Today in France 70 nations will come together in Paris and blindly ignore the legal ruling of a highly significant French court (Court of Appeal of Versailles) just a few years ago. They will most likely issue a statement which creates the impression that Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that there hasn’t been a proper legal case to decide the legality of Jews living in the lands captured back from Jordan in ’67, specifically Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. I was wrong! There was exactly such a case and, even though I’ve written about it, it has received almost no attention and been buried.
Here’s a very simplistic background on how western legal systems operate. In a Western country founded on Judeo-Christian principles, some form of elected body decides to pass and enact laws. Perhaps there is a foundational document (like the US Constitution) or centuries of history and a set of procedures and prior law on how stuff is done (the UK). One thing that unites all these systems is that new laws must be tested in court.
A law enters the books when the elected officials have all agreed on it, but until someone breaks the law or challenges it in some way, it isn’t fully tested.
Fortunately there isn’t a government for the entire world (and plans for such a monstrosity probably took a backward step when Hillary Clinton lost in November). The UN, as a club of dictators, despots and dastardly deed doers (with a sprinkling of decent, democratic states) certainly isn’t remotely close to a single government for the world that any sane person would submit to. The International Criminal Court in the Hague is also similarly problematic. International law, therefore, stems from a bunch of widely (but not universally) accepted treaties and agreements many nations have signed up to going back, in cases, hundreds of years and methods for deciding disputes are confusing.
But just as with nations passing laws, until a court hears a case based on the law, interpretation of that law isn’t set. That’s why there is such a thing as a “legal opinion”. In any given case there are two or more sides arguing that they’ve understood the law correctly and the other side is wrong.
That’s the situation with Israel’s status in territory it captured in various defensive wars since 1948. When I wrote “you can believe arguments one way or another, but you can’t yet say the matter of settlements is settled” I was overlooking one very important case from France in 2013 which I even wrote about back then! A week after the case concluded (with a resounding win for the Israeli side and a defeat for a PLO backed boycott effort) I wrote the following:
As we first reported here on Israellycool last week, a French court has confirmed some aspects of the legal situation regarding Israel and the hills of Judea and Samaria, especially around Jerusalem.
Now the larger news outlets have had time to think about this and get the opinion of greater legal minds than this humble blogger.
And the answer seems to be, it is a victory, but only if you didn’t know anything about international law and the specifics of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.
Well I’d say that’s just about everyone on earth and doubly so for everyone who is deluded by BDS campaign lies!
Exactly as I noted then, the legacy media completely ignored this ruling or downplayed it because it didn’t fit their lethal narrative: Jews are illegal settlers in what was once their own land. Nobody in the hostile legacy media has referred to it since (try to google for it).
Jean-Patrick Grumberg (the original reporter I linked to back in 2013 on the story) has now re-published a more detailed account of the technicalities of the case which related to the building, in Jerusalem, of the light rail system which connects both predominantly Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods to the centre of Jerusalem.
The entire blog post is definitely worth reading (a few times) but here are the headlines:
In a historical trial carefully « forgotten » by the media, the 3rd Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles declares that Israel is the legal occupant of the West Bank*.
In the 90s, Israel bid for the construction of the Jerusalem light rail. The tender was won by French companies Veolia and Alstom. The light rail was completed in 2011, and it cross Jerusalem all the way to the east side and the « occupied territories » (more about this term later).
Following this, the PLO filed a complaint with the High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) of Versailles France, against Alstom and Veolia, because according to PLO, « the construction of the tram is illegal since the UN, the EU, many NGOs and governments consider that « Israel illegally occupy Palestinian territories ».
First and foremost, the Versailles Court of Appeals had to determine the legal rights of Palestinians and Israelis in West Bank. Their conclusion: Palestinians have no right – in the international legal sense – to the region, unlike Israel, who is legitimately entitled to occupy all land beyond the 67 line.
Why is this an historical ruling: it is the first international case since the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.
The Court of Appeal does not deny the occupation, but it destroys one after another all the Palestinian arguments.
Israeli occupation does not violate any international law.
Propaganda is not international law.
Humanitarian law was not violated.
The PLO and the Palestinians were dismissed.
This is how Jean-Patrick concludes his post (which also includes the entire court decision in French).
The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO (and Association France Palestine Solidarité AFPS who was co-appellant) to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport.
Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, therefore the judgment has become final.
This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.