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March 29, 2017

The Washington Post’s Selective ‘Occupation’

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In two recent articles, The Washington Post displayed a selective use of the term “occupation” as it relates to the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Post, in an online-only March 3, 2017 report about a Palestinian congressional intern, initially called the Gaza Strip, “occupied Gaza (“At 15, he was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier. Now this Palestinian dedicated his life to peace”).” Although the dispatch, by reporter Colby Itkowitz, did not elaborate as to whom was occupying Israel, the inference was that the Jewish state was the occupying power. However, Israel has not “occupied Gaza” since 2005, when it unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip.

Politico, among others, noted this in a June 25, 2015 correction. Similarly, The Los Angeles Times, in a September 24, 2016 correction to a September 2, 2016 book review, acknowledged “Israel…withdrew from the region in 2005.”

Although some scholars have argued that Israeli security measures, like blockades, which are meant to deter terrorist attacks from Hamas, are tantamount to an occupation, many international legal experts do not share this view. Further, such a definition would mean that Egypt also “occupies” the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, as Eugene Kontorovich, a scholar of international law at Northwestern University pointed out in a Nov. 13, 2014 Washington Post article:

“An occupation is traditionally defined as a power exercising ‘effective control’ over the territory in a way that displaces the prior government. The occupying power is expected to provide law and order, essential services, and all the basic functions of government – and is thus required to have the kind of control that allows for that. As the ICJ has put it, occupation requires a territory to be ‘actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.’ There has never been a finding of such a ‘remote’ occupation, lasting nine years after the end of physical occupation and in the presence of a distinct and hostile local government. Indeed, even puppet governments are not considered occupation by the puppet master.”

Israel does not exercise “effective control” over the Gaza Strip. Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since winning in 2006 democratic elections and seizing power from Fatah—both of which occurred after Israel’s withdrawal—has itself acknowledged that Israel does not occupy Gaza. As senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Zahar stated in 2012:

"Popular resistance is inappropriate for the Gaza Strip," al-Zahar said. "Against whom exactly would be rally? Such resistance would be fitting if Gaza was occupied."

Following contact by CAMERA, The Washington Post commendably—if belatedly—corrected the article on March 22, 2017.

Yet, The Post has displayed an odd selectively as to what constitutes “occupied.” In a March 20 article by reporter Ruth Eglash, the paper wrote that Jordan merely “ruled the West Bank” from 1948 until 1967. This seemingly innocuous sounding word minimizes the historical reality. As a result of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, Transjordan, in its attack on the fledgling Jewish state, seized the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Transjordan subsequently renamed itself Jordan and, with its troops, held the West Bank in an occupation that was only recognized by two countries: its chief benefactor, Great Britain, and the newly formed Muslim nation of Pakistan.

This is to say that, according to the initial Post report, Israel, despite having no troops there and having unilaterally withdrawn, nonetheless still occupies the Gaza Strip. By contrast, Jordan, with its troops and military presence, merely “ruled” the West Bank from 1948 until 1967.

Posted by SD at March 29, 2017 10:32 AM

Comments

Gaza is occupied. Islamofascist colonists have occupied Israeli territory since 1948

Posted by: Gee at April 6, 2017 10:29 AM

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