Esor Ben-Sorek

A Mandatory Mandate

Today I came across a very interesting and historic document which should be mandatory reading for all Israelis who have a good reading knowledge of the English language.

It is called “MANDATE FOR PALESTINE, together with a Note by the Secretary-General relating to its application to the Territory known as Trans-Jordan, under the provision of Article 25.

The British Mandate consisted of a total of 28 articles. It begins with the following preamble.

“ The Council of the League of Nations:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and

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Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national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 non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; and

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine; and

Whereas the mandate in respect of Palestine has been formulated in the following terms and submitted to the Council of the League for approval; and

Whereas His Britannic Majesty has accepted the mandate in respect of Palestine and undertaken to exercise it on behalf of the League of Nations in conformity with the following provisions…………….”

From here, the official British Mandate listed 28 separate articles with regard to governing Palestine.

Article 4 is very clear. “An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating 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.

The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.”

Hence it is abundantly clear that the British Mandate for Palestine was to fulfill the decrees of the League of Nations and the Principal Allied Powers to prepare for the establishment of a JEWISH state in Palestine and in that regard made no mention of a home for Palestinian Arabs as a separate entity.

Article 22 of the British Mandate for Palestine is particularly of importance to all citizens of the State of Israel.

“English, Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of Palestine. Any statement or inscription in Arabic on stamps or money in Palestine shall be repeated in Hebrew and any statement or inscription in Hebrew shall be repeated in Arabic”.

Here it was very clearly established 101 years ago that the three languages aforementioned were to be equal official languages of the country.

In that regard one can and one must realize the clause in our misguided nation-law decree which marginalizes 20 % of our Arabic –speaking population by eliminating Arabic as one of the historical three national languages and reducing it to a “special status”, one which racially and civically discriminates against our Arab and Druze citizens. We must give 100% of support to our devoted Druze population in particular to their loud protests against discrimination.

Additionally the new law violates the ideals of the preamble of the League of Nations recognition and approval of the British Mandate for Palestine which clearly states that nothing shall be done to discriminate in the civil rights of the non-Jewish population in Palestine.

Changing the Arabic language from its previous historic recognition as one of the three official languages and reducing it to a “special status” is a clear violation of the intention of the original law.

Finally, a separate document of the Mandatory, known as “ARTICLE 25 OF THE PALESTINE MANDATE” concerns itself with the “Territory known as Trans-Jordan”, which His Britannic Majesty passed by resolution on September 16, 1922 that “the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine are not applicable to the territory known as Trans-Jordan, which comprises all territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba on the Gulf of that name up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk; thence up the centre of that river to the Syrian Frontier”.

A full reading of the British Mandate and its articles should be mandatory reading by all members of our Knesset in a coalition government in order to better understand and to comply with the principles of long established international laws.

Such a more clear understanding may help to revive the death-bed of democracy in our country.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
Related Topics
Related Posts