Palestine’s land surface was approximately 26,320,505 dunums (26,320 km²), of which about one third was cultivable. By comparison, the size of modern day Israel (as of 2006) is 20,770,000 dunums (20,770 km²) (Geography of Israel
). The land in Jewish possession had risen from 456,000 dunums (456 km²) in 1920 to 1,393,000 dunums (1,393 km²) in 1945
and 1,850,000 dunums (1,850 km²) by 1947 (Avneri p. 224).
No reliable figures of private land ownership by Arabs were available, due to the lack of centralized records under the Ottoman Land Code. The 1939 White Paper had imposed prohibitions and restrictions on land transfers to the Jewish citizenry. As a result, 94 per cent of the territory was reserved for Arab use on a de facto and de jure basis. The Zionist Organization had established a similar system under the Jewish National Fund
, or JNF, which held its land purchases in trust ‘for the Jewish people as a whole’.
The Fund’s charter specified that the purpose of the JNF was to purchase land for the settlement of Jews. This was usually interpreted to mean that the JNF should not lease land to non-Jews.
The UN General Assembly made a recommendation for a three-way partition of Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State and a small internationally administered zone including the religiously significant towns Jerusalem
and Bethlehem. The two states envisioned in the plan were each composed of three major sections, linked by extraterritorial crossroads
. The Jewish state would receive the Coastal Plain, stretching from Haifa
, the Eastern Galilee
(surrounding the Sea of Galilee
and including the Galilee panhandle) and the Negev, including the southern outpost of Umm Rashrash (now Eilat
). The Arab state would receive the Western Galilee, with the town of Acre
, the Samarian
highlands and the Judean
highlands, and the southern coast stretching from north of Isdud (now Ashdod
) and encompassing what is now the Gaza Strip
, with a section of desert along the Egyptian border.
The partition defined by the General Assembly resolution differed somewhat from the UNSCOP report partition. Most notably, Jaffa
was constituted as an enclave of the Arab State and the boundaries were modified to include Beersheba
and a large section of the Negev
desert within the Arab State and a section of the Dead Sea
shore within the Jewish State.
The land allocated to the Arab state (about 43% of Mandatory Palestine
) consisted of all of the highlands, except for Jerusalem, plus one third of the coastline. The highlands contain the major aquifers of Palestine, which supplied water to the coastal cities of central Palestine, including Tel Aviv. The Jewish state was to receive 56% of Mandatory Palestine, a slightly larger area to accommodate the increasing numbers of Jews who would immigrate there.
The state included three fertile lowland plains — the Sharon
on the coast, the Jezreel Valley
and the upper Jordan Valley
The bulk of the proposed Jewish State’s territory, however, consisted of the Negev Desert
. The desert was not suitable for agriculture, nor for urban development at that time. The Jewish state was also given sole access to the Red Sea
The plan called for the new states to honor the existing international commitments and submit any disputes to the International Court of Justice. Under the Anglo-French Accords
of 1922, 1923 and 1926 Syria and Lebanon had been granted the same rights of access to Lake Tiberias (aka Sea of Galilee and Lake Kinneret) as the Jewish and Arab Palestinians in the British Mandate territory. Under the 1923 Agreement:
“…Any existing rights over the use of waters of the Jordan by the inhabitants of Syria shall be maintained unimpaired…. … The inhabitants of Syria and of the Lebanon shall have the same fishing and navigation rights on Lakes Huleh and Tiberias and on the River Jordan between the said lakes as the inhabitants of Palestine, but the Government of Palestine shall be responsible for the policing of the lakes.
The 1926 Accord stipulated that
“All the inhabitants, whether settled or semi-nomadic, of both territories who, at the date of the signature of this agreement enjoy grazing, watering or cultivation rights, or own land on the one or the other side of the frontier shall continue to exercise their rights as in the past.”
Apart from the Negev, the land allocated to the Jewish state was largely made up of areas in which there was a significant Jewish population. The land allocated to the Arab state was populated almost solely by Arabs.
The plan tried its best to accommodate as many Jews as possible into the Jewish state. In many specific cases, this meant including areas of Arab majority (but with a significant Jewish minority) in the Jewish state. Thus the Jewish State would have an overall large Arab minority. Areas that were sparsely populated (like the Negev), were also included in the Jewish state to create room for immigration in order to relieve the “Jewish Problem”.
The UNSCOP plan would have had the following demographics (data based on 1945). This data does not reflect the actual land ownership by Jews, local Arabs, Ottomans and other land owners. This data also excludes the land designated to Arabs in trans-Jordan (country of Jordan, west of the river Jordan).
Arab and other population
% Arab and other
Data from the Report of UNSCOP — 1947
The UNSCOP Report also noted that “in addition there will be in the Jewish State about 90,000 Bedouins
, cultivators and stock owners who seek grazing further afield in dry seasons.”
Iraq & Israel: Double Standards
The Middle East roadmap is another example of how Israel is treated as a special case when it comes to obeying Security Council resolutions. Iraq suffered invasion, allegedly because it failed to obey Security Council resolutions. By contrast, the roadmap process, like the Oslo process before it, allows Israel to negotiate about the extent to which it obeys Security Council resolutions, if at all.
Jack Straw told the House of Commons on 25 November 2002:
“Today, Iraq stands in breach of nine separate chapter VII Security Council resolutions. It has completely ignored 23 distinct obligations out of a total of 27. That plainly cannot be allowed to continue. As President Bush said to the UN General Assembly on 12 September, the UN has either to enforce the writ of its own resolution or risk becoming irrelevant. Happily, the Security Council responded to his challenge [by passing resolution 1441].”
President Bush had told the UN General Assembly:
“We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime.”
Today, states other than Iraq stand in breach of upwards of a hundred Security Council resolutions. But, strangely, neither George nor Jack is in the least bit concerned that the UN is risking irrelevance by failing to enforce these. Israel is the worst culprit: it’s in breach of more than 30 resolutions stretching back over more than 30 years, most stemming from its occupation and subsequent colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.
It is widely assumed that these resolutions require action by parties other than Israel, and that is why it is appropriate to have a peace process in which all parties can take part. Israel has done a good job of giving currency to this notion, even though a glance at Security Council resolutions concerning Israel (which are available on the UN website here) quickly shows that it is unfounded.
Even the Prime Minister believes it to be true, though perhaps it is merely a convenient pretence on his part. Defending his government’s belligerent attitude to Iraq for non-compliance with Security Council resolutions, while condoning Israel’s non-compliance, he told the House of Commons on 24 September 2002:
“I think that one thing, however, must be stated clearly: the UN resolutions in respect of the Middle East impose obligations on both sides. They impose obligations in respect of support for terrorism and recognition of Israel as well as withdrawal from the occupied territories. That is why, in the end, the only way of making progress in the Middle East is for all the aspects of the UN’s will to be implemented in relation to the Middle East.”
That is just wrong, as we shall see.
Arguably resolution 242 on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories passed on 22 November 1967 does require action by other parties. The key paragraph of it is:
“[The Security Council] Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
“(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
“(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment 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;”
Certainly, the inclusion of sub-paragraph (ii) has given Israel the excuse not to implement (i) and withdraw from the territories it occupied since 1967.
But this is not true of about 30 resolutions against Israel (see list compiled by Stephen Zunes here). Each of these is an explicit demand for action from Israel, and Israel alone.
252 (21 May 1968) on the annexation of parts of Jerusalem:
“2. [The Security Council] Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status;
“3. [The Security Council] Urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem;”
446 (22 March 1979) on the establishment of Jewish settlements:
“[The Security Council] Calls once more upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories;”
497 (17 December 1981) on the annexation of the Golan Heights:
“1. [The Security Council] Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;
“2. [The Security Council] Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;”
Those resolutions place obligations on Israel, and Israel alone, and it is obviously within Israel’s power of Israel to carry out those obligations. None of them require negotiation with other states. Israel doesn’t need to negotiate with anybody before undoing the annexation of the annexed parts of Jerusalem or of the Golan Heights. Nor does it need to negotiate with anybody before dismantling the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
The US/UK invaded Iraq and overthrew its regime, for failing to obey Security Council resolutions (allegedly). If the same standard were applied to Israel, it would be required to obey those resolutions that demand action from it alone, prior to any peace process to bring about a wider settlement in Palestine.
Double standards are in operation about the implementation of Security Council resolutions. They are also in operation about ethnic cleansing. Palestinian refugees expelled from their lands in 1947/8 and 1967 will not be allowed to return by Israel, and it can be guaranteed that no Western government will say a word of support for their right of return, let alone do something to bring it about.
Compare that the paroxysms of righteous anger that were generated by ethnic cleansing (of non-Serbs, at least) in Yugoslavia; it was unthinkable that ethnic cleansing be allowed to stand there, and the West was even prepared to contemplate military action to reverse it.
Labour & Trade Union Review
You recall that the USA and UK invaded Iraq for its failure to comply with Security Council Resolutions here are the other resoltutions that Israel and other USA allies have not complied with but no action has been taken!!!
The cases are listed in order of resolution number, followed by the year in which the resolution was passed, the country or countries in violation, and a brief description of the resolution.
Resolution 252 (1968) IsraelUrgently calls upon Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties thereon.
262 (1968) IsraelCalls upon Israel to pay compensation to Lebanon for destruction of airliners at Beirut International Airport.
267 (1969) IsraelUrgently calls upon Israel to rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.
271 (1969) IsraelReiterates calls to rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem and calls on Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers.
298 (1971) IsraelReiterates demand that Israel rescind measures seeking to change the legal status of occupied East Jerusalem.
353 (1974) TurkeyCalls on nations to respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Cyprus and for the withdrawal without delay of foreign troops from Cyprus.
354 (1974) TurkeyReiterates provisions of UNSC resolution 353.
360 (1974) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus “without delay.”
364 (1974) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
367 (1975) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
370 (1975) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
377 (1979) MoroccoCalls on countries to respect the right of self-determination for Western Sahara.
379 (1979) MoroccoCalls for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Western Sahara.
380 (1979) MoroccoReiterates the need for compliance with previous resolutions.
391 (1976) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
401 (1976) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
414 (1977) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
422 (1977) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
440 (1978) TurkeyReaffirms the need for compliance with prior resolutions regarding Cyprus.
446 (1979) IsraelCalls upon Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers, to rescind previous measures that violate these relevant provisions, and “in particular, not to transport parts of its civilian population into the occupied Arab territories.”
452 (1979) IsraelCalls on the government of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction, and planning of settlements in the Arab territories, occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.
465 (1980) IsraelReiterates previous resolutions on Israel’s settlements policy.
471 (1980) IsraelDemands prosecution of those involved in assassination attempts of West Bank leaders and compensation for damages; reiterates demands to abide by Fourth Geneva Convention.
484 (1980) IsraelReiterates request that Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
487 (1981) IsraelCalls upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
497 (1981) IsraelDemands that Israel rescind its decision to impose its domestic laws in the occupied Syrian Golan region.
541 (1983) TurkeyReiterates the need for compliance with prior resolutions and demands that the declaration of an independent Turkish Cypriot state be withdrawn.
550 (1984) TurkeyReiterates UNSC resolution 541 and insists that member states may “not to facilitate or in any way assist” the secessionist entity.
573 (1985) IsraelCalls on Israel to pay compensation for human and material losses from its attack against Tunisia and to refrain from all such attacks or threats of attacks against other nations.
592 (1986) IsraelInsists Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Conventions in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories.
605 (1987) Israel”Calls once more upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide immediately and scrupulously by the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War, and to desist forthwith from its policies and practices that are in violations of the provisions of the Convention.”
607 (1986) IsraelReiterates calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and to cease its practice of deportations from occupied Arab territories.
608 (1988) IsraelReiterates call for Israel to cease its deportations.
636 (1989) IsraelReiterates call for Israel to cease its deportations.
641 (1989) IsraelReiterates previous resolutions calling on Israel to desist in its deportations.
658 (1990) MoroccoCalls upon Morocco to “cooperate fully” with the Secretary General of the United Nations and the chairman of the Organization of African Unity “in their efforts aimed at an early settlement of the question of Western Sahara.”
672 (1990) IsraelReiterates calls for Israel to abide by provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Arab territories.
673 (1990) IsraelInsists that Israel come into compliance with resolution 672.
681 (1990) IsraelReiterates call on Israel to abide by Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Arab territories.
690 (1991) MoroccoCalls upon both parties to cooperate fully with the Secretary General in implementing a referendum on the fate of the territory.
694 (1991) IsraelReiterates that Israel “must refrain from deporting any Palestinian civilian from the occupied territories and ensure the safe and immediate return of all those deported.”
716 (1991) TurkeyReaffirms previous resolutions on Cyprus.
725 (1991) Morocco”Calls upon the two parties to cooperate fully in the settlement plan.”
726 (1992) IsraelReiterates calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and to cease its practice of deportations from occupied Arab territories.
799 (1992) Israel”Reaffirms applicability of Fourth Geneva Convention…to all Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, and affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the Convention.”
809 (1992) MoroccoReiterates call to cooperate with the peace settlement plan, particularly regarding voter eligibility for referendum.
822 (1993) ArmeniaCalls for Armenia to implement the “immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from the Kelbadjar district and other recently occupied areas of Azerbaijan.”
853 (1993) ArmeniaDemands “complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from Azerbaijani territory.
874 (1993) ArmeniaReiterates calls for withdrawal of occupation forces.
884 (1993) ArmeniaCalls on Armenia to use its influence to force compliance by Armenian militias to previous resolutions and to withdraw its remaining occupation forces.
904 (1994) IsraelCalls upon Israel, as the occupying power, “to take and implement measures, inter alia, confiscation of arms, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by settlers.”
973 (1995) MoroccoReiterates the need for cooperation with United Nations and expediting referendum on the fate of Western Sahara.
995 (1995) MoroccoCalls for “genuine cooperation” with UN efforts to move forward with a referendum.
1002 (1995) MoroccoReiteration of call for “genuine cooperation” with UN efforts.
1009 (1995) CroatiaDemands that Croatia “respect fully the rights of the local Serb population to remain, leave, or return in safety.”
1017 (1995) MoroccoReiterates the call for “genuine cooperation” with UN efforts and to cease “procrastinating actions which could further delay the referendum.”
1033 (1995) MoroccoReiterates call for “genuine cooperation” with UN efforts.
1044 (1996) SudanCalls upon Sudan to extradite to Ethiopia for prosecution three suspects in an assassination attempt of visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and to cease its support for sanctuary and offering of sanctuary to terrorists.
1054 (1996) SudanDemands that Sudan come into compliance with UNSC resolution 1044.
1056 (1996) MoroccoCalls for the release of political prisoners from occupied Western Sahara.
1070 (1996) SudanReiterates demands to comply with 1044 and 1054.
1073 (1996) Israel”Calls on the safety and security of Palestinian civilians to be ensured.”
1079 (1996) CroatiaReaffirms right of return for Serbian refugees to Croatia.
1092 (1996) Turkey/CyprusCalls for a reduction of foreign troops in Cyprus as the first step toward a total withdrawal troops as well as a reduction in military spending.
1117 (1997) Turkey/CyprusReiterates call for a reduction of foreign troops in Cyprus as the first step toward a total withdrawal troops and reduction in military spending.
1120 (1997) CroatiaReaffirms right of return for Serbian refugees to Croatia and calls on Croatia to change certain policies that obstruct this right, and to treat its citizens equally regardless of ethnic origin.
1145 (1997) CroatiaReiterates Croatian responsibility in supporting the political and economic rights of its people regardless of ethnic origin.
1172 (1998) India, PakistanCalls upon India and Pakistan to cease their development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
1178 (1998) Turkey/CyprusReiterates call for a substantial reduction of foreign troops and reduction in military spending.
1185 (1998) MoroccoCalls for the lifting of restrictions of movement by aircraft of UN peacekeeping force.
1215 (1998) MoroccoUrges Morocco to promptly sign a “status of forces agreement.”
1217 (1998) Turkey/CyprusReiterates call for a substantial reduction of foreign troops and reduction in military spending.
1251 (1999) Turkey/CyprusReiterates call for a substantial reduction of foreign troops and reduction in military spending.
1264 (1999) IndonesiaCalls on Indonesia to provide safe return for refugees and punish those for acts of violence during and after the referendum campaign.
1272 (1999) IndonesiaStresses the need for Indonesia to provide for the safe return for refugees and maintain the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps.
1283 (1999) Turkey/CyprusReiterates UNSC resolution 1251.
1303 (2000) Turkey/CyprusReiterates UNSC resolutions 1283 and 1251.
1319 (2000) IndonesiaInsists that Indonesia “take immediate additional steps, in fulfillment of its responsibilities, to disarm and disband the militia immediately, restore law and order in the affected areas of West Timor, ensure safety and security in the refugee camps and for humanitarian workers, and prevent incursions into East Timor.” Stresses that those guilty of attacks on international personnel be brought to justice and reiterates the need to provide safe return for refugees who wish to repatriate and provide resettlement for those wishing to stay in Indonesia.
1322 (2000) IsraelCalls upon Israel to scrupulously abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying power.
1331 (2000) Turkey/CyprusReiterates UNSC resolution 1251 and subsequent resolutions.
1338 (2001) IndonesiaCalls for Indonesian cooperation with the UN and other international agencies in the fulfillment of UNSC resolution 1319.
1359 (2001) MoroccoCalls on the parties to “abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict.”
1384 (2001) Turkey/CyprusReiterates 1251 and all relevant resolutions on Cyprus.
1402 (2002) IsraelCalls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities.
1403 (2002) IsraelDemands that Israel go through with “the implementation of its resolution 1402, without delay.”
1405 (2002) IsraelCalls for UN inspectors to investigate civilian deaths during an Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp.
1416 (2002) Turkey/CyprusReiterates UNSC resolution 1251 and all relevant resolutions on Cyprus.
1435 (2002) IsraelCalls on Israel to withdraw to positions of September 2000 and end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure.
This list deals exclusively with resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, a fifteen-member body consisting of five permanent members (the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom) and ten non-permanent members elected for rotating two-year terms representing various regions of the world. The Security Council’s primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, is for the maintenance of international peace and security. For a resolution to pass, it must be approved by a majority of the total membership with no dissenting vote from any of the five permanent members. Since the early 1970s, the United States has used its veto power nearly fifty times, more than all other permanent members during that same period combined. In the vast majority of these cases, the U.S. was the only dissenting vote. The preceding list, therefore, includes only resolutions where the United States voted in the affirmative or abstained.
This list does not include resolutions that merely condemn a particular action, only those that specifically proscribe a particular ongoing activity or future activity and/or call upon a particular government to implement a particular action. Nor does this list does include resolutions where the language is ambiguous enough to make assertions of noncompliance debatable, such as UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 on the Arab-Israeli conflict that put forward the formula of “land for peace,” to cite the most famous. Similarly, it does not include broad resolutions calling for universal compliance not in reference to a particular conflict, particularly if there is not a clear definition. For example, in a resolution that proscribes the harboring of terrorists, there is no clear definition for what constitutes a terrorist. This list does not include nonstate actors, such as secessionist governments, rebel groups or terrorists, only recognized nation-states.
Furthermore, this list does not include resolutions that were also violated for a number of years that are now moot (such as those dealing with Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, South Africa’s occupation of Namibia, and Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon). If these were also included, the number of violations would double. In most of these cases, the United States played a key role in blocking enforcement of these resolutions as well.
Finally, it should be noted that this is only a partial list, since some of the resolutions involved technical questions I was unable to judge, particularly when they involved parts of the world with which we were less familiar. S.Z.