Friday, January 06, 2012

Gaza is not Occupied Territory says Hamas

Gaza was freed from Israeli occupation in 2005 when Israel dismantled the military administration, forcibly removed all Israeli residents, withdrew every soldier, and turned over all Gazan territory previously controlled by Israel. In 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israel had fully disengaged from Gaza no longer exercising "effective control over what occurred there.”

Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas co-founder, confirmed last Tuesday Israel no longer occupies Gaza and denying that the Gaza based Hamas would hold anti-Israel protests along with the planned protests by Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Recognizing the obvious, Zahar said, "Against whom could we demonstrate in the Gaza Strip? When Gaza was occupied, that model was applicable." No matter what outside control Israel, Egypt, or any other entity tries to exert, Hamas rules the Gaza Strip with an unquestioned iron fist.

Jerusalem Post:
THE HAMAS statement follows growing recognition among international lawyers that the UN’s resistance to holding Palestinians responsible for territory they control is outdated.

Four-and-a-half years after seizing power in Gaza, Hamas runs its own police, courts, jails, schools, media and social services, noted Abraham Bell and Dov Shefi, two international legal experts, in a 2010 research paper for the University of San Diego law school.

Hamas regulates business activities, banks and land registries. It levies taxes, controls its own borders and even imposes a dress code. In sum, wrote Bell and Shefi, Hamas operates “a functioning and fully independent local civil government, buttressed by armed forces.”

Similarly, in an article published in the American University International Law Review, Elizabeth Samson concluded that under the Geneva Conventions and international judicial precedents, Gaza can no longer be considered occupied because Israel, despite its ability to exercise certain powers over the area, no longer exercises “effective control,” the litmus test for what qualifies as occupation.
Despite the reality on the ground, rulings by the Israel Supreme Court, public protestations by Hamas, and the recent statement by Zahar, the United Nations continues to refer to Gaza as "occupied territory", "occupied Palestinian territory, specifically the Gaza Strip", "the Occupied Palestinian Territory", and similar terminology of occupation.

This is part and parcel with the Liberal left's efforts to maintain helplessness and dependency among Palestinians by them granting maximum privileges while absolving them of all responsibility not only for their actions but their own welfare rendering the Gazan Palestinians perpetual losers.

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