SOAS University of London

Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East

Recent Publications:

Palestinian Statehood and Collective Recognition by the United Nations

This briefing paper discusses the main legal issues relevant to the recognition of Palestine as a State. In September this year (2011), Palestine is widely expected to request the General Assembly (UNGA) to adopt a resolution recognising that it is now a State. There has also been speculation that it may submit an application to be admitted as a member of the United Nations.  Examination of commentaries on the issue of Palestinian recognition however reveals confusion. This is perhaps understandable given the degree of overlap and interplay between the issues of the recognition of Statehood; that of “collective recognition” in a UNGA resolution; and that of admission as a member State of the United Nations. This paper seeks to elucidate the principal legal issues relevant to each of these three distinct, yet related, questions, and then apply them to the situation of Palestine.

The Israel-Palestine conflict in international law: territorial issues

with an introduction by Henry Siegman

The status of the territories Israel occupied as a result of the Six-Day War in 1967 has been described as “disputed” or as territories under Israeli administration.  Further, it has been claimed that, by virtue of the Mandate for Palestine, Israel is entitled to claim all the territory which was subject to the Mandate east of the River Jordan because this was the area reserved for “close settlement” in order that a Jewish national home could be established.  Alternatively, some have claimed that, because the Arab population of Mandate Palestine rejected the United Nations’ Partition Plan embodied in General Assembly resolution 181 of 29 November 1947, it forfeited any entitlement it had to claim any of the territory of the former Mandate.

This paper addresses these and other arguments from the standpoint of international law, emphasising the primordial importance of the legal doctrine of self-determination—both as an integral component of the Mandate and in its current manifestation—in determining the proper destination of the territory of Mandate Palestine.


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