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Legal Points re: the Founding of Israel (Arlene Kushner’s blog)

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Dec. 12, 2016

I want to look backwards by two weeks to the 29th of November (Kaf-Tet b’November).  So much was happening that I moved past reference to this date, but I believe clarification is in order.
November 29th, 1947 was the day on which the General Assembly of the UN passed Resolution 181 – which is referred to as the “Partition plan” – a plan for dividing Palestine into one state for the Jews and another for the Arabs.
At the time, the Jews of Palestine celebrated – even dancing in the street – because this represented international recognition for the founding of a Jewish state.
And in some circles it is still viewed this way.  However, there are several significant points to be made:
Resolutions of the General Assembly are only recommendations and carry no weight in international law. This recommendation would have had legal grounding only if both parties had agreed and between them decided upon a border.  But this did not happen. The Jews accepted the recommendation, but the Arabs refused. Thus, the Mandate for Palestine,a binding document in international law – which accorded the Jewish people the land of Palestine for a homeland – remained unchanged.
Some Arabs want to go back now to this time and claim “their” half of Palestine. This is legal sophistry and untenable on all counts.
There are those who imagine that this resolution “founded” the modern state of Israel.  This is also untrue. Modern Israel was founded with the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948.  This act rested upon the Mandate for Palestine, of 1922, which stated that “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.” The legal precursor to this was the San Remo Resolution, of 1920, which drew upon the Balfour Declaration, of 1917.
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