Extended-protected article

Right to exist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

French historian Ernest Renan defended the right to exist in "What Is a Nation?" (1882).

The right to exist is said to be an attribute of nations. According to an essay by the 19th-century French philosopher Ernest Renan, a state has the right to exist when individuals are willing to sacrifice their own interests for the community it represents. Unlike self-determination, the right to exist is an attribute of states rather than of peoples. It is not a right recognized in international law. The phrase has featured prominently in the Arab–Israeli conflict since the 1950s.

The right to exist of a de facto state may be balanced against another state's right to territorial integrity.[1] Proponents of the right to exist trace it back to the "right of existence", said to be a fundamental right of states recognized by writers on international law for hundreds of years.[2]

Historical use

Thomas Paine (1737–1809) used the phrase "right to exist" to refer to forms of government, arguing that representative government has a right to exist, but that hereditary government does not.[3] In 1823, Sir Walter Scott argued for the "right to exist in the Greek people".[4] (The Greeks were then revolting against Turkish rule.) According to Renan's "What is a Nation?" (1882), "So long as this moral consciousness [called a nation] gives proof of its strength by the sacrifices which demand the abdication of the individual to the advantage of the community, it is legitimate and has the right to exist. If doubts arise regarding its frontiers, consult the populations in the areas under dispute."[5] Existence is not a historical right, but "a daily plebiscite, just as an individual's existence is a perpetual affirmation of life," Renan said.[5] The phrase gained enormous usage in reference to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. "If Turkey has a right to exist – and the Powers are very prompt to assert that she has – she possesses an equally good right to defend herself against all attempts to imperil her political existence," wrote Eliakim and Robert Littell in 1903.[6] In many cases, a nation's right to exist is not questioned, and is therefore not asserted.[citation needed]

Examples

Armenia

The right to exist of Armenia became known as the Armenian question during the Congress of Berlin in 1878, and would again be asked during the Armenian genocide in World War I.[7]

Basque nation

According to Basque nationalists, "Euzkadi (the name of our country in our own language) is the country of the Basques with as such right to exist independently as a nation as Poland or Ireland. The Basques are a very ancient people..."[8]

Israel

The League of Nations formally awarded Britain a mandate over Mandatory Palestine in 1922, when Jews made up 11% of the population.[9] The land west of the Jordan River was under direct British administration until 1948, while the land east of the Jordan was a semi-autonomous region known as the Emirate of Transjordan. This land gained independence in 1946. In 1936-39 there was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs against British colonial rule and mass Jewish immigration into Palestine. In 1947, a United Nations General Assembly resolution provided for the creation of an "Arab State" and a "Jewish State" to exist within Palestine in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. This has been described by Prof. Joseph Massad as "a non-binding proposal that was never ratified or adopted by the Security Council, and therefore never acquired legal standing, as UN regulations require."[10] The Jewish Agency, precursor to the Israeli government, agreed to the plan, but the Palestinians rejected it and fighting broke out. After Israel's May 14, 1948 unilateral declaration of independence, support from neighboring Arab states escalated the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine into the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The legal and territorial status of Israel and Palestine is still hotly disputed in the region and within the international community.

According to Ilan Pappé, Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist was part of Folke Bernadotte's 1948 peace plan.[11] The Arab states gave this as their reason to reject the plan.[11] In the 1950s UK MP Herbert Morrison cited then Egyptian leader Abdel Nasser as saying "Israel is an artificial State which must disappear."[12] The issue was described as the central one between Israel and the Arabs.[13]

After the June 1967 war, Egyptian spokesman Mohammed H. el-Zayyat stated that Cairo had accepted Israel's right to exist since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli armistice in 1949.[14] He added that this did not imply recognition of Israel.[14] In September, the Arab leaders adopted a hardline "three nos" position in the Khartoum Resolution: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.[15] But in November, Egypt accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242, which implied acceptance of Israel's right to exist. At the same time, President Gamal Abdel Nasser urged Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders to reject the resolution. "You must be our irresponsible arm," he said.[16] King Hussein of Jordan also acknowledged that Israel had a right to exist at this time.[17] Meanwhile, Syria rejected Resolution 242, saying that it, "refers to Israel's right to exist and it ignores the right of the [Palestinian] refugees to return to their homes."[18]

Upon assuming the premiership in 1977, Menachem Begin spoke as follows: Our right to exist—have you ever heard of such a thing? Would it enter the mind of any Briton or Frenchman, Belgian or Dutchman, Hungarian or Bulgarian, Russian or American, to request for its people recognition of its right to exist? ..... Mr. Speaker: From the Knesset of Israel, I say to the world, our very existence per se is our right to exist![19]

As reported by the Financial Times, in 1988 Yasser Arafat declared that the Palestinians had accepted Israel's right to exist.[20] In 1993, there was an official exchange of letters between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Arafat, in which Arafat declared that "the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid."[21]

In 2009 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanded the Palestinian Authority's acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, which the Palestinian Authority rejected.[22] The Knesset plenum gave initial approval in May 2009 to a bill criminalising the public denial of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, with a penalty of up to a year in prison.[23] In 2011 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to the Dutch Parliament that the Palestinian people recognise Israel's right to exist and they hope the Israeli government will respond by "recognizing the Palestinian state on the borders of the land occupied in 1967."[24]

In 2013 Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said "We had two wars...but Palestinians did not and will not recognize Israel".[25]

John V. Whitbeck argued that Israel's insistence on a right to exist forces Palestinians to provide a moral justification for their own suffering.[26] Noam Chomsky has argued that no state has the right to exist, that the concept was invented in the 1970s, and that Israel's right to exist cannot be accepted by the Palestinians.[27]

International law scholar Anthony Carty observed in 2013 that “the question whether Israel has a legal right to exist might appear to be one of the most emotively charged in the vocabulary of international law and politics. It evokes immediately the ‘exterminationist’ rhetoric of numerous Arab and Islamic politicians and ideologues, not least the present President of Iran."[28]

Kashmir

Representatives of the Kashmiri people regularly assert their right to exist as a nation, independent from both India and Pakistan.[citation needed]

Kurdistan

Representatives of the Kurdish people regularly assert their right to exist as a nation.[29][30][31]

Northern Ireland

The Constitution of Ireland originally claimed the national territory consisted of the whole of the island in Articles 2 and 3, denying Northern Ireland's right to exist.[a][32] These articles were repealed with the Nineteenth Amendment, as part of the Good Friday Agreement ending The Troubles, a violent conflict between Irish nationalists and Ulster unionists from 1969-1998.[33]

North Korea

In the context of South Korea's and the United States non-recognition of the North Korean state and what the North views as a 'hostile policy' pursued by the US, the North's government frequently accuses the US of denying the 'right of existence' of North Korea. For instance, a 2017 Foreign Ministry statement declared, "The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to existence." North Korea itself does not recognise the right of existence of the Republic of Korea in the south.[34]

State of Palestine

The League of Nations formally awarded Britain a mandate over Mandatory Palestine in 1922, when Jews made up 11% of the population.[9] The land west of the Jordan River was under direct British administration until 1948, while the land east of the Jordan was a semi-autonomous region known as Transjordan Emirate, and gained independence in 1946. In 1936-39 there was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs against British colonial rule and mass Jewish immigration into Palestine.[citation needed]

In 1947, a United Nations General Assembly resolution provided for the creation of an "Arab State" and a "Jewish State" to exist within Palestine in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. This has been described by Prof. Joseph Massad as "a non-binding proposal that was never ratified or adopted by the Security Council, and therefore never acquired legal standing, as UN regulations require."[10]

After Israel's May 14, 1948 unilateral Israeli declaration of independence, support from neighboring Arab states escalated the 1947–1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine into the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The legal and territorial status of Israel and Palestine is still hotly disputed in the region and within the international community.

As reported by The New York Times, in 1988 Yasser Arafat declared that the Palestinians accepted United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which would guarantee "the right to exist in peace and security for all".[35] In June 2009, US president Barack Obama said "Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's."[36]

In 2011 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to the Dutch Parliament that the Palestinian people recognise Israel's right to exist and they hope the Israeli government will respond by "recognizing the Palestinian state on the borders of the land occupied in 1967." Abbas said he sought United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state only after the Israeli government refused "the terms of reference of the peace process and the cessation of settlement building" in the occupied territories.[24]

Israeli government ministers Naftali Bennett and Danny Danon have repeatedly rejected the creation of a Palestinian state, with Bennett stating "I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state."[37][38] Bennett stated that "relinquishing control of the West Bank would expose Israel's home front to infiltration tunnels leading into the heartland of Israel," citing the case of Gaza as a scenario that could repeat itself.[39]

In an August 2011 interview with Teymoor Nabili on Al Jazeera English, Danny Danon said "There is place only for one state on the land of Israel.... I do not believe in a two-state solution.",[40] reaffirming his stance in June 2013: “Oy vey! Is it such a criminal offense to oppose a two-state solution?”[41] In June 2016 a poll showed that only 4 out of 20 Israeli ministers accepted the state of Palestine's right to exist.[42] A poll carried out in 2011 by the Hebrew University indicated that 58% of Israelis and 50% of Palestinians support a two-state solution based on the Clinton Parameters.[43]

Ukraine

Throughout history, the right of Ukraine to exist as an independent nation with its own language, culture, borders and economy was questioned and fought against many times, mainly by adherents of Russian nationalist/irredentist, Pan-Slavic and Communist ideologies.

Prior to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin published the text "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians" in which he states that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are "one people" that foreign powers wanted to "divide and rule", and links the movements for the creation of independent Ukrainian states in the early 20th Century to machinations of the Central Powers of World War I and Axis Powers of World War II to weaken the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, respectively.

Citations

  • 1791 Thomas Paine, Rights of Man: "The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist."[44]
  • 1823 Sir Walter Scott: "Admitting, however, this right to exist in the Greek people is a different question whether there is any right, much more any call, for the nations of Europe to interfere in their support."[4]
  • 1882 Ernest Renan, "What is a nation?": So long as this moral consciousness gives proof of its strength by the sacrifices which demand the abdication of the individual to the advantage of the community, it is legitimate and has the right to exist [French: le droit d'exister].[5]
  • 1916 American Institute of International Law: "Every nation has the right to exist, and to protect and to conserve its existence."[45]
  • 1933 Nazis all over Germany checking if people had voted on withdrawal from the League of Nations said "We do this because Germany's right to exist is now a question of to be or not to be."[46]

See also

References

  1. ^ Lagerwall, Anne. "The Paradoxical Protection of State's Territorial Integrity by the United Nations: Law versus Power?[dead link]", Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association, Hilton Bonaventure, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Oppenheim, Lassa and Ronald Roxburgh, (2005) International Law Archived 2020-01-05 at the Wayback Machine, p. 192–193.
  3. ^ Paine, Thomas, "Dissertation on the First Principles of Government" (1795), The Life and Works of Thomas Paine, 5:221--25.
  4. ^ a b Scott, Walter, "The Greek Revolution Archived 2022-03-20 at the Wayback Machine", Edinburgh Annual Register of 1823, p. 249.
  5. ^ a b c Renan, Ernest, "What is a Nation? Archived 2013-03-19 at the Wayback Machine", 1882.
  6. ^ Littell, Eliakim and Robert S. Littell, "The Reign of Terror in Macedonia", The Living Age, April–June 1903, p. 68.
  7. ^ John Riddell (2014). To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921. Brill Academic. p. 28. ISBN 978-90-04-28803-4. Archived from the original on 2022-04-05. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  8. ^ Nationalism, Naunihal Singh, Mittal Publications, 2006, p. 111.
  9. ^ a b Database, ECF. "1922 Census of Palestine". ecf.org.il. Archived from the original on 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  10. ^ a b Prof. Joseph Massad (6 May 2011). "The rights of Israel". Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 12 Sep 2012. In international law, countries are recognised as existing de facto and de jure, but there is no notion that any country has a 'right to exist', let alone that other countries should recognise such a right. Nonetheless, the modification by Israel of its claim that others had to recognise its 'right to exist' to their having to recognise 'its right to exist as Jewish state' is pushed most forcefully at present, as it goes to the heart of the matter of what the Zionist project has been all about since its inception, and addresses itself to the extant discrepancy between Israel's own understanding of its rights to realise these Zionist aims and the international community's differing understanding of them. This is a crucial matter, as all these rights that Israel claims to possess, but which are not recognised internationally, translate into its rights to colonise Palestinian land, to occupy it, and to discriminate against the non-Jewish Palestinian people.
  11. ^ a b Ilan Pappé, The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951 Archived 2017-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, I.B.Tauris, 1994, p. 149.
  12. ^ *"Foreign Affairs; A Time to Find a Solution for Palestine", New York Times Aug 2, 1958. "Most Arab leaders do not even dare admit Israel's right to exist. They fear assassination by fanatics."
    *Parliamentary debates: Official report: Volume 547 (1956), Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons: "I will give two short quotations, one from Colonel Nasser, the Prime Minister of Egypt, on 8th May, 1954. It is an extremist point of view based on the belief and the assertion that Israel has no right to exist at all."
    *"Arms and the Middle East", Toledo Blade, Sep 30, 1955. "the Arabs still refuse to acknowledge Israel's right to exist."
  13. ^ "And underlying all of the questions dividing Israel and its Arab neighbors, one issue is central: Does Israel have a right to exist?" (Farrell, James Thomas, It has come to pass Archived 2020-01-05 at the Wayback Machine, 1958)
  14. ^ a b Whetten, Lawrence L. (1974). The Canal War: Four-Power Conflict in the Middle East. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-262-23069-0.
  15. ^ "Khartoum Resolution". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012. The Khartoum Resolution passed by the Arab League in the wake of the 1967 war is famous for the "Three Nos" articulated in the third paragraph: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.
  16. ^ Alexander, Anne, Nasser, p. 150. ISBN 1-904341-83-7.
  17. ^ Dennon, Leon, "Key to Peace in Mideast", Owosso Argus-Press, Nov 25, 1967.
  18. ^ Lukacs, Yehuda, Israel, Jordan, and the Peace Process Archived 2020-01-05 at the Wayback Machine, 1999. Syracuse University Press, pp. 98–99.
  19. ^ "Statement to the Knesset by Prime Minister Begin upon the presentation of his government, June 20, 1977 Archived August 29, 2018, at the Wayback Machine", Volumes 4–5: 1977–1979, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  20. ^ "After Arafat, a chance for change". FT.com. 2004-11-11. Retrieved 2012-01-21.[dead link]
  21. ^ "You are being redirected..." archive.adl.org. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  22. ^ "Olmert to Demand PA Accept Israel as Jewish State". Israel National News. Archived from the original on 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  23. ^ Shragai, Nadav, "Knesset okays initial bill to outlaw denial of 'Jewish state' Archived 2009-05-30 at the Wayback Machine", Haaretz, May 30, 2009.
  24. ^ a b 'We recognize Israel, they should recognize Palestine' Archived 2013-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. JPost, June 30, 2011.
  25. ^ "Hamas: Palestinians will never recognize Israel", Friday, June 28, 2013 | Israel Today Staff.
  26. ^ Whitbeck, John V. (February 2, 2007). "What 'Israel's right to exist' means to Palestinians". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 2009-03-08. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  27. ^ On the Future of Democracy Noam Chomsky interviewed by John P. Titlow Archived 2018-05-24 at the Wayback Machine, Dragonfire, June, 2005
  28. ^ Carty, Anthony (January 2013). "Israel's Legal Right to Exist and the Principle of the Self-determination of the Palestinian People?" (PDF). The Modern Law Review. 76 (1): 158–177. doi:10.1111/1468-2230.12007. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-12-03. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  29. ^ Official report of debates Authors Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, Council of Europe, Council of Europe, 1994, p. 747.
  30. ^ Democracy and Human Rights in Multicultural Societies, Matthias Koenig, Paul F. A. Guchteneire, Unesco, Ashgate Publishing, 2007, p. 95.
  31. ^ Homeward Bound; KURDISTAN: In the Shadow of History. By Susan Meiselas, Random House, 1997, reviewed by Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles Times, Dec 7, 1997.
  32. ^ [The Four Nations: A History of the United Kingdom By Frank Welsh p358|https://books.google.com/books?id=a9SqQ2YkDhAC&pg=PA358&lpg=PA358&dq=%22ireland's+right+to+exist%22&source=bl&ots=x4LLJDAb-Z&sig=_J8NXKZbf8lipTyRiB4RwACtUxE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nTj-T-aGL6ag0QWUsch3&ved=0CFkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=%22ireland's%20right%20to%20exist%22&f=false Archived 2022-04-05 at the Wayback Machine]
  33. ^ "British-Irish Agreement: Announcement". Dáil Éireann debates. 2 December 1999. pp. Vol.512 No.2 p.3 cc.337–340. Archived from the original on 14 May 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  34. ^ Killalea, Debra (14 September 2017). "Just what is North Korea up to now?". News.com.au — Australia's Leading News Site. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  35. ^ PAUL LEWIS (1988-12-14). "ARAFAT, IN GENEVA, CALLS ON ISRAELIS TO JOIN IN TALKS". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  36. ^ "Middle East | Obama on Israeli-Palestinian 'stalemate'". BBC News. 2009-06-04. Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  37. ^ David Remnick (21 January 2013), The settlers move to annex the West Bank—and Israeli politics. Archived 2014-04-01 at the Wayback Machine The New Yorker
  38. ^ Azulay, Moran (28 October 2013). "Bennett: Palestinian state a mistake, will work against it". Ynetnews. Archived from the original on 23 November 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  39. ^ "Bennett: If Israel leaves West Bank, we'll have terror tunnels leading into our heartland". Jerusalem Post. 6 August 2014. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  40. ^ "Danny Danon talks to Al Jazeera". english.aljazeera.net. Archived from the original on 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  41. ^ "Amid uproar, deputy defense minister stands by rejection of two states". The Times of Israel. Archived from the original on 2013-11-24. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  42. ^ Haaretz (27 June 2016). "Only Four of 20 Israeli Ministers Openly Declare Support of Two-state Solution". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  43. ^ Lidman, Melanie (28 December 2011). "Support growing for two-state solution". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  44. ^ Paine, Thomas, (1791) The Rights of Man
  45. ^ Root, Elihu, "The Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Nations Adopted by the American Institute of International Law Archived 2016-03-15 at the Wayback Machine" The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, (Apr., 1916), pp. 211–221.
  46. ^ "All Germans rounded up to vote". The Guardian. London. March 8, 2006. Archived from the original on November 25, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.

Notes

  1. ^ As a part of the UK, which it is and does.

Further reading

External links