Monday, October 07, 2013

Ma'an says, at the end of an article:
Gaza [is] considered to be occupied by Israel according to the United Nations, as Israel controls the Gaza Strip's airspace, territorial waters and movement of people and goods.
This is false. Israel's control of airspace, waters and some of the borders is not a definition of occupation, and the UN has never made that claim - only clueless anti-Israel activists made that argument up, but it has no legal validity.

Ma'an, being the twisted news agency it is, swallows and regurgitates anti-Israel lies without bothering to check the facts.

Less than two years ago, UN Watch specifically asked the UN why it continues to refer to Gaza as "occupied" when under any sane interpretation of international law, it isn't. The UN replied:
Under resolutions adopted by both the Security Council and the General Assembly on the Middle East peace process, the Gaza Strip continues to be regarded as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The United Nations will accordingly continue to refer to the Gaza Strip as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory until such time as either the General Assembly or the Security Council take a different view.

Question: Can I follow up on that? It is the legal definition of occupation and why is Gaza considered occupied?

Spokesperson: Well, as I have just said, there are Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that cover this. For example, there was a Security Council resolution adopted on 8 January 2009 — 1860 — and that stressed that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967. And as you know, Security Council resolutions do have force in international law.

Furthermore, there is a resolution from the General Assembly from 20 December 2010, and while it noted the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, it also stressed, in quotes, “the need for respect and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. So just to repeat that the United Nations will continue to refer to the Gaza Strip as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory until either the General Assembly or the Security Council take a different view on the matter.
Note that the UN isn't saying that Gaza is legally "occupied." It is saying that Gaza must be referred to as "Occupied Palestinian Territory" - it is arguing nomenclature, not law. The Hague Conventions makes it clear that occupied territory refers only to portions of territory under control of another party, not that an entire territory is either occupied or not if only part of it is.  Otherwise, Turkey would be considered to be occupying all of Cyprus, not only the northern part, since Cyprus is clearly a single territory. That is nonsensical.

At no point does the UN respond to UN Watch anything about control of borders or airspace - because it knows that it would be laughed out of court if it tried to make that claim. Ma'an is lying.

I discovered that the UN only started using the term "Occupied Palestinian Territory" formally in 1998, well after Oslo, but the UN website has been busily rewriting the titles of its documents to retroactively refer to "OPT" years before it started actually using the term.


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