15

Israel controlled a larger area by the 1949 armistice than the 1947 partition envisioned. However, the 1949 armistice lines are now widely understood as delimiting "Israel Proper".

Was Israeli control of some of this additional territory ever recognized by the UN?

Evidently the UN never fully recognized the 1949 armistice line, or else it would recognize Israeli control of West Jerusalem.

Also, does the UN still consider Jerusalem corpus separatum?

I would like to know in particular which UN resolutions superseded the 1947 partition.

  • 2
    The answer is a tentative yes, but it hinges on your definition of the word recognize. – Björn Lindqvist Jan 29 '18 at 7:14
  • The 1949 armistice demarcation lines are not and never were borders. They are just "armistice demarcation lines", indicating the military position of the time with some agreed modifications. – Jonathan Rosenne Apr 20 '18 at 15:33
6

Does the UN still recognize the borders of the 1947 Palestine partition?

The term "recognition" in the context of the UN is normally concerned with membership of the UN general assembly. I interpret your question as concerning the continuing validity of the resolution, in the view of the UN general assembly and international court of justice.

Yes. The 1947 plan (Resolution 181 (II)) is still regarded by the UN as applicable in the 21st century.

This seems to be covered by the relevant Wikipedia article

A General Assembly request for an advisory opinion, Resolution ES-10/14 (2004), specifically cited resolution 181(II) as a "relevant resolution", and asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) what are the legal consequences of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Judge Abdul Koroma explained the majority opinion: "The Court has also held that the right of self-determination as an established and recognized right under international law applies to the territory and to the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the exercise of such right entitles the Palestinian people to a State of their own as originally envisaged in resolution 181 (II) and subsequently confirmed."[151] In response, Prof. Paul De Waart said that the Court put the legality of the 1922 League of Nations Palestine Mandate and the 1947 UN Plan of Partition beyond doubt once and for all.[152]

The references given were

  • [151] See paragraph 5, Separate opinion of Judge Koroma

  • [152] See De Waart, Paul J.I.M., "International Court of Justice Firmly Walled in the Law of Power in the Israeli–Palestinian Peace Process", Leiden Journal of International Law, 18 (2005), pp. 467–487

Judge Koroma specifically wrote

  1. The Court has also held that the right of self-determination as an established and recognized right under international law applies to the territory and to the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the exercise of such right entitles the Palestinian people to a State of their own as originally envisaged in resolution 181 (II) and subsequently confirmed. The Court has found that the construction of the wall in the Palestinian territory will prevent the realization of such a right and is therefore a violation of it.

(My emphasis)

Note that

Articles 10 and 14 of the UN Charter refer to General Assembly resolutions as "recommendations"


Also, does the UN still consider Jerusalem corpus separatum?

I would like to know in particular which UN resolutions superseded the 1947 partition.

With a subject of this complexity I believe it is best to ask separately.

See One post with multiple questions or multiple posts?

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  • "Articles 10 and 14 of the UN Charter refer to General Assembly resolutions as "recommendations""--So the partition has no legal force, and the UN has no official position on exact borders other than the Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem? – Colin Jan 29 '18 at 22:40
  • @Colin. GA resolutions also represent an official position. The UN map of Israel is annotated "The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries" – RedGrittyBrick Jan 29 '18 at 23:23
  • that map suggests non-recognition of the 1949 lines, not recognition of the partition lines. See my tentative answer below. – Colin Jan 29 '18 at 23:39
  • Also, in my reading of Judge Koroma's ruling, what is "confirmed" is not the partition plan, but rather the "[entitlement] of the Palestinian people to a State of their own". – Colin Jan 29 '18 at 23:46
4

The UN takes no explicit position on the borders of Israel, other than:

  1. Israel is an independent state (and thus, presumably, has some territorial extent).
  2. Any land controlled in 1967 or later is considered occupied, not Israeli.
  3. West Jerusalem is not a suitable location for foreign embassies.

Point 1 is apparent from Israel's admission to the UN (Sec. Council Res. 69, March 1949).

Both Points 2 and 3 are clearly expressed in Security Council Resolution 478 (1980). Point 2 was also expressed in previous Sec. Council Resolutions.

The 1947 partition plan never had legal force, as it was not a Security Council resolution. While British rule was evidently superseded by Israel's admission to the UN, this did not establish the borders.

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  • (The above answer is tentative) – Colin Jan 30 '18 at 1:04
  • It is a misconception to believe that SC resolutions are "stronger" than GA ones. Neither body is a legislature so their resolutions are always nonbinding. The difference is that the SC can authorize the use of force on transgressors. The UN GA does not recognize borders, but it is quite certain that resolution 181 and it's successors endorsed a specific set of borders. – Björn Lindqvist Jan 31 '18 at 3:39
  • @BjörnLindqvist from wikipedia: "[SC] is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states" – Colin Jan 31 '18 at 5:56
  • Yes, but afaik, SC resolutions are not in themselves sources of international law: academic.oup.com/ejil/article/16/5/879/496072 They are binding in that UN members by virtue of signing the UN Charter have taken it upon themselves to “agree to carry out and accept the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” – Björn Lindqvist Jan 31 '18 at 15:52

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