It’s a common misconception that the State of Israel was created as a result of the UN partition resolution of November 1947.
Not so, says a researcher and author of a new electronic book (eBook) on the subject. In fact, said Salomon Benzimra, that General Assembly resolution, like all GA resolutions, was not binding and had no effect in law. The legal basis for the creation of the modern State of Israel goes back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was adopted by the Allied powers that defeated the Ottoman Turks in World War I and which allocated Ottoman territories, including today’s Israel and the West Bank, at the San Remo conference, through the Treaty of Sevres and through a subsequent League of Nations mandate.
The international community recognized the exclusive right of the Jewish People to sovereignty over captured Ottoman territories known as Palestine and enshrined that recognition in international law, said Benzimra, author of The Jewish People’s Right to the Land of Israel.
“That right has never been revoked,” he said, though British authorities, who were given a Mandate (trusteeship) over Palestine, carved off huge portions of the land – today’s Jordan – and handed it to their Arab allies.
Benzimra said little is known of this history and of the legal rights of the Jewish People to the land. His eBook, he said is intended “to fight against untruths, against distortions of reality and to bring out factual events related to history that are ignored in diplomacy, everywhere.”
The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel was published recently as an eBook, a digital, downloadable book available at Amazon.com. At 100 pages in length and richly illustrated, it is intended to be accessible to anyone. It is extensively footnoted, allowing readers to click on hyperlinks and read the original source material to verify the author’s findings.
A Hebrew translation of the book was offered to the government of Israel as an educational resource for graduating high school students. Moshe Ya’alon, minister for strategic affairs and deputy prime minister, was receptive to the offer, and it was slated to officially launch during Yom Ha’atzmaut 2011, but “logistics concerns” postponed the release, said Goldi Steiner, co-founder of Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (CILR), a grassroots organization that is promoting the eBook and seeking international support for Israel’s legal rights.
Steiner hopes the eBook will one day be made available to youngsters in Israeli schools, as well as students attending Canadian Jewish schools, particularly those about to enter university. Being armed with the facts would make them better prepared to face the barrage of anti-Israel misinformation they’re likely to encounter on campus, she said.
Benzimra believes Israel’s hesitancy to adopt the book may be due to efforts to “appease the Arabs,” “remain on good terms with Europe and America and not create too much upheaval of the Oslo process.”
But Benzimra, a chemical engineer by profession, feels “there will be no peace unless basic facts are understood.” And those facts clearly substantiate the Jewish People’s legal rights to all the territory west of the Jordan River, including the lands Palestinians want for a state.
Under the treaties, documents and declarations that set out the legal basis for a Jewish state, Arabs were limited to civil and religious rights. “What Arabs don’t have in Palestine are national, political rights… Palestine was reserved as a reconstituted state for the Jewish People,” he said.
Palestinians could only obtain a state if a treaty with Israel creates one, he added.
The Ebook contains numerous interesting revelations that contradict the accepted wisdom about the region.
One such item is the Arab claim they have been inhabitants of the land for untold generations. Benzimra, however, notes that Britain’s 1930 Hope-Simpson report, which was supposed to examine Palestine’s ability to absorb Jewish immigrants, found that British authorities were turning a blind eye to widespread illegal Arab immigration from Syria, Transjordan and Egypt. That was occurring at a time when Arab opponents of Jewish immigration were arguing the Jewish presence was impoverishing the local Arab population – but apparently not enough to keep their fellow Arabs from streaming into the country to share their fellow Arabs’ misery, quipped the then governor of Sinai.
Citing other sources, the eBook notes that in just a few months in 1934, 30,000 Syrians entered the territory. The book also quotes U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt saying in 1939 that since 1921, Arab immigration to Palestine far exceeded Jewish immigration.
Steiner, a longstanding community volunteer, particularly in support of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, said CILR plans to make the book known to “political/diplomatic circles, the media, academia, and simultaneously… a Hebrew version. We hope to provide the multitudes of thus far uninformed Israeli public at large with the facts of their legal rights.”