“Occupation” of Gaza


Question :

In your article titled “International Law and the Fighting in Gaza”, you wrote that Gaza is not occupied because, Israel doesn’t perform significant government functions and that Gaza was never Egyptian territory. However, whether Egypt’s invasion was illegal or not, didn’t Egypt still occupy Gaza, therefore making it Egyptian territory?

Answer :

You have matters precisely reversed. Egypt occupied Gaza, and therefore by definition, it was not Egyptian territory. One cannot “occupy” one’s own territory. The sine qua non of occupation is that the territory in question is someone else’s. Incidentally, even if Gaza were Egyptian territory, Gaza would still not be occupied by Israel since all the conditions must be fulfilled. Israel does not fulfill the functions of government in Gaza, and it therefore does not occupy Gaza.