April 17, 2017 - International law backs Israel’s sovereignty; begins with Balfour Declaration
“(T)he international community’s pervasive belief that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law contradicts the simplest and most logical reading of the documents through which international law has traditionally been construed. The basic legal historical documents speak the truth to all who choose to read them.” That’s the conclusion reached by Karen Stahl-Don, a U.S. lawyer who specializes in international law, in her paper The Legality of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria According to International Law.
The modern source of Israel’s legal sovereignty begins with the Balfour Declaration, Stahl-Don writes: “(A)ny narrative that circumvents the legal and historic events of the WWI era lends itself to the persistent misconception that modern Israel was created as a guilt response to the Holocaust. In fact, the Balfour Declaration and relevant documents preceded the Holocaust by almost three decades. These international documents clearly predate the Holocaust and acknowledge the Jewish nation’s perpetual physical and spiritual connection to Israel.
“Moreover, a post-WWI starting point facilitates glossing over the historically documented fact that although expelled and exiled, a Jewish presence nevertheless continuously remained in Israel from time immemorial. In fact, since 1830 Jews have constituted a majority of the population in Jerusalem…The Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the British Mandate for Palestine … The International Court of Justice recognized the international Mandate as an international agreement with the status of a treaty.”
No events, statements, or agreements have diluted the rights granted to Israel under the mandate, she adds. “The British Mandate for Palestine terminated over sixty years ago. Upon termination, sovereignty vested in the Jewish state. Thus, this basic document—first set forth and agreed upon by the Principal Allied Powers in 1922—established the modern-day legal status of Judea and Samaria, and remains decisive today….. No valid treaty, document, or resolution has altered this reality. All discussion can be premised upon the knowledge that Israel retains legal sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and thus, a Jewish presence and Jewish communities in the area are legal according to international law.