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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2002
The work of Julius Stone, one of the most prolific jurists of last century, is always authoritative and of excellent quality. This analysis of the legal issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict proves to be no exception, and for the most part it remains highly relevant to the situation today.
'Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations' takes the deceptive mythology that is still current in its stride, convincingly debunking the Palestinian Arab claim to the land between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan and exposing the coerced partisanship of the United Nations in respect of the West in general and Israel in particular.
Highly readable, comprehensive and superbly written. If you only buy one book on Middle East politics, buy this.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2002
The work of Julius Stone, one of the most prolific jurists of last century, is always authoritative and of excellent quality. This analysis of the legal issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict proves to be no exception, and for the most part it remains highly relevant to the situation today.
'Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations' takes the deceptive mythology that is still current in its stride, convincingly debunking the Palestinian Arab claim to the land between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan and exposing the coerced partisanship of the United Nations in respect of the West in general and Israel in particular.
Highly readable, comprehensive and superbly written. If you only buy one book on Middle East politics, buy this.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2005
From the standpoint of international law, the learned author presents a comprehensive examination of the legal aspects surrounding the Middle East/Arab - Israeli conflict.

His well written, detailed and documented analysis reveals that there is allegedly no basis in international law for the formation of a "Palestinian state" on land now belonging to Israel. Replete with maps, documentation/references spanning many decades, the reader is provided with an in-depth study into how such an interpretation has been forthcoming.

This study examines how international law can allegedly be "manipulated" through the United Nations where an automatic majority of Arab/Islamic nations and those regimes sympathetic to their cause or reliant upon their oil, can purportedly be amassed to swing any vote/Resolution against Israel.

The reader is provided with insight into the alleged campaign against Israel via the "oil weapon" that, since 1973, has allegedly involved the "subversion" of basic principles of international law alongside an "illicit re-writing of history".

The legal soundness and validity of international law in relation to the Arab - Israeli conflict is examined within both a historical and political context including the 4,000 year Jewish connection to the Land.

Reference is even made to the attempt by the Roman Empire to "stamp out" Jewish nationhood and to "obliterate" historic Jewish identity in AD135, involving changning the name of the Jewish homeland to "Syria Palestina" and Jerusalem to "Aelia Capitolina". Arab claims within the context of the area's military conquest under Islam in the seventh century are also studied.

The identity of the Palestinian people itself also receives attention, providing many references/quotes (even from Arab leaders) that reveal the Arabs living in Palestine in 1917 as possessing no cultural identity of their own. They purportedly being regarded by fellow Arabs as not being any different from their brethren in Syria, Lebanon etc.

The book analyses the political "machinations" that were put in place during the 20th century to try and sidestep these perceived "shortcomings" in order that a political process could be created that would give rise to Palestinian national aspirations - despite the book revealing in no uncertain terms, that in 1919 there was "no distinguishable Palestinian nationhood". Bodies such as the UN are cited as often regarding their central issue, as the establishment of the "self determination claims of Palestinian Arabs" at the expense of Israel.

The book goes to great lengths to illustrate how, surrounding post World War 1 "Versailles", (when the modern Mid-East was formed), the Ottoman Empire was so vast that a dozen independent Arab states came to be established out of it. The Arab nations described as claiming virtually the whole of these territories.

By comparison the book reveals that the Jewish people only claimed "one small part" - Palestine - as it's historic home. An area to which they are cited as having four millenia of "unbroken connection".

The book discusses the "vast territorial allocation" to the Arabs compared to the "minute fraction" being allocated to the Jews. The Arab land allocation being cited as more than one hundred times greater & hundreds of times richer, than the Palestine designated as the Jewish homeland. The study then scrutinises how the "already tiny allocation" afforded the Jews was then even further reduced by the creation of the kingdom of Transjordan in 1922 which reduced the proposed Jewish state by some 80% to create yet ANOTHER Arab state on land designated for the Jewish people.

The reader is then taken upon an in-depth study of the political quagmire and conflicts that have plagued these issues in the subsequent decades, declaring the premise that Israel came into existence on the basis of injustice to a Palestinian nation as being a "facile assertion" (page 16). Emphasis again being made that "no such distinctive entity recognised itself or existed" at the time of the allocation between the Jewish and Arab peoples after the first world war. (also page 16).

Also studied is, how in relation to the self-determination issue , UN Security Council Resolution 242 significantly excludes ANY reference to any national claims of Palestinian Arabs against Israel. Such not deemed to be an issue in the Mid-East conflict of 1967 or in 1973 when Resolution 338 reaffirmed 242.

Among the many points made herein is that Jordan allegedly never had and still has no title in East Jerusalem/Judea & Samaria. Those areas having an "undefined" status following the British withdrawal in 1948 and with the abandonment of the Partition Resolution, a vacuum of sovereignty occurred in all areas west of the Jordan River not under Israeli control.

In that situation, the book cites that sovereignty could be acquired by any state that was in a position to assert effective and stable control without resort to unlawful means. But the Jordanian occupation of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in 1948 was definitely unlawful because it purportedly constituted an act of aggression.

By contrast, Israel's presence in all these areas pending negotiation of new borders is described as being entirely lawful, since Israel allegedly entered them lawfully in self-defence. International law forbids acquisition by unlawful force, but not where, as in the case of Israel's self-defence in 1967, the entry on the territory is described as being lawful.

The book culminates with the assertion that, in international law, Israel has actual or potential rights of sovereignty in East Jerusalem, the "West Bank" and Gaza, with Jews having the right to enter and remain in all these areas. (It will be noted that these observations were made before the Oslo Accords).

The late Julius Stone was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney from 1942 to 1972. He was recognised internationally as one of the premier legal theorists.

This is an authoritative, easy to read book that needs to be on the desk of every politician. An essential study.

Also recommended - "A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO" by Harris Okun Schoenberg
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 17, 2006
Various international bodies and "human rights" groups--mimicking Arab League and terrorist propaganda that began in the late 1960s--would like the world news media, leaders and public to believe that Israel "illegally occupies" land west of the Jordan River, in the Golan Heights--and until August 2005, "illegally occupied" Gaza.

But however spin meisters have twisted facts, international law firmly supports Israel. The late Julius Stone (1907-1985, University of Sydney, Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law, 1942 to 1972) incontrovertibly proves this, in great detail, in this landmark work on accepted laws governing international relations. (He wrote 27 books concerning international law.) He relies in part on work from Professor Stephen Schwebel, former Chief Judge of the International Court of Justice.

Stone readily establishes that "a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state's territory in the course of self defense," has clear, inalienable rights to self-defense.

Even the Charter that established the United Nations supports this principle, central to international law. That Charter denies any rights to the U.N. General Assembly to alter the principal, whatsoever. Stone therefore contends that Israel lawfully controls all currently held territory, "pending negotiation of a treaty of peace."

Stone also reiterates a requirement of both U.N. Security Council resolutions 242, (post 1967 Six Day War), and 338 (post 1973 Yom Kippur War), that "negotiation between the parties" resolve all outstanding issues. Indeed, the latter text employed precisely those words.

Israel gained all territory, in both wars, while repelling aggressive Arab attacks--and the Security Council require negotiations to settle the disputes. But with no genuine negotiating partners, Israel to date still legally holds territories acquired during those wars, with internationally established rights to remain peacefully in them.

In 1967, the Security Council and General Assembly, firmly rejected all attempts to require Israel's immediate withdrawal to the 1948 "Green Line." Instead, resolution 242's first principle, written and passed in English, requires "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories of recent conflict."

Its authors intentionally excluded the article "the" before the word, "territories," while also requiring the negotiated creation of "secure and recognized boundaries." To negotiate, its neighbors would have to recognize Israel. All six Security Council members voted unanimously for the British draft resolution. But Syria and Arafat's PLO flatly rejected it. The remaining Arab states also illegally continued both refusing to recognize Israel and seeking its destruction.

As Stone notes, the Arab League for more than a decade illegally blocked even the possibility of Arab-Israeli negotiations with repeated declarations exacted from the September 1, 1967 Khartoum Resolutions, "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it,"--generally known as "three no's"--"no peace, no recognition, no negotiations."

Jordan's illegal occupation of Jerusalem and areas west of the Jordan River, was rejected almost universally from 1948 through its 1967 conclusion. Even Egypt, which denied any rights in Gaza, denied Jordanian sovereignty, Stone notes. But Israel lawfully entered both areas--and the Golan Heights--while defending itself from cross-border aggression.

In fact, Stone continues, international law "forbids [land] acquisition by unlawful force," except in cases such as Israel's 1967 self-defense. On the other hand, he points out, international law permits land acquisition when a nation uses force necessary to repel an aggressor nation. Indeed, prohibiting land acquisition to nations acting in self-defense, he writes, would "guarantee to all potential aggressors that," even if they failed, they would later automatically recover all land lost during their assaults. This, he contends "would be absurd to the point of lunacy." Which is why, of course, no such international law exists.

Conversely, Stone rejects the Fourth Geneva Convention, inapplicable here, he writes, since it applies only to "occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,"--in other words, a recognized nation--by another High Contracting party. However, even after Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, neither the West Bank or Gaza Strip has ever been the legally recognized territories of any High Contracting Party.

Historically, Stone primarily covers years since 1915. Since the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea were definitively destroyed in 70 A.D. and their names changed to Palestine by the Romans, Israel had ruled for 1,000 years. For another 2000 years, no sovereign nation was established--by any subsequent conquerors--not by the Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamluks or Ottomans.

But international law recognized Jewish rights with the acceptance (and approval) of the 1917 Balfour Declaration by Emir Feisal at the Peace Conference of Versailles on January 3, 1919. The Agreement of Understanding and Cooperation then signed by all parties envisioned cooperation between "the Arab State and Palestine" and exchanges of "Arab and Jewish accredited agents." Feisal approved that "Palestine" would be a "national home for the Jewish people" while all other adjoining lands were reserved for the "Arab nation."

Of course, in 1922, Britain gave 80 percent of Palestine to "Transjordan," thereby directly and illegally violating the international 1919 agreement and League of Nations Mandate. But from then until the U.N. partition and its 1948 creation of Israel, no nations or High Contracting Parties were established or recognized west of the Jordan.

Since then, Israel has stood on high legal ground under existing international law. As Hague Justice and former State Department legal advisor Schwebel wrote in 1970, "Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title." Plainly, in each war that Israel acquired territory, from 1948 on, Israel has acted legally under international law.

Perhaps after Israel's disastrous August 2006 draw with Hezbollah, its leaders will reopen international law books like this, proving its international rights to retain all land acquired from enemy states that either attacked, or allowed attacks from within their borders.

--Alyssa A. Lappen
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2007
With the hysterical and venomous anti-Israel hate culture that has swept the world like a tsunami over the last seven years, and has been building up for over 30 years, it is important to go back and take a look at the truth of the situation and to really get to grips with it.

Julius Stone, in this volume, analyses and presents the facts acording to international law (of which he was an expert for decades) that Israel is in the right and has been the victim of a momentous world injustice.

Stone, writing in 1981, remarks that since the 1960s the Western democracies have been faced with a situation where the plethora of anti-democratic Third World states in the United Nations General Assembly has meant that the anti-democratic bloc can always marshall a large majority against any decision favouring a Western State or true democracy and human rights.
Indeed even though most of the nations of Eastern Europe, have since this book was written, changed over into Western democracies, this has been more than offset by the emergence of new revolutionary regimes, mainly in Southern Africa and Latin America.
Stone points out that there was no distinctive Palestinian national identity before the adoption by the PLO of the Palestinian National Covenant in 1966.
The Arabs of Palestine were never seen as distinct from the Arab nation. At no time before the 1960s did any grouping of Palestinian Arabs come to recognition as a seperate nation either by themselves or by other Arabs.

President Hafez Assad of Syria, in 1974, stated that 'Palestine is a basic part of southern Syria' (New York Times, March 9, 1974).
On Novemeber 17, 1978 Yasser Arafat commented that 'Palestine is southern Syria is northern Palestine'(Voice of Palestine, November 18, 1978).
Stone reminds us that:
'The myth of the 1966 Palestinian Covenant that "the Palestinian people" was unjustly displaced by the Jewish invasion of Palestine in 1917 is widely disseminated and unquestioningly and dogmatically espoused in these "studies" from the United Nations Secretariat. Furthermore it is also neccesary to recall, not only the Kingdom of David and the sucession of Jewish polities in Palestine down to the Roman conquest and dispersion at the turn of the present era, but that Jews continued even after the conquest, and were in 1914 a well knit population there. Hundreds of thousands of other Jews driven from the Palestine homeland by sucessive waves of Roman, Arab and other conquerors, continued to live on for centuries throughout the Middle East, often under great hardship and opression. And of course millions of others were compelled to move to other parts of the world where, too often, as in pogrom ridden Russia and Poland, they lived in conditions of tyrannous and humiliating subjection, and under daily threat to their very lives'.
As the 1937 Peel Commission pointed out:
'Always or almost always since the fall of the Jewish State, some Jews have been living in Palestine. Under Arab rule there were substantial Jewish communities in the chief towns'.
The Peel Commission also observed wryly that 'There was a time when Arab statesmen were prepared to concede little Palestine to the Jews provided the rest of Arab Asia were free. That condition is on the eve of fulfilment now'.

We must remember that the original Palestine promised to the Jews in 1917 by the Balfour Declaration included what is today Jordan. In 1922 Britain cut off 78% of Palestine, granting it to the Hashmeite Kingdom of Transjordan, and forbidding Jews from living there. The Arabs now had a state in 78% of Palestine, leaving the Jews 22% of Palestine and less than a fraction of the Middle East.
After the 1947 UN partition vote and the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, 5 Arab armies attacked Israel, and Tranjordan illegally ocupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
After the Arabs forced the Six Day War on Israel in 1967, Israel seized back these lands and is under no legal obligation to hand these lands back to the Arabs. Indeed they were part of the lands promised to the Jews under the original mandate.
According to international law, victims of agression are entitled to keep land they gained after being attacked until a fair settlement has been reached. Israel has been subjected to illegal pressure by ther United Nations.
Stone illustrates in concrete terms the true legal basis of the State of Israel. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. In 1948 Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet representative at the United Nations, reffering to the Arab attack on the fledgling Israel expressed surprise that the Arabs States 'have resorted to such action as sending their troops into Palestine and carrying out millitary actions aimed at the supression of the national liberation movement' i.e Israel.
The fact that the Soviet Union would later be the incubation house for all the vile anti-Israel propaganda now espoused by the international left, cannot erase this admission.
Stone also reminds us that Jews have outnumbered Arabs in Jerusalem since 1840 and also that the flight from Palestine of Arabs took place at the same time as 700 000 Jews were expelled from the Arab countries they had lived in for centuries, and were sucesfully absorbed by Israel.
Thus there was a population exchange. Israel canot be expected to redress this without compensation by the Arab Sates to descendants of the Jewiosh refugees.
The pressure by the UN and the world to cut up and from many quarters to dismember Israel is illegal.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2004
Julius Stone, a famous authority on international law, starts by pointing out a big problem: the UN's General Assembly has become an "arena of political warfare in which the principles of international law are travestied," becoming "weapons of conflict rather than norms for judgment." That's how the General Assembly used the Arab aggression of 1973 as a basis to strip the victim, Israel, of its rights.

Stone exposes the myth that there was a Levantine Arab people which was unjustly displaced by a Jewish invasion after World War 1. No Levantine Arab people existed when President Wilson came up with his fourteen points. The Jews were the only people whose only home was in the region that became the British Mandate. Stone points out that the Jewish claims to the Mandate region and Arab claims to Arab lands were dealt with together. It was not a question of Arabs being given the land and Jews later encroaching on it. The Mandate area was over 46,000 square miles. Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank take up less than 11,000 square miles. The remaining 35,000 square miles was closed to Jewish settlement and made into what is now the Kingdom of Jordan. The author explains that Jordan was created to provide sovereign land for the Arabs of the Mandate territory. That alone weakens any further Arab claims to Mandate territory.

Stone shows us that acceptance of Arab claims to Israel today would be a horrible precedent. No state would be safe after that: anyone could come along and claim it. And in fact, international law does say that no state may take an action aimed at the partial or total destruction of any other state or country.

The next area of interest is the validity of General Assembly resolutions. Stone discusses whether or not some of these resolutions ought to be regarded as having been carried under duress (say, by having a number of small nations getting blackmailed by a few oil-rich states). He explains that there would be no international legal obligation to obey such resolutions. And he then cites the case of Israel, whose right of sovereign equality was clearly violated by many UN resolutions.

Stone then shows the untruth of the common assertion that Israel was created by the UN Partition Plan of 1947. That Plan was never accepted by all parties. Israel became a state by virtue of its Declaration of Independence, its establishment of orderly government, and its successful defence against those who tried to destroy it. The UN was independent of all this.

Perhaps the most important contribution of this book is to explain Israel's standing in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Many people have been told that Jewish settlement in these areas is "illegal," but the actual operative law is that of the Mandate, which holds such settlement to be a goal (quite the opposite of illegal!).

This is an excellent work. It shows that the foes of freedom did not bother to change international law to their advantage, they merely said that such law favored them. I have little doubt that thugs will get around to rewriting international law. At that point, folks will need to oppose them, ignore their laws, and restore order. But as long as international law still has any justice associated with it, I think we need to remind ourselves of what it says.
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13 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2005
This book is nonsense. It claims on the one hand that all the land of the west bank and gaza belong eternally to Israel under international law, but that somehow not one person on that land belongs to Israel. How is it possible that territory should become part of Isreal but the people living on that territory not become part of Israel, he doesn't explain. He can't explain because Israel can't have one without the other.

Then jumps the tracks and says that international law when it doesn't agree with Israel has been manipulated by arabs and their oil money. Its useful for him to do this because he can then simply assemble arguments at random from the law of nations dismissing anything he doesn't like as part of an arab plot.

he jumps the tracks again to make an argument based on religion and history going back to Roman times and before. What exactly a study of the roman empire can tell us about international law in the last century is left vague. Other than I guess that he is asserting legal rights based on events of 2000 years before.

He then leaves the law altogether and claims that there are no Palestinians. There are only arabs who have no right to live on what he calls Jewish land. The half a million Palestinians that were counted after the first world war are asserted to have no culture. Their neighbors in other states are also quoted as saying that they are cuturally no different than most other people in the middle east. Where this argument leads is the idea of "transfer" or the more modern term ethnic cleansing. An arab in the west bank is no different than an arab in Syria or Iraq. So whats wrong with rounding them up and dumping them in some other country. Even if they have lived all their lives in Israel or the west bank, their homes and surroundings have no meaning and they can just be dumped anywhere.

Palestinians, their homes, their history and their lives are nothing to Mr. Stone. They are garbage to be removed from Israeli land. He ignores and rewrites their history on page after page so as to continue his claim that they are not really people and that they have not right to live in their homes.

He then goes on to pretend that when the British and French carved up the middle east after world war 1, that the states created somehow represented arab asperations or intentions. Rather, they and Palestine, represent the plans of the British and French. Then he moves on to claim that the arabs got too much land that they didn't deserve. The idea being that what was the problem more or less with driving half a million arabs out of Palestine in 1919? They had plenty of other arab land to live in.

Then he goes back to claiming for the Jewish people historic rights to an arab-free palestine rather than rights under international law or any other kind of law. He shifts so often between law and history its difficult to credit this as a real study of law.

He repeats the lie that the entire territory of modern Jordan was meant to be part of a jewish state. As with everyone else making such claims, he cannot point to any legal or even much of a historical argument as who promised the land across the jordan to Israel or even why anyone would do that. He then goes back to his false idea that the creation of Iraq/Syria/etc after the war represented a partition of the middle east in which the Jewish people were entitled to a share. You will not find that in the treaties, the league of nations charter or any other source of law. He cannot even provide a justification to explain what legal right that Britain and France had to divide the middle east up in the first place. Especially in light of promises made in 1915 which claimed they sought the freedom of the arab people.

He then goes into UN resolution 242. He comes up with a complicated explaintion that says that the intent of the resolution was to give title to the west bank and gaza to Israel forever. The phrase "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" magically doesn't apply to the west bank and gaza. The phrase "For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem" somehow doesn't apply to palestinians or else their deportation is considered a just settlement.

Then he goes on to make the old false argument about how the west bank and gaza are disputed territory and therefore Israel has every right to take them. What he ignores is the more complicated question of how Israel can be soverign in a territory without extending citizenship to the existing population of that territory. In other words, how does Israel come to be soverign over land but not the people who live there. Stone isn't given an answer to that problem.

The book then goes on to claim that Israel can inherit the British rights to rule the occupied territories. The problem with that is that the mandate was terminated years ago and if the rights of a mandate exist, they exist under the supervision of the united nations.

He also puts forward the idea that Israel can hold the territories pending negotiations over new borders. But given that Israel is at peace with Egypt, and Jordan's claims are said to be null and void, Stone isn't clear exactly who Israel would negotiate new borders with or what the basis of that negotiation would be under international law. The only thing he is certain of is that such negotations are impossible with the actual people who live in those territories.

The book ignores the fact that Israel has already annexed some territory in Jerusalem and does not provide a legal reasoning consistant with his other material as how israel can annex any territory.

The book ends with the claims that Israel has every right under international law to cover the west bank with settlements and to expell as many palestinians from the territories as it wishes.

Most of this obsolete nonsense today. Israel has recognized the existance of Palestinians for a decade. The only places nonsense like this is heard today is in places like Pat Robertson's 700 Club and among the fanatic settlers in Israel who dont even serve in the army. The wall is going up, Israel is out of Gaza and the issue of the border but for a few details is as good as decided.

This is a good heavy tombstone for a lost cause.
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