Israel comes under frequent attack for its building of Jewish settlements in Judaea and Samaria, with Palestinians claiming that ‘the whole world’ considers such construction illegal. They will no longer be able to make such a claim: a French court of appeals has determined that Jewish construction is not in violation of Fourth Geneva Convention Article 49(6). The Zionist Organization of America has brought attention to this little-reported decision.
The construction in question was that of a light-rail system in Israeli-controlled parts of Judaea and Samaria by a French construction company, but the implications may be far-reaching.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” However, as ZOA National President Morton A. Klein points out, “It is clear that Palestinians are not being deported or forcibly transferred from Judea and Samaria to another territory. Nor are Jews being deported or transferred from Israel to the West Bank. They are moving there freely of their own will.” This is a landmark decision that recognises what the ZOA has argued repeatedly.