40 Years after the Israel Occupation

12 Jun

A rally has been held by Palestinians and Israelis on the West Bank to mark the 40th anniversary of the Israel Occupation on Palestinian land since the 1967 war. A conference in East Jerusalem was also banned by the Israeli police according to Al Jazeera.

A peaceful solution to the situation appears to be out of reach as infighting between the President Abbas Fatah’s movement and Hamas government led by the Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya continues. According to the latest Reuters report dated June 12, 2007, “Everybody is shooting everybody” on the Sydney Morning Herald, 630 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed due to the internal strife since Hamas won the 2006 elections.

At the same time, the Israeli government continues to violate international laws in the Occupied Territories. The most recent episode, being the construction of the railway system in the city of Jerusalem. According to Al Jazeera, the construction of the light rail is against Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits the transfer of populations of an occupying power to occupied territories. While the Israeli authorities have claimed that the rail is meant to reduce traffic congestion, Palestinians feel that the former is merely trying to increase its legitimacy to ownership and presence of the land.

On the 40th anniversary of the Occupation, Al Jazeera has produced a series of online news articles and reports which highlights the conflict. The report, “Question and Answer on The Occupation in Law” serves as a timely remainder on how the Occupation is illegal under international law.

The areas would include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has been reaffirmed by various international organisations – including the US and the Israeli Supreme Court. The UN Security Council, the General Assembly and the International Court of Justice all reiterated in 2004 that the Palestinian Territories are “occupied” as a matter of law.

Though the IDF has pulled out of Gaza since 2005, it is still considered as occupied as

– The Oslo accords specifically affirmed that the Palestinian Territories would remain under Israeli occupation until the implementation of a final peace treaty.

– Residents are still under the control of the Israeli military which retains the ability and right to enter the Gaza Strip at will. Moreover, Israel retains control over all of Gaza’s public utilities, airspace, sea shore, and borders, including Gaza’s border with Egypt. It sets and collects Gaza’s taxes and customs and controls its population registry. It also manage Gaza’s international relations, whether or not they can open a seaport or an airport, and continues its military activity along the Gaza Strip’s coastline.

– Because the conditions which constitute the end of an occupation have been defined in international law and in Gaza’s case those conditions have not been met.

The Q & A also stated that the Occupier, in this case, the Israel government, under international law, is obligated to end the occupation as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Israel has to safeguard the rights of the occupied population during the temporary period in which the occupation is maintained.

The UN Resolution 242 of 1967 has called on Israeli to withdraw from the Occupied territories which it invaded during the 1967 June War. It is based on the principle of what it calls the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.”


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