Monday, March 23, 2015

INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE ARAB-ISRAEL CONFLICT Extracts from "Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations" by Julius Stone


Extracts from "Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations"
by  Julius Stone
Second Edition
with additional material and commentary updated to 2003
The Legal Status of the Territories
Sovereignty in Jerusalem
The Legality of the Settlements
The Principle of Self-determination
The Oslo Accords and the Roadmap
The “Right of Return”
Appendix: Chronology and Maps
       Editor: Ian Lacey
Jirlac Pty Limited
PO Box 3072
Bellevue Hill
NSW, Australia
© Ian Lacey 2003
First edition 1990
Second Edition 2003
National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication data
Stone, Julius, 1907-1985.
International Law and the Arab-Israel conflict:
extracts from “Israel and Palestine – Assault on the
Law of Nations” by Professor Julius Stone.
2 ed.
ISBN  0 9751073 0 5
1. Jewish-Arab relations – 1949-. 2. Israel -
International status. 3. Palestine - International
status. I. Lacey, Ian.  II. Stone, Julius, 1907-1985.
Israel and Palestine, assault on the law of
nations.  III. Title.
Includes additional material and commentary
updated to 2003.  
Printed by Dashing
Extracts from "Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of
Nations" by Julius Stone
Editor: Ian Lacey, B.A., LL.B.
The late Professor Julius Stone was recognized as one of the twentieth century's leading
authorities on the Law of Nations. Israel and Palestine, which appeared in 1980,
presented a detailed analysis of the central principles of international law governing the
issues raised by the Arab-Israel conflict. This summary provides a short outline of the
main points in the form of extracts from the original work. Also included in this second
edition are extracts from the subsequent international documents, and updated
     The Legal Status of the Territories
Sovereignty in Jerusalem  
The Legality of the Settlements
The Principle of Self-determination
The Oslo Accords and the Roadmap
The “Right of Return”
Chronology and Maps
Jirlac Publications
JULIUS STONE (1907 - 1985)
One of the rare scholars to gain outstanding recognition in more than one field,
Professor Stone was one of the world’s best-known authorities in both jurisprudence
and international law.
From 1942 until 1972 he was the Challis Professor of International Law and
Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney. From 1972 until his death in 1985
Professor Stone held concurrently with his appointment as visiting Professor of Law
at the University of New South Wales the position of Distinguished Professor of
Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of
California. In 1956 he received the award of the American Society of International
Law, and in 1962 he was made an honorary life member of the society. In 1964 the
Royal Society of Arts named him as a recipient of the Swiney Prize for
Jurisprudence. In 1965 he received the World Research Award of the Washington
Conference on World Peace through Law.
His 26 major works include the authoritative texts Legal Controls of International
Conflict, Aggression and World Order, The International Court and World Crisis
and the Province and Function of Law.
Preface to the 2003 Edition                           1
Part 1.     The Legal Status of the Territories            2
Part 2.     Sovereignty in Jerusalem             5
Part 3.              The Geneva Conventions and the Legality
                         of the Settlements       9
Part 4.           The Principle of Self-Determination            11
Part 5.              The Legal Effect of the “Peace Process”           14
Part 6.     Arab Refugees and the “Right of Return”           21
Chronology                                      24
1.  British Mandate 1920-1948                      28
2.  UN Partition Plan  1947                               29                              
3.  Armistice Lines  1949-1967       30
4.  Ceasefire Lines  1967-1982          31              
5.  Areas under Israel’s Jurisdiction  1982-1993                              32
6.  Interim Agreement under the Oslo Accords 1995                      33
Israel and Palestine was written by Julius Stone in 1980, and the first edition of this
short summary appeared in 1990. Since then the rights of the parties have been
modified by agreement, and the optimism which followed the various agreements has
been succeeded by violent conflict. This second edition therefore appears in a climate
in which legal assertions are once again a central part of the political discourse, a
context which has renewed the relevance of Professor Stone’s clear analysis of the
status under international law of the Territories which came into Israel’s possession
in 1967.
A new section has been added which deals with the effect on the legal status of the
Territories of the Oslo Accords, the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty and the “Roadmap”,
in the form of documentary extracts.
There is also a further section comprising extracts from the international instruments
relating to the revived Palestinian claim to a “right of return”.
The writer is grateful for the suggestions of David D. Knoll, author of The Impact of
Security Concerns upon International Economic Law and Peter J. Wertheim, author
of Unlawful Coercion and the Law of Treaties: the case of Syria and Lebanon.
This booklet is, of course, a mere description of the legal position, and it charts no
course for the future. However it is hoped that this summary will contribute to a more
general understanding of the basic issues.
Ian Lacey
Part 1
Julius Stone examines the principles governing legal title to the Territories
known as the Gaza Strip and the “West Bank”, which are part of the territory
which came into Israel’s possession during the war of 1967. In his analysis
Stone draws upon the writings of Professor Stephen Schwebel, the former Chief
Judge of the International Court of Justice.
Since Stone wrote, the legal status of the Territories has been affected by the
agreements implementing the Oslo Accords of 1993, which provide for a sharing
of governmental powers in the Territories with the Palestinian Authority, with
specified security powers reserved to Israel (See Part 5). However those
agreements are on an interim basis, pending and subject to the negotiation of a
permanent status agreement”, and they leave the underlying legal title intact.  
Also the peace treaty of 1994 now sets the international boundary between
Israel and Jordan at the centre of the Jordan river, “without prejudice to the
status of [the] Territories”.
The Self-Defense Principle
The basic precept of international law concerning the rights of a state victim of
aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking states territory in the
course of self-defense, is clear. And it is still international law after the Charter,
which gave to the UN General Assembly no power to amend this law. This
precept is that a lawful occupant such as Israel is entitled to remain in control of
the territory involved pending negotiation of a treaty of peace.
Both Resolution 242 (1967) and Resolution 338 (1973), adopted by the Security
Council after respective wars of those years, expressed this requirement for
settlement by negotiations between the parties, the latter in those words.
Conversely both the Security Council and the General Assembly in 1967 resisted
heavy Soviet and Arab pressures demanding automatic Israeli withdrawal to the
pre-1967 frontiers. Through the decade 1967-1977, Egypt and her Arab allies
compounded the illegality of their continued hostilities by proclaiming the
slogan “No recognition! No Peace! No negotiation!” thus blocking the regular
process of international law for post-war pacification and settlement…
Israel's territorial rights after 1967 are best seen by contrasting them with
Jordan's lack of such rights in Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Arab
invasion of Palestine in 1948. The presence of Jordan in Jerusalem and
elsewhere in cis-Jordan from 1948 to 1967 was only by virtue of her illegal entry
in 1948. Under the international law principle ex iniuria non oritur ius she
acquired no legal title there. Egypt itself denied Jordanian sovereignty; and
Egypt never tried to claim Gaza as Egyptian territory.
By contrast, Israel's presence in all these areas pending negotiation of new
borders is entirely lawful, since Israel entered them lawfully in self-defense.
International law forbids acquisition by unlawful force, but not where, as in the
case of Israel's self-defense in 1967, the entry on the territory was lawful. It does
not so forbid it, in particular, when the force is used to stop an aggressor, for the
effect of such prohibition would be to guarantee to all potential aggressors that,
even if their aggression failed, all territory lost in the attempt would be
automatically returned to them. Such a rule would be absurd to the point of
lunacy. There is no such rule….
International law, therefore, gives a triple underpinning to Israel's claim that she
is under no obligation to hand back automatically the West Bank and Gaza to
Jordan or anyone else. In the first place, these lands never legally belonged to
Jordan. Second, even if they had, Israel's own present control is lawful, and she
is entitled to negotiate the extent and the terms of her withdrawal. Third,
international law would not in such circumstances require the automatic handing
back of territory even to an aggressor who was the former sovereign. It requires
the extent and conditions of the handing back to be negotiated between the
Competing Claims to Title
Because the Jordanian entry onto the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1948 was
an unlawful invasion and an aggression, the principle ex iniuria non oritur ius
beclouded even Jordan's limited status of belligerent occupant. Her purported
annexation was invalid on that account, as well as because it violated the
freezing provisions of the Armistice Agreement. Conversely Israel's standing in
East Jerusalem after her lawful entry in the course of self-defense certainly
displaced Jordan's unlawful possession.
Once this position is reached, and it is remembered that neither Jordan nor any
other state is a sovereign reversioner entitled to re-enter the West Bank, the legal
standing of Israel takes on new aspects. She becomes then a state in lawful
control of territory in respect of which no other state can show better (or, indeed,
any) legal title. The general principles of international law applicable to such a
situation, moreover, are well-established. The International Court of Justice,
when called upon to adjudicate in territorial disputes, for instance in the
Minquires and Echrehos case between the United Kingdom and France,
proceeded “to appraise the relative strength of the opposing claims to
sovereignty”. Since title to territory is thus based on a claim not of absolute but
only of relative validity, the result seems decisive in East Jerusalem. No other
state having a legal claim even equal to that of Israel under the unconditional
cease-fire agreement of 1967 and the rule of uti possidetis, this relative
superiority of title would seem to assimilate Israel's possession under
international law to an absolute title, valid erga omnes...
The most succinct statement of this position is in Professor Stephen Schwebel’s
What Weight to Conquest? published in 1970, before he entered U.S.
government service. He points out that the answer to that question in terms of
international law, after the Charter’s prohibitions of the use of force, makes
necessary a vital distinction “between aggressive conquest and defensive
conquest, between the taking of territory legally held and the taking of territory
illegally held”:
“Those distinctions may be summarized as follows:
a) A state acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and
occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are
necessary to its self-defense.
b) As a condition of its withdrawal from such territory, that state may
require the institution of security measures reasonably designed to ensure
that that territory shall not again be used to mount a threat or use force
against it of such a nature as to justify exercise of self-defense.
c) Where the prior holder of the territory had seized that territory
unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful
exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.”
The issues discussed in this section have continuing relevance in the context of
current assertions that Israeli presence in the Territories constitutes an “illegal
occupation”. Such assertions ignore both Israel’s underlying right to lawful
possession of the Territories as outlined by Stone, and the specific rights reserved to
Israel in the interim power-sharing agreements under the Oslo Accords, as extracted
in Part 5.
As Stone remarks a state victim of aggression is entitled to protect itself by retaining
lawful possession of territory taken in self-defense from a defeated aggressor.  The
dismemberment of Germany after two world wars, as a protection against any
repeated aggression, is a classic example of the operation of the customary law.
The legal principle is reflected in Article 75 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of
Treaties, which declares that the provisions of the Convention governing the validity
of treaties are “are without prejudice to any obligation…which may arise for an
aggressor State” in consequence of measures taken by the victim of the aggression in
lawful self-defense.  
In the case of the Territories the relevant historical background  includes the Arab
invasion of Israel in 1948, continuing armed incursions by irregular forces after the
armistice agreements of 1949, and the naval blockade and the massing of the armed
forces of EgyptJordanSyria and Iraq in preparation for a further invasion in 1967.
As President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared to the Egyptian parliament at the time:
“The problem before the Arab countries is not whether the port of Eilat should
be blockaded or how to blockade it – but how totally to exterminate the State of
Israel for all time”.
It is thus the historical context itself which makes it inconceivable that the Israeli
presence in the Territories could be characterized as “illegal”. If this were so, then
Israel would be bound to withdraw unilaterally from the whole of the Territories, and
without any peace agreement, security guarantees or border adjustments. As Stone
points out, this would then negate the whole basis for the negotiation of a peaceful
settlement with “secure and recognized boundaries” as contemplated by UNSC
Resolution 242.
Part 2
The Partition Plan of 1947 envisaged an international Jerusalem, separated
from both Israel and the then proposed Palestinian State. During the 1948 war,
East Jerusalem (which includes the holy places of Judaism, Christianity and
Islam in the old city) came into Jordanian hands; and Jordan claimed sovereignty.
In 1967, after Jordan launched an attack on West Jerusalem, the whole of Jerusalem
came under Israeli rule; and Israel claimed sovereignty over a united Jerusalem.
Professor Stone examines the legal principles which apply, and considers the
analysis of Professor Elihu Lauterpacht, the distinguished editor of the authoritative
“Oppenheim’s International Law”.
The agreements implementing the Oslo Accords provide that Jerusalem is one of the
issues to be considered in the permanent status negotiations, and failure to reach
agreement on the sharing of administration in Jerusalem was one of the reasons for
the failure to conclude a permanent status agreement at Camp David II and at Taba
in 2000. In the absence of such agreement, however, sovereignty over Jerusalem
under international law remains as described by Stone.  
The Effect of the Partition Plan
Elihu Lauterpacht concludes, correctly that the 1947 partition resolution had no
legislative character to vest territorial rights in either Jews or Arabs. Any binding
force of it would have had to arise from the principle pacta sunt servanda, that is,
from the agreement of the parties concerned to the proposed plan. Such an agreement,
however, was frustrated ab initio by the Arab rejection, a rejection underlined by
armed invasion of Palestine by the forces of EgyptIraqLebanonSyria and Saudi
Arabia, timed for the British withdrawal on May 14, 1948, and aimed at destroying
Israel and at ending even the merely hortatory value of the plan…
The State of Israel is thus not legally derived from the partition plan, but rests (as do
most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and
government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other
states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its
stable control. At most, as Israel's Declaration of Independence expressed it, the
General Assembly resolution was a recognition of the natural and historic right of the
Jewish people in Palestine. The immediate recognition of Israel by the United States
and other states was in no way predicated on its creation by the partition resolution,
nor was its admission in 1949 to membership in the United Nations…
As a mere resolution of the General Assembly, Resolution 181(11) lacked binding
force ab initio. It would have acquired the force under the principle pacta sunt
servanda if the parties at variance had accepted it. While the state of Israel did for her
part express willingness to accept it, the other states concerned both rejected it and
took up arms unlawfully against it. The Partition Resolution thus never became
operative either in law or in fact, either as to the proposed Jerusalem corpus
separatum or other territorial dispositions in Palestine.
The Corpus Separatum  Concept
We venture to agree with the results of the careful examination of the corpus
separatum proposal by E. Lauterpacht in his monograph Jerusalem and the Holy
“(1) During the critical period of the changeover of power in Palestine from
British to Israeli and Arab hands, the UN did nothing effectively to implement the
idea of the internationalization of Jerusalem.
(2) In the five years 1948-1952 inclusive, the UN sought to develop the concept as
a theoretical exercise in the face of a gradual realization that it was acceptable
neither to Israel nor to Jordan and could never be enforced. Eventually the idea
was allowed quietly to drop.
(3) In the meantime, both Israel and Jordan demonstrated that each was capable of
ensuring the security of the Holy Places and maintaining access to and free
worship at them - with the exception, on the part of Jordan, that the Jews were not
allowed access to Jewish Holy places in the area of Jordanian control.
(4) The UN by its concern with the idea of territorial internationalization, as
demonstrated from 1952 to the present date (1968) effectively acquiesced in the
demise of the concept. The event of 1967 and 1968 have not led to its revival.
(5) Nonetheless there began to emerge, as long ago as 1950, the idea of functional
internationalization of the Holy Places in contradistinction to the territorial
internationalization of Jerusalem. This means that there should be an element of
international government of the City, but only a measure of international interest
in and concern with the Holy Places. This idea has been propounded by Israel and
has been said to be acceptable to her. Jordan has not subscribed to it.”
Even if no notion of a corpus separatum had ever floated on the international seas,
serious questions about the legal status of Jerusalem would have arisen after the 1967
War. Did it have the status of territory that came under belligerent occupation in the
course of active hostilities, for which international law prescribes a detailed regime of
powers granted to the occupying power or withheld it from in the interest of the
ousted reversionary sovereign? Or was this status qualified in Israel's favor by virtue
of the fact that the ousted power, in this case, Jordan, itself had occupied the city in
the course of an unlawful aggression and therefore could not, under principle of ex
iniuria non oritur ius, be regarded as an ousted reversioner? Or was Jerusalem, as we
will see that a distinguished authority thought at the time, in the legal status of res
nullius modo juridico? That is, was it a territory to which by reason of the copies of
international instruments, and their lacunae, together with the above vice in the
Jordanian title, no other state than Israel could have sovereign title? The consequence
of this could be to make the legal status of Jerusalem that of subjection to Israel
Acquisition of Sovereignty
This analysis, based on the sovereignty vacuum, affords a common legal frame for
the legal positions of both West and East Jerusalem after both the 1948-49 and the
1967 wars. In 1967, Israel's entry into Jerusalem was by way lawful self-defense,
confirmed in the Security Council and General Assembly by the defeat of Soviet and
Arab-sponsored resolutions demanding her withdrawal…
Lauterpacht has offered a cogent legal analysis leading to the conclusion that
sovereignty over Jerusalem has already vested in Israel. His view is that when the
partition proposals were immediately rejected and aborted by Arab armed aggression,
those proposals could not, both because of their inherent nature and because of the
terms in which they were framed, operate as an effective legal re-disposition of the
sovereign title. They might (he thinks) have been transformed by agreement of the
parties concerned into a consensual root of title, but this never happened. And he
points out that the idea that some kind of title remained in the United Nations is quite
at odds, both with the absence of any evidence of vesting, and with complete United
Nations silence on this aspect of the matter from 1950 to 1967?…
In these circumstances, that writer is led to the view that there was, following the
British withdrawal and the abortion of the partition proposals, a lapse or vacancy or
vacuum of sovereignty. In this situation of sovereignty vacuum, he thinks,
sovereignty could be forthwith acquired by any state that was in a position to assert
effective and stable control without resort to unlawful means. On the merely political
and commonsense level, there is also ground for greater tolerance towards Israel's
position, not only because of the historic centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism for 3,000
years, but also because in modern times Jews have always exceeded Arabs in
Jerusalem. In 1844 there were 7,000 Jews to 5,000 Moslems; in 1910, 47,000 Jews to
9,800 Moslems; in 1931, 51,222 Jews to 19,894 Moslems; in 1948, 100,000 Jews to
40,000 Moslems, and in 1967 200,000 Jews to 54,902 Moslems.
Part 3
It is often claimed that settlement by Jews in the administered territories is in breach
of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Professor Stone was the author of the treatise
“Legal Controls of International Conflict”, which included an extensive commentary
on the Geneva Conventions. Here he discusses their applicability in the Territories.
Perhaps the central current criticism against the government of Israel in relation to its
administration of the territories occupied after the 1967 War concerns its alleged
infractions of the final paragraph (6) of Article 49, of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of August 12, 1949.
The preceding paragraphs deal with deportation or transfer of a population out of the
occupied territory. The final paragraph (6) reads as follows. "The occupying Power
shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it
It has been shown that there are solid grounds in international law for denying any
sovereign title to Jordan in the West Bank, and therefore any rights as reversioner
state under the law of belligerent occupation…
[Note: By the Peace Treaty of 1994 Jordan relinquished any claim to such
sovereignty, and the argument which follows therefore applies a fortiori.]
Not only does Jordan lack any legal title to the territories concerned, but the
Convention itself does not by its terms apply to these territories. For, under Article 2,
the Convention applies “to cases of … occupation of the territory of a High
Contracting Party, by another such Party”. Insofar as the West Bank at present held
by Israel does not belong to any other State, the Convention would not seem to apply
to it at all. This is a technical, though rather decisive, legal point.
It is also important to observe, however, that even if that point is set aside, the claim
that Article 49 of the convention forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank is
difficult to sustain.
It is clear that in the drafting history, Article 49 as a whole was directed against the
heinous practice of the Nazi regime during the Nazi occupation of Europe in World
War II, of forcibly transporting populations of which it wished to rid itself, into or out
of occupied territories for the purpose of liquidating them with minimum disturbance
of its metropolitan territory, or to provide slave labor or for other inhumane
purposes. The genocidal objectives, of which Article 49 was concerned to prevent
future repetitions against other peoples, were in part conceived by the Nazi
authorities as a means of ridding their Nazi occupant's metropolitan territory of Jews -
of making it, in Nazi terms, Judenrein. Such practices were, of course, prominent
among the offences tried by war crimes tribunals after World War II.
If and insofar, therefore, as Israel's position in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is
merely that of an occupying power, Article 49 would forbid deportation or transfer of
its own population onto the West Bank whenever this action has consequence of
serving as a means of either
(1)  impairment of the economic situation or racial integrity of            
the native population of the occupied territory; or
(2) inhuman treatment of its own population.
Impairment of Racial Integrity of the Native Population of the Occupied
The prominence of the question of legality of Jewish settlements on the West Bank
reflects the tension of the peace process, rather than the magnitude of any
demographic movement. Despite vociferous political warfare pronouncements on
both sides, it seems clear, therefore, that no serious dilution (much less extinction) of
the separate racial existence of the native population has either taken place or is in
prospect. Nor do well-known facts of dramatic improvement in the economic
situation of the inhabitants since 1967 permit any suggestion that the situation has
been worsened or impaired…
Inhuman treatment of its own population
On that issue, the terms of Article 49(6) however they are interpreted, are submitted
to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect
of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if
necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall
be forever Judenrein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that
Article 49(6) designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of
rendering Nazi metropolitan territories Judenrein, has now come to mean that Judea
and Samaria the West Bank must be made Judenrein and must be so maintained, if
necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants.
Part 4
It is sometimes asserted that the principle of self-determination creates a legal
obligation for Israel to “give back” the Territories to the Palestinians. Here Stone
examines the applicability of the “doctrine of self-determination” to the conflict.
Whether the doctrine is already a doctrine of international law stricto sensu, or (as
many international lawyers would still say) a precept of politics, or policy, or of
justice, to be considered where appropriate, it is clear that its application is predicated
on certain findings of fact. One of these is the finding that at the relevant time the
claimant group constitutes a people of nation with a common endowment of
distinctive language or ethnic origin or history and tradition, and the like, distinctive
from others among whom it lives, associated with particular territory, and lacking an
independent territorial home in which it may live according to its lights…
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leaders have frankly disavowed distinct
Palestine identity. On March 3, 1977, for example, the head of the PLO Military
Operations Department, Zuhair Muhsin, told the Netherlands paper Trouw that there
are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese:
“We are one people. Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our
Palestinian identity. For it is of national interest for the Arabs to encourage the
existence of the Palestinians against Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate
Palestine identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a
Palestinian State is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and
for Arab unity.”…
The myth of the 1966 Palestinian Covenant that the Palestinian people was unjustly
displaced by the Jewish invasion of Palestine in 1917 is widely disseminated and
unquestioningly and dogmatically espoused in studies from the United Nations
Secretariat. However, it is necessary to recall, not only the Kingdom of David and the
succession of Jewish polities in Palestine down to Roman conquest and dispersion at
the turn of the present era, but also that the Jews continued to live in Palestine even
after that conquest, and were in 1914 a well-knit population there. Hundreds of
thousands of other Jews, driven from Palestine homeland by successive waves of
Roman, Arab, and other conquerors, continued to live on for centuries throughout the
Middle East, often under great hardship and oppression. And, of course, millions of
others were compelled to move to other parts of the world where too often, as in
pogrom-ridden Russia and Poland, they live in conditions of tyrannous and
humiliation subjection and under daily threat to their lives...
That the provision for a Jewish national home in Palestine was an application of the
principle of self-determination is manifest from the earliest seminal beginning of the
principle. The Enquiry Commission, established by President Wilson in order to draft
a map of the world based on the Fourteen Points, affirmed the right of the Jewish
people that Palestine should become a Jewish State clearly on this ground. Palestine,
the commission said, was “the cradle and home of their vital race”, the basis of the
Jewish spiritual contribution, and the Jews were “the only people whose only home
was in Palestine”…
The problem of competing self-determination becomes, indeed, even more difficult,
whether for purposes of determining aggression or for other purposes, where the
competing claims and accompanying military activities, punctuated by actual wars,
armistices, and cease-fire agreements, have been made over protracted historical
periods… Is the critical date of the Middle East crisis 1973 or 1967, or the first Arab
states’ attack on Israel in 1948, or is it at the Balfour Declaration in 1917, or at the
Arab invasions and conquest of the seventh century AD, or even perhaps at the initial
Israelite conquest of the thirteenth century BC? The priority question, as well as the
self-determination question, is difficult enough. They become quite baffling when, in
the course of such a long span of time, a later developing claim of self-determination
like that of the Palestinian people in the 1960s, arises, and claims to override
retrospectively the sovereign statehood of another nation, here the Jewish people,
already attained by right of self determination.
Stone’s characterization of the doctrine of self-determination as a “precept of policy,
or politics or of justice” has since been clarified in a number of decisions of the
International Court of Justice. While the Court has acknowledged the right of various
peoples to self-determination as a matter of principle, it has naturally been careful
not to confer territorial rights on the basis of self-determination in cases where a
sovereign state is in lawful possession of the relevant territory.
In the East Timor Case (1995), for example, the Court refused to consider a claim
based on self-determination, since this would require a determination that
Indonesia’s entry into and continued presence in the territory was unlawful, and
Indonesia had not submitted to the Court’s jurisdiction.
Stone’s observations on the competing Jewish and Palestinian claims of self-
determination in respect of the whole of historical Palestine were, of course, made at
a time when the phrase “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” was still a
coded reference to the projected destruction of Israel, and before the Oslo Accords
incorporated the first Palestinian acceptance of the concept of compromise by
partition. As an example of the way in which the principles of pan-Arab national self-
determination then applied to Israel, Stone cited:
a letter dated February 20, 1980 to the Secretary-General, transmitted for UN
circulation to the General Assembly and the Security Council in connection with item
26 of A/35/11000-S/13816 (Situation in the Middle East) [which] declared a propos
of inclusion in the Charter of a principle of non-use of force:
“The principle of non-use of force shall apply to the relations of the Arab
Nation and Arab States with the nations and countries neighboring the Arab
homeland. Naturally, as you know, the Zionist entity is not included, because
the Zionist entity is not considered a State, but a deformed entity occupying an
Arab territory. It is not covered by these principles.”
The critical question at the time of writing is therefore whether the legal framework
of a peace process based on historic compromise can survive the breakdown of the
permanent status negotiations at Camp David II and Taba, the ensuing violent
conflict, and the widespread revival of  pan-Arab and Islamic ideologies which reject
such compromise.  
Part 5
Extracts from Documents 1993-2003 with Notes
September 13, 1993
The “Oslo Accords” (the “DOP”) contemplated the negotiation of a final peace
settlement within an anticipated period of five years, during which successive interim
measures would be implemented. These measures included an interim transfer of
autonomous powers to a Palestinian self-governing Authority, and the “re-
deployment” of Israeli military forces within the Territories out of populated areas,
on the terms which were negotiated in the later agreements extracted below.
Article I            Aim of the Negotiations
The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace
process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government
Authority, the elected Council (the "Council"), for the Palestinian people in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to
a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338…
Article XIII      Redeployment of Israeli Forces
2. In redeploying its military forces, Israel will be guided by the principle that its
military forces should be redeployed outside populated areas.
3. Further redeployments to specified locations will be gradually implemented
commensurate with the assumption of responsibility for public order and
internal security by the Palestinian police force…
October 26, 1994
Following the negotiation of the Oslo Accords, the Peace Treaty between Israel and
Jordan incorporated a renunciation by Jordan of its former claim to sovereignty over
the “West Bank” of the Jordan river. The definition of the border is therefore
qualified by the words “without prejudice to the status of any territories that came
under Israeli military control in 1967”.
Article 3         International Boundary
2. The boundary, as set out in Annex I (a), is the permanent, secure and recognized
international boundary between Israel and Jordan, without prejudice to the status
of any territories that came under Israeli military government control in 1967…
Annex I (a)
2.  The boundary is delimited as follows:
…The boundary line shall follow the middle of the main course of the flow of
the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers…  
BANK AND THE GAZA STRIP, WashingtonD.C.September 28, 1995
This Agreement superseded the previous agreements which comprised the first stages
of the “peace process” under the Oslo Accords. It was re-affirmed in the subsequent
documents, and as at 2003 it remains the operative document of the process.
The Agreement provided for the replacement of Israel’s governmental institutions in
the Territories by the Palestinian Authority, and the transfer of all government
powers to that Authority, with the exception of those powers specifically reserved to
Significantly for determining the current status of the Territories, the Agreement is
described as an “Interim Agreement”. It is expressed to be for a term not exceeding
five years, and it contains a provision preserving existing rights.
Articles X and XII (1), gives Israel “all the powers necessary” to meet its
“responsibility for overall security of Israelis and Settlements”.
RECOGNIZING that the aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the
current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian
Interim Self-Government Authority … for the Palestinian people in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years…leading to a
permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338…
Article I - Transfer of Authority …
5. After the inauguration of the Council, the Civil Administration in the West Bank
will be dissolved, and the Israeli military government shall be withdrawn. The
withdrawal of the military government shall not prevent it from exercising the powers
and responsibilities not transferred to the Council…
Article X
4. Israel shall continue to carry the responsibility for external security, as well as the
responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding their
internal security and public order.
Article XI     Land
1. The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit,
the integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim period…
2. The two sides agree that West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that
will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will come under the
jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council in a phased manner… as specified below:
a. Land in populated areas (Areas A and B)…will come under the jurisdiction of the
Council during the first phase of redeployment.
b. All civil powers and responsibilities, including planning and zoning, in Areas A
and B …will be transferred to and assumed by the Council during the first phase of
c. In Area C, during the first phase of redeployment Israel will transfer to the Council
civil powers and responsibilities not relating to territory …
Article XII     Arrangements for Security and Public Order
1.  …Israel shall continue to carry the responsibility for defense against external
threats, including the responsibility for protecting the Egyptian and Jordanian
borders, and for defense against external threats from the sea and from the air, as well
as the responsibility for overall security of Israelis and Settlements, for the purpose of
safeguarding their internal security and public order, and will have all the powers to
take the steps necessary to meet this responsibility.
3. Except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces, no other armed
forces shall be established or operate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
4. Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment of the Palestinian Police described
in Annex I, and those of the Israeli military forces, no organization, group or
individual in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire,
possess, import or otherwise introduce into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any
firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment,
unless otherwise provided for in Annex I.
l. The Council will, upon completion of the redeployment of Israeli military forces in
each district…assume the powers and responsibilities for internal security and public
order in Area A in that district.
2. a. There will be a complete redeployment of Israeli military forces from Area B.
Israel will transfer to the Council and the Council will assume responsibility for
public order for Palestinians. Israel shall have the overriding responsibility for
security for the purpose of protecting Israelis and confronting the threat of terrorism.
Article XV
Prevention of Hostile Acts
1. Both sides shall take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism,
crime and hostilities directed against each other, against individuals falling under the
other's authority and against their property and shall take legal measures against
Article XXII
Relations between Israel and the Council
1. Israel and the Council shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and
shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each
other and, without derogating from the principle of freedom of expression, shall take
legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups or individuals
within their jurisdiction.
2. Israel and the Council will ensure that their respective educational systems
contribute to the peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and to peace in the
entire region, and will refrain from the introduction of any motifs that could
adversely affect the process of reconciliation…
Article XXXI    Final Clauses…  
5. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later
than May 4, 1996, between the Parties. It is understood that these negotiations shall
cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security
arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other
issues of common interest
6. Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or pre-empt the outcome of the
negotiations on the permanent status to be conducted pursuant to the DOP.
Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this
Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims or
THE “ROADMAP”  30 April 2003
The Roadmap is not embodied in any instrument signed or formally ratified by either
party. Its terms are set out in a press statement issued by the US Department of State
on 30 April 2003.  
On 25 May 2003 the Israeli cabinet passed a resolution by 12 votes to 7, with 4
abstentions, agreeing to “accept the steps set out in the roadmap”. That agreement
followed 14 “reservations” conveyed to the US government, and was made on the
basis of a US commitment to “fully and seriously address Israel’s comments to the
roadmap during the implementation stage.”
A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases,
timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps
by the two parties…
A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an
independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and
security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-
Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the
foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242,
338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit –
calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the
context of a comprehensive settlement…
Phase I: Ending Terror and Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and
Building Palestinian Institutions -- Present to May 2003…
Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake
visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups
conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained,
targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and
dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing
confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of
association with terror and corruption…
Phase II: Transition  June2003-December2003
In the second phase, efforts are focused on the option of creating an independent
Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty…
Progress into Phase II will be based upon the consensus judgment of the Quartet of
whether conditions are appropriate to proceed, taking into account performance of
both parties…
Phase III: Permanent Status Agreement and End of the Israeli-Palestinian
Conflict 2004–2005
Progress into Phase III, based on consensus judgment of Quartet, and taking into
account actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring. Phase III objectives are
consolidation of reform and stabilization of Palestinian institutions, sustained,
effective Palestinian security performance, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed
at a permanent status agreement in 2005…
Israel’s Reservations
1…  As a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete
the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front,
the Democratic Front, Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their
infrastructure [and] collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party
for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed…
6… Declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and
to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel…
10.  The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and
the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the road map will be
an autonomous settlement that derives its validity there from. The only possible
reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the
conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement…
The reference to “the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut” is to the Beirut
Declaration of 28 March 2002. That Declaration called for “complete
withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan
Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line”, a “solution to the problem of Palestinian
refugees…in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194” and a Palestinian State
“with East Jerusalem as its capital.”  It also “emphasize[d] the distinction
between international terrorism and the peoples' legitimate right to resist
foreign occupation”.
The Palestinian Response
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas rejected the reservations:
“We are saying to the Israelis, 'follow the map and don't waste time haggling over
details'. We must get into the implementation phase," Abbas said… "In any case
nobody will pay any attention to this or that reservation."  [Report in Ha’aretz.]
In this context, if the Roadmap were to be regarded as creating international
obligations analogous to treaty obligations, then Article 21 of the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties would be relevant. This provides:
1. A reservation established with regard to another party…modifies for the reserving State in its
relations with that other party the provisions of the treaty to which the reservation relates to the extent
of the reservation…
3. When a State objecting to a reservation has not opposed the entry into force of the treaty between
itself and the reserving State, the provisions to which the reservation relates do not apply as between
the two States to the extent of the reservation.
The result would then be that the Roadmap would be binding only as modified
by the reservations. Indeed subsequent Israeli statements have re-iterated the
government’s commitment to the map on that basis.  
 In the absence of formal documentation, however, it appears that the Roadmap
should be characterized as a guide for the implementation of the Oslo
agreements, rather than as a modifying agreement.
Part 6
Extracts from Relevant Instruments
A central reason for the failure of the final status negotiations at Camp David II in
July 2000 and at Taba in January 2001 was a Palestinian insistence that Israel should
recognize that the Arab refugees of 1947-1948 and their descendants have a “right of
return” into Israel. As at the date of writing this remains a central Palestinian
Estimates of the number of refugees who left their homes in Israel in 1947-1948 vary
from 419,000, calculated on the basis of numbers before and after the exodus, to
726,000, based on UNRWA relief figures.
As at 1996 UNRWA registered over four and a half million people as Palestinian
refugees and their descendants, as follows:
West Bank 1.2m.    Gaza 880,000 Jordan  1.8m.
Lebanon 372,700 Syria 352,100
Some of the refugees still face hardship as a result of the refusal of their host nations
to grant them citizenship or equal economic rights. Obviously repatriation into Israel
of a large and hostile population is not a realistic proposition. However the question
is whether international law places Israel under any legal obligation to accept such a
right of return.  
Extracts from the relevant international instruments, with notes, appear below.
The Convention defines the term “refugee” and prescribes the rights granted to
refugees in general under international law.
Article 1. - Definition of the term "refugee"
A. For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "refugee” shall apply to any
person who:
(2) … owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside
the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to
avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and
being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events,
is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it…
[Note: This definition assumes a factual situation of a different character to that of
those Palestinians who actively seek to return to the country of their former
C. This Convention shall cease to apply to any person falling under the terms of
section A if:
 (3) He has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his
new nationality; …
[Note: This excludes those Palestinians who have taken Jordanian citizenship.]
D. This Convention shall not apply to persons who are at present receiving from
organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance…
[Note: This excludes Palestinians registered with UNRWA.]
Article 33. - Prohibition of expulsion or return ("refoulement")
1. No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner
whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be
threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular
social group or political opinion.
[Note: This is the critical right created by the Convention. It is relevant only to any
Palestinian who might seek protection against being returned to Israel or the
Territories. Conversely, the Convention does not include any right to compel the
former country of residence to accept repatriation.]
THE TEN-POINT PROGRAM 1974 Approved by the Palestine National
Council at the 12th Session, 8th June 1974
This represented the official Palestinian view that the right of return is a national
rather than a humanitarian refugee issue.
1.     The assertion of the PLO position regarding Resolution 242 is that it obliterates
the patriotic and national rights of our people and deals with our people's cause as a
refugee problem.  Therefore, dealing with this resolution on this basis is rejected at
any level of Arab and international dealings including the Geneva conference.
2.     The PLO will struggle by every means, the foremost of which is armed struggle,
to liberate Palestinian land and to establish the people's national, independent and
fighting authority on every part of Palestinian land to be liberated.  This requires
more changes in the balance of power in favor of our people and their struggle.
3.     The PLO will struggle against any plan for the establishment of a Palestinian
entity the price of which is recognition, conciliation, secure borders, renunciation of
the national right, and our people's deprivation of their right to return and the right to
determine their fate on the national soil…
194(III) 11 December 1948
UNGA Resolution 194 is usually cited as the basis for the current claim to a right
of return.
The General Assembly,
Having considered further the situation in Palestine…
11.Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace
with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable
date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing
not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of
international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or
authorities responsible;
12. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation,
resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the
payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of
the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the
appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
1. The General Assembly has, of course, no power under the Charter to create
binding rules of law or to make any binding judicial determination.
In fact Resolution 194 consisted of some 15 clauses, making various
recommendations aimed at the peaceful conciliation of the war that was still in
progress. These included procedures for the establishment of a new Conciliation
Commission, and placing Jerusalem, and also Nazareth, under UN control with
guaranteed freedom of access. None of these recommendations eventuated.
In this context it will be seen that Clause 11 uses the word “should”, the
language of recommendation, and that it does not purport to enunciate
principles of law. This is consistent with a resolution which was not intended as
a law-making exercise, but rather as an attempt to provide a formula for the
peaceful settlement of hostilities that were still continuing at the time.
2. Most significantly, clause 11 was conditioned on a desire to “live in peace with
their neighbors” by those who wish to return.
3.  The resolution also calls for compensation “by the governments or authorities
responsible”, leaving that issue to be determined according to law. In this regard
it is notable that the ultimate cause of the Arab exodus was the war which began
with the Arab rejection of the Partition Resolution of November 1947, and
continued with the invasion of March 1948. In effect, without that war there
would have been no significant exodus.
RIGHTS (1966), entered into force Mar. 23, 1976.
Article 12.4 of the ICCPR is occasionally claimed as a basis for a right of return.
Article 12
4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.
The key word in sub-clause 4 is “arbitrarily”, which implies that a state is entitled to
exercise its discretion to refuse entry, provided that it specifies reasonable grounds
which are universally applicable.
The phrase “his own country”, clearly refers to citizenship, since any alternative
construction of the Covenant protecting, say, a universal claim of right of entry by
descent, would not accord with international practice.
The outline below summarizes those historical events which are relevant to the legal
conclusions reached in the text.  
c.1900 BCE   The era of the Biblical patriarchs.
c.1000 BCE The Kingdoms of David and Solomon
70 CE            Roman destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem - the traditional date for
the beginning of the Dispersion - ends Jewish sovereignty, although a
Jewish presence remains.
   638-1099        Palestine part of the Arabian Empire. Arabic language and Islamic
religion introduced.
1099-1291   Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
1291-1516    Egyptian Mamluk rule.
1516-1917   Palestine part of the Turkish Empire.
1917 The Balfour Declaration – “the establishment in Palestine of a national      
home for the Jewish people”.
1920-1948   The British Mandate.
1947     The United Nations, by General Assembly Resolution 181
“recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for
Palestine” a Partition plan which envisages the establishment of an
Arab state, a Jewish state and an internationalized Jerusalem.
1948     Britain relinquishes its Mandate in Palestine.
Israel declares its independence. The Partition Resolution is rejected by
the Arab states and the proposed Palestinian state and the international
regime in Jerusalem are not established.
Israel is invaded by the armies of EgyptTrans-JordanSyriaIraq and
Saudi Arabia and irregular forces from Lebanon and Sudan.
1949 The truce which ends hostilities is followed by Armistice Agreements
which establish military “demarcation lines”.  Article II of the
agreement with Trans-Jordan provides
1. The principle that no military or political advantage should be gained under the
truce ordered by the Security Council is recognized;
2. It is also recognized that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way
prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate
peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement
being dictated exclusively by military considerations.
1950 Trans-Jordan annexes the “West Bank” of the Jordan river and East
Jerusalem, and changes its name to “The Hashemite Kingdom of
1967 The forces of EgyptSyria and Jordan mass on Israel’s borders, and
Egypt blockades the Gulf of Aqaba. On 25 May President Abdel
Nasser announces to the Egyptian parliament:
The problem before the Arab countries is not whether the port of Eilat should be
blockaded or how to blockade it – but how totally to exterminate the State of Israel
for all time.
  Jordan places its forces under joint command with Egypt and declines
Israel’s request for non-belligerence as conveyed by UNTSO.
 In the ensuing war Israel takes possession of the Sinai, the Gaza strip,
the West BankEast Jerusalem and the Golan. Israel annexes east
Jerusalem, but not the remaining territories.
 In Resolution 242 the Security Council “affirms” principles which
should apply in the establishment of a just and lasting peace, including
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and
acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political
independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within
secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
[and] the necessity…for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem…
In negotiating the terms of the resolution it is agreed that the word
“the” should be omitted before the word “territories” having regard to
the requirement for "secure" boundaries.  
However the resolution is accepted by Jordan and Egypt only on the
basis that "territories" means "all the territories", and that any
settlement should be "subject to the right of the Palestinians to
continue their struggle for the liberation of the whole of Palestine". The
resolution is rejected by Syria and the PLO.
1979 Following Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem
in 1977 and the Camp David Accords, the peace treaty with Egypt sets
Israel’s southern boundary, “without prejudice to the issue of the Gaza
1993 The Oslo Accords provide for the establishment of an interim
Palestinian self-governing authority, a timetable for the redeployment
of Israeli forces within the Territories and the negotiation of a
permanent status agreement.
1994 The peace treaty with Jordan implies the renunciation of any Jordanian
claim of sovereignty over the West Bank or east Jerusalem, and sets
Israel’s eastern boundary, “without prejudice to the status of any
territories that came under Israeli military control in 1967”.
1995 The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip (the “Oslo II” Agreement) becomes the currently binding
agreement defining the interim power-sharing arrangement in the
2000 Permanent Status negotiations at Camp David II and Taba fail, and
violence follows. However the interim provisions comprised in the
Oslo agreements remain in force.
2003  The “Roadmap” provides a “performance-based” timetable for
implementation of the Oslo agreements, and foreshadows the creation
of a Palestinian state in the context of a peaceful settlement.
The British Mandate, 1920-1948
The above territory was held by Britain under the Mandate agreed upon at the Conference of San
Remo in 1920 and formally granted by the League of Nations in 1922. The Mandate incorporated
the provisions of the Balfour Declaration, “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the
Jewish people.”
The Trans-Jordan region was separated in 1921, and became an independent Kingdom in 1946. The
Golan was ceded to the French Mandate of Syria in 1923 in exchange for the Metulla region.
The UN Partition Plan, 1947
Following the British relinquishment of the Mandate in 1948, Israel declared its independence in
accordance with the Partition resolution.
The Resolution was rejected by the Palestinian Arabs, and they refused to establish a Palestinian
Arab state alongside Israel. Hostilities commenced in 1947, and the neighboring Arab states
invaded in 1948. As a result no Palestinian state was established, and there was no international
regime in Jerusalem.
Armistice lines 1949-1967
Source : Website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The above demarcation lines were fixed by the Rhodes Armistice Agreements. Article V.2 of the
Agreement with Egypt (in similar terms to the other Agreements), provided:
“The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or
territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of
either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question.”
Ceasefire Lines, 1967-1982
Source: Website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
These are the cease-fire lines at the end of the “Six Day War” of June 1967. That war followed the
removal of UN forces from the Sinai at Egypt’s demand, Egypt’s blockade of the Straits of Tiran and
the massing of Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian forces on the borders under joint command with the
declared aim of invading Israel.
Areas under Israel’s Jurisdiction 1982-1993
Source: Website of the Israel ministry of Foreign Affairs
These boundaries followed the final implementation of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in
1982. The demarcation lines of 1949 are not shown, as they were no longer legally applicable after
the collapse of the armistice agreements. However those lines were treated as an informal “green
East Jerusalem was formally annexed, and Israeli law was applied in the Golan. Otherwise land
beyond the green line was governed by Israel as “the Territories”, pending the negotiation of
“secure and recognized boundaries” under UN Resolution 242.
The Interim Agreement under the Oslo Accords, 1995
Source: Yediot Ahronot
Under Clause 1 of Article XIII of the Interim Agreement, the Palestinian Authority has full
jurisdiction in Area A, which comprises the main population centers.
Under Clause 2(a) Israeli forces are re-deployed out of Area B, but retain “overriding responsibility
for security” to protect Israelis and confront terrorism.
Under Article XI the PA exercises jurisdiction in Area C in matters not related to land or security.
Between 1995 and 2000 land was progressively transferred by negotiation from Areas B
and C to Areas A and B respectively.                                      
JULIUS STONE (1907 - 1985)
The late Professor Julius Stone was recognized as one of the twentieth century's
leading authorities on the Law of Nations. His Israel and Palestine, which appeared
in 1980, represents a detailed analysis of the central principles of international law
governing the issues raised by the Arab-Israel conflict. This summary is intended to
provide a short outline of the main points in the form of extracts from the original
Also included in this 2003 edition are extracts from the subsequent international
documents, and updated commentary.
IAN LACEY, a former student of Professor Stone, is an Australian lawyer and
historical writer. He has given evidence on the issues considered in this booklet to the
Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and
Jirlac Publications
ISBN 0-9751073-0-5

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