Following World War I, in the framework of the Treaty of Versailles, another agreement was formulated: The Weizmann-Faisal Agreement, which ruled that the Ottoman Empire will be divided into one Arab country and one Jewish country. The Jewish state was to spread across the whole of Palestine – including current-day Jordan.
The agreement stressed that all nations must urgently encourage large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestinian, dense Jewish settlement, and intensive agricultural work by the Jews across Palestine. During this period, similar agreements were finalized among all powers at the time, including the British Empire and the United States. In addition, the League of Nation, which preceded the United Nations, unanimously approved a similar decision with the support of all 52 member states.
At a later phase, the British Empire decided, with the approval of the League of Nations, to postpone or freeze (but not to annul!) the mandate decision (that is, the trusteeship) in eastern Palestine (current-day Jordan) and work to implement the decision in western Palestine only – that is, to settle Jews there urgently and densely. The mandate order included the fact that only the Jews were granted national rights in Palestine and that this was Jewish land submitted to British guardianship on behalf of the Jewish people, until it can manage it on its own.
The trustee was forbidden from handing over the land in any way, renounce it, or lease it to any government or foreign power, as it was designated for the Jewish people for eternity.
Following World War II, the United Nations was established, and its charter includes the decision that national rights (and obligations of other nations that stem from them) that existed based on a League of Nations mandate are valid. This was also confirmed by the International Court of Justice, and was implemented in the case of southwestern Africa (Namibia.) This state of affairs, in terms of international law, was confirmed many times by leading international law scholars, including Eugene Rostow, Julius Stone, Stephen Schwebel, and Elihu Lauterpacht.
Against this backdrop, we can see that President Bush’s Road Map initiative is illegal, as it espouses the establishment of an Arab state in western Palestine, when 80 percent of Palestine, as it was defined, are already home to an Arab country (that is, Jordan), with more than 20 Arab states already in existence, even though the Arabs argue in all their documents that they are one nation (and therefore deserve one state only.)
The Palestine Mandate was granted in the form of a trusteeship that gives its western part to the Jewish
people for eternity. The beneficiaries of the trusteeship include all the next generations of the Jewish people, and therefore it is illegal for the representatives of one Jewish generation to renounce their country on behalf of all future Jewish generations. This is just like an inheriting brother cannot legally renounce the other siblings’ part in the inheritance. Our first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, understood this as well.
Dr. Yoram Shiftan is a member of Professors for a Strong Israel and a scientist who specializes in Jewish rights in accordance with international law