European governments have every right to boycott trade with West Bank settlements, according to a leading international counsel, British newspaper The Independent reported Monday.
Cambridge professor of international law James Crawford formulated the formal opinion in a 60-page document, shown to senior officials of EU member states and obtained by The Independent.
"There do not appear to be any EC [European Commission] laws which could be breached by a member state taking the decision to ban the import of settlement produce on public policy grounds," Crawford asserted in the document.
He continued that imposing a ban on trade with settlements would not breach obligations to the World Trade Organization, because "as a member of international law, the West Bank and Gaza cannot be considered to be Israel's territory."
The Independent opined that this fresh development would "inject fresh momentum" into UK boycott campaigns, where settlement products in supermarkets are already distinguished from goods originating within the Green Line.
The report came a day after a new Israeli government-initiated report on West Bank outposts criticized the actions of past administrations that led to the creation of the illegal West Bank Jewish communities, while recommending that they be transformed where possible into new settlements.
The report was authored by three legal experts: former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy; former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker; and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tchia Shapira.
While the United Nations and EU often state that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law based on its understanding that Israel “occupies” the West Bank, the outpost report concluded that the classical laws of occupation “cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.”
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report
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