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Three words have been characteristically associated with the Gaza strip: Occupation, "siege," and more recently,"breakout." Hamas leaders, having scored a big public relations victory with the "breakout" into Egypt, are now contemplating another coup: they intend, or so they claim, to "break out" into Israel with half a million Gazans.

The "breakout" into Egypt aroused the enthusiasm of the gormless ones around the world.

Hamas’s audacity in forcibly opening the wall was matched by the bravery of the people who flowed through the breach. Perhaps half of Gaza’s population crossed the border during the 12 days it was open. Many travelled on foot, others by car, truck or donkey cart, and they came back with fuel, food, medicines, household items, sheep, goats, cows, concrete, flour, blankets and cigarettes. Perhaps more important in the long run, they came back with a belief that all was not hopeless.

So gushed Mike Marqusee. (Look for it in The Hindu if you're curious- they don't deserve a link).

Let's look at this breakout a bit more carefully. For one thing, it turns out that many Palestinians paid for the goods they bought in Egypt with counterfeit money and that many thousands of Gazans stayed behind in Egypt, presumably intent on mayhem. What is it usually called when a group of people enter another country without permission and steal and break the law? What would the United States do if say, two million Mexicans crossed into Texas, bought a lot of things with fake money and left behind thousands of armed bandits?

This sort of "breakout" is generally called by another name. It has a very long history. In his commentaries on the Gallic wars, Julius Caesar noted that the narrow confines of the land of the Helvetii were considered too constraining for such a brave people, and that frequently they "broke out" into the land of their neighbors. The Mongols likewise considered that their lands were too restraining and "broke out" into the lands of Asia and the Middle East. In the twentieth century, our German friends twice found that their boundaries were too constraining, and that they needed "Lebensraum" in France and to the east. Such "breakouts" are usually greeted by the world with less enthusiasm than the Hamas "breakout." No doubt an enthusiast of Hulagu the Mongol or Attila the Hun could have written that their "breakout" gave hope to their people.

Gaza is not under "siege" either, because the purpose of a siege is to conquer a territory or city. Neither Israel nor anyone else want to conquer Gaza. Certainly not Egypt. Gaza is blockaded, just as Germany was blockaded in World War II, because the government, such as it is, has declared war against Israel in every way possible, and is waging war against Israel.

Gaza is not "occupied" either, despite the contention of Marqusee. Marqusee and others like him need to look up the definition of "occupation" in the Hague convention of 1907.:

Art. 42. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.

The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

Art. 53. An army of occupation can only take possession of cash, funds, and realizable securities which are strictly the property of the State, depots of arms, means of transport, stores and supplies, and, generally, all movable property belonging to the State which may be used for military operations.
All appliances, whether on land, at sea, or in the air, adapted for the transmission of news, or for the transport of persons or things, exclusive of cases governed by naval law, depots of arms, and, generally, all kinds of munitions of war, may be seized, even if they belong to private individuals, but must be restored and compensation fixed when peace is made.

Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.

No sections of Gaza are under the control of the IDF. Israel doesn't administer any property belonging to Gazans. Israel doesn't control any means of transportation or arms in Gaza. There is in fact, no hostile "State." The Hague convention implies that occupation is a condition applying between states. When the Israeli army left Gaza, an international anomaly was created.

Yet many organizations, including HRW and the UN, continue to regard Gaza as "occupied." Why? Here is the astute legal explanation offered by the UN. Mind you, this is a real UN document, and is posted at the UN Web site, not in "The Onion." It is a "more or less verbatim" transcript of a press briefing held in January of 2007:

Question: ...A year and half after the last Israeli withdrew from Gaza, the UN system still refers to Gaza as an Occupied Palestinian Territory. The only people who are not Palestinian in Gaza currently are UN people. Do you mean that Gaza is occupied by the UN?

Spokesperson: Definitely not.

Question: So who is it occupied by?

Spokesperson: Well…

Correspondent: I think there are some Israeli soldiers on the border…

Question: Not borders, who is Gaza occupied by?

Spokesperson: Traditionally, this is the terminology we have used. Yes?

Question: But the situation on the ground changed since Israel withdrew from Gaza.

Spokesperson: I will look into this.

Correspondent: Thank you.

Perhaps he is still looking into it, as the UN has never issued a statement clarifying that Gaza is not occupied, or justifying use of the term based on international law.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, https://zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000491.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to . Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 7 Comments

"What would the United States do if say, two million Mexicans crossed into Texas, bought a lot of things with fake money and left behind thousands of armed bandits?" -- Notwithstanding innocent children, change "fake" to "fraudulently obtained welfare" and this is what many millions of illegal Mexicans with wanton disregard for our laws have already done. Illegal immigration is a decades old issue but one, now more than ever before, for which a hard line resolution is considered of vital import by the vast majority of Americans to include our Latin-American descent citizenry. For example, to the chagrin of the Democratic controlled Senate and the liberal media alike, not long ago concerned constituents virtually flooded the Senate offices in Washington with so many thousands of protest phone calls and e-mails the day the Senate was to vote on a lax Immigration Bill (one that included in essence amnesty for illegals before securing the border) overloaded systems failed. Later influential conservative talk radio hosts with large audiences and prominent web bloggers were credited with exposing the evils couched in the proposed legislation and with playing a major role in the grass roots pressure that led to the Bill's ultimate defeat on the Senate Floor. Another example: A highly organized contingent of unarmed citizen patriots named the Minutemen (after America's Revolutionary War era soldiers from Colonial New England) has formed with a mission to aid stretched thin Federal Border Patrol agents. Armed with lawn chairs, binoculars and walkie talkies and ham radios these rugged volunteers take turns acting as lookouts, strategically positioning themselves along border stretches known for their high alien traffic. In the process they have garnered much public support for their dedication and have served to draw attention to the dismal failure of the government to halt illegal crossings. I am confident that with united resolve, the enforcement of sound legislation and a revamping of outdated measures the U.S. will do what is needed; will secure not only its Mexican border but Canadian as well. We can't afford not to -- So very much is at stake. We will always be a melting pot of immigrants; always the statue Lady Liberty in New York harbor a beacon of democracy bidding "come" to men and women around the world willing to respect our sovereignty, abide by our laws and love our land. But protect ourselves and our children we must.

In closing, I wish I could tell all of Israel "Know that you remain in hearts across America." Especially the Republican Party, the Armed Forces, and the millions of unwavering Christians here -- We got your back! I pray it will always be so and I pray for the peace of Israel.

Janice H., Monday, February 25th

excellent article could not have written better myself, my question is when are the stupid jewish leftist going to learn if I am not for mayself who is for me, unfortunately as you say they are so concerned what the goyim will say. who gives a damn

, Monday, February 18th

"What is it usually called when a group of people enter another country without permission and steal and break the law?"

That's an interesting perspective on Gaza. Here's another.

What is it usually called when people, in this case over a million of them, are surrounded by fences and armed guards and not permitted to leave? A prison.

What is it usually called when hundreds of thousands of UN-recognized refugees, expressing a consistent desire to return and restart their lives, are denied that right and confined to a disproportionately small space?
A war crime.

, Monday, February 18th


Please check out my coverage of the opening of "Palestine Awareness Week" at the University of Michigan.


ARB, Tuesday, February 12th

"Goebbels articulated that "he who sets the definitions, determines the perceived solution" and "definitions" in politics are adopted through the means of "forum & carnival".
A very important point - he who sets the definitions also sets the agenda.

Ami Isseroff, Monday, February 11th

I recall reading, quite a number of years ago, and the author or title escapes me now, a book on Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels was expressing his analysis on how political objectives were attained. He explained to a fellow university classmate how he turned around nazi fortunes in the district of Berlin during 1927-1928. He called his process "forum & carnival" and talked about the master British propagandist and advertizer Arthur Ponsburry (I've read Ponsburry's Proctor & Gamble campaign book, but don't know where Goebbels got this stuff) Goebbels articulated that "he who sets the definitions, determines the percieved solution" and "definitions" in politics are adopted through the means of "forum & carnival". That "forum" is always verbal, rhythmic, simple and short (ie "The Jews are our misfortune" or "End the occupation", or "Terrorism increases as the peace process succeeds") usually hammered at people dozens of times each day in posters, radio programs,& speeches. "Carnival" is always DRAMA, rallys, processions, street theater (brawls, boycotts, and vandalism). Goebbels boasted to his friend that he won the approval of his master in how he dealt with the "Weiss suspensions" that through a skillful coordination of forum and carnival not only did he reverse police commissioner Weiss' ruling and harried him into resigning but by 1928 he actually heard Jews! calling it a "Jewish Problem". Goebbels in the early days did have enough intellectual honesty to state that it was "a nazis' problem" not a "Jewish problem" . The point of all this is, it is clear to me, that history teaches us that we learn nothing from history, the tricks which were used on us before are still being used on us today and we can't seem to break out of our phoney piety and pseudo-intellectualism. We are so concerned for the rights of the very people who don't accept our fundamental right to life! In the 20s German Jewish lawyers and judges were so concerned for the rights of nazis to have free expression as you now are so concerned for a savage "no-people" to have a place in the sun so they can have a base to torment you. No one is going to see the justness of your cause, they are going to persue self interest and they will cry "evenhandedness" or "impartiality". You have created a terror base right on your front door step in your hubris, they will butcher your children and it will be your own fault. The sooner you realize that it is yourselves who ties your own hands behind your own back,(no one else would do such a thing) the sooner you will recognize that it is only you who can break this cycle. You think your superior to Shtetel Yidden, your not, you are still so worried at what "the goyim think". You can be so much more and yet you will not utilize the collective memory of your diaspora brethern, so be it you shall reap what you sow.

, Monday, February 11th

the most important question is, why Egiptians are not helpfull to independent Palestinian Gaza? Why they did not suply there grocery, wather, electricity etc.? Why just only weapons are smuggling from Egypt?

, Sunday, February 10th

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Home » Archives » February 2008 » Gaza: Breakout, Occupation: What's in a word?

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