Rejoinder to ‘Is UN Creation of Israel a Myth? Ask Foreign Policy Journal’

Israel National News (INN) has published an op-ed about my essay “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel“, in which they asked Dr. Mordecai Nisan, a lecturer at Hebrew University, to respond. There are two observations to be made about this op-ed: First, it does not actually refute so much as a single point of fact or logic from my article, and, second, Dr. Nisan in fact acknowledges that my thesis is correct.

Palestine Post“Of course it is a myth to assert or believe that the U.N. created Israel,” Dr. Nisan admits in his reply. One might think that, since there is agreement on this point of fact, there would be not much else to debate. What he challenges, however, is not the thesis itself, but the corollary that the Zionist leadership lacked any legal foundation for their unilateral declaration of the establishment of the state of Israel.

“It is transparently true that Israel’s founding came through the sword,” Dr. Nisan acknowledges. But he argues that this use of force was “exercised on behalf of the transcending right of an ancient and integral people, the likes of whose special claim to the Land of Israel no other human collectivity can equal whatsoever.” In other words, the rights of the Jews to the land of Palestine “transcended” the rights of the Arabs, so the Zionist’s use of force to create their Jewish state (at which time more than 700,000 Arabs were ethnically cleansed from Palestine) was therefore legitimate. Dr. Nisan thus presents a racist argument for Israel’s legitimacy – indeed, an anti-Semitic one, as Arabs are also Semites.

I would observe that, in addition to being a racist argument, this in no way negates a single point of fact or logic from my essay. One may claim that Yahweh gave the land to the Jews (a claim not supported by the Bible), but the fact remains – as Dr. Nisan acknowledges – that the U.N. neither created the Jewish state nor conferred upon the Zionist leadership any legal authority to unilaterally declare the establishment of the state of Israel. The theological argument is a separate discussion entirely, with no bearing on my thesis.

Elsewhere, the INN op-ed simply relies upon strawman arguments to make its points. Just to set the record straight, I did not argue in my essay that the General Assembly “had no right to propose the partition plan”. The General Assembly did indeed have the authority, and the duty, to make recommendations towards peaceful resolutions to international conflicts. In this case, however, the point is that by accepting the U.N. Special Commission on Palestine’s (UNSCOP’s) majority recommendation to partition Palestine, it rather inflamed the situation. UNSCOP had explicitly rejected the right of the Arab Palestinians to self-determination. As I noted in the article, the plan called for taking land from the Arabs (the majority comprising 65% of the population, who owned 85% of the land, but who were offered only 45.5% of the territory under the plan) and giving it to the Jews (the minority comprising 33% of the population, who owned just 7 % of the land, but who were offered 55.5% of the territory), and was thus inherently inequitable and unworkable. The only way this plan could have any legal force would have been for both sides to accept it. The Arabs reasonably rejected it. It was thus moot. Neither the U.N. General Assembly nor the Security Council had any authority to implement partition by force, or to confer upon the Zionist leadership any such authority.

I also did not argue that “The Arab population was not given the right to self determination because the U.N. wanted to create the Jewish State”. Firstly, far be it from me to claim that self-determination is something “given”! Self-determination is not a granted privilege, but an inherent and inalienable right. INN’s mischaracterization of what I actually wrote, therefore, only serves to demonstrate its editors’ own ignorance of this elementary principle of morality and law. Secondly, to clarify further, what I stated in my article is that the partition plan was premised upon the explicit rejection of the Arab Palestinian’s right to self-determination. That is not a “claim”, as INN asserts, but a demonstrable fact, acknowledged plainly in UNSCOP’s report itself.

Dr. Nisan creates a similar strawman argument in suggesting that “Hammond … has pointed to force as the only alternative” to partition. Far be it from me to suggest such a thing! In fact, I argued the opposite in my essay, that there were alternative courses of action that could have prevented the tragic war that ensued. The U.N. Security Council, for example, had the authority to declare a threat to the peace and authorize the use of force to prevent the violence the occurred. It had the authority to establish a Trusteeship over Palestine until such time as its inhabitants were prepared to exercise independence without such recourse to violence. And, most importantly, the alternative proposal to partition could have been implemented, which was the Arab proposal to establish an independent state of Palestine in which the rights of the Jewish minority were recognized and protected under a constitution that would guarantee Jewish representation in its legislative body. Yet this democratic solution was rejected by the Zionists, who preferred “the sword”, as Dr. Nisan acknowledges — the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Arabs from the land.

“Hammond’s line of argument leads to the dissolution of the conflict-management or resolution-capacity of the U.N.”, writes Dr. Nisan. This is a non sequitur. As just noted, I in fact argued the opposite in my essay.

Dr. Nisan states that the Jewish minority also had a claim to self-determination. Certainly! Far be it from me to suggest otherwise. But the fact remains that the use of force to acquire territory was then, as it is now, illegitimate under international law. The principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force is emphasized, for example, in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which calls upon Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied during the June 1967 war.

Dr. Nisan states the Arab rejection of the plan was “in breach of the international decision for partition”. Notice the word “breach”, implying a failure to comply with a law, to keep a trust or contractual obligation, etc. The Arabs “breached” nothing in rejecting the plan – a plan which itself, had it been implemented, would have been a breach of the U.N. Charter.

From the premise that the U.N. had no legal authority to implement the partition plan, Nisan draws the corollary that “there is no reason to accept the authority of U.N. [General Assembly] Resolution 194 that calls for Palestinian refugee return.” It would be correct to say that this General Assembly resolution, as all General Assembly resolutions, is legally non-binding. However, Israel is still bound by both formal and customary international law, and the right of return of refugees is a universally recognized right, codified in such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the latter of which Israel is a signatory of.

Dr. Nisan states, “An emasculated U.N. cannot be manipulated to be only good for the Arabs and bad for the Jews when that is politically convenient.” Certainly! Far be it from me to disagree. But Dr. Nisan next states, “Hammond argues that the U.N. did not have a right to create Israel, so then it does not have a right to dissolve its existence under the guise of sanctifying resolution 194 from 62 years ago.” Dr. Nisan thusly attempts to change the subject, but in doing so, does nothing to actually refute anything I wrote. Without getting into the tangential issue of contemporary demographics, once again, that the U.N. did not have a right to create Israel by partitioning Palestine is not a claim, it is a point of fact under the U.N. Charter and international law.

In sum, neither INN nor Dr. Nisan have managed to point to even a single error in either fact or logic on my part in my essay. The facts are as I have stated them, and the logical conclusions drawn inescapable.

Read the 1st chapter of Obstacle to Peace for free!

Jeremy R. Hammond

Jeremy R. Hammond is an award-winning political analyst, editor and publisher of Foreign Policy Journal, and author. His new book is Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Read the first chapter FREE at! 

Comments are encouraged, but please respect the rules. Click here for terms of use.

  • Paul C. Roberts

    Hammond, a careful scholar is correct in his every point. Any time criminals are
    exposed, they scream accusations, and that is what we have seen from the Zionist responses to Hammond’s correct scholarship.

  • Mark Richey

    Isn’t it interesting how much Dr. Nisan’s methodology and tactics resemble those of Jeffrey Blankfort in his character assasination of Noam Chomsky. The same reliance on straw man arguments, and the implicit racism of his argument. The only thing missing is the citation of Biblical authority, and that is implied when Blankfort excommunciates Noam Chomsky by saying he is the ‘2010 equivalent of the JDL..””

    • Nefyn Kguash

      Looking at the numbers of peaceful, creative, functioning residents leaving the region for better lives at peace elswhere in the world,
      ‘leavers’ and, then ‘arrivers’ in to the state of Israel and in the neighbouring arab states in the end of all that happened and going on happenning, is there a true future for Israel to co exisist with it’s neighbours? Where is Turkey pushed towards? Is Israel is ‘owned’ by all jewish nation now? If there is to a wordy percentage, how happy they are to be implanted to a land they don’t feel they really belong to? What is in the minds of the everyday people? I waited for over 35 years of my life to see peace come about. No hope left. ‘ Where are the UFOs for God’s sake???’

  • Deepika Betgeri

    Thank you Dr.Hammond for this rejoinder. It indeeds points out the faulty logic of the discussed artcile. Something else that Dr.Nissan mentioned in the article i would like to refute – the comparison drawn with the partition of India to create the state of Pakistan. Being an Indian i am well aware of this history. Though it was the British who stoked Muslim fears abt minority rights not being respected in a Hindu-majority India and actively pushed the plan of partition, it must be pointed out that the Indian National Congress(which represented the Indian majority) finally conceded the partition as an inevitability. There was agreement from both parties to implement the partition – Dr.Jinnah & Muslim League on the Pakistani side and the INC on the Indian side. How can you compare this to the Palestitian conflict when there was no agreement from the Arabs to partition Palestine?

  • Barry

    Jeremy, how can your print such rubbish, or is it that you just don’t know?

    Your comment “…the Zionist leadership lacked any legal foundation for their unitlatertral declaration.” is patently false, as I’ve mentioned before.

    The San Remo resolutions of April 24,25, 1920, later ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, form an absolute legal basis for the formation of a home for the Jewish people, which turned out to be Israel.

    Perhaps we are working with altogether different definitions here, but there is no doubt that this legal foundation was real and confirmed by the world, WITH the support of the leading Arab clan of time time.

    Please refute if you are so inclined.

    • Barry, how can you deliberately lie when you know the truth? Your claim that San Remo and the League of Nations provided a legal foundation for the unilateral declaration of the existence of the state of Israel is patently false, as I’ve mentioned before. If you wish to keep repeating this claim, you are welcome to provide the documents, and I would be happy to illustrate once again (how many times have we had this discussion?) how it is a lie.

  • Laurent

    “As I noted in the article, the plan called for taking land from the Arabs (the majority comprising 65% of the population, who owned 85% of the land, but who were offered only 45.5% of the territory under the plan) and giving it to the Jews (the minority comprising 33% of the population, who owned just 7 % of the land, but who were offered 55.5% of the territory), and was thus inherently inequitable and unworkable. The only way this plan could have any legal force would have been for both sides to accept it. The Arabs reasonably rejected it.”

    The Arabs already had a record of rejecting several previous partition proposals (the Peel Commissions and/or Woodhead proposals), which offered them a far bigger part of Palestine. Looking at your figures i wonder what actually would have been reasonable for the Arabs to accept: split the land according to population proportions (thus 33% for the Jews) or according to land ownership (thus 7% of the land)?

    Regarding land ownership figures, it looks as if the Arabs owed the whole of Palestine of which the Jews had purchased a mere 7%.
    Wouldn’t it be more honest to offer the exact land status (and figures) to your readers:
    – 8,6% of land owed by Jews
    – 20,2% of land owed by Arabs
    – 71,2% of public land (land administered by the mandatory power) of which over 70% consisted of the negev desert

    Thus it can be argued that both the Arabs and the Jews got more than they owed, while it is worth mentioning that, according to the partition plan, the Jews inherited the entire negev desert (uninhabited arid territory).



    • Yes, the Peel Commission determined that the Arabs would have to “sacrifice” by giving up their land to “help to solve” the “Jewish Problem”. Totally unreasonable and inequitable. But you neglected to mention the Zionists also rejected it. 7% is the correct number for the amount of land owned by Jews. The 85% figure for Arab possession of the land comes from the UNSCOP Report.

  • Laurent


    I will come back regarding the Peel commission proposal and land ownership in details later, but since you seem to analyse the partition proposals from a moral standpoint, i’d like to ask you what you would think would have been a “reasonable” partition of the land? Or do you dismiss any land partition as being immoral or unreasonable, thus implying that the Jews didn’t have a right to their own state on any part of the given region (denying the right of self-determination for the Jewish people)?



    • I think no partition would have been reasonable. I think the democratic solution offered by the Arabs was reasonable, in which there would have been guarantees of protection of the rights of the minority Jews as well as of representation in the legislative assembly in the single state’s constitution. The only rejection of self-determination here is the Zionist’s rejection of the right of the majority Arab population of Palestine to self-determination, a rejection that ultimately manifested itself in the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Arabs from their land.


    1 If not from UNGA 181, then from where?

    2 If the premise is what Sionists propose that entire Mandate of Palestine is State of Israel: All the inhabitants would be State of Israel citizens.

    2.1 Why are the persons from the UNGA 181 Palestine territories of West Bank & Gaza then not accorded Israeli citizenship equal to the Israeli-Arabs, example of voting rights?


    1 People incorporate themselves into Agency of Governance aka Government to administrate the commonwealth OF the People

    2 Sovereign powers are held in trust by the Agency of Governance FOR the People.

    3 Under the International Law premise of nation-states, sovereignty aka territorial integrity is held BY the People of the respective Nation-State.

    4 Under the Monarchial systems the premise was taht sovereign powers were held by the Monarch & the sovereignty of the Monarch rested upon the premise that the people were property aka subjects of the Monarch.

    4.1 Under the premise that persons enter into political compacts by free-will:They establish a Trust, an Agency of Government, to administrate their corporate territory & commonwealth as individuals and as collective corporate body politic.

    5 The confusion stems from this transition from monarchial systems to free-agency systems of Government.

    1 Pre-WWI: Sovereign of the Ottoman Empire

    2 Post-WWII: Peoples of the respective Nation-states of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, & Turkey

    3 LEAGUE OF NATIONS Administrator for the Trusteeship State- Mandate of Palestine 1922 to November 28th 1947: United Kingdom.

    4 UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION; UN Charter authority:

    4.1 Article 20, Convokation by request of United Kingdom: “Question of Palestine”

    4.2 Article 77, (c) Territories held under mandate

    4.3 Article 80 Terms of UN Trusteeship is Partition of Mandate State of Palestine:
    4.3.1 November 29th, 1947 UNGA 181 Partition of Mandate of Palestine is NON-Modifiable

    4.4 Article 81. Organization, itself, is Trusteeship Administrator : UNGA does have the international law authority to contract for the people of the State of Palestine.

    5 TRANSITIONAL PERIOD: UNGA 181 Part I A. Termination of Mandate, Partition, & Independence, [PH] 4. “The period between the adoption by the General Assembly of its recommendation on the question of Palestine and the establishment of the independence of Arab & Jewish States shall be a transitional Period.

    5.1 STATE OF ISRAEL TERRITORY/SOVEREIGNTY is defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries B., Jewish State

    5.1.1 Jewish Proclamation of Establishment of Government of May 14-15th 1949 references State of Palestine & its UNGA 181 PARTITION as source for State of Israel sovereignty

    5.1.3 TRANSITIONAL PERIOD TERMINATED FOR STATE OF ISRAEL: UNGA 273 of May 11th 1948; State of Israel Accession to UN Charter “unreservedly” accepts UN Charter obligations stipulating UNGA 184 & UNGA 194

    5.2.STATE OF PALESTINE TERRITORY/SOVEREIGNTY is defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries, A., Arab State

    5.2.2 A/RES/67/19 State of Palestine admitted into UN Agencies as non-member UN Observer State


    5.2.1 Transitional period is not terminated until State of Palestine is free from foreign occupation UNSC 242 : Breach of 1949 Armistice Agreements

    6 JERUSALEM: UNGA 181 Part III Jerusalem is UN sovereignty.

  • Misterioso

    Importantly, apart from being grossly unfair to the native Palestinian Arab citizens, recommendatory only, i.e.. non-binding, contrary to the US/Britain Atlantic Charter and never adopted by the UNSC, the 1947 Partition Plan was in violation of the 1922 League of Nations Class A Mandate, which prohibited partition of Palestine. By incorporating the 1917 Balfour Declaration the mandate did facilitate Jewish immigration to “secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home,” but it did not call for the creation of a sovereign Jewish “state” or “homeland” in Palestine or any form of partition. This was made very clear in the Churchill Memorandum (1 July 1922) regarding the British Mandate: “[T]he status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status.”

    Also, regarding the British Mandate, as approved by the Council of the League of nations, the British government declared: “His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.” (Command Paper, 1922)

    Furthermore, Britain’s 1939 MacDonald White Paper declared that Great Britain “could not have intended Palestine should be converted into a Jewish state against the will of the Arab population of the country.” The MacDonald White Paper called for a Palestinian state in which Jews and Arabs would govern jointly based on a constitution to be drafted by their representatives and those of Britain.
    The constitution would safeguard the “Jewish National Home” in Palestine and if good relations developed between Jews and Arabs, the country would be granted independence in ten years. Land sales to Jews were to be restricted and the annual level of Jewish immigration was to be limited to
    15,000 for five years, following which, Palestinian Arab acquiescence would be required.