Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Exceptions Reveal That EU Guidelines Against Israel Have Nothing To Do With International Law

Eugene Kontorovich
Prof. Eugene Kontorowich
In his latest article, law professor Eugene Kontorovich notes that the new EU guidelines imposing restrictions on Israel in Judea and Samaria in fact have nothing to do with international law -- leading him to explain What the EU rules are about – and what they are not

The EU guidelines are based on the expected errors and misconceptions

  • It assumes Israel is "occupying" Judea and Samaria (West Bank)-- this despite the illegitimacy of the Jordanian rule that preceded it.

  • It assumes Jewish communities there are in violation of the Geneva Conventions prohibition on an occupying power "transferring" its civilian population into the occupied territory -- but the fact is that Jews living in Judea and Samaria were not "transferred" there by Israel at all: they moved there themselves.

  • While international law prohibits governments from "transferring" settlers into "occupied" territory -- that law does not make the settlers themselves illegal. 
The key element of the dishonesty of the EU guidelines is the way its manipulation what it claims is international law by creating arbitrary exceptions:
Moreover, the guidelines contain a massive exception that undermines the notion that this is about international law rather than EU foreign policy. Article 15 exempts groups that “promot[e] the Middle East peace process in line with EU policy.” Either the Geneva Conventions and related rules prevent Israelis from having anything to do with the West Bank or they do not – but they certainly do not contain a “things the EU likes” exception. The exemption reveals the true purpose of the rules: to promote European foreign policy, not to vindicate international law. Indeed, the essence of the rule of law is about applying general rules to similar cases, regardless of one’s sympathies. The application of unique rules to Jewish State is the opposite of lawful.
Read the whole thing.

The EU would of course like to be taken seriously as a power to be reckoned with and to be included in decisions of importance on the world stage. However, these guidelines indicate that the opposite is the case.

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