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  • Soviet Union... yes.

  • United Kingdom... abstain.

  • United States... yes.

  • The Resolution of the Ad Hoc Committee for Palestine...

  • was adopted by 33 votes, 13 against, 10 abstentions.

  • Resolution 181 in the United Nations General Assembly in 1947...

  • paved the way for the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948.

  • However, did this give Israel legitimacy?

  • The answer is no.

  • General speaking, in International Law...

  • General Assembly resolutions are not binding.

  • It's a wide myth, there's absolutely no truth...

  • that Israel's legal foundation is based on the UN partition resolution...

  • of November 29, 1947.

  • If the Jewish people and the Arabs had agreed to enter into a treaty...

  • based on the terms of the resolution, then rights and obligations...

  • could have been created in International Law.

  • But that didn't happen.

  • The legal foundation of modern Israel is initially traced back...

  • to the period right after the First World War...

  • when the great powers of the time and the League of Nations...

  • the UN of that particular period...

  • had decided what would happen to the various former enemy territories.

  • Howard Grief began practising law in 1966.

  • For many years, even before that, he had an interest in Middle East affairs.

  • In the 1980s, he began to examine long hidden documents...

  • in the British national archives about the San Remo Conference of 1920.

  • As a result, he published the book The Legal Foundation...

  • and the Borders of Israel under International Law.

  • The San Remo Resolution is the basic constitutional document...

  • of the state of Israel under International Law.

  • San Remo, the villa Devachan

  • This is the place where legal rights were granted...

  • this is the place where legal rights were given to both...

  • the Jewish people and the Arab people.

  • Dr. Jacques Gauthier is an international human rights lawyer.

  • For more than 25 years, his focus has been the legal status of Jerusalem...

  • under International Law, which was the subject of his doctoral thesis.

  • It's in this place, that the leaders with the power to make...

  • binding dispositions with respect to the Ottoman territories...

  • deliberated and made the decision, having heard claims from...

  • the 1919 Paris Zionist Organisation during the Paris Peace Conference...

  • having heard submissions from their delegation, in respect to...

  • what they wanted in the Ottoman territories.

  • Having heard these submissions, a group of them gathered here...

  • and made binding decisions in International Law...

  • as to who would get what.

  • At San Remo, that what had been exclusively a British approach...

  • receives the full backing of the international community.

  • And in that sense, Israel's legitimacy...

  • is linked to an international decision at San Remo...

  • and not just a whim of British policy.

  • In 1917, Lord Allenby conquered the Holy land and the Jews were promised...

  • a national home in Palestine by the Earl of Balfour.

  • A policy endorsed by Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations...

  • which made Palestine a British Mandate.

  • In the 1922 Palestine Mandate, the League of Nations together voted...

  • on a very special resolution.

  • It decided that they would give recognition...

  • to the historic rights of the Jewish people.

  • To do what? To reconstitute their national home.

  • If you look at that language, you see two things.

  • You see they are recognizing a pre-existing right...

  • and not creating a new right.

  • In other words, the historical rights of the Jewish people to this land...

  • were recognised by the great powers, the equivalent of the UN at the time.

  • It was the Jewish people that were chosen...

  • to be the beneficiaries of a trust, a mandate...

  • under the care of the British government in respect to Palestine.

  • It was the Arab inhabitants of the territories of Mesopotamia, Iraq now...

  • Syria and Lebanon, that were chosen to be the beneficiaries...

  • of a trust, or a mandate.

  • Part of it under the trusteeship or mandate of the French -...

  • Syria and Lebanon, part of it under British supervision - Mesopotamia.

  • I want to underline that the primary objective...

  • of the Mandate for Palestine was to grant political rights...

  • in respect to Palestine, the Jewish people.

  • The civil and religious rights of the Arabs as individuals...

  • were fully protected in the Mandate Document.

  • But in so far as the national and collective rights...

  • and the collective political rights were concerned...

  • these were reserved exclusively for the Jewish people...

  • because the Arabs were given the same rights...

  • not in Palestine, but in the neighbouring countries.

  • And that's why today you have 21 Arab states and one Jewish state.

  • The Second World War brought about the demise of the League of Nations.

  • It was superseded by the United Nations, in 1945.

  • The Charter of the United Nations, which you are now signing...

  • is a solid structure upon which we can build for a better world.

  • How does this affect the rights of the Jewish people under International Law?

  • In their final resolution passed by the League in April of 1946...

  • it is specified that the intent is that after the dissolution of the League...

  • it is necessary to continue to look after the well-being...

  • and the development of the people concerned in each mandate.

  • For Palestine, that meant the Jewish people.

  • So the rights that were recognised as inhering in the Jewish people...

  • were preserved by Article 80.

  • There's nothing in the Charter which is to be construed, in or by itself...

  • as taking away or altering the rights given to any people...

  • prior to the establishment of the United Nations.

  • I refer, for instance, to Article 80 of the Charter.

  • Following Israel's statehood in 1948, the country was invaded...

  • by five Arab armies intending to destroy the Jewish State.

  • The eastern part of Jerusalem was annexed by Jordan.

  • The city was divided for 19 years.

  • Jordan's sovereignty over the West bank and Jerusalem...

  • was never recognised by the United Nations.

  • In 1967, Israel recaptured East Jerusalem in a war of defence...

  • and later annexed it.

  • The Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967...

  • is often referred to as the source of rights and obligations...

  • for the parties in the Middle East.

  • If I focus on Jerusalem, I take the position that, again...

  • rights have been granted based on the recognition of historical rights...

  • based on the principle of reconstituting...

  • what the Jewish people used to have.

  • The Jewish State and the Jewish people have done nothing...

  • to relinquish, to surrender the rights that were given...

  • in respect to that territory.

  • Anyone who looks at the census data back in the 19th century...

  • when the Ottoman Empire was here...

  • will realise that the Jewish people already in the 19th century...

  • had restored a majority in Jerusalem, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

  • In 1864, the British Consulate in Jerusalem...

  • actually provided some census data.

  • They said, out of 15,000 residents in Jerusalem in 1863...

  • 8,000 were Jewish.

  • So we're speaking about a city that has been a Jewish city...

  • since Ottoman times, since the mid 19th century.

  • The Old City is, without doubt, the most controversial...

  • the most sought after, the most contentious issue...

  • when one speaks of the question of Jerusalem.

  • You have to remember that until the middle of the 19th century...

  • Jerusalem was the Old City.

  • Many who tell Israel to re-divide Jerusalem...

  • along the '67 lines and therefore placing the whole Old City...

  • on the Palestinian Arab side, forget what happened in 1948.

  • 1948 - Jerusalem was invaded by five Arab armies.

  • There were UN guarantees that there would be an international city...

  • but the UN didn't do anything.

  • Finally, all the Jews of the Old City of Jerusalem...

  • were ethnically cleansed and forced to leave.

  • The Arab Legion, along with Palestinian locals destroyed...

  • 55 synagogues and Talmudic academies. They're blown up.

  • Anyone who says to Israel, give up on Jerusalem...

  • has to explain how that will avoid history repeating itself?

  • Remember, from 1948 till 1967, when Israel reunited Jerusalem...

  • Jews were not allowed to visit the Western Wall.

  • And that is something that Israel is determined to avoid.

  • After 18 years of a failed peace process and no agreement in sight...

  • the Palestinian Authority's indicated that it unilaterally seeks recognition...

  • from the UN General Assembly for a Palestinian State...

  • within the pre-1967 Green Line, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

  • The Green Line is simply an armistice line.

  • This is the line chosen between Israel, the Jewish people...

  • and the Jordanians when they stopped fighting in 1948-49.

  • That line - it was specified in the treaty in the armistice agreement...

  • between Israel and Jordan - was never intended to be, for anyone...

  • the source of rights and obligations.

  • The original Oslo agreements, the first one in 1993...

  • the big Oslo Agreement in 1995 known as the Interim agreement...

  • had a clause in them. It was called Article 31.

  • It said that neither side shall change the status...

  • of the West bank and the Gaza Strip, prior to the completion...

  • of the permanent status negotiations.

  • If the Palestinians try to change the status of the territory...

  • without negotiating with Israel...

  • that is a unilateral act which violates this commitment.

  • Why is this particularly important for Europe?

  • Because when the Interim Agreement was signed with that critical clause...

  • at the White House in the presence of President Clinton...

  • the