Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 22 August 2011

The United Nations & The Future Of Jerusalem

The latest trenchant article by Sydney lawyer David Singer, a founder-member of the International Analysts' Network, is entitled "Palestine –  Jerusalem Challenges The United Nations," and comes as usual via the antipodean J-Wire service.

Writes David Singer:

'Jerusalem’s continued existence as an undivided city will remain unaffected by any United Nations (UN)  decision recognising a Palestinian Arab State based on the June 1967 armistice lines. This has been made very clear in a  statement issued on 16 August by the Quartet – America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations itself – which declares:
"Jerusalem in particular is one of the core issues that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties, which underscores the urgent need for the parties to resume serious and substantive talks."
Should the UN member States disregard the Quartet’s warning, the likelihood of Israel agreeing to any subsequent negotiations over Jerusalem – or indeed any future Palestinian Arab state – would almost certainly evaporate.

The Quartet also affirmed:
"that unilateral action by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community."
This is a clear warning to the Palestinian Authority that its unilateral quest to seek UN recognition of a State would be in breach of – and could well end any further negotiations under – the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap endorsed and fully supported by the Quartet for the last eight years.

International law is a primary concern of the UN. The mandate for its activities in this field emanates from the Charter of the United Nations which, in its Preamble, sets the goal :
"to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained".
 There are three competing claims relating to Jerusalem that can only be resolved by direct negotiations – not unilaterally determined by the UN – if justice and respect for international law is to have any real meaning.
Jewish Jerusalemites Fleeing Their City in 1948

The three potential claimants are:
  1. The Palestinian Arabs  – who have never in recorded history exercised sovereign control in or over any parts of Jerusalem.  They had a window of opportunity to do so between 1948-1967 – but did not make any claim during those 19 years.
  2. Jordan – the last Arab occupier in Jerusalem between 1948-1967 – which relinquished all claims in 1988 – but whose 1994 peace treaty with Israel allows for a continuing Jordanian role in the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.
  3. The Jewish people – the only people to have ever adopted Jerusalem as their capital  when King David first established it in about 1000 BC -  and who are legally entitled to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Jerusalem pursuant to article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.
On 30 July 1980 Israel’s Parliament passed a law declaring:
"Complete and united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."
Israel’s declaration was subsequently declared "null and void" by the UN.

Jerusalem also opens up an additional legal minefield for the UN – since Jerusalem was never  included in Security Council Resolution 242.

This was confirmed in a letter published in  the New York Times on 12 March 1980 – written by the former US Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg at the time Resolution 242 was passed – in which he  stated:
"Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate. I wanted to make clear that Jerusalem was a discrete matter, not linked to the West Bank"
 Goldberg also clarified in his letter that President Johnson’s policy at that time did not regard Jerusalem as occupied territory. That position was adopted at a  later date under President Nixon at a time when there had been a change of ambassadors at the United Nations.
"The facts are that I never described Jerusalem as occupied territory. Ambassador Yost did in his speech on July 1, 1969 under instructions from President Nixon, and his statement represented a departure from policy I, President Johnson and the Department of State pursued with respect to Jerusalem during the period of my tenure…"
Security Council Resolution 242 calls for
"Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;"
Even if the UN wants to dispute Goldberg’s claim and insist that Jerusalem was indeed included in Resolution 242 – then negotiations are still required to determine such secure and recognized boundaries – not unilateral declarations or resolutions by the United Nations.

Whilst America’s policy on Jerusalem and that of the Palestinian Arabs may change from time to time – Israel’s position remains unchanged.

Israel maintains that Jerusalem is – and will remain – the eternal and undivided capital of Israel with free access to it – and all three monotheistic religions will enjoy complete freedom of worship.

President Carter’s decision to issue Sadat with a letter stating that America’s position was that East Jerusalem was occupied territory and thus the Fourth Geneva Convention would apply – almost wrecked the 1978 Camp David Accords – causing Moshe Dayan to tell President Carter:
Jerusalem Jews Made Homeless in 1948
`How could the Americans and the Egyptians argue that the Western Wall, the Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital, the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus belonged to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan? Why was the Jewish Quarter of the Old City regarded as "conquered territory" held by us in contravention of international law? Simply because the Jordanian Arab Legion conquered it in 1948, destroyed its synagogues, killed or took captive the Jewish civilians who lived there? What was holy about the military conquest by the Jordanian army in 1948, and profane about our victory in the 1967 war – a war which was also started with Jordan’s attack on Israel?` ( Professor Shlomo Slonim – The Camp David Accords – A Collection of Articles and Lectures)
Carter recanted and never issued his letter to Sadat. Instead three letters were appended to the Accords stating the respective positions of America, Israel and Egypt.

Dayan’s stirring words to President Carter and Goldberg’s revelations could become very relevant during the September sittings of the United Nations – should any attempt be made -without Israel’s agreement – to unilaterally unravel the unity of Jerusalem which has remained united and undivided since 1967.

The Quartet’s statement is therefore very timely and is to be applauded.  There is no alternative to negotiations over Jerusalem‘s future – no matter how long, difficult and protracted they might be.

Risking the end of any such further negotiations by embarking on a unilateral journey to nowhere may prove once again that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Will the UN rise to the challenge and defend the unity of Jerusalem against the latest attempt to unilaterally divide it again?  That is the pressing decision each of the member States of the UN will be forced to publicly declare should the matter come before the UN in September.'


  1. The only thing I see the UN trying to do, because of the Moslem-African and general bloc of antisemites (and that includes quite alot of Israel's "friends") is to go further then UNESCO and not only declare Jerusalem a Moslem city but that it belongs to a Palestinian State in total. The forces at the UN do not want peace, they want the obliteration of Israel and if they can get rid of the rest of the Jews worldwide it will only be a bonus to them.

    BTW it is immaterial to site all the crap that Carter pulled vis-a-vis Israel. It has all been overridden by subsequent US Presidents that disavowed any of his actions. It is not hard for a President to change policy, just look at what Obama has done to all the understandings Israel and the US had under Bush.

    Israel needs to do just what she is doing. Not be drawn into any military action in preparation for September. It is not even the UN that needs Israel to have a misstep, it is what the Obama administration is hoping for. With,"send in US troops to fight Israel" Samantha Powers, John "It is called al-Quds not Jerusalem" Brennan and Hillary "I am an antisemite even if my daughter is married to a Jew" Clinton, in charge of national security policy, it won't take much for Obama to abandon Israel.Or find a reason to screw Israel if he thinks he can get away with it. It is up to Israel to not give him an opening.

    Just an interesting aside, depending on how Obama treats Israel in the next year will signal whether he thinks he is going to be reelectd. He needs the Jewish vote in key battleground states and he needs the Jewish bundlers that helped fund his last campaign. If he thinks he is going to loose next year, he is going to get lethal and viscous towards Israel.He will be no holds bar to facilitate the slaughter of Jews. Just watch...

  2. Thanks as always, IP.
    Carter was the pits! Here's hoping Obama will also be a one-term president!

  3. Hi Daphne-
    Interesting article but my goal is to get in touch with you. Check out my idea on the Point of No Return facebook page, under discussions. Let me know what you think! Thanks, cool blog.

  4. I have no doubt whatsoever that if indeed the Palestinian “Statehood” resolution will come before the UN General Assembly (UNGA) it would pass with flying colours, albeit will be vetoed by US (at least) in the Security Council.

    For Israel such resolution would be no more than a “so what!?” just another anti-Israel resolution in many, undesirable as it might be, it would still be meaningless as UNGA resolutions are not binding on UN members

    However, to the Palestinian Authority (PA) it would be a disaster and they know it; The PA is like a small boy standing in front of a hulk screaming: “Hold me before I’ll break his bones!” hopping that someone will pull him away from a fight he will sure loose.

    The reason for the disastrous consequences is simple; after an initial euphoria in the Palestinian streets following a UN resolution in favour of a Palestinian state, people will soon realise that nothing actually has change (at best) and will turn on the PA in another “spring” demanding results.

    Nothing will change because there cannot be a viable Palestinian state without the goodwill and cooperation of Israel that can only come in negotiation.

    Contrary to the Israel Hate Brigade claims, Israel does not oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; Israel has only two requirements, one is secured borders and the other, which little is said about, is that the Palestinian state must be a viable one. The last thing Israel needs a failed state at its doorsteps; one only has to look at Gaza to realise what I mean.

    Other than those two concerns of Israel ALL the other demands and excuses as to why the peace negotiations should not resume come from the Palestinian sides, yet Israel is portrayed as the intransigent side – but hey why lest those pesky facts spoil a good sob story.

  5. Always good to hear from you, Jacob - thanks!

  6. Anon, dot between my names at gmail dot com
    I'll have a look as soon as I can - dashing out soon to a meeting.