By: David Parsons, ICEJ VP Senior Spokesman
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem welcomed on Tuesday the clarification of the United States administration that Jewish communities in the West Bank are not considered illegal, while also denouncing the sharply contrasting position of the European Union taken just last week that imported goods originating from the ‘settlements’ must be labelled.
“We commend the Trump administration for returning the United States to a sound approach regarding the legality of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “It is more attune with international law and with the historic rights of the Jewish people in these areas, and more conducive to peace. At the same time, the European Union has adopted a very troubling course with its recent labelling decision on settlement goods. This position not only undermines efforts at peacemaking and coexistence in the region, it also comes dangerously close to the German boycotts of Jews in the 1930s.”
The ICEJ noted that under international law, the West Bank is considered disputed territory whose ultimate status should be decided in direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the voluntary presence of Jewish communities in these areas is legal, especially given:
1) The historic Jewish claims to these lands, which were recognized by the League of Nations in 1922 as pre-existing rights and which remain valid today according to Article 80 of the United Nations Charter;
2) Israel acquired these territories in 1967 in an act of self-defense when invaded from these very areas;
3) The Palestinian Authority itself agreed in the Oslo Accords to accept the continuing presence of the settlements until a final peace accord is reached.
The ICEJ further noted that the American legal position on the settlements is far more sound than the EU view because it does not prejudge the issue of ultimate sovereignty over these areas. By denying Israel’s claims to the disputed territories, including eastern Jerusalem, the EU stance has only caused Palestinian leaders to harden their positions and demands in negotiations over these many decades.
This article originally appeared on ICEJ, November 19, 2019, and reposted with permission.