In response to statements made by the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, arguing in favor of an EU policy framework premised on “West Bank settlements” being “illegal under international law,” the Legal Grounds Campaign has called on him to publicly debate Professor Eugene Kontorovich, a renowned expert on international law at Northwestern University and senior legal think tank fellow in Israel. Kontorovich also is a member of the Legal Grounds advisory board.
At an anti-BDS Yediot Aharanot conference last week, at which Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen had reiterated his refrain on the illegality of “settlements” and their “hindrance to the peace process,” he additionally termed the 1949 armistice line an “internationally recognized border.” The 1949 line, however, is neither internationally recognized nor a border.
Reliable sources, attending a subsequent meeting of Faaborg-Andersen with Israeli youth activists, confirmed his further sharing that he was aiming to persuade Israeli society on the merits of these EU positions. Legal Grounds is pleased to offer the Ambassador an opportunity to do just that.
Legal Grounds, a grassroots initiative established in 2014 to inform about and promote Israel’s legal land rights, regards the EU’s stance as contravening the officially recognized rightful presence of the State of Israel in Judea and Samaria according to international law. These rights were recognized unequivocally by the League of Nations, and reaffirmed in Chapter 80 of the UN Charter. Moreover, the EU stance runs contrary to its previous commitment implicit in its having witnessed and signed Oslo II, an agreement based on stipulations by UN resolutions 242 and 338 that Israel is entitled to “secure and recognized” borders.
Legal Grounds believes the EU ambassador should be held to account for his false terminology and misstating of legal facts. “For years, EU representatives have repeatedly expressed an inaccurate, one-sided viewpoint on the legality of Israeli control and building in Judea and Samaria. Their tendentious claims are now being advanced by Ambassador Faaborg-Andersen without relating to the actual legalities, or to changing circumstances on the ground,” said Legal Grounds co-chair and ZOA Israel director Jeff Daube.
“In light of the Ambassador’s consequential statements, it is appropriate to request that he debate with a leading international scholar of Kontorovich’s caliber, and use the public forum to test EU assumptions spoken of as truth in order to constrain Israel. We look forward to a positive response from Faaborg-Andersen to our invitation.”