Lawyers, experts: unilateral declaration of ‘Palestine’ is illegal

Are you tired of hearing nonsense like “settlements are illegal under international law,” something which seems to accompany every BBC story?

Do you think Barack Obama was talking through his hat when he demanded that Israel pay the Palestinian Arabs with land from pre-1967 Israel for every square centimeter of land it keeps beyond the armistice lines?

Do you wonder, in the light of the Arab plan to unilaterally declare a state, if the San Remo Resolution, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Oslo Accords and even the Roadmap are chopped liver?

Are you bothered by the demands of the Palestinians, with the acquiescence of Barack Obama, to replay the 1948 ethnic cleansing of eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria?

Well, if that’s what’s bothering you, you are in the competent company of numerous attorneys and experts in international law — the real international law, not the made-up one that’s quoted by the BBC and anti-Israel NGOs — who wrote the following letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last week:

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
1st Avenue & 44th St., New York, NY 10017
May 25, 2011


Re: The proposed General Assembly resolution to recognize a Palestinian State “within 1967 borders” — an illegal action

We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in general matters of international law, as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli- Palestinian dispute, appeal to you to use your influence and authority among the member states of the UN, with a view to preventing the adoption of the resolution that the Palestinian delegation intends to table at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly, to recognize a Palestinian state “within the 1967 borders”.

By all standards and criteria, such a resolution, if adopted, would be in stark violation of all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as contravening UN Security Council resolutions 242(1967) and 338(1973) and those other resolutions based thereon. Our reasoning is as follows:

1. The legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed by both houses of the US Congress.

2. Article 80 of the UN Charter determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations). Accordingly the above-noted League resolution remains valid, and the 650,000 Jews presently resident in the areas of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, reside there legitimately.

3. “The 1967 borders” do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 Armistice Agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbors, establishing the Armistice Demarcation Lines, clearly stated that these lines “are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto”. Accordingly they cannot be accepted or declared to be the international boundaries of a Palestinian state.

4. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) called upon the parties to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and specifically stressed the need to negotiate in order to achieve “secure and recognized boundaries”.

5. The Palestinian proposal, in attempting to unilaterally change the status of the territory and determine the “1967 borders” as its recognized borders, in addition to running squarely against resolutions 242 and 338, would be a fundamental breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in which the parties undertook to negotiate the issue of borders and not act to change the status of the territories pending outcome of the permanent status negotiations.

6. The Palestinians entered into the various agreements constituting what is known as the “Oslo Accords” in the full knowledge that Israel’s settlements existed in the areas, and that settlements would be one of the issues to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations.  Furthermore, the Oslo Accords impose no limitation on Israel’s settlement activity in those areas that the Palestinians agreed would continue to be under Israel’s jurisdiction and control pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations.

7. While the Interim Agreement was signed by Israel and the PLO, it was witnessed by the UN together with the EU, the Russian Federation , the US, Egypt and Norway. It is thus inconceivable that such witnesses, including first and foremost the UN, would now give license to a measure in the UN aimed at violating this agreement and undermining major resolutions of the Security Council.

8. While the UN has maintained a persistent policy of non-recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a negotiated solution, despite Israel’s historic rights to the city, it is inconceivable that the UN would now recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, the borders of which would include eastern Jerusalem. This would represent the ultimate in hypocrisy, double standards and discrimination, as well as an
utter disregard of the rights of Israel and the Jewish People.

9. Such unilateral action by the Palestinians could give rise to reciprocal initiatives in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) which could include proposed legislation to declare Israel’s sovereignty over extensive parts of Judea and Samaria, if and when the Palestinians carry out their unilateral action.


It appears to be patently clear to all that the Palestinian exercise, aimed at advancing their political claims, represents a cynical abuse of the UN Organization and of the members of the General Assembly. Its aim is to by-pass the negotiation process called-for by the Security Council.

Regrettably this abuse of the UN and its integrity, in addition to undermining international law, has the potential to derail the Middle-East peace process.

We trust that you will use your authority to protect the UN and its integrity from this abuse, and act to prevent any affirmation or recognition of this dangerous Palestinian initiative.


Ambassador (Ret) Attorney Baker Alan, Ambassador (Ret) Dr. Rosenne Meir, Dr. Arnon Harel, Adv., Prof. Einhorn Talia, Prof. Shochetman Eliav, Abu Lior, Adv., Asraf Shlomo, Adv. (LL.B, LL.M), Baba-Nahary Merav, Adv., Benjamin Aryeh N., Adv. LL.M, Ben-Shahar Meir, Adv. LL.B, LL.M, Bulshtein Ariel, Adv., Burstyn Yitzhak Adv. LL.M, Carmi Anat, Adv., Cohen Hila, Adv., Daniely Mirit, Adv., David Liat, Adv. (LL.B, LL.M), Dermer Yossi, Adv., Eagle Shira, Adv., Eisenberg M., Adv., Elad Cohen, Adv., Elkalay Shimrit, Adv., Friedman Shlomo, Adv., Fuchs Yossi ,Adv., Ganan Yuval, Adv., Goelman Avinoam, Adv., Goldman Ezra Adv., Guggenheim Chanania U. Adv., Hacohen Itay, Adv., Harshoshanim Ariel, Adv., Hershkovitz David, Adv. LL.M, Jarden Elon, Adv., Kavatz Gad, Adv., Koslowe Avital Adv. (LL.B, LL.M), Lapidot Harel, Adv., Lapidot Ohad Ziv, Adv., Levy Yechezkel, Adv. LL.M., Magen Alon, Adv. LL.B, Meiri Eddy, Esq., Morginstin Philip B., Adv. Nadel Gill, Adv., Naor Avi, Adv., Nimni Eliyahu, Adv., Nir-Tzvi Doron, Adv., Orbach Nir, Adv., Peretz Yitzhak, Adv. (LLB, Hons.), Rotenberg Zvi E., Adv., Shaya Dotan, Adv., Shimon Yehuda Arye, Adv., Shmuelyan Eli, Adv., Tamari Amir, Adv., Tamari Ilana, Adv., Teplow Michael I., J.D adv., Vaknin Emanuel, Adv., Weistuch Elad, Adv., Wiseman Gabriel, Adv., Yamin Uri, Adv., Zell Mark, Adv.

I can’t resist adding a few points about the moral case to the legal one above:

The Arabs’ stated goal in 1967 was to destroy Israel and massacre its inhabitants. They lost the war. If Israel in 1973 had not had the strategic depth provided by the territory it captured, that war would probably have ended with thousands of Israeli civilians dead. Why is it considered just to reverse the outcome of Israel’s successful self-defense?

Hamas is an unrepentantly antisemitic organization with genocidal goals. Fatah is the same, although it presents a more moderate face in English. Hamas and Fatah are now full partners. If Nazi Germany wanted to be a UN member, would it be allowed to join?

There is no ‘Palestine’ today because the Palestinian Arabs have never accepted any of the partition proposals since 1937, since they refuse to admit that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state. They’ve made it clear that they will continue to ‘resist the occupation’ of the rest of Israel even after they get a state. Why should the world validate their self-definition as a aggressor nation?

Shouldn’t there be some kind of downside for them as a result of their years of terrorism and murder? Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israeli cities as I write. Don’t they have to stop making war before they are granted statehood?

The Hamas/Fatah Palestinian Authority has been holding Gilad Shalit incommunicado for five years, in violation of the Geneva Convention. Both Hamas and Fatah seem to think they have a right to do so. Don’t they have to stop committing war crimes before they are granted statehood?

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One Response to “Lawyers, experts: unilateral declaration of ‘Palestine’ is illegal”

  1. NormanF says:

    Its logical.

    What the world does later this year though has nothing to with the law, reason or fairness.

    It will have everything to with expediency, cynicism, fear, pandering and bigotry.

    Every one wants to be on the right side of history. Today, that means being on the Arab side.