Palestine is not occupied — it is colonized

Israeli troops screened captured Egyptian troops and Palestinians at the start of the war on Jun 5, 1967, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (photo: David Rubinger / Israeli Governement / Getty Images)

Israel’s colonization began when the 19th-Century Zionist movement aspired to build an exclusive homeland for Jews in Palestine.

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | Jun 6, 2018


The Palestinian Occupied Territories have, long ago, crossed the line from being occupied to being colonized. But there are reasons that we are trapped in old definitions, leading amongst them is American political hegemony over the legal and political discourses pertaining to Palestine.


June 5, 2018, marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 — on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.

The unsurprising death of the “peace process” and the inevitable demise of the “two-state solution” has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.

Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the “Israeli occupation” is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist colonization of historic Palestine, a process that began over a 100 years ago, and carries on to this day. . . .

It is for practical purposes that we often utilize the term “occupation” with reference to Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land, occupied after 5 June 1967. The term allows for the constant emphasis on humanitarian rules that are meant to govern Israel’s behavior as the occupying power.

However, Israel has already, and repeatedly, violated most conditions of what constitutes an “occupation” from an international law perspective, as articulated in the 1907 Hague Regulations (articles 42–56) and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

According to these definitions, an “occupation” is a provisional phase, a temporary situation that is meant to end with the implementation of international law regarding that particular situation.

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