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Defining "in Palestine" in Historical Documents

This solution includes a detailed analysis of the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and other key historical documents in order to understand what the original intent of those documents. In short, the essay answers the question whether the phrase "in Palestine" which appears throughout these documents means "in part of Palestine" or "in all of Palestine." Support for the author's conclusions come from statements made by the individuals who wrote or framed these documents.

The conclusions have significant relevance for understanding the legal framework behind the Jewish/Arab confrontation in the Middle East today. The thesis is based on the legal opinion of international legal attorney Howard Grief in his book, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.

The solution is over 2400 words long and is provided in both *.docx and *.pdf formats.

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Palestine as the Home of the Jewish People
An Analysis of Key Historical Documents
Does "in Palestine" mean "in [all of] Palestine" or "in [part of] Palestine"?
By Stephen Allen (September 25, 2011)
BrainMass OTA 104330
This short article is based on the legal opinion of international legal attorney Howard Grief in his book, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.
The Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration incorporates the phrase "in Palestine" twice:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
If "in Palestine" means "in [part of] Palestine", then the second half of the Declaration would state that civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish [religious] communities are only protected and they are not to be prejudiced only "in [a part of] Palestine." This interpretation of the phrase renders the Declaration meaningless. Clearly, the meaning of the phrase "in Palestine" must be consistent within the Declaration, and the only way to read the two phrases consistently is to understand that "in Palestine" means "in [all of] Palestine."
The Mandate for Palestine
The Mandate for Palestine utilizes the phrase "in Palestine" 15 times, twice in the 2nd Recital and 13 other times in a total of 11 of the 28 Articles. We shall review a selected representation of its usage.
2nd Recital: "Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non­Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country;"
This Recital makes the Balfour Declaration legally binding upon the British Government. Again, we see the phrase "in Palestine" twice, reflecting the wording of the Declaration. Since we have studied this language already, we do not need to repeat the analysis.
Article 4 "An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co­operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country."
If the phrase "in Palestine" were to mean "in [part of] Palestine," then the Article's provision is meaningless. It would then be stating that the Jewish agency is to work with the Administration of Palestine regarding the interests of the Jewish population only "in [part of] Palestine." If so, what about the interests of the Jewish population in the other part of Palestine that was not to become part of the Jewish national home? Their interests were not to be considered? And, according to this errant reasoning, since only part of Palestine was to become the Jewish national home and since it would not be known from the outset which part would become the Jewish national home, ...

Solution Summary

A detailed analysis of the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and other key historical documents to understand whether the phrase "in Palestine" which appears throughout these documents means "in part of Palestine" or "in all of Palestine."

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