This is the first of a series of posts addressing Peace in the Middle East and the role of the United Nations in establishing and maintaining a lasting Peace in that region. The basic premise of this series of posts is that Justice and Respect of International Law are essential predicates and foundation for Peace in the Middle East, and indeed anywhere else as well on our Earth. The secession of hostilities, if not based on Justice and International Law, is not Peace, it is just the state of preparing for the next round of war and destruction.
In this post we will examine the historical background of the Middle East Peace as it relates to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, we will review the UN resolutions that established Israel, the partitioning of Palestine and the British role in that time period from 1946 to 1949. Then we will briefly review the succession of the UN resolutions leading to admitting Israel as a member of the United Nations.
The United Nations documents the history of the Palestinian-Israeli issue by stating: “The Palestine problem became an international issue towards the end of the First World War with the disintegration of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Palestine was among the several former Ottoman Arab territories which were placed under the administration of Great Britain under the Mandates System adopted by the League of Nations pursuant to the League’s Covenant (Article 22). All but one of these Mandated Territories became fully independent States, as anticipated. The exception was Palestine where, instead of being limited to the rendering of administrative assistance and advice the Mandate had as a primary objective the implementation of the Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917, expressing support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. During the years of the Palestine Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the notorious Nazi persecution of Jewish populations. Palestinian demands for independence and resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides during and immediately after World War II. Great Britain tried to implement various formulas to bring independence to a land ravaged by violence. In 1947, Great Britain turned the problem over to the United Nations.”
The above statement deserves a careful second reading with a special pause and reflection on the following parts:
- “All but one of these Mandated Territories became fully independent States, as anticipated. The exception was Palestine“
- “the Mandate had as a primary objective the implementation of the Balfour Declaration issued by the British Government in 1917, expressing support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
- “Palestinian demands for independence and resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides“
The above statement documents the continuation of injustice in Palestine by the British, not only by denying Palestine its independence, but also by supporting the establishment of a national home for another people in Palestine. Moreover, the above UN statement unjustly equates the resistance of the Palestinian people with the aggression of the Jewish invasion, by calling it “terrorism and violence from both sides“.
The United Nations continues its documentation of the Palestinian-Israeli issue by stating “After looking at various alternatives, the UN proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947) View Link… One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war expanded to occupy 77 percent of the territory of Palestine. Israel also occupied the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half of the indigenous Palestinian population fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory assigned by the partition resolution to the Palestinian Arab State which did not come into being.”
The above statement also deserves a careful second reading, especially the part that unjustly equates the occupation of the Palestinian land by Israel through military aggression; with the care-taker role of Egypt and Jordan that came through agreement not aggression against the Palestinian people; note the language of the above statement “Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory“.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 was passed on December 11, 1948. The resolution consists of 15 Articles. Article 11 is among the most significant: “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273 was passed on May 11, 1949. The resolution admitted Israel to membership in the United Nations conditional on Israel’s implementation of the above mentioned two resolutions (181 & 194). The full text of the UN Resolution 273:
“Having received the report of the Security Council on the application of Israel for membership in the United Nations, Noting that, in the judgment of the Security Council, Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter, Noting that the Security Council has recommended to the general Assembly that it admit Israel to membership in the United Nations, Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it ‘unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a member of the United Nations,’ Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, The General Assembly, Acting in discharge of its functions under Article 4 of the Charter and rule 125 of its rules of procedure,
- Decides that Israel is a peace loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations;
- Decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.”
The United Nations admitted Israel as a member of the world organization based on the following conditions:
- Israel’s implementation of Resolution 181 which aims to create two independent States; a Palestinian State in the green colored areas of the partition map above, and a Jewish State in the white colored areas of the partition map above
- Israel’s implementation of Resolution 194 which aims, among other things, to guarantee the right of return of the Palestinians to their homeland
- Additional conditions contained in Resolution 273: “Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter… the declaration by the State of Israel that it unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a member of the United Nations.“
Reflecting on the past 60 years, it is baffling that the United Nations has not questioned the validity of it own resolutions.
To be continued…
M. Alaadin A. Morsy
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