NOVEMBER 9 -- In the report “US says opposes ‘reoccupation’ of Gaza by Israel”, US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters that the US does not “support the reoccupation of Gaza and neither does Israel”.

Israel has claimed that it has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip (Gaza), which it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in 2005. The withdrawal therefore ended its occupation of Gaza.

However, it is widely accepted that Israel continues to occupy Gaza as a matter of international law. (See George E. Bisharat, “Israel’s Invasion of Gaza in International Law”, (2009) Denver Journal of International Law & Policy, 41)

The test for 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.” (See US v. Wilhelm List et al. (Hostages Trial), 15 ILR 646 – Nuremberg Military Tribunal 1948)


The regime does not only retain the ability to exercise such power, but continues actively to exercise such power. It heavily controls the flow of goods in and out of Gaza, including food, medicine, construction materials, and the like, which severely affect civilians.

The Rafah crossing into Egypt in the south is the only above-ground way in or out of Gaza not controlled by Israel. Israel exercises almost complete control over the movement of people and goods and is able to shut the crossings at will.

The degree of control Israel retains over Gaza makes it clear that it is grossly inaccurate to say that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza ended the occupation.


Israeli rights group B’Tselem has long described it as “entirely baseless” that Israel’s occupation of Gaza ended in 2005.

Gaza is now the scene of a humanitarian disaster that is entirely man-made and resulting from the violation of the regime’s duties as an occupying power.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.