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The Legality of a Jewish State
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In The Legality of a Jewish State, the author traces the diplomatic history that led to the partition of Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel as a state. He argues that the fate of Palestine was not determined on the basis of principle, but by the failure of legality. In focusing on the lawyer-diplomats who pressed for and against a Jewish state at the United Nations, he offers an explanation of the effort in 1947-48 by Arab states at the UN to gain a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice about partition and the declaration of a Jewish state. Their arguments at that time may surprise a twenty-first-century reader, touching on issues that are still at the heart of the contemporary conflict in the Middle East.


‘This is a fascinating and highly informative book, analyzing the roots of Israel’s establishment in the Middle East in 1948 and its legal ‘right to exist’, which was not effectively challenged at the time. Providing an impressive addition to John Quigley’s excellent work on international law and human rights, the book highlights Israel’s successful fight for legitimacy which unfolded at the cost of the corresponding Palestinian right of self-determination.’

Maria Holt - Reader in Politics, School of Social Sciences (Politics and International Relations), University of Westminster

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  • 1 - Why Legality?
    pp 3-6

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