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Middle East Issues





French Court Ruling Affirms Legality of Israeli Occupation


Virtually all international media has ignored recent news from France, where a court issued a ruling related, among other things, to the legality of Israel's occupation. As noted in a March 13, 2013 article published by the French media outlet Dreuz, the Versailles Court of Appeal ruled that the Israeli occupation of the territories claimed by the Palestinians is in fact legal.
 
The judicial decision put an end to a long process initiated by the French-Palestinian Solidarity Association (ASPF) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) represented by Mahmoud Abbas.
 
Also, in February 2007, both the ASPF and the PLO denounced the French companies Veolia Transport and Alstom Transport SA for building the Jerusalem tram that runs through the Eastern part of the city, which the Palestinians claim as theirs. Regarding the occupation, the PLO and ASPF appealed using existing articles from the Geneva Convention and both The Hague Conventions of 1907 and 1954. But the Court of Versailles specifies that those articles are not applicable. Firstly, these agreements apply to States, and neither the Palestinian Authority nor the PLO are such. Secondly, both Convention articles refer to “High Contracting Parties”, and neither the PLO nor the PA ever signed those Conventions.
 
As for the transport companies, the French court – which does allow for appeals – ruled that Israel has the right to build in the occupied territories. Article 43 of the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 specifies that "the authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country." The Court fined the AFPS and the OLP 30,000 Euros payable each to Alstom, Alstom Transport and Veolia Transport.
 
It is interesting to note the mainstream media’s willingness to report promptly when it comes to Tribunals that condemn Israel or when proven Israel detractors accuse the Jewish State of legal violations. However, when a legal court rules in favor of Israel, abiding by International Law rather than personal opinion, the media silence is quite staggering. It seems there’s no room for facts, just for opinions and mere assumptions.
 
This article originally appeared in Spanish on ReVista de Medio Oriente. You can read the original version here.

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