The Mythical Post-2005 Israeli Occupation of the Gaza Strip
Israel Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 268-296, April 2010
28 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2010 Last revised: 14 Apr 2010
Consistent with a resolution of the government of Israel, in 2005, Israel withdrew all Israeli military forces from Gaza, forcibly removed all Israeli civilians, and dismantled its military administration in the entirety of the Gaza Strip. In addition, Israel abandoned its presence in the “Philadelphia Corridor” – the border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Two years later, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.
Notwithstanding this complete withdrawal from Gaza, and a functioning independent Palestinian government that owes no allegiance to and defers in no way to Israel, a number of legal advocacy groups, UN organs and other observers have continued to opine that Gaza is under Israeli occupation. This paper examines the validity of claims that Israel still “occupies” Gaza under the laws of war and occupied territory. The paper concludes that such claims are without any basis in international law. Simply put, there is no reasonable basis for arguing that Israel “occupies” the Gaza Strip after 2005 and, especially, 2007.
It should be emphasized that this paper assumes, arguendo, that prior to 2005, Gaza was territory belligerently occupied by Israel; it does not enter into the disputes about whether Gaza should have been considered occupied territory from 1967-2005.
Keywords: international law, international humanitarian law, laws of war, laws of occupation, belligerent occupation, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, Palestinian, Disengagement, Hamas, effective control, NGOs, United Nations
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