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Israel & Christians Today
Biblical understanding about Israel
The position of Jerusalem and the “ West Bank” under international law is a hot issue. On 4th June 2014, Christians for Israel Netherlands organized a conference on the topic “Israel, BDS and international law”, in cooperation with the European Coalition for Israel. The conference was attended by over 120 people.
• Joel Voordewind (Dutch Member of Parliament - Christian Union) expressed concern about the role played by Dutch government in stimulating businesses not to invest in Israel. The Christian parties in Holland have pushed hard to overturn this policy.
• Matthijs de Blois (Lecturer, University of Utrecht) outlined the historical and legal foundations of the State of Israel under international law. The San Remo Declaration (1920) and the Mandate for Palestine expressed recognition by the international community for the pre-existing rights of the Jewish people in relation to the land. The Mandate is an international treaty, and the rights conferred on the Jewish people to settle in all of Palestine (including what is now referred to as the “West Bank”) remain valid today.
• According to Andrew Tucker (Legal Counsel, European Coalition for Israel), international law is being misused and misrepresented in the debate about Israel/Palestine. In particular, resolutions of the UN General Assembly have been given much more weight than they deserve. The law of occupation does not prohibit Israel from controlling the post-1967 territories, nor does it render the settlements illegal. The West Bank does not “belong to” the Arab Palestinians. Under the Oslo agreements Israel is entitled to negotiate its borders.
• Tucker and de Blois both argued that “Palestine” does not (yet) qualify as a state under international law, and the UN should refuse to accept “Palestine” as a member of the UN.
• According to Tomas Sandell (Founder, European Coalition for Israel), Israel currently faces a number of existential threats. The return of jihadist fighters from Syria, and the rise of anti-Semitic right wing political parties in Europe are both of deep concern. But perhaps the most serious challenge is the delegitimization of the Jewish State. This is reflected in the BDS campaign. Christians in Europe need to stand up continually to defend the right of the Jewish people to live in peace and security in the land, based on their legal and historical rights.
• Bastiaan Belder (Member European Parliament, Chairman EP Israel Delegation) criticized the EU’s policy to link support of Israel with the success of the peace process. It is in Europe’s own best interests to defend Israel’s right to security, and promote the prosperity of Israel. Further, the recent attacks on Jews in Europe are alarming. Europe has an obligation to protect the Jewish communities in Europe.
• Journalist Jan Klinken outlined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Netherlands. This is the fruit of a small, ideological group of fanatics.
• The conference concluded with the adoption of an Open Letter to the Dutch Foreign Minister (*), in which the EU and the member states are called upon to rescind the 2013 Guidelines on EU funding, and review European policy towards Israel and the “disputed territories”.
(*) The Open Letter to the Dutch Foreign Minister is added below.
The participants in the conference about Israel and International law in Nijkerk, Netherlands
June 4, 2014 Photo C4I