Sunday, November 29, 2009

That Anglo-American Convention of 1924

Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?

You may have seen this story (and I have discussed this Convention previously):-

NGO to Clinton: Settlements are legal

The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law.

The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.

...the American-Anglo convention was a treaty that was connected to the mandate. Treaties themselves have no statute of limitations, so their rights go on ad infinitum."

...The OFICL letter also warned Clinton that if her office does not comply with the civil rights recognized in the Anglo-American convention, OFICL will file a class-action suit in a US district court.

Now, about that Convention, I found this in a discussion about whether the US should recognize TransJordan:

...[regarding] certain matters such as foreign relations, financial and fiscal policy, jurisdiction over foreigners and freedom of conscience. United States rights, as specified in the American-British Convention of December 3,1924, include guarantees of vested American property rights in Trans-Jordan, the right of United States nationals freely to establish and maintain educational, philanthropic, and religious institutions there, and all the general rights and benefits secured under the terms of the mandate to members of the League of Nations and their nationals. Extradition and consular rights, guaranteed under treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain, are likewise extended to Trans-Jordan. Article 7 of this Convention provides that the rights of the United States and its nationals as stated in the Convention shall not be affected by any modification of the terms of the Mandate to which the United States does not give its assent...

...In the past the Government of the United States has taken the position that it is not empowered, under the articles of the American-British Convention of December 3, 1924, to prevent the modification of the terms of any of the mandates. Under their provisions, however, this government can decline to recognize the validity of the application to American interests of any modification of the mandates unless such modification has been assented to by the Government of the United States... is our present policy, subject to the approval of the Secretary, to recognize the independence of Trans-Jordan, as in the case of the Levant States, on securing a satisfactory assurance of the continuation of the rights guaranteed the United States under the American-British Convention of 1924...

My understanding is that, as I have always maintained, American citizens have a special role to play in championing Jewish rights in the Jewish people's national home.

Not only are Jews as individuals granted internationally legally recognized rights of "close settlement" on the land of a reconstituted Jewish national home as a result of the historic connection of the Jewish people to that territory which, at the least extends over all of CisJordan, that is what is Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza today, and not only are Jews as a collective possessing those same rights even if a separate political entity be established in that area, but as American citizens, Jews residing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who own land, property, businesses and run institutions of religion, philanthropy, charity, social welfare, health, etc., are protected by that 1924 Convention.

If I am not mistaken, the Revisionist Zionists attempted to use this instrument to encourage the United States, in the summer of 1939, to intervene at Geneva and overturn the British 1939 White Paper as a violation of the terms of the 1924 Convention as it applies to the Mandate - that Gt. Britain, without American approval, could not limit immigration and land purchases as they did and surely not declare that the Jewish National Home was no longer the goal of the Mandate but rather a nebulous Palestinian state.

A blog post on November 23 has this up:

America’s ratification of the 1924 “Anglo-American Convention on Palestine” made the U.S. a "contracting party" to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Assigned to Britain for administration, the Mandate was not only devoid of any provision for an Arab state within Palestine’s borders, it specifically prohibited the partition of the land and its use for any purpose other than the creation of a National Jewish Home.

With President Calvin Coolidge’s signature on the Anglo-American Convention, the terms of the Mandate for Palestine became incorporated into American law. The words of America’s 29th president, in proclaiming the treaty, made it clear that this was no mere ceremonial act. "Now , therefore, be it known," he declared, that “I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.”

Coolidge wasn’t plowing new American legal ground with these words. In fact, he was simply reinforcing a unanimous joint resolution of the 67th Congress of the United States three years earlier, signed by his predecessor, President Warren G. Harding, recognizing a future Jewish state in “the whole of Palestine.”

President have put yourself at legal and moral odds with the very law you took an oath to uphold. It is clearly time for a reversal of this tragic course.

And this too:-

...The United States Senate had not ratified the Treaty of Versailles, in part, due to reservations about the legitimacy of the League of Nations System of Mandates. The US government subsequently entered into individual treaties to secure legal rights for its citizens, and to protect property rights and businesses interests in the mandates. In the case of the Palestine Mandate Convention, it recited the terms of the League of Nations mandate, and subjected them to eight amendments. One of those precluded any unilateral changes to the terms of the mandate. The United States insisted that the convention say that it 'consents' rather than 'concurs' with the terms of the mandate and declined to mention the Balfour Declaration in the preamble of its portion of the agreement. It did not agree to mutual defense, to provisionally recognize a Jewish State, or to pledge itself to maintain the territorial integrity of the mandate...

And see here. And here's the full text starting on page 212.

As noted in "Great power discord in Palestine" by Amikam Nachman, the United States had adopted a non-political approach of interpretation of the Convention but following World War II, utilized it as a justification for becoming involved.

On this issue, here is Howard Grief's position from 2003:

The United States agreed to the British administration of Palestine pursuant to the Mandate when it signed and ratified the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924. This imposed a solemn obligation on the US Government to protest any British violation of this treaty, which had repeated every word, jot and tittle of the Mandate Charter in the preamble of the Convention, regardless of whether the violation affected American rights or those of the Jewish people. Yet when the White Paper was issued in the year of 1939, the US Government did not lift a finger to point out the blaring illegalities contained in the new statement of British policy that smashed to smithereens the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, and brought immense joy to the Arab side.

It accepted the incredible British contention that changes in the terms of the Mandate effected by the White Paper did not require American consent because no US rights or those of its nationals were impaired, an argument that was demonstrably false. This US passivity in the face of British perfidy, which was strongly denounced by the venerable David Lloyd George and even by Winston Churchill who had himself contributed to the betrayal of the Jewish people and their rights to Palestine, allowed the British Government to get away with the highest violation of international law at the very moment when the Jewish people were about to suffer the greatest catastrophe in their history. There can be no doubt that the Holocaust could have largely been prevented or its effects greatly mitigated, had the terms of the Mandate been duly implemented to allow for a massive influx of Jews to their national home.

American inaction against the British Government was particularly unforgivable in view of the fact that the articles of the Mandate were a part of American domestic law and the US was the only state which could have forced the British to repudiate the malevolent White Paper and restore the right of the Jews of Europe to gain refuge in their homeland.

Both the Mandate and the Anglo-American Convention have ceased to exist. However, all the rights of the Jewish people that derive from the Mandate remain in full force. This is the consequence of the principle of acquired legal rights which, as applied to the Jewish people, means that the rights they acquired or were recognized as belonging to them when Palestine was legally created as the Jewish National Home are not affected by the termination of the treaty or the acts of international law which were the source of those rights. This principle already existed when the Anglo-American Convention came to an end simultaneously with the termination of the Mandate for Palestine on May 14-15, 1948. It has since been codified in Article 70(1)(b) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This principle of international law would apply even if one of the parties to the treaty failed to perform the obligations imposed on it, as was the case with the British Government in regard to the Mandate for Palestine.

The reverse side of the principle of acquired legal rights is the doctrine of estoppel which is also of great importance in preserving Jewish national rights. This doctrine prohibits any state from denying what it previously admitted or recognized in a treaty or other international agreement. In the Convention of 1924, the United States recognized all the rights granted to the Jewish people under the Mandate, in particular the right of Jewish settlement anywhere in Palestine or the Land of Israel. Therefore the US Government is legally estopped today from denying the right of Jews in Israel to establish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which have been approved by the Government of Israel.

In addition, the United States is also debarred from protesting the establishment of these settlements because they are based on a right which became embedded in US domestic law after the 1924 Convention was ratified by the US Senate and proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5, 1925. This convention has terminated, but not the rights granted under it to the Jewish people. The American policy opposing Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a fit subject for judicial review in US Courts because it violates Jewish legal rights formerly recognized by the United States and which still remain part of its domestic law. A legal action to overturn this policy if it was to be adjudicated might also put an end to the American initiative to promote a so-called "Palestinian" state which would abrogate the existing right of Jewish settlement in all areas of the Land of Israel that fall under its illegal rule.

I repeat:

Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?


Okay, by popular demand.

The Convention:


Anonymous said...

This 1924 Convention idea as source of contemporary legal rights is off the wall. A class action based on this document will never succeed for any number of reasons. Thus, this organization is basically looking for a gimmick and ultimately does disservice to the cause, because it trivializes it. The 1924 Convention is important not so much as a legal document, but as an historical one.

The legal status of Judea and Samaria was accurately described by Eugene Rostow and Julius Stone – under this view

"[T]he Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing [Palestinian] population to live there." Furthermore, as former International Court of Justice Judge Stephen Schwebel noted, territory acquired in a war of self-defense (waged by Israel in 1967) must be distinguished from territory acquired through "aggressive conquest" (waged by Germany during World War II). Consequently, the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine, allocating all the land west of the Jordan River to the Jewish people for their national home, remained in force until sovereignty was finally determined by a peace treaty between the contending parties—now Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the disputed West Bank, claimed by two peoples, remained open to Jewish settlement.

Fivish said...

International Law appears to be a nebulous construct which can be applied or dissmissed at a political whim! The 1919 Paris agreement is such a case. Weizmann insisted to the UN in 1947 that it was still valid, but the UN breached its charter, article 80, by dismissing his plee. If such important instruments such as treaties and Mandates can be abrogated without consequence then the 1924 charter has no chance of being recognised as valid and enforceable. Israels whimpish compliance with the dictates of foreigners and terrorists has led it to deny the very instruments which it should rely upon for international legitimacy. History has shown us that 'might is right'!

YMedad said...

Truthfully, I am not sure the 1919 decisions had any validity after the Peace Conference dissolved into the League of Nations. But will research.

YMedad said...

In Reuben Fink's America and Palestine [New York 1945], he writes on p 52:

"The Convention was consummated on December 3, 1924, ratified by the United States Senate on February 20, 1925, signed by President Calvin Coolidge on March 2, 1925, and proclaimed by him, after ratification and exchange in London, on December 5, 1925."

Fivish said...

It looks like the Camp David Accords will be binned any day now by Egypt and the UN will do nothing about it. No law or treaty in Israels favour has ever been upheld by any 'world' body. Why bother signing anything with the Arabs/Moslems, the paper is worthless.

salubrius said...

I view the Balfour Declaration as the British policy, adopted as a treaty in 1920 to set up a trust to hold the political rights to Palestine, with World Jewry as beneficiary. The trust res was intended to vest when the Jewish population of Palestine was in the majority in the area to be ruled. The legal ownership of the trust res vested after WWII. See:
Most of the world thinks otherwise because of a false legal opinion, SSRN: com/abstract=2404378

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