Re: David Taub Bancroft’s letter to the editor on Dec. 7, 2013:
Letter to the editor, rebutting previous letter re: United Church and BDS
Mr. Bancroft’s conclusion in his letter, that the United Church’s policy is “grounded in international law” and that there is “very little worth taking offence over”, is in error. This error follows from 3 prior errors of fact that he makes.
First, he mentions “Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank”, when the West Bank territory in question is rightly considered disputed, not occupied. It was taken by Israel from Jordan in 1967, in a defensive war, after Jordan attacked Israel. Prior to being (illegally held) Jordanian territory, it was the part of the British Mandate of Palestine, and prior to that it was part of the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years. It has never had a Palestinian government, and therefore cannot be occupied Palestinian territory. And note also that Jordan has given up any claim to it.
Secondly, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to this case. It was written to prevent such things as the forcible removal of over 2 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia to Germany at the end of the second world war. No Palestinians are being “deported or transferred” from the disputed territories, and for that matter, no one is being “deported or transferred” into them. Some people are moving into the territories of their own free will.
And finally, the Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 divides the territories into 3 Areas. The Palestinians are free, according to the Oslo Accords, to build in Areas A & B, and Israel is free to build in Area C, which is what it is doing. Which is to say that the settlements are not “illegal under international law” as he claims, but have, in fact, been agreed to by the Palestinians in 1993.
Since the Israelis and the Palestinians are both allowed by the Oslo Accords to build, but in different areas, why does Mr. Bancroft feel that the Israelis and only the Israelis must stop? Surely if it is true for one side, it must also be true for the other.