The West Bank and Gaza are possibly the most talked about territories in the world. Yet ironically, the legal status is quite clear.  They aren’t occupied at all!

The truth about the territories

After Britain pulled out of pre-state Israel, the United Nations partitioned the land in 1947. The Jews agreed to the partition, while the Arabs completely rejected it. They attacked Israel from 6 directions, and the war became known as the War of Independence. Despite its small size, weak weapons, and lack of trained armies, Israel succeeded in holding off the Arab onslaught.  Israel survived, however Jordan took control of the western side of the Jordan river. People call this the “West Bank” because it is the land on the west bank of the Jordan River.  Additionally, Egypt seized control of Gaza. In 1967, Israel routed the attacking Arab armies and won the Six Day War.   Israel captured those lands from Jordan and Gaza. However,  Israel is not occupying those lands. Why not?

The Answer

The generally accepted concept of occupation relates to periods in which territory is captured from a sovereign state. However, Jordan’s previous hold over them was never internationally recognized. And Israel completely pulled out of Gaza in 2005. So there are no “occupied territories.”  These are lands which Israel won in defensive wars from countries who occupied those lands.

A more accurate term would be to call it Judea and Samaria. Or some people might call them the “territories.”  Or they may go even farther and call them “disputed territories.”  However, they are by no means “occupied.”

With all the fuss about the territories, the legal opinion is very clear. However, what requires investigation is why so many people pick on Jews. They could look at the legal status of radical Muslims carrying out attacks. Or they could look at the legal status of Islamists marrying child brides. There are many more far more important issues that need legal action. However, to return to the issue at hand – what to call the territories? A more accurate term would be to call it the Land of Israel.