During a meeting this week in Brussels as part of a tour of several EU
countries, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on European
firms to cut economic ties with Jewish settlements and neighborhoods in Judea,
Samaria and east Jerusalem.
The PA leadership has also called on France
to take measures against hundreds of French Jews living in settlements, towns,
farms and neighborhoods located beyond the 1949 armistice line, the London-based
Al- Quds al-Arabi reported this week. The PA leadership reportedly demanded that
the French government either strip these French nationals of their citizenship
or put pressure on them to leave the settlements.
requests have fallen are particularly receptive, pro-Palestinian European
In July, the EU issued guidelines that single out for censure
Jewish nonprofit and educational institutions and other nongovernment entities
that operate beyond the 1949 armistice line. EU grants, prizes and loans
earmarked for scientific, technological and intellectual development will be
denied any Jewish entity located beyond the Green Line beginning in
Support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Jewish
settlements is not a uniquely Palestinian or European phenomenon. Prominent
Jews, such as writer Peter Beinart, have promoted what they have the temerity to
call a “Zionist BDS.”
These diverse proponents of forcing Jews out of
Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem might have different
motivations. But they all seem to accept the axiom that the very presence of
Jews in these territories is at the very least illegitimate.
If they have
their way, the only place in the world where Jews will be forbidden to live will
be the land most resonant with Jewish history. It was, after all, in Judea,
Samaria and parts of Jerusalem that came into Israeli control during the 1967
Six Day War where the prophets of Israel spoke, where the Jewish kings reigned,
where most of the foundational biblical events experienced by the Jewish people
took place and where the Temple Mount, the single-most sanctified site in the
world for the Jews, is located.
In short, Palestinians, Europeans and
some self-professed Jewish Zionists seek to prevent Jews from settling precisely
in the places where it makes the most historical, cultural and religious sense
for them to do so.
Abbas, the EU and others opponents of Jewish
settlements argue that they are illegal. The case for this belief rests almost
entirely on the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, article 49(6) of which states
that an occupying military power “shall not deport or transfer part of its own
civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
This clause, written
after World War II, referred, however, to the huge forced population transfers
the Nazi regime and other totalitarian powers perpetrated.
are split on whether it is illegal for individuals to live in such territory of
their own free will, particularly when they displace nobody. Furthermore, the
West Bank did not come into Israel’s possession as an occupying power, because
the land did not belong to any sovereign power. The Jordanian annexation of the
area in 1949, which many Palestinians consented to – including those who
rejected the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, which would have created a
Palestinian state – remained unrecognized by the rest of the world. After its
victory in 1967, Israel had as good a claim to the West Bank as anyone, if not a
better one, considering that the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine
recognized the Jews’ deep ties to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
more, it is morally reprehensible to say, as Abbas has on numerous occasions,
that a future Palestinian state will not tolerate the presence of
Israel has provided citizenship to about 1.7 million Arabs; why
should a future Palestinian state not offer to do the same for Jews? The final
borders of a Palestinian state must be determined through direct negotiations
and mutual compromise, not unilateral measures such as boycotts designed to
coerce Israel to leave areas so resonant with Jewish history, culture and
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!