The argument for occupation has been that since Israel maintains “absolute authority over Gaza’s airspace and territorial sea [it is] manifestly exercising governmental authority in these areas,” in the words of Prof. Iain Scobbie. Others claim that border control amounts to “effective control” of the interior. But prior blockades, like that of Cuba by president John F. Kennedy, were never considered occupations. Moreover, border controls are typical along every international frontier, even among the friendliest of nations.(h/t Greg, Menachem)
...The recent UN Security Council resolution authorizing force against Libya provides an excellent experiment in whether the legal arguments widely made about Israel are also applied in parallel cases. In March, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 in response to Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s violent crackdown on anti-government rebels. The resolution authorized military action, delineated a no-fly zone across all of Libya, froze Libyan assets, and authorized the extensive use of force against Libyan troops.
Yet Resolution 1793 specifically rules out any “occupation” of Libyan territory. This was not stray language. The prohibition of occupation has helped secure the support of several skeptical nations.
At the Council meeting, Lebanon’s delegate stressed that the resolution would not result in the occupation of “even an inch” of Libyan territory.
SO we now have confirmation from the Council that a broad embargo, no-fly zone and months of constant aerial bombardment do not constitute an “occupation.” Certainly these activities have considerable effect on Libya, and “control” much of what happens there. Obviously Israel’s much less comprehensive and invasive measures against Gaza do not constitute an occupation by this standard.
Of course, the Libya resolution proves nothing new; the arguments that Gaza remained occupied after 2005 were always quite surprising.
The obviousness of the above principles when applied anywhere but to Israel should give pause to those who think that even a full withdrawal to pre-1967 lines will lead to Israel’s international legitimacy, or preclude the fabrication of new pretextual claims.
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