Letters | Kristallnacht and Article 49

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‘Never Again’ Is Current

A reader bemoans the Jewish Exponent’s apparent disregard for Kristallnacht (“Kvetch ’N’ Kvell,” Dec. 5), claiming it’s an event we should never forget. Though it was an atrocity, it pales in significance compared to thousands of men, women and children packed into cattle cars and shipped to crematoria.

It was a black day in Jewish history but of no more consequence than Pearl Harbor which ignited World War II and is hardly mentioned on Dec. 7.

Jewish history is rife with Kristallnachts, i.e., the pogroms and the Inquisition. It is the memory of the Holocaust and all it entailed and its continued relevance that is important, not individual pieces of the entire picture because “never again” is current and will remain so for eternity or at least as long as anti-Semitism exists.

Ralph D. Bloch | Jenkintown

What Does Article 49 Say?

Dore Gold has rightly disposed of the objections that have been raised against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement of policy on Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria (“A Long-Awaited Correction in Israeli Policy,” Nov. 27).

Most importantly, he demonstrates that it is wrong to characterize the Trump administration policy announcement as overturning 40 years of U.S. policy when, in fact, for the vast majority of those 40 years, the U.S. did not assert that Israeli Jewish civilians communities in Judea/Samaria were illegal.

The chief basis to the false claim that these communities are inconsistent with international law is a flawed and willful misreading of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Article 49 deals only with territories belonging to a sovereign power whereas, of course, Judea/Samaria were illegally seized by Jordan in 1948 and captured by Israel following Jordanian attack in 1967. Judea/Samaria thus remain unallocated territory under international law. Only Israeli annexation or an Arab-Israeli agreement on their status could alter this fact — neither of which have occurred.

But even if Article 49 were applicable to Judea/Samaria, what does Article 49 say?

Article 49 prohibits “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not.” It also ordains that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

As Palestinians are not being deported or forcibly transferred from Judea/Samaria to another territory and since Jews are not being deported or transferred from Israel to Judea/Samaria but rather are moving there freely of their own will, Article 49 has no bearing on the situation.

Kudos to Trump and Pompeo for repudiating this serious distortion of international law which has served as a facilitator of the libel that Israel is a war criminal.

Morton A. Klein | National President, Zionist Organization of America

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