"Israel moves to annex illegal settlements in West Bank“ howl the mainstream media in Germany. The framing already tells us what the “right” opinion on this heinous crime is. Other views are not heard in Europe. As a member of the European Parliament, I say it is high time to end this one-sided view of the disputed territories, end EU boycotts of Judea and Samaria, and stop funding the Palestinian terror apparatus with taxpayer Euros.
In EU think tanks and European media, it is a given that “Jewish settlements” in Judea and Samaria are ”illegal under international law” – a false claim based on one-sided propaganda, which ignores the historical facts.
In the Ottoman Empire, there was neither Israel nor Palestine. The region was called South Syria, and was mostly barren and void due to Ottoman mismanagement and exorbitant property taxes. The inhabitants were mostly nomadic shepherds. In the year 1882, approx. 141.000 Muslims lived on the territory that became Israel, “of which at least 25% were newcomers,“ as historian Ernst Frankenstein wrote, and there were approx. 60.000 Jews.
With the onset of the Zionist Movement in 1871, Jews began moving to the territory and legally buying land. The settlers brought economic prosperity to the barren land, which created a “pull effect”, attracting thousands of Arabs from neighboring countries and swelling the Arab population to half a million in 1947. Thus, most of the Arab population of Israel are also “settlers” bearing Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi names, as Joan Peters documents in her book “From Time Immemorial”.
The Arab delegate at the Paris Peace Talks 1920 was Emir Feisal, who welcomed the plans for a “national home for the Jewish people”: “We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement.... We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home.” Feisal was made King of Iraq and “agreed to abandon all claim … to Western Palestine” (modern Israel), as T.E. Lawrence wrote to Winston Churchill in 1921.
Such is the foundation of the State of Israel in international law. According to Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, the UN is bound to the League of Nations resolutions: “Nothing in this Charter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner … the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.“
Nonetheless, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed Resolution 181, the “Partition Plan for Palestine.“ The Jews, who were technically entitled to a “national home” from the Mediterranean to the Iraqi border, nevertheless agreed, settling for much less than they were due under “international law.” The Arabs in Mandatory Palestine and the neighboring states rejected Resolution 181, even if they today cite it as justification for demanding a state of Palestine “in the Borders of 1947.”
The war against the Jews began on the day after ratification of Resolution 181. “An armed band from Arab Jaffa attacked a bus full of Jews along the coast, killing five and injuring several others. Shortly thereafter, Arabs attacked another bus, killing two Jews. Snipers opened fire from Jaffa on neighboring Tel Aviv, killing at least one. On Dec. 2, a three-day general strike organized by the Arab High Committee began. In Jerusalem, an armed mob of Arabs attacked Jewish passers-by and set fire to Jewish shops “ (Alex Feuerherd and Florian Markl, “Vereinte Nationen gegen Israel“).
On the afternoon of May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read the Proclamation of Independence of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv , which was recognized by the USA on May 15 and the Soviet Union on May 17. On May 15, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq attacked the new-born state of Israel. When the War of Independence ended, Israel was free, but Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and Judea and Samaria by Jordan, which dubbed the territory the “West Bank.” Jordan’s illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria was never recognized internationally (except by Pakistan and the UK, which had officers serving with the Jordanian Army).
After Israel took Judea and Samaria in the Six Day War, the UN passed Resolution 242, calling for ”withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” It explicitly and deliberately did not demand withdrawal from all territories. After Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai 1979 and Gaza 2005, one can already speak of a “withdrawal from territories occupied.”
In 2005, the deal was supposed to be “Land for Peace,“ a promise which was never fulfilled. In the year after the withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas fired almost a thousand rockets at Israel. The forced evacuation and bulldozing of Gush Katif, once a popular beach resort and surf spot, now a terrorist hellhole, proved to be a huge mistake – a trauma Israelis never wish to repeat.
As the Arab nations became independent and joined the UN in the 1950s and ‘60s, they formed an anti-Israel voting bloc with the Warsaw pact, converting the UN into an anti-Israel lobby organization. The United Nations condemn Israel more frequently than all the world’s tyrannies and terror regimes put together, as UN Watch documents.
In terms of international law, however, the votes of the UN General Assembly are not binding without support of the Security Council, where the USA have always prevented one-sided condemnation of Israel – up until the fateful Resolution 2334, which the lame-duck Obama administration pushed through two days before Christmas, on Dec. 23, 2016, even though they knew full well their democratically elected successors, the Trump Administration, were trying to prevent this Resolution by all means possible – a striking break from US presidential tradition, where administrations are expected to work together to ensure a smooth handover of power.
Instead, the Obama administration and possibly the President himself were listening in on phone calls between incoming National Security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergej Kislyak, without legal predicate, which became the basis for the “Spygate” affair, a potentially illegal coup attempt by Obama officials against the current, democratically elected US government.
The only legally binding treaties the Palestinian leadership have agreed to concerning Judea and Samaria are the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995 between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, which partitioned Judea and Samaria into Area A, B und C. I was able to visit these areas in the Summer of 2019 and wrote about it for Arutz Sheva.
Ever since 1995, the notoriously corrupt Palestinian Authority has resisted any further agreements as required by the Oslo Accords. So, the partition Rabin and Arafat agreed to in 1995 remains legal and in effect. Condemning this partition as “illegal” while at the same time supporting Palestinian Autonomy as agreed upon in the same treaty is patently absurd.
The Palestinian leadership around the terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, the financier of the Munich Attacks 1972, has no interest in a peaceful solution, which would rob them of their authority and their access to generous international funding courtesy of the European taxpayer, endangering their status, their fancy mansions and their BMW limousines. However, the normal Arab population and working people in Judea and Samaria have recognized that Israel offers them a better life than their corrupt leaders do. Every day, over 600.000 Arabs cross the Green Line to go work in Israel, peacefully voting with their feet, even as Abbas refuses to hold elections since 2009.
Area C remains in a bizarre legal limbo, however, administered by the IDF. Israeli courts bend over backwards to apply Ottoman law dating back to the year 1919. Funded by the EU and European NGOs, the Palestinian Authority uses this Ottoman law to occupy Israeli land and build illegal settlements like Khan al Ahmar – and German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatens to cancel her visit to Israel if Khan al Ahmar is evacuated. An absurd state of affairs.
After 25 years of Palestinian obstruction and refusal to negotiate, the new Israeli coalition has decided to put an end to this bizarre charade and extend civilian authority over large parts of Area C. The Arab inhabitants will receive hotly sought-after Israeli rights, welfare and citizenship, and protection under Israeli law, which has proved very popular among Arabs in East Jerusalem.
The European Union pays €300 Million every year to the Palestinian Authority, which uses this largesse to print school books lionizing terrorists and subsidize the families of terrorists. The EU pays €160 million a year to the corrupt anti-Israel UNRWA, and the German government more than doubled their UNRWA funding 2018 to €173 million.
No one knows exactly how much taxpayer money the German government and EU pay to shady, unaccountable anti-Israel NGOs, which fund the legal defense of murderers, as Im Tirtzu pointed out on the visit of German FM Heiko Maas recently. When my party asked the German government to reveal how much they were paying NGOs active in Israel, we were informed that this information was top secret – information that was so sensitive it outweighed the taxpayers’ right to know what is being done with their money! One can only imagine why.
It is time for European Governments to abandon their obstruction and sabotage of a realistic peace, to end their generous and secret support for the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA and anti-Israel NGOs, and to support Israel in its quest for a peaceful future for all. It is time for Germany and the EU to join Arab governments like Egypt, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in welcoming the Trump Peace Plan, and to support Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
We must recognize the fact that Israel is our friend, and Israel is here to stay.
 Ernst Frankenstein, "Justice for my People", London 1943, p. 127Quoted in: Joan Peters, "From Time Immemorial", Harper & Row, Chicago 1984, p. 197
Joachim Kuhs is a trained Auditor. He is a member of the AfD National Committee, head of the “Christians in the AfD” and member of the Budget Committee in the EU Parliament. He lives in Baden-Baden, has 10 children and 12 grandchildren.