November 18, 2019
News Press Release

ZOA Strongly Praises Pres. Trump, Sec. Pompeo Repudiating Orwellian Anti-Semitic Lie That Jews Building in Judea Samaria is Illegal

ZOA Also Praises Amb. David Friedman for Flawlessly Prosecuting the President’s Agenda and Repudiating EU Absurd Ruling That Jews Can’t Build in Judea Samaria
President Donald J. Trump

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly praised President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for today’s landmark ruling whereby the United States no longer adheres to the Anti-Semitic Orwellian lie that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal and a breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Secretary Pompeo will repudiate a 1978 State Department legal opinion, known as the Hansell Memorandum, which holds that establishing Israeli civilian communities in the territories beyond the 1949 armistice lines are “per se inconsistent with international law.” This decision also repudiates the EU’s absurd ruling that Jews can’t live in or have businesses in Judea and Samaria.

The Hansell Memorandum has served as the basis of the US official position on the subject for over 40 years. Indeed, in the final days of the Obama Administration, the US allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution baselessly declaring the “settlements” constitute a “flagrant violation” of international law.

According to the text of Secretary Pompeo’s forthcoming statement, “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace” (Matthew Lee, ‘AP Exclusive: US softens position on Israeli settlements,’ Associated Press, November 18, 2019).

There was never a country called Palestine which is a Roman name changed from Judea Samaria in order to steal it from the Jews. We are called Jews because we are from Judea. There were no Palestinian Kings and Queens. Moreover Jewish communities there comprise less than 2% of Judea Samaria.

“We strongly praise President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Friedman for this deeply important new statement of US policy indicating that the notion that it is illegal and a war crime for Israeli Jews –– and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews –– to live in the Jewish biblical, historic and legal heartland of the Jewish people is untrue and destructive of peace prospects.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. said, “We strongly praise President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Friedman for this deeply important new statement of US policy indicating that the notion that it is illegal and a war crime for Israeli Jews –– and only Israeli Jews, because they are Israeli Jews –– to live in the Jewish biblical, historic and legal heartland of the Jewish people is untrue and destructive of peace prospects.

“This is a position which the ZOA has exposed and repudiated for years.

“The absurd and indeed anti-Semitic notion that these territories must be judenrein has been based for years on a willful misreading of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The law has actually been clear for years: the territory of Judea/Samaria (West Bank) was earmarked for Jewish settlement in 1920 at the San Remo Conference and subsequently enshrined in the British Mandate for Palestine that shortly followed.

“This has never been superseded or repudiated by any subsequent, internationally binding agreement. The 1947 UN partition plan, which sought to create Arab and Jewish states, could have been such an agreement, but it was rejected by the Arabs. Being a General Assembly resolution, the plan had no legal force of its own.

“In contrast, the 1993 Oslo Accords do possess legal force but, but as these contain no prohibition on the existence and growth of these Jewish communities, Jewish rights remain unimpaired. Whether one supports or opposes Jewish residence in there, all should be able to agree on this.

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.’ It also ordains that ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’

“As Palestinians are not being deported or forcibly transferred from Judea/Samaria to another territory and since Jews are not being deported or transferred from Israel to Judea/Samaria but rather are moving there freely of their own will, Article 49 has no bearing on the situation.

“Moreover, the Fourth Geneva Convention deals only with territories belonging to a sovereign power whereas, of course, Judea/Samaria were illegally seized by Jordan in 1948 and captured by Israel following Jordanian attack in 1967, and thus remain unallocated territory under international law. Only Israeli annexation or an Arab-Israeli agreement on its status could alter this –– neither of which have occurred.

“There was a time when a war crime was understood to mean such things as murdering enemy civilians or putting them to forced labor in camps. Now, pro-Palestinian apologists insist it can mean residence in Judea/Samaria –– but only if one is an Israeli Jew.

“The ZOA praises President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Friedman for carrying out this principled clarification of US policy that repudiates this false and cynical notion. It will undoubtedly be criticized by several other governments but will in the end prove an important step in preventing today’s legal perversion and absurdity of the alleged illegality of Israeli Jewish residence in the territories becoming tomorrow’s settled international law.”