by David Singer
The United Nations [UN] has embarked on a dangerous path that could unleash an unprecedented campaign of State sponsored global anti-Semitism which needs to be swiftly denounced and halted in its tracks.
This threatening prospect follows member States voting by 150-6 to endorse the opinion of the International Court of Justice [ICJ] requiring the immediate demolition of Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank and declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to be in breach of international law.
The ICJ has effectively branded 300000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as land robbers illegally occupying someone else’s land.
150 out of the 191 member States of the UN have unquestioningly accepted that opinion in the knowledge that it was given by 15 Judges drawn from 15 countries, all supposedly appointed for their outstanding legal qualifications as pre-eminent jurists and experts in international law.
UN Resolutions based on this ICJ opinion will now come thick and fast calling for the demolition of the security barrier, the forced removal of all Jews from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and reparations followed by sanctions on Israel if these demands are not carried out.
The Observer for Palestine at the UN has already stated it was time now for implementation, compliance and, at a later stage, additional measures, which ominously he failed to specify.
Not only Israel will suffer the fall out from this barrage of righteous condemnation at future meetings of the UN.
Jews living in many of those 150 member States endorsing the ICJ opinion such as France, United Kingdom, Argentina, Italy, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland will be exposed to far greater dangers to their personal safety and their institutions than they experienced prior to the ICJ opinion.
Even the large Jewish populations of the United States and Australia whose countries both courageously voted to reject the ICJ opinion, or Canada who abstained, will not be immune from the forthcoming campaign of vilification of Jews designed to capitalise on this ICJ opinion.
The groundwork for this heinous campaign has been carefully planned over a number of years as countless resolutions declaring the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be “Occupied Palestinian Territory” and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be “illegal in international law” have been passed by automatic majorities of Arab and Third World countries in the General Assembly and various Committees of the United Nations.
Now these Arab and Third World countries have had their resolutions anointed with judicial respectability.
But that ICJ opinion is fundamentally flawed and no reliance can be placed on it.
The ICJ incredibly failed to consider a comprehensive body of international law that specifically establishes that Jews have every right to live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to protect themselves from the murderous attacks of their Arab neighbours.
The only obstacle now standing between the anticipated diplomatic onslaught at the UN based on this flawed opinion and the projected threat to Jews worldwide is Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which binds all member States.
Article 80 was completely ignored by the United Nations in all the resolutions passed on the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the build up to the ICJ case. It was not mentioned by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the voluminous dossier of documents furnished by him to the ICJ. It was never discussed or considered in the 64 page judgement of the ICJ or the separate decisions issued by some of the judges.
Article 80 preserves the right of the Jewish people to live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem pursuant to rights first vested in them in international law in 1920 and codified in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922.
Jews indeed had lived in the West Bank and East Jerusalem until 1948 when they were then driven out by invading Arab armies. Jews returned to live there again after those same Arab armies were defeated in the Six Day War in 1967.
United Nations records attest to the critical importance of Article 80.
On 8 May 1947, Rabbi Abba Silver representing the Jewish Agency addressed the First (Political) Committee of the United Nations and he had this to say about Article 80:
“The Balfour Declaration, which was issued by His Majesty’s Government as a “declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”, declares: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The mandate, in its preamble, recognises “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting” – I call your attention to the word “reconstituting” -“their national home in that country”.
These international commitments of a quarter of a century ago, which flowed from the recognition of historic rights and present needs, and upon which so much has already been built in Palestine by the Jewish people, cannot now be erased. You cannot turn back the hands of the clock of history.
Certainly, the United Nations, guided by the great principle proclaimed in its Charter, “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”, can never sanction the violation of treaties and of international law.
With this situation and similar situations in mind, a specific provision, you will recall, was written into the chapter of the Charter of the United Nations which deals with territories which might become trusteeship territories, and which is therefore especially applicable to territories now under mandate. This is Article 80 of the Charter .”
In evidence given to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine on 7 July 1947, David Ben Gurion as a representative of the Jewish Agency said of Article 80:
“This is the special Article of the Charter which applies to Palestine. It was introduced only because of Palestine.”
There you have it in black and white – a specific article dealing with Palestine inserted in the United Nations Charter having a crucial bearing on the Court’s opinion is not given the light of day by the UN or the ICJ. This could not possibly be due to ignorance or oversight. Answers need to be given to explain this scandalous behaviour.
For this reason the ICJ opinion should not be granted any further recognition or credibility and should be condemned for what it really is – a decision of a biased and politicised Court that deliberately failed to look at a critical area of law legitimizing Jewish rights to settle in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
The failure of the ICJ to consider Article 80 has now set the stage for a possible outburst of anti-Semitism worldwide.
Jews were denied their right to live in 77% of Palestine in 1923. This area is today called Jordan and not one Jew lives there.
Jews also offered to surrender their right to live in the whole or parts of the West Bank [5% of Palestine] in return for peace and an end to violence in 1937, 1948, 1967, 1979, 1993 and 2000 and still hold out hope that this might be possible. Until now there has been outright Arab rejection of any proposal. This Arab mindset will only harden in the light of the ICJ decision and the votes of those 150 member States.
Some soul searching is urgently required by the large number of those 150 States who believe that justice must be dispensed in a fair and impartial manner and without fear or favour. They need to urgently review their initial endorsement of the ICJ opinion and repudiate it rather than give it any further credence.
They cannot possibly continue to endorse the ICJ opinion in future votes at the UN knowing it is so fatally flawed and then claim to have been unaware of what they were unleashing in their own countries and worldwide by adopting such a voting pattern.
Let them evaluate Article 80 and the words of David Ben Gurion and Rabbi Silver and then make up their minds on their future voting intentions. Let their representatives demand that the ICJ and Mr Annan explain why they ignored the ramifications of Article 80. Let those nations whose agenda is demonising Jews stand alone in further support of the ICJ decision and be exposed for what they truly represent.
Those 150 countries must have the decency and humanity to have a second think about their earlier decision and not continue to be a partner in the ongoing attempt to use the discredited ICJ opinion as a battering ram against Jewish people wherever they happen to live.
[David Singer is an Australian Lawyer and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine]