When is occupation 'occupation'?hypocrisy in the way that the French government (25% shareholder) is relating to the Israeli 'occupation' of Judea and Samaria, as compared with how it relates to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and the Turkish occupation of Cyprus.
On Wednesday the CEO of the French telecom firm Orange announced that he sought to “drop” his business in Israel, done through an Israeli subsidiary. Speaking at a meeting in Cairo, he emphasized that this was action was mostly to win the “trust” of Arab countries. But there was also a suggestion that this is because the Israeli affiliate has some cellular antennae across the Green Line.
The French Ambassador to the U.S., (and formerly Israel), defended the Orange CEO’s statement on Twitter:‘
“4th Geneva convention : settlement policy in occupied territories is illegal. It is illegal to contribute to it in any way.”
That statement is entirely baseless. Even if settlements are illegal, there is no ban on business in the territories, or with settlers. Certainly there is no tertiary obligation to not do business with businesses that have some tangential business in such territory. All this is demonstrated extensively in my new paper, some of which I tried to share with Amb. Araud.
The Orange incident, and the Ambassador’s legal claim, are also bad news for a number of French companies, like the oil giant Total, which is active in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara against the vociferous protests of the indigenous Sawahari people. (There are many other examples, like Michelin in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.) The French government has never criticized any of these controversial activities in any way. But if the Ambassador’s legal claim is right, he has provided the basis for war crimes prosecutions of France’s leading executives.
Amb. Araud responded to my question by revealing that he had no idea one of his country’s largest companies was engaged in an major project that, by his account, is a war crime.
The Ambassador, after blocking me, revealed that his international law claims are not really about international law:So we have a diplomat blocking a university professor on Twitter for pointing out that he was mistaken. And not for the first time, we have proof that those who oppose the Israeli 'occupation' of Judea and Samaria are incapable of passing Natan Sharansky's 3D test.
I speak of one occupied territory. I am answered on other territories. I conclude that everybody agrees on what I say on the former.In other words, no fairs to cite precedents and practice. But of course, if you are talking about international law, “other territories” are entirely relevant. First, for something to be law, it has to be a rule that applies to similar situations. And for it to be international, well, those situations will involve different countries.
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