Hijacking the Laws of Occupation

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Alan Baker - There are 40 or more ongoing conflict and occupation situations throughout the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, East Timor, East Congo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, and the Crimea. Curiously, these situations, which involve extensive transfer of people in order to settle in the occupied territory, are rarely seen by the international community as "occupations." Nor are the respective parties involved described as "belligerent occupants," "occupying powers," or "settlers." From the extent and volume of international attention directed toward Israel and the excessive number of UN resolutions, one might be led to assume that Israel is considered within the international community to be the only "occupying power." The accepted rules of occupation are overly general and do not take into consideration the often unique political, legal, and historical status of the territory in dispute, as is the case regarding Israel. The language of occupation law has been politicized, and partisan political expressions such as "Occupied Palestinian Territories" have become common language by the UN and by such humanitarian organizations as the International Red Cross. This terminology has no legal basis and prejudges ongoing, agreed-upon, and internationally-endorsed negotiation issues between Israel and the Palestinians. Their use by humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross is incompatible with its own constitutional principles of neutrality and impartiality. Amb. Alan Baker, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon.

2017-09-04 00:00:00

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