The Global Hypocrisy about Israel’s “Occupation” of the West Bank

February 6, 2020 | Eli Lake
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Based on disingenuous legal reasoning, European governments, the United Nations, and many other institutions and individuals believe that Israel’s presence in any territory gained during the Six-Day War is a violation of international law. Yet there are numerous occupations around the world that don’t receive even a fraction of the negative attention and condemnation directed at the Jewish state. Eli Lake comments:

[W]hen was the last time you heard about a campaign to boycott, divest from, or sanction Armenia for its occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan? . . . The example of Russia is [especially] instructive. [Currently] Russia occupies Ukrainian territory in Crimea and Donbass, the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, [and] the Moldovan territory of Transnistria.

But Russia is paying a price only for its occupation and annexation of Crimea, which has caused the U.S. and its European allies to sanction sectors of the Russian economy. Russia was initially sanctioned for its occupation of Georgian territory, but those sanctions were lifted in 2009 following a flimsy cease-fire agreement that Russian-backed separatists have since violated. The EU treats Transnistrian goods as if they were Moldovan. There are no restrictions on trade from the Georgian territory that Russia occupies.

Part of the problem, according to the report, is that states which choose to occupy territory through proxy forces, such as the Turkish regime in charge of northern Cyprus or the Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass, are rarely treated the same as states that occupy territory with their own armed forces. Another problem is that some UN institutions are composed of states that have a political interest in demonizing Israel.

That said, Israel is a unique case. It won the West Bank from a UN-recognized state in a war. But no one today argues that Israel should return that land to Jordan. Rather, Israel is expected to turn over the land it won to create a new state.

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