Israel’s Right to Jerusalem Established Firmly in Int’l Law, Expert Says
by Benjamin Glatt
The Jewish people’s right to Jerusalem was granted under international law at the end of the First World War, a leading international legal scholar said at the UN Monday.
“[The] title over Jerusalem and its Old City was granted to the Jewish people during the San Remo conference of the Principal Allied Powers in April 1920,” Dr Jacques Gauthier said at an event by the Christian group European Coalition for Israel (ECI) and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem with a High Level UN breakfast briefing in New York with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, as a guest of honor.
In the Gregorian calendar, June 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Gauthier said it was in San Remo that the claims presented on the behalf of the Jewish people on February 27, 1919, during the Paris peace conference – the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute a Jewish national home in what was then called Palestine – were approved.
“The rights granted in San Remo were incorporated in the treaty of Sevre in 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine approved by the League of Nations in 1922,” he said. “These rights included the recognition of the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem and the right to reconstitute in that City their ancient capital.”
He warned the UN ambassadors who attended the breakfast briefing not to dismiss the undeniable facts that had been presented to them in his presentation but to take them in to serious consideration whenever new resolutions on the issue of Jerusalem are discussed in the future.
He also commented on the popular notion that Israel could not have the title over east Jerusalem through military conquest by noting that this principle of international law does not apply in a situation where the title has already been granted to the territory in question.
Although Jordan illegally occupied east Jerusalem and the Old City in 1948, Israel could not be expected to lose their rights when they reconquered it in 1967, since it was already theirs under international law, he said.
Following the presentation, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell handed over an open letter for a united Jerusalem to Mayor Barkat.
More than 50 senior political leaders from around the world, among them presidents and vice-presidents, support Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as the best guarantee for a united and open Jerusalem where people of all faiths and none can co-exist in respect for each other. The letter has also received support from deputies from all five major political groups in the European Parliament.
Barkat responded by speaking about Jerusalem as an open, inclusive and united city which is important for billions of people around the world.
“In one square kilometer there are more synagogues, mosques and churches than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “When Jerusalem was reunited in 1967, no mosques were destroyed and no churches were taken down. We maintain openness and respect for all religions,” he said, reminding the audience that this does not exist anywhere else in the Middle East.
The mayor concluded his speech by saying that Jerusalem should not only be for the Jews but for the benefit of the whole world.
The high-level UN breakfast meeting concluded an international campaign by ECI for a united Jerusalem, which was launched at the Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 30 and has gained international support ever since.