Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Britain's 'Collective Amnesia'

Ever get the feeling that the Iraq war (2003-), the great war for regime change and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East (let's cut the crap about oil), has largely receded from living memory?

That the impact of digital amnesia and neoliberal policies on peoples' lives has been so great that the 21st century's equivalent of World War I now seems almost as remote as that war?

That one of the reasons people are so gulled by the official 'rebels vs the dictator' line on Syria is because they've forgotten what the Iraq war was really all about?

Now I haven't read British writer Will Self's latest novel but I cannot fault his response to the following interview question:

The Iraq war also features heavily in Phone. Why was it important to you to include?

"I cannot think of a serious literary novelist in this country who's tackled the Iraq war at all. And I think it is the biggest stain on our national character of the past 20 years. And I think that collective amnesia about it and refusal to engage with it is playing out in political decisions that are being made now." (Will Self: 'The novel is absolutely doomed', Alex Clark, theguardian.com, 18/3/18)

But it's worse than that: never forget that "the biggest stain on [Britain's] national character" of the past 100 years is the Palestine problem and that not one "serious [British] literary novelist," except the now forgotten Ethel Mannin (1900-1984)*, has tackled that particular stain.

[The Road to Beersheba (1963); The Night & its Homing (1966)]

Monday, March 19, 2018

'Journalism', SMH, 17/3/18

"At Aida Refugee Camp we meet another young man who walks us through the camp he calls home, which has existed for 70 years since the Europeans arrived in Palestine." (Where the West was lost: The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem is one of the world's truly great art hotels, Nina Karnikowski, Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/3/18)

So just 70 years ago a mob of generic 'Europeans' just turned up in Palestine and, lo, a Palestinian refugee camp came into being???

"Increasingly, as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, savage 'wars among the people' are simply not viable." (Never-ending wars make for more My Lai massacres, C. August Elliott, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/3/18)

So one day the people of Iraq and Afghanistan just decided to turn on one another - and not an American, Brit or Australian soldier in sight???

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tel Aviv, Mon Amour


"Young filmmaker Naor and his mother are on a road trip through Israel, and Naor is telling his near-silent mother the story of recent events in his life. In this, he and his writer grandfather and his artist girlfriend, Yael, have defied the order to evacuate Tel Aviv and are living in the near-abandoned city under threat of being bombed. This is the contemporary world but there is no indication of a date, reinforcing the real-world fact that Tel Aviv is frequently under threat. Raphael Jerusalmy, a former member of the Israeli intelligence services turned humanitarian worker turned antiquarian book dealer and novelist, lives in Tel Aviv. Like the famous photograph of the string quartet in the ruins of Sarajevo, his book celebrates the persistence of art in times of chaos... it combines a jolting realism with the timeless quality of fables." (Review of Evacuation by Raphael JerusalmyIn short fiction, Spectrum, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/3/18)

What can I say?

First, I'm reminded of Rowan Atkinson's wonderful 'Devil Sketch', modified thus:

'Israeli poet-warriors, if you step forward - my God there are a lot of you... '

Second, "there is no indication of a date" because there is no "real-world fact that Tel Aviv is frequently under threat."

Yes, in the context of the first Gulf War, the Iraqis fired Scuds at Tel Aviv in January 1991, but let's stick with the "real-world facts," shall we? Here's the BBC: "... eight missiles streaked in and exploded in balls of flame... Casualties are believed to have been light - nobody was killed, and only a few people injured. It is the first time Tel Aviv has been hit in the history of the Israel-Arab conflict." (BBC ON THIS DAY/18/1991: Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israel, 18/1/91)

And as for projectiles fired more recently from the bombed out Gaza Strip, here's The Jerusalem Post of 16/11/12: "Hours earlier, two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip in the direction of the greater Tel Aviv area and prompted a red alert air raid siren to be sounded in the city for the second straight day. The IDF stated that the rocket had not landed in Tel Aviv, but local residents reported hearing an explosion following the siren. No injuries or damage were reported." (Two rockets land outside Jerusalem; two fired at TA, Yaakov Lappin, 16/11/12)

Obviously, more racket than rocket...

Third, and related to the above, whence the "chaos" in Tel Aviv?

Fourth, since Kerryn has risibly dragged the 1992-96 Siege of Sarajevo into this, it should be remembered that almost 14,000 Sarajevans were killed in the siege, 10,000 apartments were destroyed and 100, 000 damaged.

And finally, the million dollar question: has Kerryn never heard of that bloody great pile of rubble somewhere to the south of Tel Aviv called the Gaza Strip?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Labor Voters & a Palestinian State

In the lead-up to the next Australian Labor Party national conference in July, the usual suspects, in this instance the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) are getting nervous. Solution: wheel out Murdoch hack Simon Benson to unveil ECAJ's YouGovGalaxy poll which, according to Benson, reveals that:

"Federal Labor is at risk of alienating its support base over the party's pursuit of Palestinian statehood ahead of its national conference, with a majority of its own voters rejecting the move without the Palestinian Authority striking a peace deal with Israel." (ALP voters reject Palestine push, The Australian, 13/3/18)

Sample question:

In your opinion, when should Australia recognise a Palestinian state?

Now check out the framing, particularly of the third:

Immediately, with or without a Palestinian peace agreement with Israel (ALP voters: 14)

[How about:... with or without an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories illegally occupied for the past 60 years?]

After a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (ALP voters 27)

[... premised on Israel's wanting one of course]

When all Palestinian groups renounce violence (ALP voters 12)

[But not Israel of course]

Never (ALP voters 12)

Don't know (ALP voters 36)

[Actually, it's the enormous number of 'dunnos' that make this last category the most interesting. Does it mean that 36% of ALP voters are deaf, dumb and blind? Or live in sheltered workshops? Or under rocks? I mean, this is 2018.]

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

When Doc Evatt Did a Job on Palestine 4

This is the final aspect of the 1947 session which I would like to address. I find it the most significant in terms of what I believe it reveals of Evatt's bias and of the deliberate subversion of proper procedure in this case as a result of his bias.

We have already seen that the case of Palestine was a challenge and a proving ground for the new UNO. However, the partition resolution of 1947 was only a recommendation, although it carried "tremendous moral force" in Evatt's words (Freilich, p 161) and was exploited by the Zionists to lend an air of legitimacy to their future actions in Palestine. The UN of course had no means at its disposal to implement such recommendations, and all participants were well of this fact. The Arabs, for instance, said that they would continue to resist the Zionist settlers regardless of what the UN decided.

In the interests of sustaining this "moral force" it could well be argued that Evatt should not have steam-rolled the partition decision through a weary and often resentful Special Committee in order to finish the deliberations in November. The Jews and Palestinian Arabs had been fighting for two decades anyway, and some tired delegates argued to Evatt that a few more months would make little difference. But Evatt was adamant. (Evatt, p 148)

His opposition to a proposal to put some of the legal problems before the ICJ for a ruling was perhaps part of the unseemly haste which he imposed on proceedings, and worse, perhaps it also reveals his real opinion as to the legality of the proceedings. I can think of no other reasons for this opposition, because Evatt had emerged as one of the leading supporters for a major role for the ICJ in all UN problems.

At the San Francisco conference he had championed the concept that the ICJ must become a key UN institution. In an address given shortly after the conference to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, he said: "The future working of the world organisation would be greatly helped if access to the ICJ is made possible wherever international disputes of a legal or justiciable character are not disposed of by conciliation or direct negotiation... By such means the Court would be given an opportunity of developing a code of sound international law and practice which could help greatly in balancing the Security Council." (Australia in World Affairs, 1946, p 20)

As Sir Frederic Eggleston commented in 1946: "Dr Evatt advocates not only an expansion of the ambit of international law but also an extension of the power of the ICJ." (26. ibid, Preface)

I have already noted that during October 1947 while Evatt was rushing the Special Committee through its agenda, he found time to deliver lectures at Harvard Law School on Frankfurter's invitation. In these lectures, published soon after, Evatt described his own role in pushing for a more democratic UN structure. One of his nine main objectives had been "to declare that justice and the rule of law shall be principles guiding the actions of the Security Council, and for this purpose to require the maximum employment of the Permanent Court (ICJ) in determining the legal aspects of international disputes." He continued: "Faults have become apparent in the working of the UN. The International Court has so far been denied almost totally the opportunity of working..."

In his third lecture, he repeated this theme: "Article 96 (of the UN Charter) provides that the General Assembly or the Security Council may seek advisory opinions from the Court on any legal question... Yet to date not a single advisory opinion has been sought from the Court... It is clearly necessary to make every effort to ensure the fullest possible use of the functions assigned to the Court. To this end Australia has introduced an important resolution into the present Assembly, seeking a recommendation that each organ of the UN and each specialized agency should regularly review the difficult and important questions of law which have arisen in the course of their activities and which involve questions of principle which it is desirable to have settled." (27. The Task of Nations, p 42)

This resolution, inspired by Evatt, was actually adopted on November 14 by UNGA in plenary session while its sponsor was apparently doing his best to see that the Palestine 'hot potato' did not in fact come before that. august body.

For at one of the late night sittings of the Special Committee in the last week of November, the proposals to refer several matters concerning Palestine to the ICJ came to the vote. Evatt wrote in his memoirs of that occasion: "The only matter on which there was any substantial disagreement was whether the UN itself had jurisdiction to reach a decision as to the future government of Palestine. The voting on this point was very close but the proposal for its reference to the Court was defeated. As to the validity of the action proposed to be taken by the UNGA, I never had any doubt... " (28. pp 155-6)

He himself had decided that some of the points which the Arab delegates wanted to refer to the ICJ were "patently absurd, for instance whether or not the Balfour Declaration was a legally binding declaration. Obviously it was political in essence and in character... " (29. p 157)

Precisely - yet the Balfour Declaration, promising a homeland for the Jews in Palestine, had been explicitly written into the text of of the British Mandate as if it were a legally binding declaration (with the aid of Frankfurter, as we have seen). The policies of British rule in Palestine had been based on the "authority" of the 1917 Balfour Declaration in this way. Evatt himself wrote that one of the main arguments against the Arab proposal for a unitary state was that "the promises of the Balfour Declaration would have been dishonoured."

The ICJ would very likely have handed down a ruling that the Balfour Declaration was legally invalid, and perhaps that the Mandate which imposed Jewish migration on the unwilling indigenous inhabitants was also invalid.. Any such ruling would have been disastrous for the Zionist cause at that time, and would have made the partition vote even harder to swing.

Furthermore, regarding Evatt's pronouncement on the validity of the partition resolution, obviously it was not Evatt's opinion that was being sought by a number of members of the Special Committee, but that of the body designed and set up to give the legal judgements which they felt were needed in order to help them in their deliberations.

A spokesperson for this group was the Pakistani representative, Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, a distinguished lawyer who himself later became a judge on the ICJ. He wrote that by the end of the sittings of Evatt's Special Committee he no longer believed in the good faith of the delegates. He analysed the voting pattern concerning referral to the ICJ: "As to our legal questions, the Committee rejected the resolutions on all the first 7 questions, but on the eighth question, i.e. whether the UN had any legal authority to do what they were proposing to do, the resolution to the effect that it had the authority was passed by 21 votes to 20. It is interesting to analyse those figures. In all, the Committee were 57. Only 21 who gave a positive vote were satisfied that the UN had authority to do what they were proposing to do and 36 were not satisfied." (30. Khalidi, p 716)

Evatt was highly satisfied that the ICJ, the instrument of international law whose 'maximum employment' he so ardently sought in theory, and whose prestige was a matter of such concern to him, was once again bypassed on this occasion. Yet idf ever a learned opinion and a considered judgement by the top legal authorities of the UNO was appropriate, it was in the case of Palestine in 1947.

This brings this paper to its conclusion, though there are other important aspects to consider such as the actual outcome of the decision. Evatt's attitude to the Arabs and the Palestinians, and his double standards on the issue of migration (in the case of Australia, he was a firm supporter of the White Australia policy and the right of Australians to have complete control over immigration policy, a right he wanted to deny to those inhabitants of Palestine who were opposed to Jewish immigration.

I conclude with a brief postscript.

Evatt was elected to the Presidency of the UNGA for the 1948 session, which was held in Paris.

In Palestine itself, violence had erupted almost immediately after the UNGA vote was announced.

In India, where partition was actually being enacted as the Special Committee was sitting, 225,000 people had been killed by inter-communal violence by October, 1947. Mahatma Gandhi believed that generations to come would continue to pay the price for the mistake of partition.. By the same token he came out strongly against the partition of Palestine: "... Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct... The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred... As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them." (31. Khalidi, p 367)

By the middle of 1948 there were already over 800,000 homeless Palestinian refugees and the state of Israel had been proclaimed. The UN-appointed Count Bernadotte, a patrician Swedish idealist, as its mediator in Palestine. His brief was to recommend final border plans for Israel, which had already occupied more land than had been allotted to it in the partition plan. He reported to the UN that "it would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes while Jewish emigrants flow into Palestine." (32. David Gilmour, The Dispossessed, p 74)

On September 17, Count Bernadotte and his aide, Colonel Serot, were assassinated by members of the Stern Gang in Palestine. This occurred on the very day on which Evatt commenced his reign at the UN. At this fateful moment, "the flag-draped coffins of Count Bernadotte and Colonel Serot, gunned down in Jerusalem, arrived at the airport on the day that the President of France handed over the golden key of the Palais de Chaillot and declared it United Nations territory for the time of the Assembly. The two coffins lay at the airport, a reminder of what came of the United Nations intervention." (33. Tennant, p 232)

Monday, March 12, 2018

When Doc Evatt Did a Job on Palestine 3

The Question of UN Competence

This question did not interest me quite so much as the more personal one of Evatt's bias and the influences on Evatt - also I am no expert on international law. However this is, of course, the more important question in terms of legal principles. I will merely attempt to raise some of the issues and quote from some contemporary critics.

Certainly the Arabs have never accepted UN competence any more than they accepted the legality of the Balfour Declaration and the British mandate over Palestine. As the Arab states saw it, legality was subverted at each step along the road to the partition resolution. Nor were the Arabs alone. Many legal experts and diplomats agreed. Ambassador Loy Henderson, Director of the US Office of Near Eastern & African Affairs, wrote a confidential memorandum to the State Department in November 1947: "What is important is that the Arabs are losing confidence in the integrity of the United States and the sincerity of our many pronouncements that our foreign policies are based on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations." (22. Henry Cattan, Palestine & International Law, 1973, p vii)

Or international legal expert Pitman Porter, writing for the American Journal of International Law in 1948: "The United Nations has no right to dictate a solution in Palestine unless a basis for such authority is worked out, such as has not been done thus far... it might be held that the Mandate is still in force and that supervision thereof has passed to the United Nations, which is somewhat hazardous juridically. The Arabs deny the binding force of the Mandate, now or ever, as they deny the validity of the Balfour Declaration on which it was based, and again they are quite correct juridically." (23. Cattan, p 77)

Palestine was referred to the UNGA under Article 10 of the UN Charter, which empowers the UNGA to discuss questions and to make recommendatins, but does not empower the UNGA to create new states or to recommend the partitioning of a country. Decisions as to the future form of government clearly lay with the people of Palestine, if we are to take seriously Article 1 (2) of the UN Charter.

After the League of Nations was dissolved, the UN Charter became the paramount instrument of international law. At the San Francisco Conference which framed the Charter, Evatt had been happy to support the inclusion of the phrase "based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples" as a basis for Article 1(2) of the Charter. (24. Hassan bin Tallal, Palestinian Self-Determination, 1981, p 81) In spite of some argument over obscurities in the formula, subsequent practice has treated self-determination as a right, and of course it was later enshrined in the two Covenants of 1966.

Cattan has written: "In accordance with the principle of self-determination of peoples recognised by the Charter, the people of Palestine were entitled to affirm their national identity and to preserve the integrity of their territory. The carving out of a substantial area of Palestine for the creation of a Jewish state and the subjection of part of the original inhabitants to its dominion was a patent violation of this principle." (24. p 79)

Evatt himself had previously spoken out in support of the principle of self-determination in 1945, in support of the case for Indonesian independence from Dutch rule. He then stated: "Political aspirations of peoples who are fit for self-government... Not only have the sympathy of the vast majority of the peoples of the democracies but the Charter of the United Nations recognises the legitimacy of the claim for Self-Government... and imposes on the present Nations a sacred trust to assist them." (25. Renouf, p 167)

There was never an attempt to argue that the Palestinian population of 1947 was unfit for self-government and in fact the old Class A Mandate which the British operated gave Palestine "provisional recognition" as an "independent nation."

Obviously the inhabitants of Palestine in 1947 should have decided by referendum which for of government they would choose to live under- there is no other way to implement the principle of self-determination. It is inconceivable that Evatt could have been unaware of the ways in which the partition resolution circumvented the very principles espoused by international law and by himself personally. The case of Palestine was a complex one, admittedly- for all manner of reasons. Therefore - by way of introduction to the final section - it seems all the more strange that the matter never went before the highest level of authority of the UNO- the body set up to deliberate on precisely such important problems of international law- the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Next installment: Failure of the Special Committee to Refer to the ICJ

Sunday, March 11, 2018

When Doc Evatt Did a Job on Palestine 2

Evatt's Bias

One key legal principal is that a person or body required to make decisions in accordance with the rules of natural justice must not have an interest in the causes which might prevent impartial decisions. It is common and accepted practice for persons with interests, including acquaintance and/or friendship with one party in a dispute, or a known bias, to disqualify themselves from a tribunal. This kind of interest is less clearcut than the grosser forms of interest, e.g. pecuniary; however the failure of a biased tribunal  member to disqualify him/herself can leave it open to the complaint to show that the decision of the tribunal or administrative body against her/him was vitiated by bias. This may not necessarily render the decision void, but at the very least it casts a dubious light on the proceedings. (6. D Benjafield & H Whitmore, Principles of Australian Administrative Law, 1971, Ch. VII)

Was Evatt "interested" in promoting the partition of Palestine, in the legal and technical sense of interest? And, if so, should he have disqualified himself from chairing the Special Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine?

Oddly enough, critics of the UN partition decision, like the Palestinian lawyer Sami Hadawi, for example, suggests that Evatt was doing the bidding of the British and Americans, in a general sense, in his role as chairman; but no-one to the best of my knowledge has ever raised the problem of Evatt's strong relationship with prominent Zionists and his prior support for their tactical goal of partition. Evatt was known as a supporter of partition both by the leaders of the international Zionist movement and by at least some of his associates.

For example, Alan Renouf, one of Evatt's first diplomatic cadets, wrote: "The issue was close to Evatt's heart. Near associates recall him as saying, as early as September 1945, that the Jewish people had to have a permanent home, where they could live with dignity and self-respect, and that they had full historical rights to Palestine. If the Arabs refused this, the United Nations had to decree and guarantee it." (7. Let Justice Be Done: The Foreign Policy of H.V. Evatt, 1983, p 247)

From the late 1930s Evatt had become friendly with one of the most influential and effective American Zionist leaders, Professor Felix Frankfurter. Frankfurter had worked on behalf of the Zionist project in Palestine since the turn of the century, in tandem with his uncle, the famous and greatly respected liberal judge Louis Brandeis, a personal hero of Evatt's. Brandeis had been a close counsellor and friend of President Wilson and had also had a hand in drafting the 1917 Balfour Declaration, through which the British government supported a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. (8. J.M.N Jeffries, Palestine: The Reality, 1939, p 244)

Frankfurter had been a consultant to President Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference and helped to draft the wording for the British Mandate over Palestine, which incorporated the promise of the Balfour Declaration. (9. Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest, 1971, p 195) Though Brandeis died in WW2, Evatt was befriended by Frankfurter and they were very close, at least until the 50s. (10. Kylie Tennant, Evatt: Politics & Justice, 1970, p 146)

In 1938, Evatt visited Harvard, where Frankfurter was Professor of Law, while on leave from the Bench. Frankfurter invited Evatt, as an eminent and progressive Australian lawyer, to give the Oliver Wendell Holmes series of lectures, and Evatt's biographer Kylie Tennant gives us some idea of the impact that the Harvard/Frankfurter interlude had upon the gauche but ambitious Australian: "He felt, in the freedom of that university, as if all his life he had been exiled in a foreign country. Felix Frankfurter insisted that he meet Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and each man recognised a nature cordial to his own... After such encounters Evatt found the tedium and the small hostilities of the High Court almost intolerable..." (11. Tennant, p 102)

Back in Australia, Evatt wrote to Roosevelt analysing the composition of the US Supreme Court and recommending that Frankfurter should be appointed to make it "more progressive." (He was in fact appointed on Bradeis' retirement, though Evatt's letter probably did not help him in any way). (12. A. Renouf, p 16)

Evatt left the High Court for Parliament in 1938, and as Minister for External Affairs he sent an urgent telegram to Felix Frankfurter after the fall of Singapore in 1942, asking that its contents be passed on to Roosevelt. Frankfurter obliged. (13. Renouf pp 65-66)

Then, in 1947, in the period when he was actually chairing the Special Committee on Palestine at the UN at Lake Success, Frankfurter once again invited Evatt to give the prestigious Oliver Wendell Holmes series of 3 lectures at Harvard, which he did on October 17, 20 and 24.

Though this friendship was based on shared legal and social views, and though Evatt did not at first share the Frankfurter-Brandeis passion for the Zionist project, since he knew little if anything about the Middle East and its history, it would be surprising if Frankfurter failed to influence Evatt towards the Zionist goal of partition.

In 1943, an Australian Zionist deputation was given an audience by Evatt and received the promise of his "utmost support... When the time comes"- somewhat to their surprise as they had imagined that he would have been influenced against Zionism by his old acquaintance Sir Isaac Isaacs: the judge and later Governor-General, and a lifelong Jewish opponent of Zionism. (14. Freilich, p 114)

By 1944, Max Freilich, a leading Australian Zionist, could claim that he had developed a "warm personal friendship" with Evatt "during the critical and historic days for Zionism... when the partition of Palestine was dealt with by the United Nations at Lake Success..." (15. Freilich, pp 114)

Freilich and the Zionist Federation organised a reception for Evatt before he left Australia to attend the 1946 Peace Conference, and a welcome home reception on his return. In 1947 Freilich was able to tell Zionist leaders in London, members of the World Zionist Executive, that Dr Evatts "was in sympathy with Zionist aspirations." (16. Freilich, p 114-5)

After another meeting with Evatt just before he left for the 1947 UNGA session, Freilich recalled: "We left Dr Evatt with the confident feeling that the Australian Government would support the recommendation to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states." (17. Freilich, p 155)

These are just a few examples of Evatt's open support for partition. There were other indications of bias, such as his private meetings with leaders of world Zionism who had arrived in the US to witness the progress of the Palestine question in the UN and to speak in the Special Committee hearings chaired by Evatt. (18. Freilich, p 197)

The Zionist movement hoped that the partition resolution would be put before the UN before the end of the 1947 session, thus allowing an immediate expansion of immigration into Palestine. Therefore they did not want the matter referred to the International Court of Justice, which would have caused a perhaps lengthy delay and an uncertain outcome. Also, they were entirely opposed to the unanimous UNSCOP recommendation which proposed an international solution to the problem of the Jewish refugees (i.e. a plan for all UN member states to take a quota, thus relieving the pressure on Palestine). They did not want the question of Palestine to be considered as part of a more general solution, as this obviously would draw attention to the fact that a Jewish state in Palestine was not the only panacea for European Jewry. (19. Khalidi, pp 491-4)

President Roosevelt favoured a plan for a world budget for resettling all displaced persons, including all Jews, with each nation taking a share of immigrants. (20. Khalidi, pp 529-30; Dr Alfred Lilienthal writes that in 1946 secret instructions were given to Jewish advisers in the occupied German zone to prevent Jews going anywhere except Palestine. The Zionist Connection, 1978, p 124) Although no surveys were taken about the wishes and hopes of Jewish DPs, it was estimated by officials on the spot that a majority did not want to go to Palestine. The Chief of UNRRA operations in Europe, 1945-6, wrote that "in reality, there were few among the travellers who, of their own free will, would have gone elsewhere than to the USA".

But of course neither the Indigenous Palestinian Arabs not the "displaced" victims of European anti-semitism were systematically canvassed as to their choices about their own fates. Meanwhile, Evatt fulfilled Zionist hopes for the outcome of the Special Committee on Palestine to the letter.

I have not the space to detail Evatt's total opposition to European fascism or his sympathy with its victims (with a liberal this can be taken for granted). On the other hand nor have I been able to detail his opposition, along with the rest of the ALP Cabinet, to a non-Zionist Jewish proposition to settle some 50,000 of the Jewish refugees in the Kimberleys in 1944, pleasing the Zionists but not, I imagine, the 50,000 hopeful immigrants. (21. See M. Blakeney, Australia & the Jewish Refugees, 1985)

To conclude this section: Evatt's bias towards partition was quite widely known an appreciated from at least 1945, both in Australia and overseas. It was therefore most improper, and contrary to the principles of natural justice, for Evatt to have accepted the chair of the body which had the duty of deliberating and deciding upon the UNSCOP partition recommendation in 1947.

Next installment: The Question of UN Competence