Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ever Notice No One Talks About Today's Illegal Occupation by Turkey, Morocco and Russia?

Besides writing about Israel's sovereignty over the West Bank and why the term "occupation" does not apply, Dore Gold also notes the cases of foreign occupation by Turkey, Morocco and Russia that the world chooses to ignore.

Here are 3 cases of territories that came under military control of foreign forces as a result of armed conflict, and yet the word "occupied" is not being applied:
  • On July 20, 1974, the Turkish Army invaded Cyprus, which had been an independent state since 1960, taking over 37 percent of the island. The Turkish zone declared its independence in 1983, but no state, except Turkey, recognized the new government.

    How does most of the international community refer to the territory of Northern Cyprus? The fact of the matter is that they don't label it an "occupation." When the EU accepted Cyprus as a new member in 2004, the EU twisted itself into a pretzel with a memorandum explaining Cyprus' accession to the EU was suspended
    in the area of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control.
    Why don't we hear an outcry about Occupied Cyprus?

  • The Western Sahara was completely taken over by the Moroccan Army in 1979. The International Court of Justice in The Hague formally rejected the Moroccan claim of sovereignty, recognizing the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. In repeated resolutions in the U.N. over the future of Western Sahara, it was not called "occupied territory," even though the Moroccan Army has been sitting on land beyond the borders of Morocco.

    Why don't we hear an outcry about Occupied Western Sahara?

  • At the end of World War II, the Soviet Army invaded Japan and occupied the Kuril Islands, which had been previously Japanese territory. The Japanese Foreign Ministry's recent paper on the Kuril Islands doesn't even speak about ending the Russian occupation, but rather about the need to "reach a settlement of this unresolved issue of the Northern Territories."

    Why don't we hear an outcry about Occupied Japan?
Read the whole thing.

The reason for this obvious discrepancy is that the term "occupation" is not being applied in its legal sense, but as a political term.

The exploitation of the propaganda value of the the term "occupation" to manipulate public opinion is ongoing. It is an evocative word that still conjures up images of World War II and the Nazis in France. Pro-Palestinian groups pursue the delegitimization of Israel by going a step further by tossing terms such as "colonialist" and "apartheid state" into the mix.

Gold adds:
It is noteworthy that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva published a study on the subject of occupation in April 2012 that concluded that the term had unquestionably acquired a "pejorative connotation." Experts attending the meetings of the ICRC recommended replacing the term with new legal nomenclature to get wider adherence to international humanitarian law by those who were occupying foreign territory but wanted to avoid the occupation label.
The findings of the Levy Report on Israel's sovereignty over the Yehudah and Shomron (known as the West Bank after Jordan's illegal annexation in 1948) has important diplomatic implications. Negotiating the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict  requires an accurate understanding of Israel's rights in the matter.

Israel does not come to the negotiating table as "foreign occupiers," who took someone else's land, but as a country with solid legal claims to the land. The denial of that fact is what currently allows the Abbas regime to  add the pre-conditions to talks that now make peace talks impossible.

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