Futile Efforts to Challenge the "Mandate for Palestine/ Eli Hertz

Futile Efforts to Challenge the
“Mandate for Palestine”

Myth: The “Mandate for Palestine” is a Class “A” Mandate
There is much to be gained by attributing Class “A” status to the “Mandate for
Palestine.” If the inhabitants of Palestine were ready for independence under a
Class “A” mandate, then the Palestinian Arabs that made up the majority of the
inhabitants of Palestine in 192238 (589,177 Arabs vs. 83,790 Jews) could logically
claim that they were the intended beneficiaries of the “Mandate for Palestine”
provided one never reads the actual wording of the document:
1. The “Mandate for Palestine” document never mentions Class “A” status at any
time for Palestinian Arabs.
2. Article 2 of the document clearly speaks of the Mandatory as being:
“... responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative
and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish
national home.”
The “Mandate” calls for steps to encourage Jewish immigration and settlement
throughout Palestine except east of the Jordan River. Historically, therefore,
Palestine was an anomaly within the Mandate system, in a class of its own –
initially referred to by the British as a “special regime.”39
Many assume that the “Mandate for Palestine” is a Class “A” Mandate, a common
but inaccurate assertion that can be found in many dictionaries and
encyclopedias, and is frequently used by the pro-Palestinian media and lately by
the ICJ. In the Court Advisory Opinion of July 9, 2004, in the matter of the
construction of a wall in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the Bench
erroneously stated:
“Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the First World
War, a class [type] ‘A’ Mandate for Palestine was entrusted to Great
Britain by the League of Nations, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Article 22
of the Covenant. ...”40
Indeed, Class “A” status was granted to a number of Arab peoples who were
ready for independence in the former Ottoman Empire, and only to Arab
entities.41 Palestinian Arabs were not one of these Arab peoples. The Palestine
Royal Report clarifies this point:
“(2) The Mandate [for Palestine] is of a different type from the Mandate
for Syria and the Lebanon and the draft Mandate for Iraq. These latter,
which were called for convenience “A” Mandates, accorded with the
fourth paragraph of Article 22. Thus the Syrian Mandate provided that
the government should be based on an organic law which should take
into account the rights, interests and wishes of all the inhabitants, and
that measures should be enacted ‘to facilitate the progressive

development of Syria and the Lebanon as independent States.’ The
corresponding sentences of the draft Mandate for Iraq were the same. In
compliance with them National Legislatures were established in due
course on an elective basis.
Article 1 of the Palestine Mandate, on the other hand, vests ‘full powers
of legislation and of administration,’ within the limits of the Mandate, in
the Mandatory.”42
The Palestine Royal Report highlights additional differences between the
“Unquestionably, however, the primary purpose of the Mandate, as
expressed in its preamble and its articles, is to promote the establishment
of the Jewish National Home.
“... Articles 4, 6 and 11 provide for the recognition of a Jewish Agency ‘as
a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the
Administration’ on matters affecting Jewish interests. No such body is
envisaged for dealing with Arab interests.43
“... But Palestine was different from the other ex-Turkish provinces. It was,
indeed, unique both as the Holy Land of three world-religions and as
the old historic national home of the Jews. The Arabs had lived in it for
centuries, but they had long ceased to rule it, and in view of its peculiar
character they could not now claim to possess it in the same way as they
could claim possession of Syria or Iraq.”44

Myth: The “Mandate” Violates Article 22 of the Covenant of
the League of Nations

The Palestinian [British] Royal Commission Report of July 1937 addressed Arab
claims that the creation of the Jewish National Home as directed by the
“Mandate for Palestine” violated Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of
Nations,45 arguing that they are the communities mentioned in paragraph 4:
“As to the claim, argued before us by Arab witnesses, that the Palestine
Mandate violates Article 22 of the Covenant because it is not in
accordance with paragraph 4 thereof, we would point out (a) that the
provisional recognition of ‘certain communities formerly belonging to
the Turkish Empire’ as independent nations is permissive; the words are
‘can be provisionally recognised,’ not ‘will’ or ‘shall’: (b) that the
penultimate paragraph of Article 22 prescribes that the degree of
authority to be exercised by the Mandatory shall be defined, at need, by
the Council of the League: (c) that the acceptance by the Allied Powers
and the United States of the policy of the Balfour Declaration made it
clear from the beginning that Palestine would have to be treated
differently from Syria and Iraq, and that this difference of treatment was
confirmed by the Supreme Council in the Treaty of Sèvres and by the
Council of the League in sanctioning the Mandate.

“This particular question is of less practical importance than it might
seem to be. For Article 2 of the Mandate requires ‘the development of
self-governing institutions’; and, read in the light of the general intention
of the Mandate System (of which something will be said presently), this
requirement implies, in our judgment, the ultimate establishment of
“(3) The field [Territory] in which the Jewish National Home was to be
established was understood, at the time of the Balfour Declaration, to
be the whole of historic Palestine, and the Zionists were seriously
disappointed when Trans-Jordan was cut away from that field
[Territory] under Article 25.” [E.H., That excluded 77 percent of historic
Palestine—the territory east of the Jordan River, what became later
The Treaty of Sèvres, in Section VII, Articles 94 and 95, makes it clear in each case
who are the inhabitants referred to in Paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Covenant
of the League of Nations.
Article 94 distinctly indicates that Paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Covenant of
the League of Nations applies to the Arab inhabitants living within the areas
covered by the Mandates for Syria and Mesopotamia. The Article reads:
“The High Contracting Parties agree that Syria and Mesopotamia shall,
in accordance with the fourth paragraph of Article 22.
“Part I (Covenant of the League of Nations), be provisionally recognised
as independent States subject to the rendering of administrative advice
and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand
Article 95 of the Treaty of Sèvres, however, makes it clear that paragraph 4 of
Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations was not to be applied to the
Arab inhabitants living within the area to be delineated by the “Mandate for
Palestine,” but only to the Jews. The Article reads:
“The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the
provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such
boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a
Mandatory to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be
responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on
November 2, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other
Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national
home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing
shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of
existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political
status enjoyed by Jews in any other country…”47
The second and third paragraphs of the preamble of the “Mandate for Palestine”
therefore follow and read:
“Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the
Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration
originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His

Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the
establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it
being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might
prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish
communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by
the Jews in any other country; and
“Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection
of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting
their national home in that country.”48 [italics by author]
Articles 94 and 95 of the Treaty of Sèvres and the “Mandate for Palestine” make
it clear:
The “inhabitants” of the territory for whom the “Mandate for Palestine”
was created, who according to the Mandate were “not yet able” to govern
themselves and for whom self-determination was a “sacred trust,” were
not Palestinians, or even Arabs. The “Mandate for Palestine” was created
by the predecessor of the United Nations, the League of Nations, for the
Jewish People.

Myth: Palestine Was Promised to the Arabs by
Sir Henry McMahon

Addressing the Arab claim that Palestine was part of the territories promised to
the Arabs in 1915 by Sir Henry McMahon, the British Government stated:
“We think it sufficient for the purposes of this Report to state that the
British Government have never accepted the Arab case. When it was
first formally presented by the Arab Delegation in London in 1922, the
Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Churchill) replied as follows:—
‘That letter [Sir H. McMahon’s letter of the 24th October, 1915] is quoted
as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognize and
support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed
by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the
same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the
portions of Syria lying to the west of the district of Damascus. This
reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty’s Government as
covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem.
The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir H.
McMahon’s pledge.’
“It was in the highest degree unfortunate that, in the exigencies of war,
the British Government was unable to make their intention clear to the
Sherif. Palestine, it will have been noticed, was not expressly mentioned
in Sir Henry McMahon’s letter of the 24th October, 1915. Nor was any
later reference made to it. In the further correspondence between Sir
Henry McMahon and the Sherif the only areas relevant to the present
discussion which were mentioned were the Vilayets of Aleppo and
Beirut. The Sherif asserted that these Vilayets were purely Arab; and,
when Sir Henry McMahon pointed out that French interests were

involved, he replied that, while he did not recede from his full claims in
the north, he did not wish to injure the alliance between Britain and
France and would not ask ‘for what we now leave to France in Beirut
and its coasts’ till after the War.”49
McMahon wrote a letter to The Times [of London] on July 23, 1937, confirming
that Palestine was excluded from the area in which Arab independence was
promised and that this was well understood by King Hussein.50
Myth: The 1949 “Green Line” is Israel’s Internationally
Recognized Border
Israel’s pre-1967 borders reflected the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces on
the ground after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Professor Judge Stephen
M. Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice clarified
in his writings “Justice in International Law” that the 1949 armistice demarcation
lines are not permanent borders:
“The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial
claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive
boundaries between them.”51
United Nations Security Resolution 54 (July 15, 1948) called upon the Arabs to
accept a truce and stop their aggression:
“Taking into consideration that the Provisional Government of Israel has
indicated its acceptance in principle of a prolongation of the truce in
Palestine; that the States members of the Arab League have rejected
successive appeals of the United Nations Mediator, and of the Security
Council in its resolution 53 (1948) of 7 July 1948, for the prolongation of
the truce in Palestine; and that there has consequently developed a
renewal of hostilities in Palestine.”52
The demarcation line that emerged in the aftermath of the war was drawn up
under the auspices of United Nations mediator Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche. That
new boundary largely reflected the ceasefire lines of 1949 and was labeled the
“Green Line” merely because a green pencil was used to draw the map of the
armistice borders.

Post new comment

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.