Mar. 17, 2017
Was the Balfour Declaration Legal? – Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- The Palestinian leadership’s campaign to demand an apology from the UK for issuing the Balfour Declaration gives rise to questions regarding its continued relevance and legal status today.
- The document was not an international agreement, but a letter acknowledging and declaring a national commitment by the British government, issued by the British Foreign Secretary.
- International law and practice have consistently recognized and accepted unilateral declarations officially issued.
- The International Law Commission determined that such public declarations create legal obligations to be respected by other states.
- The subsequent incorporation of the Balfour Declaration into international multilateral instruments, such as the San Remo Declaration of 1920 and the League of Nations Mandate of 1922, further solidified its internationally binding nature.
Amb. Alan Baker served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.