French Court of Appeal rules that Israel is the legal occupier of West Bank

By Jerry Gordon

h/t Imre Herzog. Here’s a stunner. M. Jean Patrick Grumberg of the French blog Dreuz made a useful discovery and somehow the Israel and world media didn’t cover. The PA brought suit in France against French companies building the light rail system in Jerusalem. The PA lost in a decision that ruled that Israel is the legal occupant of Judea and Samaria.

So, why isn’t the Israeli and world media hopping all over this? Perhaps because they are intimidated by the threat of Islamic violence as their god Allah granted possession of any conquered lands in perpetuity. Which will never be held up in a Western court that doesn’t recognize sharia law ruling based on fiction rather than fact. But then the pack of Israel’s enemies gathering in Paris for tomorrow’s hatefest doesn’t care about the facts and law. That would include that self -promoting ‘stalwart defender of Israel’, Secretary of State Kerry. Read this important French court case findings in this Dreuz blog post by the estimable M. Grumberg.

Grumberg, a French lawyer by training wrote:

In a historical trial carefully « forgotten » by the media, the 3rd Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles declares that Israel is the legal occupant of the West Bank*.

When I first learned that the Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that West bank settlements and occupation of Judea Samaria by Israel is unequivocally legal under international law, in a suit brought by the Palestinian Authority against Jerusalem’s light rail built by French companies Alstom and Veolia, that received no media coverage, I decided to put to work my years of Law Studies in France, and I meticulously analyzed the Court ruling.

To my astonishment, pro-Israeli media did not cover it either. The few who mentioned the case did not have any legal background in French law to understand the mega-importance of the ruling, and, as a few lefty English speaking Israeli websites reported it, they thought that it was a decision strictly pertinent to the Jerusalem light rail. It’s not.

To make sure I did not overestimate my legal abilities and that I wasn’t over optimistic – as usual-, I submitted my analysis and the Court papers to one of the most prominent French lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, President of Lawyers without borders, to receive his legal opinion. He indeed validated my finding. Then I decided to translate it to English, and it will soon be submitted to Benjamin Netanyahu thru a mutual friend.

First and foremost, the Versailles Court of Appeals had to determine the legal rights of Palestinians and Israelis in West Bank. Their conclusion: Palestinians have no right – in the international legal sense – to the region, unlike Israel, who is legitimately entitled to occupy all land beyond the 67 line.

The context :
In the 90s, Israel bid for the construction of the Jerusalem light rail. The tender was won by French companies Veolia and Alstom. The light rail was completed in 2011, and it cross Jerusalem all the way to the east side and the « occupied territories » (more about this term later).

Following this, the PLO filed a complaint with the High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) of Versailles France, against Alstom and Veolia, because according to PLO, « the construction of the tram is illegal since the UN, the EU, many NGOs and governments consider that « Israel illegally occupy Palestinian territories ».

The quest for the International Legislation to establish the rights of each party.
In order to rule whether the light rail construction was legal or not, the court had to seek the texts of international law, to examine international treaties, in order to establish the respective rights of the Palestinians and the Israelis.

And to my knowledge, this is the first time that a non-Israeli court has been led to rule on the status of the West Bank.

Why is this an historical ruling: it is the first international case since the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948

It is the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 that an independent, non-Israeli court has been called upon to examine the legal status of West bank territories under international law, beyond the political claims of the parties.

Keep in mind though, that the Court’s findings have no effect in international law. What they do, and it’s of the utmost importance, is to clarify the legal reality.

The Versailles Court of Appeal conclusions are as resounding as the silence in which they were received in the media: Israel has real rights in the territories, its decision to build a light rail in the West Bank or anything else in the area is legal, and the judges have rejected all the arguments presented by the Palestinians.

The Palestinian arguments

• The PLO denounces the deportation of the Palestinian population, and the destruction of properties in violation of international regulations. Relying on the Geneva and Hague Conventions and the UN resolutions, it considers that the State of Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian territory and is pursuing illegal Jewish colonization. Thus, construction of the light rail is itself illegal (1).

• The PLO adds that the light rail construction has resulted in the destruction of Palestinian buildings and houses, the almost total destruction of Highway 60, which is vital for Palestinians and their goods, and has conducted many illegal dispossessions. Therefore, several clauses from the annexed Regulations to the October 18, 1907 Fourth Hague Convention were violated (2).

• Finally, the PLO alleges that Israel violates the provisions relating to the « protection of cultural property » provided for in Article 4 of the Hague Convention of May 14, 1954, Article 27 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, Article 5 of the Hague Convention IX of 1907, and Article 53 of Additional Protocol No. 1 to the Geneva Conventions.

The Court of Appeal does not deny the occupation, but it destroys one after another all the Palestinian arguments
Referring to the texts on which the PLO claim is based, the Court of Appeal considers that Israel is entitled to ensure order and public life in the West Bank,therefore Israel has the right to build a light rail, infrastructure and dwellings.

Article 43 of the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 stipulates 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 ».

Israeli occupation does not violate any international law

« The Palestinian Authority misread the documents, they do not apply to the occupation »

The Court explains that the Palestinian Authority misinterprets the texts and they do not apply to the occupation:
• First of all, all the international instruments put forward by the PLO are acts signed between States, and the obligations or prohibitions contained therein are relevant to States. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor the PLO are States, therefore, none of these legal documents apply.

• Secondly, said the Court, these texts are binding only on those who signed them, namely the « contracting parties ». But neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority have ever signed these texts.

Propaganda is not international law
The Court, quite irritated by the presented arguments, boldly asserted that the law « cannot be based solely on the PLO’s assessment of a political or social situation.«

Humanitarian law was not violated

The PLO mistakenly refers to the wrong legal document because the Hague Convention applies in case of bombing. And … « Jerusalem is not bombed. »

The PLO invokes the violation of humanitarian law contained in the Geneva and Hague Conventions.
• But on the one hand, says the judges of the Court of Appeal, international conventions apply between States and the PLO is not a State: « the International Court of Justice has indicated that [the Conventions] only contain obligations for the States, and that individual have no rights to claim the benefit of those obligation for themselves ».

• Then the Court says that only the contracting parties are bound by international conventions, and neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority have ever signed any of them.

• The Court draw the conclusion that the PLO is mistakenly referring to the wrong legal document because the Hague Convention applies in case of bombing. And … « Jerusalem is not bombed.«

The PLO and the Palestinians were dismissed
The PLO cannot invoke any of these international conventions, said the Court.
« These international norms and treaties » does not give the « Palestinian people that the PLO says he represents, the right to invoke them before a court.«

The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO (and Association France Palestine Solidarité AFPS who was co-appellant) to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport.

Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, therefore the judgment has become final.

This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.

Reprint or redistribution of this copyrighted material is permitted with the following attribution and link: © Jean-Patrick Grumberg for

• (1) The PLO relies on article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, which states that « the occupant power may not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population in the Territory he occupies », and article 53, which states that « the occupant Power is prohibited from destroying movable or immovable properties belonging individually or collectively to private people, to the State or to public authorities or social or cooperative organizations, except in cases where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary for military operations ».

• (2) The PLO refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949: ? Article 23 (g), which prohibits « the destruction or seizure of enemy properties except in cases where such destruction or seizure are imperatively ordered for the necessities of war. »

? Article 27 according to which « in the sieges and bombardments, all necessary measures must be taken to spare as much as possible the buildings devoted to worship, the arts, sciences, charitable institutions, historical monuments, and hospitals … »

? Article 46 which states that « private property can not be confiscated ».…/israel-is-the-legal-occupant-of-th…/

Israel is the legal occupant of the West Bank, says the Court of Appeal of Versailles, France
In a historical trial carefully « forgotten » by the media, the 3rd Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles declares that Israel is the legal occupant of the West Bank*. When I first learned that the Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that West bank settlements and occupation of Judea Samaria…

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23 Comments / 23 Comments

  1. MELECH david

    guess that says arabs a spit in the face brings reality to your doorstep. but remember this is only an independent judge not your run of the mill terrorist lacky, eh obuma.
    did I spell lover right? lacky

  2. Absolutely the best news.

    Hope this gets due press at France’s Arab/Israeli so-called “peace” ConFab this Jan 15th!

    Can’t wait to read the English translation.

  3. Rick

    This decission needs to be headlines, maybe the NYTs would see that “all the news that are for to print”. But I was advised I should not hold my breath.

  4. SHmuel HaLevi

    Superb job Ted.
    It must be sent about all over.

  5. Morty Mooze

    @ MELECH david:

  6. Maerton Davis

    All very well and good.

    However, by Israel not attending this meeting in Paris, we are leaving the wolves there to having a feast. Israel should be there, Israel should be explaining to the ignorant why we are in Judea and Samaria because really 90% of those attending do not know. they really are ignorant and by not being there we are allowing others to influence them even more.
    Along with this new information from the French courts plus sensible historical facts explanation by a good Israeli diplomat, preferably by a non Jewish one, we can turn some minds to thinking that maybe we do have a case and those who are trying to get rid of us are maybe as we say are really “just a bunch of terrorists”.

  7. France was liberated from its enemies and occupiers by the United States in WWI and WWII. That is ok. But Jewish forces and the IDF liberating their own historical territory from its enemies and occupiers is not ok.
    Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799 wrote a letter to the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine aka The Land of Israel, promising them that he will re-establish the The Jewish State in Palestine.

    Letter to the Jewish Nation from the French Commander-in-Chief Buonaparte
    (translated from the Original, 1799)

    General Headquarters, Jerusalem 1st Floreal, April 20th, 1799, in the year of 7 of the French Republic


    Israelites, unique nation, whom, in thousands of years, lust of conquest and tyranny have been able to be deprived of their ancestral lands, but not of name and national existence !

    Attentive and impartial observers of the destinies of nations, even though not endowed with the gifts of seers like Isaiah and Joel, have long since also felt what these, with beautiful and uplifting faith, have foretold when they saw the approaching destruction of their kingdom and fatherland: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35,10)

    Arise then, with gladness, ye exiled ! A war unexampled In the annals of history, waged in self-defense by a nation whose hereditary lands were regarded by its enemies as plunder to be divided, arbitrarily and at their convenience, by a stroke of the pen of Cabinets, avenges its own shame and the shame of the remotest nations, long forgotten under the yoke of slavery, and also, the almost two-thousand-year-old ignominy put upon you; and, while time and circumstances would seem to be least favorable to a restatement of your claims or even to their expression ,and indeed to be compelling their complete abandonment, it offers to you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel’s patrimony !

    The young army with which Providence has sent me hither, let by justice and accompanied by victory, has made Jerusalem my head-quarters and will, within a few days, transfer them to Damascus, a proximity which is no longer terrifying to David’s city.

    Rightful heirs of Palestine!

    The great nation which does not trade in men and countries as did those which sold your ancestors unto all people (Joel,4,6) herewith calls on you not indeed to conquer your patrimony ;nay, only to take over that which has been conquered and, with that nation’s warranty and support, to remain master of it to maintain it against all comers.

    Arise! Show that the former overwhelming might of your oppressors has but repressed the courage of the descendants of those heroes who alliance of brothers would have done honor even to Sparta and Rome (Maccabees 12, 15) but that the two thousand years of treatment as slaves have not succeeded in stifling it.

    Hasten!, Now is the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population of the universe which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations, and the unlimited natural right to worship Jehovah in accordance with your faith, publicly and most probably forever (JoeI 4,20).

  8. So the Court decided that Israel was the legal occupier. Not a big deal.

    What would have been a big deal if it decided that the FGC did not apply.

    In fact the Court avoided that issue and simply applied its terms to this case.

    Bigger than this issue is whether the Settlements are legal.

  9. SHmuel HaLevi

    That was a momentous decision by the Court. Regrettably but quite as expected by me, the Netanyahu’s government completely silenced that critical information, so did the so called local msm.

  10. mar55

    @ Ted Belman:
    The best news I had in a longtime. Thank you Ted. I started already disseminating the GREAT NEWS to everyone who is a
    a friend of Israel and even to some who are in doubt. No two states. It is ours since time immemorial.
    No more BS from the PA.
    This is just a beginning. After the battle we should concentrate in rebuilding the TEMPLE. Thank G-d.

  11. @ Morty Mooze:
    The court’s March 22, 2013 decision [French] upheld a 2007 ruling in a suit the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Association France Palestine Solidarité had filed against Veolia Transport, Alstom and Alstom Transport. Quoting international treaties about the laws of occupation, the Palestinians argued that because the trains servicing the Israeli capital also crossed into East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, the French firms were complicit in Israeli violations of international law. Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, but the international community never recognized the move.

    The French judges again threw out the case last month, ordering the Palestinian groups to pay a total of €90,000 (about NIS 425,000) to the French firms.

    “News is breaking of a huge win in France,” blogger “Brian of London” wrote in a post about the case entitled “A Massive Legal Win In France Against BDS,” referring to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. “The court has basically said Israeli ‘occupation’ is not illegal and orders PLO/PA to pay court costs to [Alstom], Veolia, & another firm.”

    The pro-Israel website likewise hailed the court ruling [French] as being of “particular importance,” saying that friends of the Jewish state “must preserve it carefully in their archives” as it proved that “France is not neutral in the conflict.”

    The court’s decision showed that “the occupation is completely legal, that there is no violation of international law in the fact that Israel is occupying territory,” Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, asserted to The Times of Israel.

    “The whole purpose of that court decision was to accuse the French companies of violating international law by taking part in something that’s illegal. The court threw this out and said you can’t claim that the occupation of territory is illegal,” Baker declared. “According to the Hague Conventions it is the duty of the occupiers, once they have control, to govern the territory. And that’s exactly what the Israelis are doing.”

  12. Bear Klein

    Ted, I remember the original court case a few years ago. Did this appeal just come down or when did it occur? This article is short on such details.

  13. Sebastien Zorn

    ..I wonder if in addition to President-Elect Trump’s intervention — Thank You President-Elect Trump — this had an impact:

    and look at his background, he is French of Tunisian-Italian descent. He is very “third-world” looking. That’s how I got the idea to look. “Oh, how racist of me!” Tough titties. The liberals obsess about this nonsense way more than we do.

    Anybody remember this:

    And this:

    Ilan Halimi was Moroccan Jewish but it’s close to Tunisian and it undercuts the “Jews as “racist” European colonists” narrative.)

    French embarassment time. They so crave to be the moral leaders of the world and have all “third-world” people like them and buy their goods.

    I was looking for an article that shows how Mizrahi Jews are, in fact, a huge if not the majority of Israel’ s Jewish majority and found this by another second thoughter (note how he echoes my observation that all the left cares about is pet formulas, that’s what they are attached to, that’s what they support).

    The “international” — the over 20 nations who supported us in Iraq apparently didn’t count as members of the international community, for example — Goyim (the Nations) don’t want us here, they don’t want us there, they don’t want us anywhere. SO SCREW WHAT THEY WANT *&^%$#@!!!

    OK not a majority but huge:

    Minister Shaked is Half Ashkenazi and half Mizrahi (Sabra of Iraqi-Jewish, Russian-Jewish, and Rumanian-Jewish descent)

  14. stevenl

    The Quai d’ Orsay cares LESS of the court opinion! “Raison d’ ETAT” they will claim!
    By the way I remember posting this court decision at least a year ago on Israpundit and very likely emailing the doc to Ted!!!Perhaps Ted can go back and verify.

  15. Sebastien Zorn

    @ Sebastien Zorn:

    “…Tunisia was the only country among the three that the German army actually occupied. The army entered Tunisia together with a SS unit tasked with applying anti-Jewish policy. The Jews of Tunisia were saved only because in early May 1943, military developments forced the Germans to retreat…”!prettyPhoto

    Only the British victory at El Alamein prevented a Mizrahi Holocaust (the Farhud was more like Kristalnacht, I mean the real Shoah.) Pierre Van Paassen* documented in his 1943 book, how helpless the British would have been without the heroic contribution of the Jewish Brigade (now the IDF).

    Somebody should make a movie about him:

    And we all know what the Grand Mufti intended for the Jews of “Palestine” and had Hitler’s authority to carry out.

    Ironically, French colonialism protected the vulnerable in Muslim lands. The French about face has in fact made them defend the Oppressors while calling them the oppressed. Rwanda too. Now, the French themselves are over-run. When will they have their Brexit?

  16. SHmuel HaLevi

    Indeed it was a major court resolution.
    My question remains. Why is it still being silenced and or ignored by the Netanyahu’s entourage?
    There are many instances of such forgetfulness.

  17. Michael Dar

    The whole world knows that Israel has a rock solid case for herself but that is completely irrelevant to the NWO because nobody really wanted a Jewish State from the very beginning!

  18. Sebastien Zorn

    @ SHmuel HaLevi:
    Because it reveals the illegality of the tss and of every un resolution on this issue other than its recognition of Israel. We won’t know until after Jan. 20 if he was just playing a waiting game or if he is serious about pursuing the tss at some point. He asked everybody to wait until then. Everybody said ok. 5 days to go. obama and the nations have four full working days left with which to try something else. He has asked the National Camp to provide no provocation for them to pin a pretext for attack on in that time frame and so to remain silent until then. Seen any good movies, read any good books lately?

  19. bernard ross

    @ Ted Belman:
    I beleive this is an old story which we already hashed out here a couple of years ago.
    I think folks are confused as to the importance of this ruling.
    The ruling affirms that the rules of military occupation govern the situation on the west bank as per the FGC. It affirms that the rail link is valid because the military occupier has rights under the FGC to build it. If Russia was the accepted military occupier it would have granted same verdict. There is no affirmation of any Israeli sovereignty over the land. It is a verdict which does not consider that issue at all.

    Ted Belman Said:

    What would have been a big deal if it decided that the FGC did not apply.

    The whole basis of the court verdict is based upon the determination that the FGC does apply. This is largely because Israel unilaterally decided to assume the role of a military occupier rather than a sovereign after the 67 war. Israel declared that it would rule the west bank under the laws of the FGC, no one twisted its arm to do so. This is why the world is in confusion… they have been confused by Israels own actions. Since then, naturally, the world has thought into steel the notion that Israel is an outside military occupier, WITH NO LEGITIMATE OR LEGAL CLAIM OF SOVEREIGNTY ADVANCED, and has judged it accordingly with no rebuttal from successive Israeli govs. In fact the whole determination of the “illegality” of certain aspects of the terror wall by the high court, I beleive, was based on their determination that the laws of israel state that the west bank is governed by the FGC. Hence, it was not a foreign imposition but a voluntary action and behavior of th GOI.
    Ted Belman Said:

    In fact the Court avoided that issue and simply applied its terms to this case.

    IMO, the french court did not avoid the FGC, it accepted the declared status of the Israeli gov that the FGC applies. In fact, it appears that is what made the rail link “legal”.

    Ted Belman Said:

    Bigger than this issue is whether the Settlements are legal.

    This would not be a determination for a french court. However, it is my view that the question of illegal settlements lies in the interpretations of the validity of the application of the FGC. The conundrum is that Israel declared that the FGC is the law under which it will govern and therefore all its arguments are grounded in its applicability to the nationals of occupying states. This is the intentional error they made because they did not want to extend sovereignty and absorb the enemy muslims. This could have worked if they had stated that the LON mandate to settle Jews superseded the voluntary FGC application and that they would continue to administrate the territory as per the LON mandate operating as a trustee for world jewry rather than as a military occupier under the FGC.

    It appears that the death knell for the rights of Jews to live in all of the mandated territory was informally abandoned by israel due to Oslo, even though there was no necessity under its terms.

    I see the solution as Israel coming out and stating that oslo, the road map etc has failed in providing a path to peace AND more importantly in preserving the rights of world Jewry to immigrate and settle in every inch of the mandate territory. the GOI must correct its own narratives which reinforced the canards of illegal and/or illegitimate Jewish settlement. the GOI should state that it negotiated the land as a claimant to the land but was willing to sacrifice some for peace. It should declare that the pals sought at every turn to delegitimize the Jewish homeland and Jewish rights. Israel must now abandon the past failed paradigms and return to the original mandate directive to settle jews… unrelated to any negotiations or abandonment of the disputed land by the state of Israel. If Israel wants to leave the land it should leave it secure and settled by Jews, if it does not want to prejudice any future peace settlement of the state of Israel it should settle non israeli diaspora Jews just as the mandate did. In this way both the right of Israel to abandon Judah and the rights of world jewry to settle Judah, will be preserved as per the mandate law… this was the obligation of the UK, Jordan and Israel…. and all three of them have damaged and squandered the rights of world jewry to immigrate to and settle upon that land.

  20. bernard ross

    It is interesting to me that it is the foreigners to whom the Jews of israel look to solve the problems. In my view the problem resides with Israeli Jews.
    Why do I say this?

    Consider if kusner arrives to back everything that Israel wants… what would Israel say? Would they say we want to annex C, we want to annex all of the west bank… we only want the areas we now live in the major block ghettos and are willing to swap parts of the negev?

    I doubt there will be a unified voice in Israel for ending with at least all of C going to Israel and the pals with only local autonomy… never mind claiming the whole thing and draining the swamp.

    In my view the whole notion of citizenship for the hostile muslims is absurd and the jews try to solve this by giving them jewish land, which is also absurd. The solution is in the problem.. the problem is that they cannot live in peace with non muslims anywhere unless by force. the jew tried to live in peace and it doesnt really work… even with the Israeli arabs. But this should not prevent taking the Jewish homeland. Annex C and leave the arabs there in their same citizenship status, stateless or ex citizens of jordan. Let them have the same status as A & B in limbo until they can come to an agreement.
    For me the key in all the lands is to declare muslim anti semitism to be verboten and a crime with the mandatory punishment to deport. Either mosques, schools, imams etc would come into compliance or be deported under the criminal code Any practice of Islam would have to be scrubbed of anti semitism. This is how saudi runs and the world would expect that sovereign jews would have zero tolerance for anti semitism. The solutions are in the hands of the Israeli Jews but I expect that even with Trump support they will not want solutions. They will end up watering down Trump support and making it look like trump changed his mind. BB or whoever will tell them that moving the embassy might create problems… that any change in the status quo will create problems… he will say that he wont force on Israel what they do not want

    Trumps appointment of orthodox pro zionist Jew to ambassador and orthodox jew to peace process is a signal… it cant be better than that in the future… if Israel squanders the opportunities, after Trump it will get bad. Israel must make large sweeping decisions and show trump why those decisions are correct. Israel does not need a fake peace.

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