Talk:State of Israel
Is the first sentence correct? My understanding is that the UN in 1947 passed a (probably not legally binding) resolution saying there should be two states with boundaries as it laid down, but it proceeded no further, and its representatives were ignored by the British authorities when they turned up to take over at the expiry of the mandate. The Jewish leaders proclaimed the state of Israel unilaterally the day before, and Palestinian leaders proclaimed their own state some time later. I'm not sure whether either proclamation specified borders. Peter Jackson 15:43, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
- First, I'm delighted to have your participation. If the Middle East can't trigger CZ activity and debate, nothing can (studiously ignoring homeopathy).
- As far as the borders, UN General Assembly Resolution 181  is extremely detailed. It is fair to say, however, that the execution plan did not proceed smoothly; I have not researched how the British authorities did or did not work with it beyond Lapierre and Collins' history, Oh Jerusalem!, my paperback copy of which fell apart and is no longer on the shelf.
- Would you like to create or extend a more detailed section on the early days, reflecting the UN action and the reaction to it? Also, could you elaborate on "probably not legally binding", recognizing that it was in relatively uncharted ground in international law. The argument seems to be that the 1922 British Mandate of Palestine (I'm adding the date to distinguish it from the Allied Powers agreement of 1918, which I have yet to find) was issued by the League of Nations, and the UN was the successor to the League Howard C. Berkowitz 15:57, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
- As you're of course aware, legal language needs to be very precise. In some sense, no doubt, the UN is successor to the League, but I've looked carefully through the debates in the closing period of the League, and nowhere does it pass a resolution transferring authority over the mandates to the UN. Hence the old South Africa's refusal to recognize UN authority over South West Africa. Britain and other mandatories voluntarily recognized UN authority.
- Most UN decisions on important matters need Security Council authorization to be legally binding, which I think didn't happen here. In addition, as I said, the relevant resolution was only, at the time, a proposal or recommendation, and they never got round to finalizing a decision, as it was overtaken by events on the ground.
- Whether I come back to do any authorial work on CZ largely depends on whether any effective procedure is adopted for resolving content disputes. I see you (forum charter thread, posting 136, I think) are suggesting something similar to what I suggested earlier. If something of the sort is adopted, so that all disputes can be resolved (unlike Wikipedia), whether or not there is a specialist editor available, then I'm likely to come back and do a fair amount of work here. Whether that would include this I can't say. Peter Jackson 17:20, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
- One can argue, of course, that the First Law of International Relations is "might makes right". The Second Law is "When in doubt, see Law #1". Seriously, there is a concept of "customary international law" as that generally recognized. The International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg) was challengeable both as ex post facto and being victors' justice, as its convening authority was the four-power Allied Control Commission. There is actually a better basis for the International Military Tribunal (Tokyo), as there is language agreeing to it in the Japanese surrender.
- There's a lot of truth in that point. In practice, governments tend to interpret intrnational law to suit themselves. So does the UN, e.g. in its overthrow of the government of Haiti, contrary to commonsense reading of the Charter. The ICJ are mostly political nominees and a lot of their decisions no doubt reflect corresponding biases. As to war crimes, my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that military commanders are automatically criminally responsible for the acts of their subordinates, regardless of whether they ordered them knew about them or took reasonable steps to prevent them. Thus all commanders on all sides in all wars are legally war criminals, and who is prosecuted is decided by those with the power, particularly the winners.
- To return to the actual topic, the text of the 1947 resolution is at . Note the wording:
- "... Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the Mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Mambers of the United Nations ...
- Requests that
- The security Council take ..."
- "Recommends" and "Requests". I don't think this will sustain a statement that this resolution partitioned Palestine. Peter Jackson 11:59, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
My most direct experience with international law is with the International Telecommunications Union (formerly CCITT), whose technical specifications are called "Recommendations". The legalities and customs are involved, but the concept is that since the ITU does not have authority over national telecommunications bodies, it can only recommend. Many nations, however, have enabling legislation or regulations that then require the "recommendation" to be adopted.
If you look at treaty language, such as the Kellogg-Briand Accord, where signatory nations are committing to some course of action, it is not a "recommendation" but a commitment. In the treaty case, the nations are making sovereign commitments. The UN is not sovereign.
I personally disagree with the concept that the UN Charter forbids war, as the Chapter I articles that argue against it are phrased as recommendations, where Chapter VII, on the "pacific settlement of disputes", has much more definitive language regarding the Security Council. The loophole is that a matter needs to be brought before the Security Council by a party to the conflict, which has not always happened, as with the Gulf War. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:13, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
- Keeping to the specific point. I don't see how your remarks affect it. How can it be correct to say that the resolution partitioned Palestine, as the article does at present, when that resolution says no more than "recommends" and "requests"? Did anyone ever actually attempt, or purport, to put it into effect? If they did, then surely it's they who partitioned it, or tried to.
- Another curiosity. The Palestine Act, 1948, simply declares that British jurisdiction would end. It says nothing on who would have jurisdiction instead. Did we in fact legally pass on the jurisdiction to anybody? Peter Jackson 11:23, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
- I wasn't referring to the general question of the legality of war. My point about Haiti was based simply on Article 2, section 7. Peter Jackson 11:39, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
- Israel declared independence in May 1948; I've referenced their document, which specifically refers to the expiration of the 1922 British Mandate of Palestine. That document does speak of a state for the Jews, not infringing upon the rights of resident Arabs. Later in their declaration, they refer to the UN Resolution and offer to cooperate with that process.
- Recognition, a few days later, by the U.S. and U.S.S.R. made it an effective fact, although, as you may know, there was considerable argument against within the USG on grounds of strategy; Truman personally made the decision over George C. Marshall's objections.
- The reality is that international law is simply not as cut and dried as national law, and the best we can do is describe the general arguments. In many cases, as in this one, the matter then comes back to the First Law of International Affairs: might makes right. The Second Law is "when in doubt, refer to the First Law." Israel is certainly not unique in the setting up of new nations or the arrangements ending a war, and I believe it's not productive other than to note the legal basis is imperfect, but that, variously, it was accepted by significant countries and it was enforced. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:50, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
- I agree. The new wording looks fine, except you've left a word out accidentally. I'm not sure what it was meant to be, though above you say "cooperate". A remaining question. Should you also mention that the resolution also recommended a Palestinian state, or is that irrelevant to this article? Peter Jackson 18:00, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
- Just noticed the definition at top, which presumably also needs attention. Peter Jackson 18:01, 4 November 2009 (UTC)