The Zionist Organization of America News Release, March 13, 2002
The statement by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemning
what he called “the Israeli occupation” is wrong, the Zionist Organization of
America points out.
In fact, there is no “Israeli occupation.”
The term “occupation” was used by Kofi Annan, and is used by others, to
indicate that Israel has no right to any presence in Judea-Samaria-Gaza or the
Old City section of Jerusalem, and that the Israeli presence in any those areas
constitutes illegal “occupation” of someone else’s land.
In fact, Israel has strong and undeniable rights, under international law,
to be present in those areas:
- Israel has the strongest claim to those areas:The territories of Judea-Samaria-Gaza and the Old City of Jerusalem
were integral parts of the Jewish kingdoms throughout the biblical eras, and are
explicitly mandated by the Hebrew Bible as part of the Land of Israel. All of the
most important Jewish religious sites are situated in those territories. The very
name “Judea” — a term which was commonly used by the international
community throughout all the centuries until the Jordanian occupation in 1949
— is derived from the same root as the word “Jew,” testifying to the deep
Jewish connection to the land.
This historical-religious right was the basis for the League of Nations
decision, in 1922, to endorse the Jewish people’s right to all of the Holy Land,
on both sides of the Jordan River.
- There was no other recognized sovereign power in these territories prior
to 1967:Israel’s capture of Judea-Samaria-Gaza and the Old City of Jerusalem in
1967 did not constitute an illegal “occupation” of someone else’s land, because
prior to 1967, there was no legal or recognized sovereign power there.
The Jordanian occupation Judea-Samaria and Jerusalem during
1949-1967 was illegal, having been carried out in defiance of the United
Nations Security Council. The only countries in the world to recognize it were
Pakistan and (in part) England.
- Israel captured these territories in self-defense:Israel took over Judea-Samaria-Gaza and the Old City of Jerusalem in
self-defense, in response to aggression by Jordan and Egypt in June 1967.
Former State Department Legal Adviser and former head of the International
Court of Justice in the Hague, Stephen Schwebel, has written:
“Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully,
the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of
self-defence has, against that prior holder, better title.”
- U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 does not require complete Israeli
withdrawal from these territories:Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw “from territories” captured in
1967, but the authors of the resolution deliberately left out the word ‘the’
before ‘territories’ because it was their conviction — as articulated by
then-British foreign secretary George Brown — “that Israel will not withdraw
from all the territories.”
The Soviets tried to insert ‘the’, but that effort was specifically rejected
so as not to suggest that Israel is obliged to surrender all of the territories.
- 98.5% of Palestinian Arabs live under Arafat’s rule:The notion that the Palestinian Arabs are living under “Israeli occupation”
is preposterous. As a result of Israel’s territorial withdrawals following the
signing of the Oslo accords, 98.5% of the Palestinian Arabs live in Palestinian
- The Oslo Accords recognize Israel’s right to remain in the territories, at
least until a final settlement is reached:The Oslo accords accept Israel’s presence in the territories at least until
an Israel-PA agreement on the final status of those areas.
Chapter 2, Article X, Clause 4, specifically recognize that in the disputed
territories, “Israel shall continue to carry the responsibility for external security,
as well as the responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of
safeguarding their internal security and public order” until a final accord is
Furthermore, the Oslo accords do not require Israel to dismantle any of
the Israeli communities in Judea-Samaria-Gaza — in effect, an acknowledgment
of Israel’s right to maintain those communities, at least until a final-status
agreement is reached.