Gaza Strip still occupied – according to BBC

On December 30th 2012 the BBC published an article in the Middle East section of its BBC News website entitled “Gaza construction convoy crosses from Egypt” and relating to the entry into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing of truckloads of building materials donated by Qatar. 

Gaza construction convoy

In the article it is stated: [emphasis added]

 “A convoy of trucks carrying thousands of tonnes of supplies donated by the Gulf state of Qatar entered Gaza via the Rafah border crossing on Saturday.

Egypt had previously followed import restrictions imposed by Israel.”

Is the BBC really trying to suggest that up to now Egyptian policy on the subject of its border with the Gaza Strip was subject to Israeli dictates? That Egypt could not have permitted the entry of goods and persons through the Rafah crossing had it wished to do so? That the concerns of Egyptian governments – old and new – regarding domestic security have no effect upon Egypt’s policies concerning its border? 

Or is that sentence in fact a reflection of the BBC’s overall approach to the Gaza Strip, which is to present the territory as being completely under Israeli control (despite the existence of a second border with Egypt) and still occupied – despite the fact that even Hamas says it is not? 

The BBC’s profile of the Gaza Strip – last updated in January 2009: some three and a half years after the Israeli withdrawal – states: [emphasis added]

“The shape of the territory was defined by the Armistice Line following the creation of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent war between the Israeli and Arab armies.

Egypt administered the Strip for the next 19 years, but Israel captured it during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and Gaza has been under Israeli control since then.

In 2005, Israel pulled out the troops occupying Gaza, along with thousands of Jews who had settled in the territory. As far as Israel was concerned that was the end of the occupation.

However, that has not been accepted internationally as Israel still exercises control over most of Gaza’s land borders, as well as its territorial waters and airspace. Egypt controls Gaza’s southern border.”

In line with its usual strategy, that BBC profile does not give any sources for its statements and so readers are unable to judge for themselves whether those individuals or organisations referred to in the phrase “has not been accepted internationally” are credible sources and whether their arguments have a legitimate – or even logical – basis.  

In this article by Pnina Sharvit-Baruch – worth reading in full, along with this complementary and more detailed piece – an alternative view is presented. 

“Israel’s imposition of control measures around the maritime area and airspace of Gaza are typical of situations involving armed conflict, and clearly do not enable Israel to exercise governmental powers on the ground vis-à-vis the local population, as would be required for the purposes of the law of belligerent occupation. The imposition of similar measures by the US and its allies in Iraq during the 1990s, in the FRY in 1999 or most recently in Libya, for example, was not considered as imposing upon those powers the status of belligerent occupier.

Furthermore, the fact that Israel controls its land border with the Gaza Strip cannot serve as an indication of control over the area itself. Israeli control over the Israeli side of the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip is a natural reflection of Israel’s sovereignty within its own territory, which includes the prerogative to set policy for movement of people and goods from and to its own territory, and therefore cannot be regarded as proof of control over the Gaza Strip. This is similar to the right of control that any sovereign state has over its borders and border crossings.”

Also worth reading are this paper by Elizabeth Samson and this article by Professor Eugene Kontorovich and Paula Kweskin.

 “The recent UN Security Council resolution authorizing force against Libya provides an excellent experiment in whether the legal arguments widely made about Israel are also applied in parallel cases.”

Israelis have of course learned from bitter experience that the type of painful concessions carried out during the Gaza withdrawal in 2005 do not necessarily put an end to acts of terror against Israeli civilians and that ‘international opinion’ has depressingly little to say about the right of Israelis to live in security.  

Whether the BBC is aware of it or not, the notion that uprooting thousands of Israelis from their homes and livelihoods also does not bring an end to the slur of ‘occupation’ – at least according to media-defined and promoted ‘international opinion’ – makes it even more difficult to argue the case for similar future concessions. 

With Israelis about to go to the polls in three weeks’ time, we can no doubt anticipate a flurry of BBC articles on the subject of political trends within the Israeli electorate, many of which will probably be liberally seasoned – ironically – with phrases such as ‘shift to the right’.

36 comments on “Gaza Strip still occupied – according to BBC

  1. Gaza, like the rest of the state of Palestine (West Bank, including East Jerusalem) have been occupied by Israel since 1967.

    Tsahal controls five out of six land crossings between Gaza and the world

    Tsahal controls Gaza’s airspace

    Tsahal prevents Palestinians from accessing one-third of Gaza’s arable land (the so-called buffer zonz)

    Tsahal controls entry of people, goods and humanitarian aid into Gaza

    Tsahal severely restricts exports of agricultural produce of manufactures produce from Gaza

    • Israel has no control whatsoever on the border between the Gaza strip and Egypt. If Egypt wants to let people, goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and Gaza produce out of the Strip, it can. It is Egypt that is imposing far tighter restrictions than Israel, which allows people and aid in and gives the Gaza Strip a lot of help in developing its agricultural produce, which it does NOT severely restrict. In the last year agricultural exports from Gaza have grown faster than that from the West Bank.

      • Dear Stephen, the Palestinian territory (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza) has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

        Israel is the occupying power of the state of Palestine – not Egypt.

        • You ARE so ignorant, it has to be malice. Israel pulled it’s troops out (big mistake) in 2007. Israel controls It’s own border points and sea access to prevent importation of weapons. Egypt controls it’s border with Gaza. Not Israel. And Egypt does little to control the infusion of weapons. There main effort seems to be preventing Palestinians from Gaza travelling to Egypt. But you already know this. Your bias is blatent and anyone who reads your distortions knows this.

        • When Egypt occupied Gaza between 1948-67, was it occupying “Palestine”? Ditto Jordan and Judea and Samaria?

          • It’s only occupied if Israel does it. Where were the UN resolutions protesting the Soviet/I mean Russian invasion of Osessia in Georgia.

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  3. BBC & NY Times etc will consider Gaza as occupied territory until Israel is destroyed. As for you Sosh, that ain’t gonna happen.

    • Ethan you need to understand that it is a cold wind that blows against the empire. Israel will either discipline itself or it will be disciplined by the world. This eternal Israel nonsense will be the death of the Jewish state. Nothing is forever. The issue is how it is going to be in the interim.

        • Dear Ethan, Masada is in Israel.

          However Ariel, Ma’ale Adunim, Gilo, Migron, Havat Gilad… are not in Israel, they are in the state of Palestine.

      • Death of the Jewish state… Israel will be disciplined by the world? Wet dreams of Richard about being able to discipline those pesky Jews again…

        • Not at all Peter it is true of all of us. We live in a world of nation states. Not a happy form of human organisation in my opinion but we have what we have. If Israel chooses to gamble it;s existence on this weird conception that a tiny state is exceptional and exempt from the laws of the nation state game…..well this stupidity is hardly my fault is it ?

          • True of all of us? And who will be the hero to do the disciplining? You and your comrades drinking in your secure London pubs? The Royal Navy? The Syrian army? The International Alliance of Wannabe Martyrs? A commando unit manned by overeager BBC staffers?
            But you are free of dreaming about a Jew free world Richard.

    • Dear Ethan, Israel is the occupying power of the state of Palestine – West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

      This is not the opinion of the NYT or of BBC, it’s a fact.

      • Sosh; This is the last time I will ever respond to your lies and hate. The fact that Arab Oil money has been able to buy the UN, ant leftists, who control most NGOs are highly anti-Israel does not alter the fact that Israel is the ONLY nation in history punished for winning wars of self defense ind daring to shoot back when attacked.
        Except for Egypt and Jordan, NO Arab nation is at peace with Israel. Under your beloved international law, Israel is within it’s rights to attack AT ANY TIME nations in a declared state of war, (including Iran)!

    • BBC, and you, Richard, are entitled to your own opinions. And you have a right to be an anti semite. The BBC and you are not entitled to your own facts!

      • Ethan I sense you are a cut above these rabids. But just knee jerking calling those you disagree with anti semites does your arguments no good. My father is Jewish, my wife is Jewish, my kids are Jewish, does not your saying I am anti them not strike you in even your more unguarded moments as absurd ?.

          • I don’t know you Fritz. So I’ll not comment on your background. And no, just because we disagree does not make you or anyone an anti semite. I do know that many of many Jews who are rabid anti-semites/Zionist. If you read their posts, I believe that Richard, Shon, Shoshonah and sprattyville (the only ones I’ve accused) ARE at the least anti-Zionist and I believe anti-semites. Even if (and I don’t “know”) they may be Jews. But I’m glad to respond to your post.

      • Not quite, Ethan. Obviously, BBC personnel hold, and are entitled to hold (as much as the next man or woman, their own private opinions about this and any topic under the sun), but by the terms of its Charter, the BBC is not entitled to display an opinion.

      • Dear Ethan, it’s time you realize that the overwhelming majority of Jews in the world care about Israel, the Jewish state.

        However they do not care about the illegal settlements built by Israel in the Palestinian territory, in violation of international humanitarian law.

        • Actually, most Jews I know, at least the ones who don’t vote for Obama, do support the settlements.

    • The BBC reflects the overwhelming opinions of the whole world.
      Interesting… I thought that the job of the BBC is not reflecting opinions (especially not incorrect ones) but to report facts. My mistake…

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  7. How naive to suggest that the previous Egyptian regime was not in the pay of the Americans. Would that be the same American ally that is Israel’s ‘Greatest friend’? Who is the Egyptian paymaster now? The usual disingenuous arguments are trotted out about what constitutes ‘occupation’. No mention has been made on these pages of the approximately 50 ceasefire breaches committed by the IDF since November. Why is that you may ask? It is because the mindset of the IDF is identical to that of an occupying power. It reflects the de facto situation on the ground rather than the so-called de jure vision floating around the ether of the blogosphere.


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