The Myth of the "Occupied Territories": Setting the Record Straight

by Prof Louis Rene Beres

Media references to territories administered by Israel since the June 1967 war now routinely describe them as "occupied."  Yet, this description conveniently overlooks the pertinent history of these lands, especially the authentic Israeli claims supported by international law, the unwitting manner in which West Bank and Gaza fell into Israel's hands after sustained Arab aggression and the overwhelming security considerations involved. 

Contrary to widely disseminated but wholly erroneous allegations; a sovereign State of Palestine did not exist before 1967 or 1948; a State of Palestine was not promised by authoritative UN Security Council Resolution 242; indeed, a State of Palestine has never existed.

As a nonstate legal entity, Palestine ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate.  When, during the 1948 - 1949 war of independence, the West Bank and Gaza came under illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively, these aggressor nations did not put an end to an already-existing state.  From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BC to 586 BC) to the British Mandate (1918 - 1948), the land named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non- Palestinian elements.

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