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Palestine: European Union can't be judge and jury

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 25 July 2013


The decision by the European Union (EU) to boycott Jewish organisations and institutions based in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will bring much joy to the Arab world's on-going vicious hate campaign ofdenigration and demonization of the Jewish State.

The EU announcement heralds the end of any influence it has as a member of the Quartet - America, Russia, the United Nations and the EU - which itself can now no longer claim to act as an impartial negotiator seeking to bring about an end to the long running conflict between Jews and Arabs whilst the EU remains a member.

The EU cannot be surprised if Israel takes retaliatory action in responseto its decisionincluding any of the following:

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  1. Forbidding the transfer of EU funds to non-government organisations in Israel engaged in activities designed to advance the interests of the Israeli Arab populationto the detriment of the Jewish majority.
  2. Ending all co-operation with the EU in Area C of the West Bank by terminating existing development and infrastructure programs for thebenefit of theArab population and forbidding any such activities in the future.
  3. Ordering the closure of the office of the Delegation of the EU to Israel.

A statement released by the EU Delegation on 16 July gave the following as one reason to justify the EU guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in theWest Bank and East Jerusalem for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards:

The guidelines are also in conformity with the EU's longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.

The illegality of Israeli settlements has never been the subject of any binding authoritative legal decision to my knowledge by any court anywhere in the world.

At best the EU longstanding position is an opinion - and nothing else. It is counterbalanced by other opinions that take the view that Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is legal by virtue of the provisions of article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

In fact the courts of one of the EU member states - France -ruled that Israel did not violate international law by building a light rail line in eastern Jerusalem.

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The ruling on March 22 by the Versailles Court of Appeals came in response to a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the France-Palestine Solaridite association against three French firms that participated in the construction of the light rail network. The plaintiffs claimed that the firms were responsible for human rights and international law violations.

In the 32-page ruling, the judges wrote that international treaties applied to Israel's occupation of lands captured in 1967 and that those conventions - including the Hague Convention of 1907 - state that "the occupying power can and even must establish normal, public activity in the occupied territory."

The EU position is certainly on very shaky ground.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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