According to the Random House unabridged dictionary occupation is “possession, settlement, or use of land or property”; “the seizure and control of an area by military forces, esp. foreign territory” or finally,
“the term of control of a territory by foreign military forces”
What may not be known is that Israel has no government in what is known improperly as the “occupied territories”. They do not have a permanent military presence, except surrounding Israeli villages that are under attack, and the Palestinian Authority has full autonomous control over the institutions and land in the territories.
Of course, there is now no presence whatsoever in the Gaza Strip by Israel.
What even Israeli’s fail to understand is that the Hebrew word for settlement is “yishoov”. Unfortunately, it’s real translation is town, village or city. There is really no direct translation.
So, even Israelis will call something a settlement that elicits a vision in the West of a few crazies on a hill in a trailer or a tent fighting an advancing tide of so called Palestinian civilization.
But 99% of those termed “settlements” most closely resmeble what we in the US we call suburbs.
They are suburban enclaves surrounding, principally Jerusalem, but other cities as well.
Now, even more important is this.
The Palestinian mandate was created on land taken from the TURKS. Not any particular country but the Turkish empire prior to and before WWI. This was done because of the Turks siding with the Germans during the war. Of course, this was the losing side.
The area was not taken by Israel, but by the French and British, the primary allied powers of the time.
The Turkish empire had ruled the entire region including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan for four hundred years before Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan were artificially created by the English and the French. Jordan — a state whose majority is Palestinian — occupies 80% of the Palestine Mandate.
After the War, these countries were created. In 1967, Israel recaptured territory that it had lost in the 1948 war, when the entire Arab world attacked it.
It recaptured the “West Bank” from Jordan. It recaptured the Golan Heights from Syria, and it recaptured Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt.
As a result of the Camp David accords, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. The Egyptians refused to take back the Gaza strip.
Before 1967, nobody asked the Egyptians, Jordanians, or Syrians to give up these lands to a nebulous group of Sunni Arabs now calling themselves Palestinians.
So, what is being occupied? Who is occupying it? And why didn’t Yasser Arafat and his cronies ever ask King Hussein, Gamel Nasser or Hafez Assad for these lands?