Following U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement of the US government’s reassessment of the legality of Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria, United Nations Special Envoy to the Middle East Nikolai Mladenov released a scathing criticism of American policy, denouncing “unilateral moves” that “fuel anger and disillusionment."
Responding to Mladenov’s statement, Regavim Director General Meir Deutsch dispatched a sharply-worded response to the UN Special Envoy. “Your recent public statements, and the characterization of Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria in your briefing to the Council, reveal a deep-seated anti-Israel bias,” wrote Deutsch. “We were surprised by your reference to Israeli actions in Area C as unilateral moves, while conveniently ignoring the UN’s own unilateral actions in the very same territory – actions that violate international law and signed treaties, undermining both the letter and the spirit of the Oslo framework. Neither the United Nations nor the European Union has the moral, legal, or historical right to determine what the resolution of this conflict will look like, or what the final result of the negotiations should be. Statements that dictate a resolution are counterproductive, and are detrimental to the UN’s ability to serve as an arbiter in any future negotiations.”
Regavim’s letter detailed UN support, amounting to millions of dollars in recent years, for infrastructure, agriculture, and construction projects in Area C – the area under full Israeli jurisdiction - all with the stated purpose of strengthening Palestinian statehood specifically in this area. UN funding has enabled the PA to carry out large-scale land seizure projects, widespread illegal construction, and massive infrastructure works that are designed to facilitate the unilateral establishment of a de facto Palestinian state.
“These projects, carried out unilaterally and without coordination with the Civil Administration or any other official representative of the State of Israel, are the only “flagrant violation of international law” occurring in Area C,” Deutsch noted. “Whether the State of Israel is considered an occupying power (as the UN mistakenly contends), an administrator of disputed territory, or a liberator of territory seized by a hostile foreign government in a war of aggression (as is unequivocally the case regarding the illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria by Jordan in 1948), international law dictates that all construction and infrastructure projects must be carried out either directly by Israel or by individuals or organizations granted a specific permit to do so by the State of Israel. Similarly, the Oslo Accords very clearly delineate the jurisdiction of this territory; the UN’s activities violate this jurisdiction on a daily basis.”
Deutsch concluded his letter to Mladenov by calling upon the United Nations to honor its own declaration: “The Regavim Movement calls on the United Nations to desist from any further support for illegal activities in Area C.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, and the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman received copies of Deutsch’s letter.