Today, the claim that Yehudah and Shomron (known as the West Bank after Jordan's illegal annexation in 1948), is occupied and that Israel are the occupiers is the perpetuation of a myth:
- Israel's presence in Yehudah and Shomron (the West Bank) is unique: that area has no previous sovereignty. The land had been captured in 1948 by Jordan, but its declaration of sovereignty in 1950 was rejected by both the Arab states and the international community: on Great Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordanian control as legal.
- The Jewish rights to the West Bank already exist from the Palestine Mandate, which is based on the Treaty of Versailles, empowered by the League of Nations, ratified by the US under Calvin Coolidge, and maintained by the UN under Article 80. See details in the post of why the West Bank is part of Israel according to international law
- Consistent with the Oslo Agreements in the 1990s, there is no longer an Israeli military government over the Palestinian population--the Arabs there are under the rule of the Palestinian Authority and the Abbas regime. While some functions of government are retained by the IDF, other functions are exercised by the Palestinians, and there are also shared powers. But while the Palestinians do not have an independent state, but they can not be considered to be under "occupation"
Bottom line: what is being termed "The Occupation" was functionally over in Judea and Samaria in 1995, while in Gaza it ended in 2005 after Israel withdrew its citizens.
The knee-jerk response that Gaza and the West Bank are "occupied" and that Israel are "occupiers" is a political statement, not a legal one. The value of stigmatizing Israel through such an emotional claim is not lost on those who want to delegitimize Israel.
What is needed now is to educate people with facts so that they are no longer misled by self-proclaimed experts on international law and by those who claim objectivity while operating from an agenda.
For more information, including articles and videos on Israel's legal rights to Yehudah and Shomron see The Israeli Settlements: Are They Legal?
Technorati Tag: Israel and West Bank and International Law and Palestine.