French court sees the truth where others can’t: Israel is not illegally occupying land

Jerusalem Light Rail

In a fantastic win for Israel and her supporters, and a devastating reversal for the BDS lunatics, who have used intense efforts to get Veolia to withdraw from building the light rail line in Jerusalem, a French appeals court has not only found for the Israelis, but has fined the PLO and ruled that they must pay legal costs to the transport companies involved:

Via Elder of Ziyon:

Dreuz reports that a French appeals court in Versailles has ruled that Israel was not acting illegally in building a light rail line across the Green Line.

The PLO must pay 30,000 euros separately to Alstom, Alstom Transport and Veolia Transport.

The PLO had argued that Israel was violating the Geneva Conventions by “transferring” citizens to the territories and destroying property, as well as a host of other claims.

The court ruled, however, Israel was acting within the Hague Regulations of how an occupier must act, “the authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all 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.”

Going beyond that, the court ruled that the Geneva Conventions and Hague Regulations only apply to states, and to signatories, and the PLO is neither.

Map of the light rail system in Jerusalem

The JTA adds some background:

The ruling on March 22 by the Versailles Court of Appeals came in response to a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the France-Palestine Solaridite association against three French firms that participated in the construction of the light rail network. The plaintiffs claimed the firms were responsible for human rights and international law violations.

In the 32-page ruling, the judges wrote that international treaties applied to Israel’s occupation of lands captured in 1967 and that those conventions — including the Hague Convention of 1907 — state that “the occupying power can and even must establish normal, public activity in the occupied territory.”

The judges ordered the plaintiffs pay a total of $117,000 in legal costs to the three firms: Veolia Transport, Alstom and Alstom Transport.

The pro-Israel advocacy website Missing Peace gives us the adapted Google translate of the French legal decision. Here are the highlights but read the whole thing:

Veolia and Alstom built, following a call for tenders, the Jerusalem tramway through the city to the east, into the territories claimed by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.

The PLO considers that the State of Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land and continues an illegal Jewish settlement by the construction of the tram and this is in itself unlawful.

The legal arguments of the PLO removed one after another

The Organization for the Liberation of Palestine has therefore embarked on a lengthy trial that just ended before the Court of Appeal of Versailles, March 13, 2013. The inconvenient conclusions of the court were not reported by the mainstream media so we inform you independently.

The occupation of Palestinian territory is not illegal

The PLO is bases itself on international law and considers that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territory and is pursuing an illegal Jewish settlement. The construction of the tram is therefor in itself illegal according to the PLO. To support its claim, the PLO alleges infringement of several texts:

  • Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 which states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
  • Article 53, which states that “it is forbidden for an occupying power to destroy the real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, the State or public authorities and social or cooperative organizations except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. ”

The PLO added that the construction has caused destruction, virtually removing a vital road for Palestinians and their goods (route 60), removal of tracks and paths, and expropriations. Therefore the PLO claims the construction of the tramway constitutes a violation of several articles of the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention of 18 October 1907:


Finally, the PLO says Israel violates the provisions relating to “the protection of cultural property” under Article 4 of the Hague Convention of 14 May 1954, Article 27 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, the Article 5 of the Hague Convention IX of 1907 and Article 53 of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions.

Not at all ruled the Court of Appeal. Without denying the occupation, it said Israel was within its rights because “… the authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all 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 “(Article 43 of the 4th Convention The Hague 1907).

Propaganda does not replace the law

The Court also added that French law … “can not be based solely on the discretion [the PLO] a political or social situation.”

Humanitarian law is not violated either

The PLO, which then tries to hide the humanitarian standards, is once again sent into the ropes by the court, who said that while the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Convention are applicable in French law .

But “the International Court of Justice stated that they (the agreements) contain only obligations on states, and that the right of individuals to rely on was not mentioned” , only the parties contractors are bound by those conventions, and the Hague Convention of 1907 are not applicable because … Jerusalem is not bombed!

I am delighted that a French court of all places has found against the PLO and its bigoted BDS supporters. Will the Palestinians and the BDS brigade learn their lesson? somehow I doubt it.  I’m sure they will find another pet project and another, more amenable court to press their racist claims against Israel.

Meanwhile, let us enjoy this great day for justice for Israel!

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7 Responses to French court sees the truth where others can’t: Israel is not illegally occupying land

  1. ealha3 says:

    It will be interesting to see if this becomes authority that can be cited in other foreign courts to prevent the PLO from seeking legal action against Israel due to lack of standing. Moreover, unlike US courts, loser pays and serves as a deterrent to future actions. Finally, the decision suggests Israel may have a cause of action against the PLO for unlawful third party intervention in legal contracts, again involving damages and legal costs against the PLO – as well as others as their conspirators.

    • anneinpt says:

      Very interesting points Elliott. Thank you for your professional insight.

      Indeed, one of the best aspects of this ruling is the possibility that it can be used as a precedent in further similar BDS cases.

  2. Reality says:

    “The PLO, which then tries to hide the humanitarian standards,” makes me laugh. Surely its in humanitarian interest to have more transport to allow all families access to & from their homes & work -& these stops will presumably also serve the Arab population too. I would add that if the light rail had purposely by passed all Arab villages they would’ve cried racism for not giving them the convinience of light rail travel. Sometimes you can’t win ,although in this case thanks to the French we did.Its time someone saw sense at long last!

    • Peter Hunt says:

      And in 2014 The State of Palestine became a signatory of the Geneva Convention

      • anneinpt says:

        Firstly: my article was written almost exactly 3 years ago so you’re a bit late to the party. Secondly, when I wrote my article the Palestinians had not yet signed on to the Geneva Conventions.

        And thirdly, and most importantly – Ignoring the fact that there is no such thing as a “State of Palestine”, signing up would obligate the Palestinians to abide by the rules of the Convention. Which of course they aren’t. Besides shooting rockets at Israeli civilians, stoning, stabbing, firebombing and shooting at Israeli civilians, including women and children, the Palestinians carry out rampant torture and abuse against their own people.

        Where are the ICC and the Geneva Conventions when you need them?

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