Most people, also supporters of Israel, are not aware of the legal rights of Israel under international law or about the consequences of a return to the 1948-1967 armistice lines which would place the Old City back under Arab control and make it a no-go zone for Jews, similar to the pre-1967 times.
A unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would not only violate important principles in international law, it would in fact put an end to the Oslo Interim Agreement by disregarding some if its most central commitments, namely, not to change the status of the West Bank pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiation.
This is one of the messages of a new short documentary produced by the European Coalition for Israel which was released Monday 22 August, one month before a planned Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in New York. The release of the video marks the final phase of an international information campaign to raise awareness of the legal foundations of the modern state of Israel and of the fatal consequences of dividing Jerusalem.
The film explains how any lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians needs to be based on historical facts and international law. Real and lasting peace can only be achieved through bilateral negotiations and not through a unilateral declaration. The legitimacy of the modern state of Israel is not based on the UN partition plan of 1947 but on legal acts and commitments made by the international community long before the Second World War, starting with the San Remo conference of April, 1920. At this conference, organized by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers, the right of the Jewish state to be re-constituted was incorporated into international law, thus acknowledging that the Jewish state had pre-existing rights. These commitments were later taken over by the UN in article 80 in the Charter of the United Nations and thus make it relevant to this day.
If we fail to understand and respect these facts we are undermining the true foundation for peace.
The only way to secure a ”shared city” between Jews and Arabs is to keep Jerusalem united and under Jewish sovereignty, hence securing that the Old City stays open to people of all faiths. The history of the last 44 years proves that the different faith communities can only co-exist under Jewish sovereignty whereas Arab control would again restrict religious freedom and jeopardise the future of the Jewish holy sites.