LoC Damascus Gate
Damascus Gate (Photo: Library of Congress)

British Mandate Documents

1. The Balfour Declaration
Balfour, Arthur James, “Balfour Declaration 1917.” Yale Law School

A brief letter written in 1917 from James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, pledging British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” This declaration would later be incorporated into the British 1922 Mandate of Palestine.

nakba hanini org
Refugees escaping the Nakba

United Nations Documents

2. The 1947 Partition Plan
“U.N 181 Future Government of Palestine,” U.N. General Assembly 1947. 

U.N. 181 is the U.N. General Assembly Partition Plan of the British Mandate of Palestine into two separate states a Jewish state and an Arab state, with Jerusalem as an international capital, with the removal of British mandatory troops.

3. U.N.194-the Legal Right of Return
“194 (III). Palestine — Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator,” U.N. General Assembly. 11 December 1948

U.N. 194 calls for the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, the demilitarization of Jerusalem, and the U.N. supervision of, and free access to, all Holy Sites.

4. U.N Resolution Calling for an End to the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem
“U.N. 242 The situation in the Middle East (22 Nov),” UN Security Council 1967. 22 November 1967.

Approved by the U.N. Security Council the same year as the 1967-occupation begins, U.N. Resolution 242 calls for the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces” from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and “a just settlement for the refugee problem.”

Israeli Documents

5. Plan Dalet: Israeli Paramilitary Blueprint for Nakba
Khalidi, Walid, “Plan Dalet: Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine,” Journal of Palestine Studies p14.

Drafted by members of the Haganah under the guidance of David Ben-Gurion, and carried out by Israeli para-military groups during 1947-8, Plan Dalet is a military blueprint for the Palestinian Nakba. The document emphasizes the need to secure territory both inside and outside of the 1947 Partition Plan, and provides detailed instructions for the forcible transfer of the Palestinian population, establishing the conditions for a Jewish national state.

6. The Absentee Property Laws
“The Absentees’ Property Law, 5710-1950.” Knesset. 14 March 1950.

This law legalizes the appropriation of Palestinian property and land, by the Israeli state, following the 1948 Nakba. The law also provides the first Israeli legal definition for “Palestinian,” as well as the creation of new legal statuses of “absentee” and “present absentees.”

Demolished house in the unrecognized village of Dar El Hanoun
(Photo: International Committee for Dar El Hanoun)

7. Creating “Unrecognized” Villages and Home Demolitions
“Planning and Building Law 1965, 5725—1965.” Knesset 14 July 1965.

The 1965 Planning and Building Law is a set of codes, including legal restrictions to Palestinians on building permits, and land use. The law allows for the Israeli government to transfer privately owned Palestinian land to the state, and requires any unpermitted building to be demolished at the owners’ expense.   All current home demolitions in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories are carried out under the tenets of this law.

Palestinian/Israeli Negotiations

The West Bank after Oslo
(Map: Foundation for Middle East Peace)

8. The Oslo Accords: Area A, B, and C, and a Legal Occupation
“Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (“Oslo Agreement).” UNHCR. 1993.

Known as the Oslo Accords, this document is the interim agreement that establishes the Palestinian Authority as a five-year temporary civil administration over the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Oslo Accords resulted from negotiations by Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton, the accords also outlined responsibilities of Israel to disengage and freeze settlement construction–while additionally legally securing Israeli control over existing settlement blocs and road networks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Palestinian Documents

9. The PLO: Government of the Palestinian People, Not Palestinian Territories
“Palestine National Charter of 1964/Al-Mithaq Al-Kawmee Al-Philisteeni,” Permanent Observer, Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. 1964. 

The Palestine National Charter is the Palestinian Constitution, establishing the PLO as the sole legitimate representational body of the Palestinian people, to the United Nations. The mandate for the PLO is outlined in this document in terms of people, not territory. The constitution calls for “activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.”

10. Structure of the PLO Government
“Palestine National Council,” Permanent Observer mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

This document outlines the organizational structure of the Palestine National Council, or the Palestinian Parliament. This legislator represents all Palestinians, regardless of geography and citizenship status, and is comprised of Palestinian political parties, and until 1993, it also included representation from unions and civil society organizations, inside and outside of historic Palestine.

Boycott of Jaffa oranges (Photo: Action pour la paix/2011)

11. The Palestinian Call for BDS
“Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)” PACBI. 9 July 2005

The 2005 call from Palestinian unions, associations and organizations, asking international civil society to boycott, divest and/or sanction Israel until it is in full compliance of international law. The call includes three basic principles of compliance:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.