Does Israel Occupy Palestinian Territory?

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The True Cause of the Conflict

1/   The UN and many others maintain that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank during the 6-Day War of 1967 and the subsequent building of Jewish settlements is the prime cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But this cannot be true – the conflict existed much earlier.  Here are just a few indications:

  • In 1947, in an attempt to stem the already-existing conflict, the UNGA resolution 181 proposed the partition of British Mandatory Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state. This was accepted by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs. 
  • In 1948, the failed invasion of Israel by five Arab armies intent on the destruction of Israel also pre-dated the 6-Day War and the occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
  • In 1964, the PLO produced its first Palestinian National Charter of 1964. This proclaimed the intention to conquer all of Israel.  It also pre-dated the occupation of the West Bank in 1967. 
  • The same Palestinian National Charter of 1964 also specifically disclaimed Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank.

2/   The latter means that when Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 it was not Palestinian territory nor even claimed by them.  Their claim was only made later in the 1968 version of the Palestinian National Charter.  Therefore, if the West Bank really did become Palestinian territory after 1967 some decisive event must have occurred.  But what was that decisive event?  A mutually agreed solution to end the conflict and settle borders?  A binding legal ruling?  The answer is no and no.  This means that the Palestinian assertion of sovereignty has no legal or agreed basis. It is a claim only not a fact.

3/   In sum, the idea that the cause of the conflict is the occupation of the West Bank is false.  As Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said in 1976 to the US Congress:  

.. to 1967 Israel did not hold an inch of Sinai, West Bank, Gaza, or Golan – yet we had no peace.

4/   The 1968 version of the Palestinian National Charter, which is still in place, claims all the territory of Israel and not just the West Bank.  Likewise, the PA and Hamas claim exclusive rights to all the territory: from the river to the sea – the ‘48 territories (Israel).  In fact, every Palestinian faction sees the whole of Israel as Occupied Territory.  In their view, the occupation is not and never was confined to the West Bank.  It is also why none of the Palestinian factions pursue a peaceful two-state solution to end the conflict.  

5/   In reality, the real driving force of the conflict is the continued Palestinian claim to the whole region and their rejection of any independent Jewish national rights.  By this means, they deny the Jews of Israel the same rights of self-determination that they claim for themselves.  This makes a win-win agreement to end the conflict impossible; it is the rock against which all peace attempts crash. 

6/   The promotion of a fictitious cause of the conflict not only obscures its real cause but also points to a fictitious solution.  Yet until the Palestinian refusal to accept an independent Jewish state is abandoned and the Palestinian National Charter jettisoned, there is no possibility of a mutually agreed solution. 


​The Palestinians don’t seek peace with Israel, but peace without Israel.


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