Opinions on Israeli-occupied territories

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The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. They consist of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; much of the Golan Heights; the Gaza Strip, and, until 1982, the Sinai Peninsula. Israel maintains that the West Bank is disputed territory and asserts that since the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, it no longer occupies it. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are also referred to as the Palestinian territories or Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Palestinian Authority, the EU, the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council consider East Jerusalem to be part of the West Bank and occupied by Israel; Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital and sovereign territory. West Jerusalem is considered to be occupied by Arab and Palestinian representatives.

The International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council regards Israel as the "Occupying Power". UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called Israel’s occupation "an affront to international law." The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that Israel holds the West Bank under "belligerent occupation". According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than four decades that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is in violation of international law.

Israeli governments have preferred the term "disputed territories" in the case of the West Bank.

The first use of the term 'territories occupied' was in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967, which called for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles: ... Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict ... Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem in 1980 (see Jerusalem Law) and the Golan Heights in 1981 (see Golan Heights Law) has not been recognised by any other country. United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared the annexation of Jerusalem "null and void" and required that it be rescinded. United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 also declared the annexation of the Golan "null and void". Following withdrawal by Israel from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, as part of the 1979 Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty, the Sinai ceased to be considered occupied territory. Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in September 2005, and declared itself no longer to be in occupation of the Strip. However, as it retains control of Gaza's airspace and coastline, it continues to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly and some countries and various human rights organizations.


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