President Joe Biden’s postponement of his forthcoming trip to Israel this month due to “scheduling factors” gives Biden, the United Nations (UN) and Israel the opportunity to celebrate at UN headquarters the 100th anniversaries of American and international support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
In announcing Biden’s postponed visit US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides said:
“I’ll bet that Joe Biden has been to Israel and the Middle East more times in his career than every American president combined. He calls himself a Zionist, he loves this place and I think there’s no question about his commitment to this place.”
The first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 had declared:
“Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.”
America’s commitment to Zionism’s ambitious goal came on 30 June 1922 – when both houses of the US Congress passed the following joint resolution:
"Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected."
The League of Nations (LON) – the UN’s predecessor - closely followed the US Congress on 24 July 1922 - proclaiming the Mandate for Palestine:
- Recognising “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”
- protecting the civil and religious rights of the “existing non-Jewish communities”.
- appointing Great Britain to achieve these objectives
On 16 September 1922 a memorandum relating to article 25 of the Mandate was presented by the British Government to the Council of the League notifying it that the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home was to occur only in 22% of the Mandate territory west of the Jordan River - and not in Transjordan – the remaining 78% of the Mandate territory east of the Jordan River
The area set aside for the Jewish National Home in Britain’s Memorandum included Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem – the 3000-years old ancient and biblical heartland of the Jewish people.
In 1948 Transjordan (having gained its independence in 1946) attacked and conquered Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem - driving out all the Jews then living there and unifying Transjordan, Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem in 1950 into one territorial unit - renamed Jordan
Israel’s capture of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War offered the hope that the provisions of the Mandate would be finally fulfilled.
Instead the rights of Jews under the Mandate to return and settle in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem were arbitrarily shredded by the UN - even though such rights had been expressly preserved by article 80 of the UN’s own Charter.
The UN to its eternal shame re-designated Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, rather than “Jewish Mandated Territory” - passing scores of UN resolutions declaring as “illegal” the right of Jews to live there.
It is the UN that is acting illegally in defiance of its own Charter.
The upcoming 100- year -anniversaries of the momentous decisions made in 1922 by America and the League of Nations supporting self-determination for the Jewish people need to be honoured and implemented.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.