude was her downfall. All for me, none for you -- oink, oink.

14 ) @ Colin #13 / Reality Calling
24/08/2011 15:21

"If the PALESTINE got the 1967 borders, it would be" 100% of a country,
that NEVER EXISTED !!

One should do more that just wonder, and try negotiations, to discover
"just how much of Palestine Israel is prepared to let the Palestinians have" !!

The answer to "how much" is:
- Definitely all the Arab population centers (Gaza & Area A),
- Probably most Arab villages & farm land (Area B),
- Probably some of the desert too (Area C), &
- That is as good as it gets (so Throw A Fit) !!!

15 ) @ Colin #13 / All-or-Nothing
24/08/2011 18:37
is a "Bad Bet", when the odds are so "long".

Palestinians are gambling now, just like they gambled in 1967,
but now the odds are far worse, and what is considered "All"
is continually shrinking:
- Once the 181 Partition offered Arabs half of Israel, and
- Once all of 1967 borders was under Jordanian control, but
- Now only Gaza and Area A are in their control, and
- Now the PA must negotiate for full control in Area B
- Now the PA must negotiate for any control, at all, in Area C !!!

16 ) johnny benson / usa
24/08/2011 19:43
colin....eat your heart out...no matter how you twist .turn..and make up facts.....the truth is that..your friends...call them what you will...are a mess a morass of blind murderous bats in a hell of stupidity....flalling around poisoning their children with hate and poverty.....and it never had to be....how sad

17 ) #11 shh mel gibson / israel
24/08/2011 23:30
what friends? how bout 80 mil american israel evagelists? how about the 40-45% accordong to polls that support israel? if they arent leftists they dont count? i couldnt care less at what you have come to see, comprende? and you colin, you just lie whenever you lack knowledge or things are not collinear with your agenda. arabs have been killing jews en masse before 48 and it was not a two way street

18 ) Robby / USA
24/08/2011 23:45
11 ) Mel / USA "The American people stand with Palestine,not Zionism." - How did you determine that? And since when? In fact a large portion of comments in Maan are complaining about just the opposite, that the Americans side with Israel and not with the Palestinians.

19 ) Fuchs / USA
24/08/2011 23:59
Among all of this it remains that at the root of Israel's claim to having a right to exist, is based on the idea that their God says it's theirs. And that their ancestors lived there and were driven out. One of my ancestors was driven out of Ireland by the potato famine... does that mean I should be allowed to grab a rifle, go over there and claim sovereignty of a potato farm, and force the farmer to live in a little shed in the middle, and hire someone to shoot him if he crosses my "borders"?

20 ) @ Colin #9 / Seriously Deluded
25/08/2011 04:18
(or is it Achmed / Gaza?)

We remaioned Jews, when it would have been much easier to convert,
despite the torture and executions of the Crusades, Inquisition,
Mohamedans, and Nazi, yet you believe "Palestinians were actually
the one group most clearly descended from the Biblical Israelites".
- Truely, NO Americans I know are so Seriously Deluded, and
- There's plenty of genetic evidence to the contrary !!!!


21 ) Robby / USA
25/08/2011 18:02
19 ) Fuchs / USA - So you are making a argument against the Palestinian "right of return"?

22 ) Wisam / Beit jala
27/08/2011 09:50
Hey buddies , calm down. The article will not solve the dilemma of Palestine. Dr. Abu Eid is a famous intellectual writer and has deep analytical sight. As an academic, he draws major theoretical lines and colors but never never turn his analysis into facts or translate his suggestion into real activities. No tax on speech and this is the freedom of expression guys , he is not liar or manipulator . He is the best analyzer.

23 ) @ Wissam #22 / Seriously Deluded
28/08/2011 04:25

You may be right, that "Dr. Abu Eid is the best analyzer"
(pathetic logic, and largely lacking a grasp on reality).

If so, it would explain why Palestine remains largely stuck,
as just OPT, and seems unlikely to ever become a real state,
which would require negotiation and real compromises !!!!


24 ) Remembering / Boneparte
31/08/2011 20:55

In Palestine, during the Ottoman Empire, Napoleon said:

- "Now is the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations".

- "NOT to conquer your patrimony; nay, only to take over that which has been conquered"


But, these were his WORDS TO THE JEWS, back in 1799 !!!


25 ) Filistine / Palestine
03/09/2011 11:07
As you see, prof. Abu Eid and readers, Zionists keep writing their messages of hate for defend the indefensable. The lad where the criminal Zionists invented Israel was a Palestinian land. Zionists stolen and keep steal it from us. They don't recognize their crimes because, for their "ethics", crimes are a just and correct way for achieving their colonialist aims. Enough is enough, Zionists. Your time in ending, fortunately.
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