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> Gaza withdraw, ...or is it?
psyclist
post Aug 14 2005, 06:58 AM
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With the withdraw of Gaza looming in the air, I wanted to get some thoughts from the AD community. The media seems to have missed the debate going on as to the status of Gaza after the withdraw of troops from the Strip in the coming days. The PLO Negotiation Affairs Department and others have made a case that the Gaza Strip will still be occupied by Palestine after the withdraw of troops. Others see the withdraw as a land grab, meaning Israel will concede the Gaza Strip for the West Bank. The withdraw from Gaza and the actions of both Palestine, Israel, and the international community afterwards may make or break the possibility of a two state solution.

In the Disengagment Plan Israel states that it will absolve itself from its legal obligations as an occupying power after the withdraw from Gaza.

QUOTE
F. The disengagement move will obviate the claims about Israel with regard to its responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
2. Upon completion of the move, no permanent Israeli civilian or military presence in the areas that are evacuated in the continental expanse of the Gaza Strip will remain.

As a result, there will be no basis for the claim that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory.


However, there is a catch:
QUOTE
1. Israel will supervise and guard the external envelope on land, will maintain exclusive control in the air space of Gaza, and will continue to conduct military activities in the sea space of the Gaza Strip.


The Negotiations Affairs Department has built a case stating that Israel will still control Gaza here.
I tried to pick out the most important parts but I would suggest reading the whole article:

QUOTE
The Hague Regulations of 1907 set forth the basic legal standard: “Territory is occupied when it has actually been placed under the authority of the hostile army.  The occupation only extends to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” This definition represents customary international law and has been reaffirmed and expounded upon at the Nuremberg Tribunal, in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) and in its First Additional Protocol (1979), in state practice, in United Nations’ resolutions, and in the judgment of the International Court of Justice.

Although Israel will supposedly remove its permanent military presence, Israeli forces will retain the ability and right to enter the Gaza Strip at will. Further, Israel will retain control over Gaza’s airspace, sea shore, and borders.  Under the Plan, Israel will unilaterally control whether or not Gaza opens a seaport or an airport.  Additionally, Israel will control all border crossings, including Gaza’s border with Egypt.  And Israel will “continue its military activity along the Gaza Strip’s coastline.”  Taken together, these powers mean that all goods and people entering or leaving Gaza will be subject to Israeli control.

Israel Will Remain the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip so long as Israel Retains the Ability to Exercise Authority over the Strip
In The Hostages Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal expounded upon The Hague Regulations’ basic definition of occupation in order to ascertain when occupation ends.  It held that “[t]he test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.” In that case, the Tribunal had to decide whether Germany’s occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia had ended when Germany had ceded de facto control to non-German forces of certain territories.  Even though Germany did not actually control those areas, the Tribunal held that Germany indeed remained the “occupying power”—both in Greece and Yugoslavia generally and in the Territories to which it had ceded control—since it could have reentered and controlled those territories at will.


The PLO-NAD isn’t the only one who seems to feel that Israel is not fully withdrawing from Gaza. John Dugard of the Commission on Human Rights in Resolution E/CN.4/2005/29 states:

QUOTE
“Israel has announced that it will withdraw unilaterally from Gaza. Israel intends to portray this as the end of the military occupation of Gaza, with the result that it will no longer be subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of Gaza. In reality, however, Israel does not plan to relinquish its grasp on the Gaza Strip. It plans to retain ultimate control over Gaza by controlling its borders, territorial sea and airspace. Consequently, it will in law remain an Occupying Power still subject to obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
cite


The purpose of the disengagement plan has been called into question by Palestinian groups as well. Possibly spurred by Dov Weisglass’ comments:

QUOTE
“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz. "And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."
Dov Weisglass, Senior Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon


Obviously many Palestinians feel that Israel is merely swapping Gaza for the West Bank as the security fence will continue to grow in the West Bank as laid out in the Disengagement Plan thus alluding to a possibility of more violence.

QUOTE
In actual fact, the Gaza disengagement plan is a smokescreen or PR plot, to divert international attention from Israel’s continued land acquisition policy, pursued with concerns to the status of Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
biased cite


With all that said:


1.) Should Gaza be considered occupied territory (and thus still bound to legal obligations set forth in the Geneva Convention) by the international community once Israel has removed troops from the region?

2.) Is Gaza’s disengagement devised for the sole purpose of simply strengthening Israel’s hold on Jerusalem and the West Bank?

3.) What are the ramifications of the Gaza withdraw on the peace process?



Links:
Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The Hague, 18 October 1907

The "Hostages Case" (United States v. List et al)

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VDemosthenes
post Aug 14 2005, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE(psyclist @ Aug 14 2005, 02:58 AM)

1.)  Should Gaza be considered occupied territory (and thus still bound to legal obligations set forth in the Geneva Convention) by the international community once Israel has removed troops from the region?

2.)  Is Gaza’s disengagement devised for the sole purpose of simply strengthening Israel’s hold on Jerusalem and the West Bank?

3.)  What are the ramifications of the Gaza withdraw on the peace process?

*



1.) From the sounds of it it shall remain an occupied territory no matter what occurs.

2.) I do not think so, I think that Israel is trying to be noble and grant Palestine a homeland and their disengagement is of face value.

3.) I shall take a different tact, that I am sure will not be popular: bad. A popular children's book says "if you give a mouse a cookie..." Giving the PLO an inch may lead to Israel being out a mile, I think provisions laid down in the disengagement pact try to deter from that- does it mean Palestine will not try and get more than their monies worth? Certainly not.




This post has been edited by VDemosthenes: Aug 14 2005, 02:17 PM
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psyclist
post Aug 25 2005, 08:21 PM
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2.) Is Gaza’s disengagement devised for the sole purpose of simply strengthening Israel’s hold on Jerusalem and the West Bank?

It seems we are already getting clear picture as to the answer of this question.

QUOTE
The Israeli Army has taken the first step towards building its separation barrier round Ma'ale Admumim, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank.


If the barrier extends to enclose Maale Adumim, it will stretch some 25 kilometres into Palestinian land, or half the width of the West Bank. These grounds being cut off from the Palestinians include grazing grounds, some olive groves, and around 250 cisterns supplying water to the Palestinian population.

Surprisingly the US has spoken out against the building:

QUOTE
The U.S. State Department yesterday issued a statement that was implicitly critical of building a wall around Maale Adumim. The barrier "is a problem to the extent that it prejudges final borders, confiscates Palestinian property or imposes further hardship on the Palestinian people," the statement said.


I believe that the continued building in the West Bank and the lack of an agreement with Egypt over the Rafah crossing is going to severly hinder the peace process and destroy the hopes of a viable two state solution.
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This post has been edited by psyclist: Aug 25 2005, 08:23 PM
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