Unveiling the Complete Truth: Jews’ Right to the Land of Israel and Beyond

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After the resolution in San Remo on April 25, 1920, standing outside Villa Devachan, from left to right: Matsui, Lloyd George, Curzon, Berthelot, Millerand, Vittorio Scialoja, Nitti. Photo: Unknown / Public Domain / Wikipedia.

On April 24-25 this year, it will be 104 years since the victorious allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the USA met in the Italian city of San Remo to decide on the distribution of land won in the victory over the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the First World War.

The Peace Conference established three so-called mandated territories to be developed into future states. The mandate for Palestine granted legal sovereignty to the entire Jewish people where most were still scattered around the world.
Inhabitants (mostly Arabs) settled in Iraq and Syria/Lebanon were granted similar rights in their areas.

Previously, the term “Palestine” had been used to refer to a geographically varying area.

This term had never defined a separate state!
Before the Romans conquered the Middle East around 63 BC, the state of Israel had been an independent state in this area for centuries.

The intention of the Palestine Mandate was precisely to restore the Jewish state to its original extent after nearly 2000 years under foreign rule.

For many, the San Remo Conference in 1920 is unknown.

Most have heard of the peace conference in Paris after the First World War and the establishment of the League of Nations.

But the fact is that San Remo, which was part of the Paris conference, had enormous significance in laying the legal foundation for the Middle East as we know it today.

However, powerful forces have had an interest in obscuring or denying that the decisions formed international law.
The Balfour Declaration of November 1917 to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” initiated a legal process that led to the decisions in San Remo.

There, this British declaration was transformed into a binding international treaty.

The historical right of the Jews to their ancient homeland became a legal right from then on.

Extremely important is the fact that this sovereignty granted in San Remo still exists as a legal claim, both for the state of Israel and for the Jewish people.

At the centenary, it is important to know that the rights granted encompassed a much larger territory than what is incorporated into the state of Israel today.

The Mandate for Palestine included areas on both sides of the Jordan River: the current state of Jordan to the east, and Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) and Gaza to the west. Additionally, large parts of the Golan Heights were included.

The decision in San Remo was inserted into the peace treaty with Turkey on August 10, 1920, and laid the foundation for the Franco-British border agreement on December 23, 1920, which delineated the exact boundaries of the mandate area.

The decision was unanimously confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, with Norway’s support, and by the United States in a treaty with Britain on December 3, 1924.

Britain, as the mandatory power, already violated the main intention of the decision in San Remo in 1921 by putting the area in the east temporarily on hold as part of a future Jewish state.

The League of Nations approved this temporary solution.

The temporariness was emphasized by the fact that the Mandate continued as a legal entity. It indicated that the Jews’ right to the eastern area was not revoked.

But the Jews were expelled, and in 1946, Britain unilaterally established the state of Jordan.

Thus, 78% of the area allocated to the Jews was given to the Arabs and made “Jew-free.”

Today’s (2024) demand for a “two-state solution” is therefore 78 years too late.

Britain also failed in its responsibility as a mandate power west of the Jordan River.

They succumbed to Arab pressure and reneged on their commitments to the Jews.

The British obscured the legal decisions after the First World War and often acted as a colonial power.

The most tragic was that in 1939 they closed the mandate territory to Jewish immigration, contrary to the main intention of the Mandate.

It happened at the worst possible time for Jews who could otherwise have escaped the Nazis.

When the League of Nations was replaced by the UN in 1945, many were concerned that the Jews’ acquired legal rights would disappear.

Therefore, Article 80 was inserted into the UN Charter as an additional safeguard to preserve these rights.

The article, referred to in 1945 as the Palestine clause, expressly states:
“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

Thus, the UN Charter confirmed that the rights granted in San Remo were to be preserved for the future.

The decision in San Remo is still valid international law.
The text approved by the League of Nations in 1922 began by referring to this decision as the basis for the Mandate for Palestine.

It is essential to maintain that the Jews’ rights to the mandate area did not disappear when the British withdrew in 1948, as many claim.

The mandate did not end when the British left but when Jewish representatives proclaimed the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Thus, the goal of the decision in San Remo was achieved in the parts of the country that the Jews actually controlled.
Legally, the Mandate was formulated both as the administration of an estate and as a guardianship.

The British government had undertaken the responsibility both as administrator and as guardian until the Jews could take over.

The fact that an administrator or guardian runs away without completing the task they had taken on does not remove the rights that were supposed to be protected.

When the Mandate for Palestine was established in San Remo, it was for one main purpose: a future Jewish state.

All allocated rights therefore transferred to the state of Israel from midnight on May 15, 1948.

What is easily overlooked is that the Arabs were the group of people who by far received the most in 1920.

They also gained independence after centuries of Turkish occupation, with a total land area 500 times larger than the Jews!

International law expert Jacques Gauthier says: “For the Arabs, San Remo is so important that they should celebrate it every day.”

But they don’t.

Because then they would have to admit that the Jews were granted rights on par with themselves.

They are well helped to this “forgetfulness” by the UN.
The legal significance of San Remo has been attempted to be silenced.
Article 80 is also forgotten.

Thus, the UN can continue to condemn Israel more than all other countries in the world combined.

But the flow of condemning resolutions does not create international law, as is often claimed.

Nevertheless, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, politicians, and the media eagerly applaud.

What they “forget” is that the relevant decisions during the peace settlement after the First World War are still legally binding.

International treaties do not expire unless the parties enter into new agreements.

The Svalbard Treaty of February 9, 1920 where Norway got full sovereignty over Svalbard was formulated in the same legal process as San Remo, and is still valid.

Norway very much wants our rights in Svalbard to be remembered and respected.
But today (2024) Norway has the most antisemitic government since Josef Terboven and the Nazi occupation.
The Norwegian government headed by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and foreign minister Barth Eide, seems to have forgotten these facts.

So what are the rights of the Jews?
Israel waived its claim over the eastern part of the Mandate for Palestine in the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994.

But the rest of the area, west of the Jordan River, belongs to the Jewish people under international law.

Neither the UN nor any other organization or state has the authority to take away this right from Israel. “Illegal occupation” and “breach of international law” have been mantras for over fifty years.

These claims are the greatest distortion and the most extensive abuse of international law the world has ever seen.

The claims are used as weapons to achieve political goals that involve taking away as much as possible — many hope everything — of what was allocated to them in San Remo.

NRK reported Monday morning on a video conference organized by The European Coalition for Israel, where Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about imminent annexation of areas in Judea and Samaria.

But NRK did not mention one word that the point of the conference was to mark the decision in San Remo that granted the Jews ownership of these areas.

Nor were greetings from several heads of state mentioned. Instead, the state channel continued with the well-known myth of occupation.

Closely related to this myth is the claim that the UN formed Israel through the Partition Plan in 1947.
By then, the Arabs had already received 78 percent of the country in 1946.

The plan, which was contrary to the international law established in 1920 and to the UN’s own Article 80, required acceptance from both groups.

The Arabs flatly refused and resorted to a war of annihilation.

Thus, the plan died. But 78 years later, the plan is still used as an argument to take away even more of the area allocated to the Jews.

But isn’t it truth on which attitudes and policies should be built?

The day Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, politicians, and the media wake up and are willing to hold the historical and legal facts from San Remo as truth, their alleged basis for accusing Israel of conducting “illegal occupation” will disappear.

Originally written in Norwegian by Bjørn Hildrum, which is the author of the book Israel’s Land According to International Law, published in 2018.
Some addition (2024) by Steinar Vigdel Kolnes

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